Couch to 5K: Week 1 review

This past week, I began the first week of the Couch to 5K (C25K) running program. If you’re not familiar with the program, here’s a description from the website:

“C25K is a fantastic program that’s been designed to get just about anyone from the couch to running 5 kilometers or 30 minutes in just 9 weeks. Its secret is that it’s a gentle introduction to getting the body moving, starting off alternating between walking and running small distances, and slowly building up until after 8 weeks, you’re ready to run 5 kilometers or 30 minutes non stop.”

I’ve never been a runner in the past, but I really like the idea of getting into running, if nothing else because it’s an exercise that you can basically do anywhere with minimal gear. I had heard of the C25K program a while ago, but seeing as how I live in Alaska, I was waiting for the roads and sidewalks to get a little more cleared of ice and snow before I started. I didn’t really want to be “learning” how to run and trying not to fall on my ass at the same time. I’m hoping that by next winter, I’ll be comfortable enough with my running, that I’ll be able to do it all winter (aside from when it gets really cold, as in -20°F!).

Last weekend, on Easter Sunday, I started off with week 1 day 1 of the program. I downloaded the C25K iPhone app to make timing the intervals easier, which I highly recommend to anyone doing (or thinking of doing) the program. It automatically times out the intervals for whatever day you’re currently on, and even plays your own music in the background. One of my favorite features is that it notifies you when you’re at the halfway point, so I’m able to just turn around at that point, and it’s worked out almost perfectly every time that I’m walking into my driveway right as the 5 minute cool down ends.

So, how did the first week go? Overall I was really happy with how I did. For the first week, the intervals are 60 seconds of running, followed by 90 seconds of walking. I think I was able to keep a pretty good pace during the running sections. One thing I was really happy about is that my legs really weren’t bothering me or giving out on me, which I mostly credit to doing the 200 squats program. Instead, the first thing to always give out on me was my lungs, sometimes they would just about feel like they were on fire! Is this type of feeling normal for someone just getting started with running? Do I need to work more on controlling my breathing, or is this just one of those things, and that it takes time for my body to get used to running?

As an extra incentive to keep up with running, I’ve been looking for upcoming 5K races. There is one at the end of April, which is just way too soon, but there is another in August that I am very seriously considering signing up for. I should long be done with the C25K program by then, but at least so far, I haven’t been able to find any other 5K races besides those two – I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes and ears open though!

I’ve been tracking my progress over at Dailymile, so you can check out all the details there if you’re interested. If you’re a Dailymile member too, add me as a friend!

26 thoughts on “Couch to 5K: Week 1 review

  1. Way to go Brandon. Running has a lot of benefits. I do not run anymore because my left knee is not where it needs to be yet. Running clears your head, the fast calorie burn around and reduces/eliminates stress.
    .-= Frank Dobner´s last blog… Lose Weight By Eating Fast Food =-.

  2. Thanks Frank, I’ve definitely been enjoying it, and at least so far, my body has been taking it pretty well, so hopefully that’s a good sign.

  3. If you’re in the DC area, I just today signed up for the Susan G Komen 5k on June 5th! That timing was almost perfect, I should be just finishing up the program by then. I’m going to be pushing myself pretty hard to be in shape so I can post a not-too-embarrassing time. I’m pretty pumped!
    .-= Lauren´s last blog… Shopping for Running Shoes =-.

  4. Also, try the runner’s world racefinder if you haven’t already:,7151,s6-239-283-284-0-0-0-0-0,00.html
    .-= Lauren´s last blog… Shopping for Running Shoes =-.

  5. Thanks Lauren, I’ll definitely check that out. Living in Alaska, we just don’t have all that many races.

  6. I’ve always felt the burning in my lungs too when I used to run, but always figured it was my asthma. I’m starting the C25K program tonight. Can’t wait to feel the burn!
    .-= Matt´s last blog… Weekly Weigh In =-.

  7. You only have two 5Ks near you? Where I live, there is one literally almost every weekend within easy driving distance. Sometimes multiple.

    Next year, I hope to compete in Kentucky’s State Park 5K series, which is four races where you do a 5K through one of KY’s different state parks.
    .-= Jeremy Logsdon´s last blog… Tie-Dye and My 3rd Giveaway =-.

  8. Well, in Alaska we’ve only got about 5 months that races could be held in, and while I’m sure there’s more than 2, I doubt there are too many. But I’m definitely going to be keeping my eyes open for more.

