Very, very underprepared!

Hi all,

By way of introduction, I'm a 25 year old guy, about five stone overweight. I quit smoking six months ago and now that that hurdle's out of the way my weight is next. Before the summer I took to regular gymming and lost about half a stone, but then summer happened!

In the pre-summer optimism, I entered the Great South 5K at the end of October. Last week I had a sudden realisation that I'm woefully underprepared! I've reached week four of the couch to 5k programme, but until today had only really done treadmill running. Today (with my brand new Brooks GTS13 support shoes) I went out for a road/trail run. I did 5k, but I did it in 44 minutes which I'm not very proud of - I might as well have just walked! Actually, I did walk a lot of the way!!

So I'm looking for some tips, advice and maybe a little hope. How can a chubby guy get himself in shape in just under four weeks to get a decent time in a 5k. Heck, not even a decent time, I'd just like to be able to run the whole thing with maybe a few walking breaks rather than walking with the odd run thrown in.

Thanks in advance!!



  • Hi, you've not really got enough time for your body to really adapt from training.  I would run and just walk for a few seconds at each kilometre marker.

    Get a bit more regular with your running and you should be ready for a 10k in spring and maybe looking to complete, with no walk breaks, in under an hour.

    Well done on quiting the cancer sticks.  Keep going!

  • I have no idea how long the couch to 5k plan is but you still have 4 weeks to go and you have completed 5k so anything now is an improvement
    Run/Walk is good and is used by all manner of athletes but the key is consistency and to walk before you need to and to keep the run pace at a conversational one
    I would suggest perhaps try 3 mins run and 1 min walk and see how you get on with that for now
    What you do need to do is get out in the fresh air, dreadmills are all very well and they do have their place but you cant beat the great outdoors for that healthy feling

  • I guess do the last 4 weeks if a couch to 5k.

    But frankly as you couldn't be bothered to train until now I doubt you will bother to train, but maybe you can prove me wrong.
  • ...and booktrunk is the cheerful one around here! but anyways you can easily do it. concentrate on longish slow runs. dont try and go for a super fast run. you'll only injure yourself. You should do something like running till your out of breath. walk for 5 mins then try run till your out of breath again. Good luck.



  • Thanks everyone. I could certainly continue on the C25K, just finding that I'm having to repeat weeks. Three minute runs at 9-9.5 kph are ok, five minutes is a real struggle. 

    Booktrunk, with respect, I'm doing it for fun and for fitness. I'm not competitive, and I'm not counting calories, I'm just hoping that by upping my exercise gradually and making reasonable eating choices then the weight will go down gradually. I don't have anything to prove, not least to you. Though I understand you're probably just trying to motivate me!

  • If you're having to repeat weeks, that's all the more reason to stick with C25k and not try to jump ahead. 

    Forget about your pace. All you need be working on right now is being able to keep going. If you're struggling to complete your C25k interval then slow *right* down even if that means you're practically jogging on the spot - just no giving up unless you get an actual injury.

    Speed will come later once you're fit enough to maintain it.

  • you say you're not counting calories but I'd suggest that's a good place to start...don't starve yourself but show a little self could comfortably lose a stone in a month which'll make your goal of not walking it much more viable

  • I think booktrunk is probably right. 5k is probably as much if not more, about determination rather than fitness. It's a distance that can be covered by the majority of runners whether 8 or 88, fat or not.  If 5 mins of 9.5 k is a real struggle, then struggle and the next day you run do 6 mins. Or you could always take the easy route and walk ?

  • If 5k takes 44 mins - clearly running at 9.5k on the treadmill is too fast for you.

    Slow it down dude. And maybe a bit of competivitu wouldn't go amiss.

    I've seen 8 year running 5k in 30 mins or so.

    If you're 5 stone overweight you really need to cut down on the food. Running 5k burns about 300 calories or so - which in technical terms is bugger all. It's all about intake rather than what you can burn.

    In 4 weeks you should be able to lose half a stone and get a lot fitter if you stick at it.
  • My dad who is almost 70 ran a parkrun 5K in 32 min a few weeks ago with no training, first time in nearly 50 years he'd run or done any aerobic exercise bar walking really (hypertension, 2 stone overweight with bad arthritis) - he didn't want to walk and look unfit to the "young uns" so pushed through the pain - doesn't help you but shows what you can do if you put your mind to it.  He was out of action for a week after, but very happy.

    You'll knock 5 minutes off just by going a very slow jog and not walking any of it.

  • Slow down, do your running outside then you don't have to decide a pace. Finish the C25K plan. Enjoy the race.

  • By now, you should be at a crossroads.

    If running 5K in 2 weeks time looks an impossibility, then keep striving on the C25K... and just take a view that the race as an important training session rather than the end game.  Move your target to running a 5K non-stop, by the end of November - perhaps at a "Park Run" (google it if you're not familiar... they're free, and not far from you.)

    I say this because it would (probably) be a better motivation than setting yourself an impossible task.

    Of course, if you've improved a lot since your last post, then keep going for it!!

  • .... I didn't mean to scare him off.... Less Realism more smiles, must remember!

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