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Couch To 5k Plan

This plan is aimed at anyone who is new to running or who might have run before but had a long gap and wants to build back up gradually. It combines run and walk intervals, building longer sections of running through the weeks, to help the body adapt to the demands of running gradually. The cardiovascular system adapts more quickly to training than the musculoskeletal system so as you progress through you may find that you still get sore after a session even after you start feeling fitter. That's completely normal. Keep going with the plan and you will get stronger.

What to Wear

Clothing should be light and easy to move in (e.g. denim is not a good idea) but whatever you feel comfortable in. Shoes should also be comfortable with plenty of toe room. Feet can swell slightly as the body warms so you may find you need to go up a size from your regular day shoes.


It's important to be well hydrated before and after a run/walk session. Eating before a session is really down to personal preference, some people are happy to eat and run, others prefer to leave a gap, others might go before breakfast. Running on empty might make it feel more hard work. Being full might cause stomach discomfort. It's a case of trial and error to see what works for you.

Common Experiences for Beginners

Stitch - what causes side stitch is not very well understood and although uncomfortable it is unlikely to be harmful. Focusing on breathing can help, count three or four steps to each inhale and exhale. Also stretch that side of the body by lifting arms overhead. It's okay to keep going with a stitch, it will pass eventually, it's okay to stop if it's really uncomfortable.

Shin Splints - pain along the front of the lower leg can occur when increasing amount of training 'too much too soon'. Following the plan and resting between sessions should avoid this. Stretching after a run can help recovery. Find my stretch guide here. Read more at

You might also experience feeling energised, sleeping better, and a huge sense of achievement!

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C25K Plan
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