How to Do C25K on a Treadmill

Written by roberta l. redfern
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How to Do C25K on a Treadmill
The Couch-to-5K running program on a treadmill can help runners reach their training goals. (man exercising on treadmill 6 image by Ken Hurst from

There are many reasons you might choose to start a training program on a treadmill instead of running outside, including to avoid running in the dark or in bad weather. Or perhaps you have a gym membership and want to use their facilities, or you have an injury that would be worsened by running on hard pavement. The Couch-to-5K (C25K) running program, a system designed by Cool Running, can be performed on a treadmill with a few alterations to the original training program.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Good quality running shoes
  • 227gr water bottle for each workout
  • Training guide to follow progress

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  1. 1

    Each week of the Couch-to-5K program involves a day of running followed by a day of rest, for a total of three workouts per week. During the first week, you will alternately run and walk for 1-minute intervals for 10 minutes each time, at a speed of 3.5mph (walking) and 4.5mph (running).

  2. 2

    During each week of the eight-week program, increase your time by between two and four minutes to ensure that you reach 25 to 30 minute workouts by Week 7.

  3. 3

    During the program, you also will increase the number of minutes that you run starting with Week 3. During that week and Week 4, add a minute to your run intervals. During Week 5, add five minutes to your run intervals, and so on and so forth. Walk times always remain at one minute.

  4. 4

    During Week 8 -- the last week of the program -- eliminate the walking intervals, and run: 20 minutes at 5mph on Day 1; 25 minutes at 5.5mph on Day 2; and 30 minutes at 6mph on Day 3.

  5. 5

    Chart your progress to see how close you are to achieving your goal by taping your training guide to the front of your treadmill and marking off completed days. Find a 5K race in your community or surrounding neighbourhoods to participate in after your training program has ended by checking out chamber of commerce and visitors bureau sites online. Most communities include runs in weekend festival activities or as an annual event.

Tips and warnings

  • Begin each session on the treadmill with a 5-minute brisk walk and conclude each training with a slower 5-minute walk and stretching to prevent muscle tightening.
  • You should use the available options such as inclines and quick increases and decreases in speed.
  • Always drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout to avoid dehydration or more serious conditions.
  • Be consistent and stick to your running days to avoid having to start over at the beginning.

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