How the Couch to 5K Running Plan Works

Making the Most of the C25K

After a few weeks on the C25K Running Plan, you may notice how running relieves stress and improves your mood and confidence level.

Perhaps one of the main reasons people give up on a new exercise routine and return to the sofa is that they push themselves too hard, too soon. Their bodies rebel and they quit. The C25K plan understands the couch potato lifestyle and works to ease new runners past their initial discomfort and boredom to the point where they actually look forward to their workout.

To prevent dropouts, the plan discourages skipping ahead and encourages those who aren't ready to move on to repeat a week. The C25K plan works to keep new runners engaged so they can build strength and endurance. Once your muscles and bones become stronger and your stamina increases, you can work on speed.


While inexperienced runners shouldn't deviate from the C25K plan, you can help change your lifestyle and improve your overall health with a number of plan supplements:

  • Keep a running log to track your progress and motivate yourself to keep moving.
  • Remind yourself of the physical benefits of running, from fighting disease and reducing the risk of heart attack to raising good cholesterol and slowing the aging process.
  • Notice how running relieves stress and improves your mood and confidence level.
  • Focus on improving your nutrition by getting rid of unhealthy foods in your house and replacing them with healthy snacks.
  • Treat yourself to new, well-fitting shoes to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Set small, achievable goals.

People who successfully complete the C25K tend to continue running at the prescribed pace or ramp up their workout. Either option proves to former couch potatoes that they can accomplish seemingly impossible goals. If you can get in shape, boost your self-confidence and keep the motivation to get off the couch and move, who knows what you'll do next.

Related Articles


  • Burfoot, Amby. "Should You Be Running Barefoot?" Runner's World. Aug. 2004. (Aug. 4, 2010)
  • Cairns, Graham. "Couch to 5K Metric Version." (Aug. 5, 2010)
  • Clark, Josh. "The Couch to 5K ® Running Plan." Cool Running. 2010. (Aug. 3, 2010)
  • Clark, Josh. "No Pain, No Pain: The 'Couch to 5K' and Humane Design." July 6, 2008. (Aug. 3, 2010)
  • McDowell, Dimity. "How to Start Running Today." Women's Health. 2010. (Aug. 3, 2010)
  • Kwok, Lucius and Kasten Searles. "Couch to 5K." Felt Tip, Inc. 2010. (Aug. 5, 2010)