more gradual running app
August 19, 2018 7:56 AM   Subscribe

I did couch to 5k. the later stages of the program progress too steeply in difficulty for me. I'm looking for an app which will glide me more gently towards that final run. Android phone.

I got up to run twelve minutes, walk, run twelve minutes. the next stage was run twenty minutes. I gasped my way through it. the next stage was run twenty-five minutes. I did not make it. I glanced ahead and all the remaining stages are just straight runs of increasing length.

I don't mind at all having my cumulative run time be more than thirty (12-12-12? 15-10-15?) , but I am just not physically up to the length intervals c25k jumped me to.

I would prefer an app with a built in program because running works better with me bowing mindlessly to the will of a supposedly better informed person than me (otherwise I start bargaining with myself to reduce running time), but if no such app exists, an app which will let me create my own program is better than nothing.

The app must be able to run in the background so i can play music off my youtube exercise playlists.

bells and whistles like logging my speed, recording my run path, and asking me how i feel at the end are nice but not necessary. i just need a firm friendly voice telling me when to run and when to walk.

oh, and realistically I run 2 times, not 3 times, a week, so a program that works with that would be nice. not critical, just nice.
posted by Cozybee to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Look for apps that do interval training- most should let you set custom times.
posted by Jobst at 8:02 AM on August 19, 2018

I'm not familiar with the C25K app, but the original written program says to repeat weeks as many times as necessary until you're completing the workouts comfortably (not gasping for breath). Does the app give you the option to repeat the week where you started to have trouble?
posted by telegraph at 8:02 AM on August 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

I can repeat exercises if there isn't a better alternative, but this ruins the feeling of "progress", I'd rather even increases of one minute so that psychologically I feel like I'm getting somewhere.
posted by Cozybee at 8:16 AM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Once I hit the "20" minutes in couch-to-5k I just started using a timer myself. 18 minutes, 19 minutes, 20 minutes, 21 minutes. I would add a minute every three runs.
posted by bbqturtle at 8:20 AM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I did the NYC roadrunner plan and if I remember correctly, there are weeks with 12 min + 8 min and then 15 min + 5 min. And only then, the full 20 minutes.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:50 AM on August 19, 2018

Simplest version of this I’ve ever found (and if you use a free app like Runkeeper you can set up your own custom interval workout if you want it in your ears):

* You go out for half an hour, three times a week.
* Your half hour is divided into 5 minute segments.
* The first week, you run 30s, walk 4m30, repeat 6 times.
* The next week you run 1m, walk 4 mins, repeat 6 times.

And so on. Each week you just turn over another 30s of your 5 min segment from walking to running. By then end you get to 30m running, which depending on your pace may or may not be 5K but you’ll be close enough it should then be a small step to get there.

So if you’re already part way through, decide about what would be comfortable for you to start at, and take it from there.

Source: Have worked for six years for an organisation dedicated to getting people started with jogging. There are lots of variations on C25K but this one is the most steady progression I’ve seen, and it sounds like that’s what’s most important for you.
posted by penguin pie at 9:10 AM on August 19, 2018 [8 favorites]

I can repeat exercises if there isn't a better alternative, but this ruins the feeling of "progress", I'd rather even increases of one minute so that psychologically I feel like I'm getting somewhere.
I understand this feeling, but at a certain point in your running career you're going to need to resist it. Constantly trying to outdo yourself is a sure-fire recipe for getting an overuse injury. Runners who race seriously pick a few events a year in which they want to do well, and they organize their training to peak at those events, followed by a recovery period in which they deliberately run less, and slower, than during their training. Those of us who run for fitness and fun may not be so systematic, but we also know that there are limits to how often we can go farther or faster than the last time. Most of my running is done at an easy, conversational pace, and that's OK.

I think it can be good to repeat a week every now and then in C25K to accustom yourself to that feeling.

That said, it sounds like the C25K plan you were following followed a different progression than Josh Clark's original C25K plan. That one returns to intervals after the first 20-minute run, to allow for active recovery. The current version of the Cool Running website doesn't include the plan (I guess they want you to buy the app), so I linked to a version at the Wayback Machine. If you're in the UK you can get the NHS C25K app, which follows the original plan, but it's not available elsewhere.

Finally, when training for sports like running, you'll make the most progress if you strike a balance between stressing your body (activity) and recovery (which is when supercompensation occurs). For many people, three times a week is the sweet spot for running. If you run less often, especially when beginning, you'll most likely take longer to progress—and not just 1.5 times as long; conversely, if you run more often, you risk overuse injuries because your bones and connective tissue haven't recovered sufficiently. At 2 runs a week it might take 3-4 times as long to reach a given goal than at 3 runs a week, because with three days of rest between runs, some of the systems involved in running fitness may have passed the supercompensation period and returned to your previous baseline fitness.
posted by brianogilvie at 9:14 AM on August 19, 2018 [10 favorites]

I just add 30 seconds each time I run. However I run once a week and hit the gym 2 or 3 times a week. If I was running more often I might add 15 seconds each run.
posted by COD at 1:51 PM on August 19, 2018

Zombies Run 5k! (scroll about halfway down the page for app store links)

I had the exact same issue and ZR5K is MUCH better designed to be a true couch to 5k progression.
posted by augustimagination at 2:07 PM on August 19, 2018

brianogilvie: " If you're in the UK you can get the NHS C25K app, which follows the original plan, but it's not available elsewhere.

It's available as a sideload package for android. There are also .mp3s for each of the weeks if that works for you.
posted by Mitheral at 2:52 PM on August 20, 2018

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