Exercise! - pre-C25k ideas for the extreme fitness-challenged?

01-03-2011, 09:30 PM
For the last few weeks I have been attempting to go to the gym regularly (3 time per week, currently) and work out. In the past I have generally focused on non-weight bearing cardio activities because of knee and foot issues, but as I lose weight one of my goals is to transition into more regular exercises... like running!

It seems like so many people have had good luck getting into running by following the C25K program, so I thought I would give it a try. However, my first attempt at week 1 day 1, I was jogging very slowly for the first 2 60-second intervals, and barely managed to finish a third... I ended up spending a total of about 13 minutes on the treadmill, with only 3 of those spent jogging. My second attempt was nearly identical, and with a LOT of effort today (3rd day), I was able to push myself into completing 4 60-second jogging intervals... Total time on the treadmill still around 13 minutes though, and I'm going fairly slowly; about 3.2 mph for the walking portion, 3.5 - 3.8 mph for the jogging portion.

I've been stopping at that point due to a combination of feeling extremely over exerted / out of breath and mild leg fatigue. In general, I don't think my endurance is terrible for someone at my (low!) fitness level; I can walk ~3.5 mph for an hour or so without feeling terribly exerted, and I can use my favorite seated elliptical machine for 35 minutes at a decent intensity without feeling any of the same "omg I'm going to die" sort of effects.

I can think of a lot of different things to try to help get me from my current level to being able to complete week 1, but I am uncertain which to try. What strategies has anyone else used to get over similar issues and successfully begin the C25K program? Perusing through some of the already existing threads, it seems like some people might use elliptical machines for the same sort of training. Has anyone had success doing that and transitioning to full-impact running? I'm looking forward to a lot of good suggestions. :)

01-03-2011, 11:21 PM
Don't sweat it if c25k is too much. It's a generic program. Just do your own thing, and push a little at each workout like you're doing now. You're doing great! Focus on running more and more, and you'll get where you want to be.

If you're set on using this program, look it over, and extend the program to where you are now.

01-03-2011, 11:32 PM
I did a modified C25K before I felt ready to start the real deal. Instead of week one being run 60 seconds/walk 90 seconds I made intervals of run 30 seconds/walk 2 min and found that I could complete 8 of those intervals. Then I bumped up to running 45 seconds/walk 2 min, then running 45 seconds/walk 90 seconds.

Good luck!

01-03-2011, 11:51 PM
You can definitely modify the C25K program to fit your needs and cut down on the running times early on and repeat weeks as you need to. Definitely do what you can do that first week and just repeat that level for 3 days. Whatever that baseline level is, you can increase it a little bit the next week. Soon, you will be able to do week 1 of the program. :)

01-04-2011, 12:02 AM
I want to add....good for you for getting that one additional interval in on your second attempt! See, you're already making improvements. I'm sure that no matter what introductory method you use, you'll be on you way to completing C25K in no time! :)

01-04-2011, 12:15 AM
1. Change the intervals to something you can do. If it's run 20 seconds, walk 2 minutes, do that.
2. Get outside! I find running outside to be far easier than on the treadmill. And then you can self-regulate your running interval pace without seeing those silly numbers on the treadmill display.
3. Keep doing other things to improve your cardio -- try a standing elliptical machine or hill incline workout (walking) on the treadmill.

01-04-2011, 12:57 AM
It took me a lot of prep work to build up to starting C25K, and then I had to repeat a bunch of weeks. I used to get so dizzy and exhausted I would literally feel like I was going to puke or pass out....

Pick an interval that you CAN do and do that for a while. I think I started with running intervals of about 30 seconds... a minute seemed like a lifetime.

I've always felt bad that C25k seemed so much harder for me than for others...

On the other hand, completing it was one of the BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS of my life....

You will make progress much faster than you think and it is totally worth it.

01-04-2011, 01:29 AM
Can you walk 20 minutes at a decent speed? 30 minutes?

I'd start by aiming for 30 minutes brisk walk.

01-04-2011, 12:49 PM
I made up my own intervals before starting C25K. I would just jog for 30 seconds and walk for as long as I felt I needed to, gradually increasing my jog time and decreasing my rest time over several weeks. I also was a fairly avid elliptical user before I started running. That said, don't feel like you HAVE to run. There are lots of effective exercises out there. If you want to run and enjoy it, by all means work towards those goals. Just don't feel like running is mandatory for success in weight loss/fitness.

01-05-2011, 04:23 AM
Thank you all for the great suggestions. It really is helpful to know that others have struggled as much with the C25K program as I'm sure I will...

I realized after reading some of the responses that developing the ability to run is really one of my more important non-scale victories. Even back in elementary school I was the worst person in my grade at running despite being only slightly overweight and still generally active. I start out by breaking up the jogging portion into shorter intervals of 30 seconds or so and work on just increasing the number of those I can do per workout. Once my pre-training catches up with the general C25K program, I am fine with the idea of repeating each week 7 times if that's what it takes to improve. I think I'll stick to the treadmill for a while though; at least until it warms up enough outside to eliminate the icy patches on the sidewalks and paths around here.

01-05-2011, 04:45 AM
I went from where you were to running sub-30 min 5ks by jogging a little, then walking until I was recovered...no forcing myself onto a program I couldn't handle! Slowly increase your runs, decrease your walking, and let yourself build up. It works.

I'll never forget the first time I ran a 10 minute mile, which was our target in PE class when I was in school. And then I said (possibly out loud), "Take That, Mr. (Middle School PE Teacher)".

You can do this, and it will feel AMAZING when you get there.