0-5k training vs just go for it

Hello all,

I’ve got a complete newbie question here concerning the ‘walk/jog/run training method’ vs ‘just going for it’, if you will forgive me…

I’ve tried to follow a 0-5k training plan a couple of times – usual type, jog 60 secs, walk 90 secs kind of thing but I really don’t seem to get on with it.  A few minutes in and I’m usually bored and fed up of stop/starting etc.

On the otherhand, put me on a treadmill and I can quite happily jog/run, without rest, for a good 10-12 mins at the moment (don’t laugh, that’s good for me!!).

So my question is…is there something hugely more beneficial in doing the walk/jog/run method compared with adding an extra minute or two to each of my ‘go for it’ treadmill jogs?

I’m not training for anything in particular but am someone who likes to see improvement which is probably why I like the latter method as completing that extra minute is a tangible achievement for me, but everything I read suggests beginners are best using the gradual method.

Many thanks!



  • i think the couch to 5k plans (e.g. NHS) have been successful in getting non runners and those who are not necessarily fit from other sports to make a start with running, whilst avoiding the newbie mistake of sprinting 50m down the street, getting out of breath, and turning back for home thinking that running is not for them.

    These plans tend to build up to a point that you're at already, i.e. able to run 10-12 mins. how about you do your 10-12 mins, have a walk break, then do another 10-12 mins. There doesn't seem like much sense of you starting from a 1min jog, 2 min walk stage, if you're already beyond that. Continue from where you are, just keep it up for about 30 mins, inserting a couple of walk breaks, make the breaks shorter and shorter until you're able to jog continuously for 30 mins.


  • Having done couch to 5k, it was great for me, but a few weeks in, the idea if running for 10 minutes ws terrifying. If you can already do that, then I reckon you're most of the way to 5k already. You could always skip ahead to the point that the program is doing run10, walk 2, run 10, walk 1, run 10 (or something like that, they're all different) - somewhere around week 5-6 probably. You could just start there.

    On the other hand, if you're okay just adding a couple of minutes every time, then just do that.
  • Thanks for the replies guys, all makes a lot of sense!

    I actually didn't think about adding a walk period after my usual 10 mins then picking up the pace again so will give that a go.

  • Try the intermediate training plans. I think I will be in the same boat. I just run and listen to what I feel like. no goals or races to run just doing it to get and stay fit so I intend to do what I want/can.

    Last time I tried to take up running I built from running 3minutes walk 3 mins to running for about an hour with 3 x 2minute walks in five outings over the month (seriously I did only 5 runs in one calendar month then gave up due to lack of interest). I was already at a high enough level and it was just getting the legs used to the running hence the very poor start.

  • If you can already run for 12 mins on the treadmill, you're going to find couch to 5k really dull if you start at the beginning.

    I'd suggest you run 10 minutes away from your house, walk back for 2 minutes and see if you can run/walk the rest of the trip home. You can extend the out bound leg a couple of minutes each week and then you'd be up to a 5k total in about 4 or 5 weeks.
  • I used to set myself a target time then run out for half the time and run on for a few more more minutes. Then try and get back in the remaining time. For me that meant as I tired/slowed at the end I needed to work harder. Left me feeling like I'd worked hard. I like the feeling of nothing left in the tank at the end. Back in my gym days I used to feel sick at the end. It worked for me but not for everyone.

    What's this high intensity exercise where you do 3x1 minute at full intensity about. Does it work? Or is it for the already very fit?
  • I definitely agree with Agent Ginger, I'm someone who couldn't run half a block when I started with c25k and it's the only way I ever would have gotten up to being able to run a 5k.


    My husband mocked my c25k training for the entire 4-5 weeks that I did it. As he's fit from years of sport already, he's more of a just run further every week sort of person.

  • I'm someone who couldn't do a programme anyway as I never know if I'm going to go for a run until I'm shutting the door and halfway to the canal that I start on. I've got out the door, taken about 30 steps then turned back before now. If I'm not in the mood I  won't force it. Running for me is all about wanting to do it. When I started I seriously doubted I was a runner but I kept at it. decided I would give it a really good go. I still gave up.


    A program where I HAD to run in a proscribed way for one week, a nother way for the next and so on would make me stop running straight away. If I wanted to run two days in a row but my program says no I won't listen to it. If my body says no and the program says half an hour of walk/run then by body wins the argument.

  • Just a personal view but I hated the C25k programs, I failed twice at them. I think it is just me but I found myself focussing more on "how long till I can stop" than actually just enjoying the running.

    My break was just from going out and running. I ran as far as I could, walked a bit and then jogged home. The next time I went out I just aimed to get further running than I did previously.  Only when I was running for 30 mins did I start training programes.

  • You use the words run then jog home. Do you differentiate between run and jog? What I mean is do you go at a faster pace out, walk then run back at a slower pace?

    When I last tried to take up regular running I did tend to slow down coming back but I was not trying to do so, in fact I was trying to pace myself evenly throughout the run (apart from the bits when I did walk which always happens when you start out).

  • Hi Lanky

    I see your point. My jog back home was just very loose and felt only at 60% effort. Mentally for me my "run" was over at the point I needed to stop.

    For the running part I would always try to run even pace, I even brought a garmin to help me. Within a month the whole session was slow even paced running with no stops and was running for over 30 mins. I then started an interval program to work on increasing the pace.

    I understand that I am a bit nuts and I am not saying this is better than C25k. It is just the way I approached it as I hated run/walk, even if that was kinda what I was still doing. 

  • Laura, how old are you. My attitude is just go for it. I started running 2 years ago and my first run was 30 minutes, full pelt, none of this walking malarky. The only advice i would give you is get a heart rate monitor. That way you can see if you are overdoing it, and you can also measure improvements. Not only by time, but by heart rate.

  • Not sure I could have done the whole run walk thing. I started with short distances, about four miles, and ran the best I could gradually upping the miles. I think a lot depends on how fit you are to begin with and your mental outlook, so much about running is in your head.

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