Moderators: melkor

Couch to 5k on treadmill

Quote  |  Reply

I am planning on doing the couch to 5k because I really really want to be able to jog/run for at least 12 minutes without dieing. It would be the best accomplishment in the world. I remember in Gym class whenever we would have the twelve minute run I would not be able to run the whole 12 mins and was one of the first people to stop to walk.

I would also like to lose weight from this. I currently weigh 145 pounds, 5'4 and I am 17 years old. I can jog/run (5.4-5.5 mph) on the treadmill for 1:30 mins and walk (3.8mph) on the treadmill for 1:30 mins. I do this all on a 1% incline and alternate jogging/walking for 25 mins. I am probably a bit slower now as I used to do this when I was 136 pounds. 

So how should I start the couch to 5k now on the treadmill? What speed should I use? If I do the couch to 5k runs 3 days a week can I also do Zumba classes for 2 days and then 2 days rest? 

9 Replies (last)

Just adjust the speed so that you are running without stopping until you hit your target mileage for the day. If that is 3.0 mph, then let it be 3.0, as long as you are running. It will get better the more you run.

agreed with white_sakura.  you should be able to talk while you are running.  adjust the speed up and down until you find the one that's most comfortable for you.  don't worry if you don't get it right the first couple of times.  keep at it!

yes, you can Zumba two days and rest two days.  Listen to your body and don't over do it!

Well - I would say that during the running part you should be doing at least 5.0 - otherwise you're not really running you're just fast walking.  When I started couch to 5K, I was doing 6.0 during the running part and 4.0 during the walking part with a 1% incline.  Stick with it - I started couch to 5K in January and now in December I have run two half marathons and am signed up for a marathon next year.  You can do it!

you should set it at a comfortable running pace, not a sprint or race pace.

your "rate of perceived exertion" (RPE) should be around a 5 or 6... think of it as a scale: a RPE of 0 would be sitting on the couch watching tv.. a RPE of 10 would be a full out sprint as hard as you can want something in between those extremes.

a comfortable running pace for me NOW is about 6.5-7.0 mph and I had to work at that. I used to be in the same boat as you, anything above like 5.5 would wipe me out! (I'm only 5'2 so I consider 7.0 to be a pretty decent speed for my short little legs)

try to keep your speed around 5.0-5.5 mph and increase if you feel you can.

I wouldn't recommend going as slow as 3.0 mph though like white_sakura said, because unless you are a 'little person' or a child, 3.0 mph should be a moderate walking pace.

you want to challenge yourself a little, because that is the only way you will get better. 

Just from my experience (and having short legs) that 3.0 is probably too slow for most people to jog. But 5.0 might too fast for some -- especially at first.

I can keep up a nice slow jog at 4.2 and still talk, 4.5 is also doable, but 5.0 still wears me out quickly. 

So my advice is figure out what a good pace is for you -- don't push it too much at first.  You will discover what is a comfortable pace for you and likely it will improve as you go. 

I think that you shouldn’t run much slower than you already are. From my own experience, and from watching a lot of runners, I’ve discovered that very few can run with good/healthy form below those speeds. 

I believe the C25k program is popular because so many people fall into the category where running is too hard, but they can’t walk fast enough to tax their cardiovascular system. I am not saying that C25k doesn’t work (it has for very many people), but it forces you to do intervals every workout. Many people would respond more quickly (especially their endurance) on a program that has steady state work on some of the days. The problem is that the appropriate intensity level of steady state workout (for them) would be in the “crack” between running and walking.

For indoor workouts, a solution to this problem is to use incline walking as your intermediate level intensity. Pick an incline/speed combination that has the appropriate intensity (harder than your present walking is, but easier than your running is). Use your perceived exertion, or the treadmill cal/hr readout as a measure of the intensity. Or, use the calculator at exrx tml

As a starting point, walking 3.3 mph on an incline of 7 is about half way (in intensity) between flat walking 3.8 mph and running 5.4 mph. See how that feels, and maybe you can use it for longer workouts on some days.


Everyone runs at a different pace, so you have to do what is comfortable for you.  I used a similar program to start running but it was the 5K101 program, you can find it here:  It's a free podcast that you upload to your mp3 or ipod or whatever and he tells you when to walk, when to run, how to breath, etc ... it's awesome!  By the end you are running for a full 30 mins without walking.  You can do this!  If you've made up your mind to do it ... anything is possible!  I started running in March of this year ... in Oct. I ran my first 1/2 marathon.  I'm little heavier than you and I'm 20 years older.  YOU CAN DO IT!  Good luck!

Original Post by carmenxox:

I wouldn't recommend going as slow as 3.0 mph though like white_sakura said, because unless you are a 'little person' or a child, 3.0 mph should be a moderate walking pace.

I agree with the challenge yourself part of your post, but some people can literally only run this slow. They simply expend a lot of energy picking up their legs so that running uses up more energy and effort than fast-walking. But that is simply the fastest speed they can go at their level of fitness. Perhaps 3.0 is a bit exaggerated, but 5.0 is definitely not a necessity for steady-state cardio.

You're not significantly overweight, nor are you super out of shape. But just pointing it out that you don't have to go that fast if you want to hit 2 miles the first time around. Just do what's comfortable, and it'll get easier and you can go faster next time.

don't worry about all that.  You have a lifetime to get faster...

9 Replies