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Couch to 5k/3mi (C25k) in 10weeks: Improved by FFT (RPE Effort Based)

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Couch to 5k/3mi (C25k) in 10weeks: Improved by FFT (RPE Effort Based)


Alex Mitchell from FastFitnessTips

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10 Weeks

Plan Description

The Couch to 5K (C25K) is a beginners running plan originally created by Josh Clark in 1996 but it has some problems, with a rather steep ramp, and some odd overcomplex not everyone can manage it. Here we carefully plan an improved, much more subtle gradual step up to a 5k by training three times per week from pretty much zero, so we guarantee you will find this easier.

The daily duration stays the same (30mins) but the intensity gradually increases. So you will be walking or running almost exactly 30 minutes a session, three days a week, but over time it becomes wholly running, not walking. Keeping 30mins per day helps establish a routine for beginner runners but keeps it very manageable if you are time-crunched.

Each week has threee workouts and planned rest days. Think of the weekend run as your longer effort.
Each workout usually start with a 2-5min warm-up walk and the main effort is either intervals (alternating walking and running) or a longer run. Slowly the rest periods are reduced but this is entirely normal!

Don't worry about your running/jogging speed initially
You can move (replace) any days/days-off to any other day of the week
Where a session has multiple activities (intervals) go easy at first but try and finish strong
Initially, run for time (eg 5mins) but at the end you can run against a set distance
By all means run in a group but try and stick with your pace and plan or else you will crash
Keep in mind you will improve if you slowly do more each week
Don't worry if you don't hit the target every time, if necessary you can repeat the session or even the week
If you feel like you cannot progress, repeat the current week, then move on


We applied the 1-10 effort scale so you know how hard to go (aka RPE / Borg scale)

Level 1: Like I I'm watching TV
Level 2: I'm comfortable and could maintain this pace all day long
Level 3: I'm still comfortable, but am breathing a bit harder
Level 4: I'm sweating a little, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly
Level 5: I'm just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily
Level 6: I can still talk, but am slightly breathless
Level 7: I can still talk, but I don't really want to. I'm sweating
Level 8: I can only keep this pace for a short time period
Level 9: This is too hard, I need to stop any second
Level 10: This is impossibly hard

5k is not as easy as people say, but I am sure you can do it if you train.

Good luck from the FFT team!!
ps. any questions feel free to email us on



coaching via bereda

scientific training papers

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Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Run x3
01:31:00 00:33:00
Day Off x1
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
01:31:00 00:33:00
Day Off
—— ——

Training Load By Week

Alex Mitchell from FastFitnessTips

Alex from FastFitnessTips

Alex is the creator and head coach at FastFitnessTips. He is a level 3 accredited coach from the UK and also MD and personal trainer. He is a qualified medical doctor at the University of Leicester UK and very experienced in scientific methods such as meta-analysis and big data. He is active on YouTube/Facebook/Instagram and Strava. He is known for his ability to apply cycling science to cycling and endurance sports. To find your optimal plan use:

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