Couch to 5k advice needed

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    Couch to 5k advice needed

    (long explanation here, you may skip it and go directly to question)

    For almost a year (since last spring), I was doing nordic walking (walking with sticks) on a daily basis, to compensate lack of physical activity during working from home restrictions. I was extending the distance, and in autumn my usual walk was 6-7 km in one go. In winter it eventually got too cold and dark for long walks, and I had to return to indoor workouts. Finished Fireheart, now trying to follow Age of Pandora). So for now, my fitness routine is as follows: about 40 minutes of exercising Age of Pandora + Express Tone + Stretching) + nordic walking if I haven't made 8000 steps in total throughout the day.

    Recently I noticed, that nordic walking is getting somewhat boring and feels easier. Even if I try to go as fast as I can, I feel like it's not enough workload. So I decided to try to climb up the next step: running. I was trying From Walking to Running program a couple of years ago, but dropped it due to life circumstances after a couple of weeks. Besides that, have never practiced running since finishing high school and still am overweight. Now I decided to try Couch to 5k, the program based on alternating walking and running with increasing running intervals every week. So far I did the first two days and feel pretty ok. It's difficult, sure, but easier, than on my previous attempt.

    Here comes an unexpected problem:
    Couch to 5k suggests 3 running days a week. But as I got used to do nordic walking almost every day, it gets complicated: it's more difficult for me to maintain a routine, even if I like what I do, when some days are free. It leads to me bargaining with myself like maybe I'll do it next day, the full week is ahead...

    So, question: what do you think I could do to fill other days of the week, while doing Couch to 5k? For now, I have two ideas in mind:

    a) alternate with Nordic Walking
    Mon: Walking
    Di: Couch to 5k Week 2 Day 1
    Mi: Walking
    Thu: Couch to 5k Week 2 Day 1

    b) alternate with easier running tasks from previous weeks:
    Mon: Couch to 5k Week 1 Day 1 (easier day, just to maintain the routine)
    Di: Couch to 5k Week 2 Day 1 (main goal for the week)
    Mi; Couch to 5k Week 1 Day 1 (easier day)
    Thu: Couch to 5k Week 2 Day 2 (main goal)
    Sun: rest day

    I would like to at least try b), but as I don't have much experience with running, I want to be cautious here. Can it cause overtraining? Do I need rest days between running days, or have I already built some base to try everyday running? (btw, after finishing the first day my legs weren't feeling sore, although I almost expected it). What are the signs that will tell me that I have to lower the workload?

    I would honestly keep the Couch to 5k schedule and just add walking in between. This will keep your overall risk of over training down. As far as symptoms of over training are concerned there are a ton and they depend on the person but in general: sore feet/ankles that don't seem to recover, painful heel (planter facetious), sore knees, shin splints, tight hips (easy to fix with stretching). If you allow rest and stretching most can be avoided, sore joints and planter facia tend to mean you need new shoes.


      Thanks for your answer! Well, I think yes, will be good for me to be more patient and just alternate Couch to 5k with walking. Less risks.


        I agree with Azercord if nordic walking is easy for you, use it on your recovery days to keep your daily habit (says a specialist of over training and regretting it afterward)


          AglavraOwl I was in a similar boat. My advice for the off days would be to do a program such as Back & Core or 30 days of Yoga. I'm doing both right now trying to repair a tight lower back, but I think if I would have been doing them the whole time, I would have been able to avoid a lot of pain and soreness. Remember, even if you can't do the whole thing, if you push yourself, you will be making progress.


            cjohnson.usmc Thanks for an advice too. For now I'm doing as it was suggested above (Couch to 5k every other day, walking on off days). I'm currently doing Power Up addon program, but I think I'll take Back and Core or Yoga after I finish it, good that you reminded me about these.


              Hi, I am doing the Darebee 8 weeks to 5k (7 days done).

              For me, one of my goals is to be able to run a 5K, so mentally I put it as one of my top priorities, otherwise I know I will have a problem committing to the plan. I am also doing a few other things, but I make sure I do the 5K thing consistently and take a break from other stuff when necessary.

              If you are just building general fitness then I will suggest you just keep the programs you are doing and not forcing the 5K, or start later. I notice that you are doing a bunch of other exercises/programs already, so adding the 5K training plan can indeed get too much and overwhelming. You can even carefully squeeze in some running during the travel for Age of Pandora.

              Regarding building up the running, maybe you can do something like repeating the first week for another week, if you are okay with not rushing it, or even cut the load in half for the first week.


                Thanks for your advice. The level of workload I'm used to the previous year was 30-40 mins of exercising and about 1 hour of nordic walking (this was when I was working from home, so this was pretty much the only physical activity during the day. Now my goal here is to replace nordic walking with running eventually, to cover same distance in less time and then try different routes etc. I don't have any particular goal in mind in terms of time and distance, just general fitness and enjoying the activity.

                For now, I managed to arrange my running days so that I'll run on the days I work from home, and rest on the days when I have enough walking during the day. And about 30-40 mins of exercising in the morning. I also keep in mind, that I may need to repeat a certain week of Couch to 5k, depending on how good I'm dealing with it, and sure,I don't want to rush things here. (Forget my idea about running every day, it was just typical me getting easily overexcited in the beginning. Thanks to all for the wise advices to coll me down a bit).