  9. I started with C25K myself so I’m a big fan!
    .-= AndrewENZ´s last blog… Weigh-in #15 2010: Weekend problems =-.

  10. I wish I had started off with c25k sometimes. I’d probably be doing better now if I had started off with a little more structure!

    WooT for Week 1! Stick with it (not that that’ll be an issue though)! And I hope you can find some more races!
    .-= Steve´s last blog… Weekend Warriors Strike Back (again…?) =-.

  11. You’re starting the running smarter than me. When I started running I did my own version of a C2HM. I ran a HM after 13 weeks of running using the C25K program but modified to have longer runs on the long run day. I’m using the same plan 3 years later to do it again. The lungs will get better over time. Good luck!
    .-= John´s last blog… Weekly Weigh In #6 =-.

  12. Dude my breathing is what gets me too. And it’s odd because when I’d read others talk about their struggles with running they’d mention blisters on their feet or leg pain, but I really didn’t have those problems at all. I just couldn’t catch my breath! It’s gotten A LOT better and I can *almost* run a full mile now without having to stop to walk. You’ll get there! Congrats on finishing Week 1! It is a great program…I’m on week 3.
    .-= josie´s last blog… Run for Music 10K – WOW! =-.

  13. Yeah, my knees and ankles have been a little sore this week, but by far, my biggest problem still is with breathing. I slowed down my pace a bit on my last run, and that helped a lot, so I think I may have just been pushing a little too hard.

  14. I just finished week 1 as well! And posted about it yesterday! Keep up the great work, I love that the program works you up slowly.
    .-= Cassie´s last blog… Fitness Plan / Work Update =-.

  15. Congratulations on completing week one! I bet you’re raring to go with week 2 now.

    I notice that there are several C25K apps available on the app store, which one did you decide to go for? Are any of them official?

    .-= Darren´s last blog… 1 Month Till Holiday =-.

  16. I don’t think any of them are “official”, but the one I linked to in the post seems to be the most popular.

  17. You’re doing so great. The breathing is what I have problems with too. My lungs feel like they are going to explode from my chest. I haven’t had leg problems until Sunday when I started week 4. at the end of the last run, they were jelly. I hadn’t realized it but at that point all the running sessions equaled 16 minutes….ridiculous!
    I dunno why I’m doing this, I hate running, I guess I just wanna see if I CAN do it?
    .-= Craig´s last blog… Weekend Warriors Take Two recap (and C25K Madness…) =-.

  18. You’re doing this because you’re AWESOME. Seriously though, just keep at it, you’ve been doing great so far. I don’t think anyone is meant to be able to just run out the door and do a 5K on the first day. It’s supposed to be hard, something we have to work up to. It can be hard to have patience about it sometimes, but I think the way that the program slowly works you up to running for longer intervals is really the way to go.

  19. Great job with week 1!

    There’s a 5 mile run in Anchorage with the Mayor’s Marathon (, it’s June 19th. There’s also the Alaska Run for Women on June 12th, that one is 5 miles too ( I know you said you’re looking for a 5K but I thought I’d mention these anyway.

    There are links to other races at I was just looking at their site Friday, I’m thinking of trying running so I was looking for resources when I came across it (I live in Anchorage).

    Keep up the great work with your running!

  20. Thanks for the links Aimee, I’ll definitely have to check those out. It’s exciting to see someone else from Anchorage reading my blog! 🙂

  21. Can’t wait to see your race recaps – running is addictive!!!

  22. Running is the best thing that has happened to me since I started living fit!! I am addicted.

    From all accounts, the C25K program is killer!

    Thanks! Enjoy your blog so far!
    .-= Rob Dyess´s last blog… SHE NAILED IT!!! =-.

  23. I’ve seen you around all over so thought I’d stop by and say howdy! Lucky me to find your post about starting c25k! Congrats. I just got my “Made My Way From Couch to 5k” t-shirt in the mail. It was a graduation present to myself. Can’t wait to hear how things go.

    Good luck on the journey!
    .-= Tara´s last blog… 92 minute challenge for April 16th 2010 =-.

  24. Thanks for stopping by Tara! Week 2 is now down the tubes, and went pretty well I though. On to week 3!

  25. […] you’re probably all well aware, back in April I started the Couch to 5k running program, and couldn’t recommend it more highly! I ran my first 5k on July 10 in 25:35, and in just […]

  26. […] have my first 1/2 marathon under my belt! In the end, just 19 weeks after stepping out the door for my first run ever, I finished my first 1/2 Marathon in 2:06:09.  I may not have made my “dream” time, […]

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