Wednesday, June 19, 2013

5 Myths of C25K {Couch-to-5K}

In April, I jogged a 5K after doing the Couch-to-5K {C25K}program! A few friends joined with me back in January to begin the program and work our way up to a 5K run. I'm still amazed that I did it!

I want to share some of the myths of the C25K program - not because I don't think it's a good program {it totally worked for me *and* my friends!}, but because I think you'll have an easier time getting through it all if you have all the info up front. I made the mistake of making some assumptions along the way which turned out to be wrong.

Now, I am speaking as a gal in her 40's. My friends that did C25K with me ranged in age from early 30's up to late 40's. So maybe if you're 20 years old, these aren't really myths for you! :)

C25K Myth #1:
You'll be running/walking 3 times a week, building up to 3 miles, so you'll lose a lot of weight. I didn't lose a thing. In fact I gained. Now I did develop some muscle, which might account for that just a little. But my clothing never even got looser. And my friends didn't experience weight loss either other than maybe 2-3 pounds over the whole time. I didn't start the program for the purpose of weight loss, but I thought it would be a nice side benefit. So do it to increase endurance, to build muscle, to get in shape, to meet a new goal, but not to lose weight.

C25K Myth #2:
Since the program slowly transitions you from walking to running over 9 weeks, it will be easy to do. true. LOL! Walking really fast does not equal running or jogging. You work hard! The first day involves running 1 minute at a time and alternating with walking. I thought I was going to collapse before the minute was up!! All of us were surprised at how hard the running was and wished we could extend the walking recovery time. It was mainly the breathing - you start wondering if you've been smoking cigarettes and forgetting about it - your lungs are burning!

But as you go, you keep on making it further and further. In fact, though I was the largest lady in our group, I never stopped to walk during all my run times in the 9+ weeks! Of course I could be heard to say every Saturday morning - "This will be the day that I have to stop and walk!" This program won't be easy. Expect it to be difficult, but not too difficult for you to succeed! The difficulty of it just makes the accomplishment that much sweeter in the end. :)

C25K Myth #3:
This is just a simple run/walk program so you won't need any special gear or shoes.

Hmmm. You might be able to get away with it, but I wouldn't recommend it. I think you need good running shoes, something that plays music & earbuds, and a smartphone with the C25K app or a friend with one. Please get fitted for good shoes so you don't risk injury of knees or ankles or feet! I got my new shoes about halfway through. You should know that it's recommended to buy shoes 1 size larger for running. My friend knew somebody who tried to make do with her smaller shoes while she saved up for bigger ones and she lost a toenail!

You don't have to have music, but it really helps. Once I hit the 20 minute runs, I knew I needed something to distract me and keep me going. I used my smart phone - had the C25K app on to tell me when to walk or run and put on Pandora for music at the same time. Make good use of the technology you already have and!

C25K Myth #4:
Since you can do this program anywhere and there's an app for it, you can easily do the whole thing by yourself.

Well, if you are a very disciplined person, then yes you can. All of the ladies in my group agreed that we would have quit the program before finishing or wouldn't have pushed ourselves hard enough to actually be able to run the 5K rather than walking it if we hadn't had the accountability of meeting up with the group and signing up for a 5K together. We ended up getting together 3 days a week for our runs, which is slightly amazing with all of us having different schedules. It helps to have a friend or friends to help hold each other accountable and encourage each other at the same time. Find a buddy or a group and make it happen even if it's tough to schedule out.

C25K Myth #5:
By just following the 9 week program, you'll be running 3 miles by the end and will run the whole 5K without stopping.

If you follow the program doing distances rather than timed runs, or if you are a very fast runner, then this might not be a myth for you. We used the app and did the timed runs. As we got further in the program, we realized that we would still not be up to 3 miles by the end of 9 weeks at the pace we were running. We all ran at our own paces and I was the slowest of the bunch - nowhere near hitting 3 miles in the 30 minute runs at the end of the 9 weeks. Even our fastest runners weren't hitting it. I think it's very unrealistic that beginning runners would be able to do a 10-minute mile. Once we figured it out, we extended our program out an additional 4 weeks before doing a 5K and increased the amounts of time we were running while also trying to work on our pace and build endurance.

There were 5 of us that ended up doing the 5K - we all ran and all finished! I had never actually run the full 3.1 miles before that day though and it was hard. So the program works, but know that you'll need to run for longer times as you approach your 5K date and consider taking longer than 9 weeks to get ready - make the program work for you!

So C25K worked well for me and for my friends! But I think it will work a little better for you if you don't get caught up in the myths.

Are you a runner? Have you tried the C25K program? Do you disagree with any of my myths? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

This post linked to:
 ~ WFMW at We Are THAT Family

Have a blessed day friends!


  1. Great post. I agree. These are all true. Especially the music and the friends. When I did it, I would have not kept running if it wasn't for that scheduled time slot with my friend... .made for its own accountability too.

  2. I'm still very proud of you for doing that. It is quite an accomplishment. I'm thinking about maybe doing one in the Fall. Which means I'd have to train through the Summer. Hmmm...let me rethink that. LOL!
    My daughter did one a couple weeks ago and they finished in 42 minutes. And I was like What? I could have done that walking. So that made me think that I could possibly do it and not finish last. LOL!
    Big buying some shoes will be top priority as I'd like to keep all my toenails size hugs to you.
    Love ya!!

  3. I found you through WFMW. Loved this post! I have been a runner for years (some seasons I'm better at it than others but such is life.) Myth #1 is my favorite. There are a lot of things running can do for can improve your cardio fitness and your confidence (because once you realize how much you've underestimated yourself in running, you realize you've underestimated yourself in various other areas of life) and the benefits spill over. All good stuff. But the thing running does not do is change your body. That (unfortunately) also requires calorie reduction (3500 calorie deficit = 1 pound) &/or HIIT &/or some weight training. Running also makes people in general, weight doesn't fall off when people start running...or even in people that become long-distance super runners unless they incorporate the other things. Thank you for telling the truth! I've seen so many people get discouraged over this myth. I always tell people...running is worth it (if you're can be hard on the joints, etc)...and you don't have to be super skinny to be healthy & fit.

    I hope you stay with it. The running community is also the friendliest, most inclusive, and most encouraging community I've ever been a part of. I find that experience true regardless of where I am (I travel a lot) so I hope it's true everywhere. Good luck.


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