Couch to 5K – review


During lockdown after 2 month’s of worrying about Covid 19 and no physical exercise, I decided to take control of my life again for my own heath and mental wellbeing!

So I decided instead of just starting to run again, try out the NHS Couch to 5k exercise programme and write a review of what I found.



The course originally created by Josh Clark is designed for complete beginners to running and helps them over a 9 week programme that’s aim is to build up your stamina/fitness to be able to run continuously for 30 minutes without stopping!


The course is split up into 3 runs per week over a period of 9 weeks with every run starting with a 5 min warm up and finishing with a 5 min cool down walk.


Weeks 1 to 4 – You complete multiple run/walk combinations over each run and by week 4 your are running more than you are walking!

Weeks 5 to 6 – Each weeks runs have a different set of combinations, run 1-2 have differing run/walk time durations, while the final run of each week is run for a continuously for a period of time.

Weeks 7-9 – Very simple you are just continuously running between warmup and cool down walks. On the final week 9 you are invited to run 30 mins without stopping per run!


This programme is supported by a smartphone app that can be downloaded from Apple’s iTunes and Android Google Play respective app stores or if you prefer you can just download the podcasts to be used by your mp3 player. I do recommend using if you can run with either the app or podcasts, why?

  • The app and podcast coach instructs you when to run and walk
  • On the app you can play your own motivational music playlist while on each run and the C25K app’s coach will only cut in to give you more instructions!
  • Great fun on the app you can choose who you want your personal coach for this programme 🙂


  • Before I started this programme I walked daily for a few weeks to build up my general fitness & strength
    • Allowing for social distancing try to run away from busy roads
  • Mix up your runs by taking different routes if at all possible
  • I would recommend a pair of bluetooth earbuds to pair up with your smartphone
  • Most important invest in a good pair of running shoes

Personal view

I found the c25k programme an excellent in regaining my running fitness, supported by the app helped motivate me to succeed!

I will admit though my running club beginners course 12 week schedule to be much more gentle in its run progression, but you still run for 30 mins at the end of week 12.  


So I would highly recommend the couch to 5K programme to anyone wishing to start on their running journey, you have all been told 🙂

So what next for me I will try out the follow up NHS Couch to 5K+ podcasts and I have signed up for the virtual run/walk Lands End to John O’ Groats that entails you have a year to complete the 874 miles distance, I will use this to keep my fitness up over the next year 🙂

So happy running everyone 🙂

Stay safe

Mark aka Silent Runner

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