Couch to 5k

This is suitable for anyone looking to try or return to running. We are so confident we will have you running 5k by the end of the course - if you can't then you can have your money back!! In 2023 it cost £20 for the full 9 week course, with a medal for graduating.

  • No previous running experience needed
  • Suitable for ANY fitness level
  • For anyone aged 12+ with no upper age limit
  • We are a friendly social group - come along and make new friends
  • All groups led by insured UK Athletics Run Leaders 
  • A fun way to get fitter, lose weight and improve mental health

Details for 2024 will be added here later in the year. You can register your interest by completing the form. In the meantime, check out our past C25k runners celebrating their graduation at Braunstone parkrun:

C25K FAQ

What are the benefits of running?

Running regularly will improve the health of your heart and lungs. It can also help you lose weight, especially if combined with a healthy diet.

Evidence has demonstrated that running may also increase bone density in some people, which can help protect against osteoporosis.

Taking on and completing the challenge of Couch to 5K can help boost confidence and self-belief. There is no better feeling than setting yourself a target and achieving a goal!

Running regularly can also be a great stress reliever and has been shown to combat depression.

As with any new exercise regime - if you have any health concerns or underlying health issues, make an appointment to see your GP and discuss with them first.

What is Couch to 5K?

Couch to 5K (commonly shortened to C25K) is a running plan for absolute beginners. It is recommended by the NHS as a means of starting aerobic exercise:

Get running with Couch to 5K - NHS

The plan involves three runs a week, starting with a 60 second run, increasing gradually such that by the end of the programme you will be able to run for a full 5 kilometres (3.11 miles). The plan lasts for nine weeks.

I tried C25K before and it didn't work / I'm not a runner / I don't think I will be able to keep up!

If you have tried C25K before on your own and struggled with motivation - this is where we can help! It is much easier to keep motivated if you have paid and committed to a programme, not only this we are confident you will be successful as you have the support of your fellow C25k-ers and the runners / Run Leaders at Squirrels.

So you don't think you are a runner? We can guarantee you that most people who start with C25K will be thinking exactly the same as you. Before you start running you aren't a runner.

We have seen countless times people graduate C25K and go on to progress to run longer distances - many often going on to complete marathons. By the end of C25K you will definitely be a runner.

If you are worried about not being able to keep up, Squirrels is the right club for you. We pride ourselves for being inclusive to runners of ALL abilities. We guarantee that you will not be left behind, or left alone on a run. We promise we will be there with you every step of the way.

What if I get injured / can't complete the programme?

Sometimes injuries happen, or life gets in the way. If you are unfortunate enough to get injured and unable to complete the programme, you are welcome to either receive a full refund, or a place on our next C25K group.

What do I need to bring ?

Shoes - A good pair of comfortable fitting trainers would be perfectly fine. You don't need to spend hundreds of pounds on the latest pair of running shoes or go to a specialist running shop to complete C25k. However, if you turn up in an old pair of plimsolls, expect your feet to hurt!

Clothes - Dress for the weather, although try wearing lightweight clothing - something you might wear to the gym or a yoga class. Avoid cotton T Shirts as they can rub your skin if you sweat.

Food / Water - The sessions should only last for approximately half an hour, so you shouldn't need food or water (unless required for medical reasons) during C25k. However, you are welcome to bring water if this provides you with reassurance.

Music - You can run C25K on your own, without Squirrels. However, a big reason we have such success with our C25K groups is the social and supportive aspect of running in a group. In addition to this, for safety reasons, it is important that you can hear the Run Leader, and for this reason we ask that you do not run with music in our groups.

A positive mindset - You will learn that so much of running is about your mindset. Try to be encouraging and positive to others and be kind to yourself. By signing up for C25K you have taken the first steps to becoming a runner, as many Squirrels have before you.

What can I expect from Squirrels ?

Squirrels is a social running group - we have runners of all abilities - from casual and social runners who run 3 miles on a club night, through to ultra marathoners. There is a breadth of experience and knowledge you are able to tap into through our runners and run leaders.

A large number of our runners started with C25K, we will also encourage our runners to join in the C25K sessions with you. We would encourage you to chat with them and listen to their stories - as they have been where you are now.

You will have access to support from our Run Leaders during C25K. Should you have any questions, either on the night or during the week, our Leaders will be happy to help. All our

Leaders are fully qualified, DBS checked and insured through England Athletics. The sessions will be coordinated via a WhatsApp Group, which you will be added to prior to C25K starting.

As mentioned above, C25K consists of three "runs" each week. Two of those will be run in a group with Squirrels, on a Monday and Wednesday night (starting at 6:30 from the White Horse). The third run you will do on your own as your homework. However, we would encourage you to use the WhatsApp group to organise running together. Running is much easier with friends!

What happens at the end of C25K?

Upon completion of the C25K, we will all visit Braunstone parkrun for your C25K Graduation. Following completion of the event, you will receive a medal.

Parkruns are free, timed 5k events held all over the country. Further information can be found at https://www.parkrun.org.uk but we will help you to register for parkrun closer to the time.

On the day of your graduation, our runners will takeover all the volunteer roles at the parkrun, and cheer you round the course. Following the parkrun, you are invited (and we would encourage) you to come for breakfast and celebrate your achievement.

The future ?

During the nine weeks you will see a noticeable improvement in your fitness. We hope that you will feel inspired to continue to run in the future, even if this is not as part of Squirrels but alone. However, we also hope that you will see how incredibly supportive our runners at Squirrels are, and how much of a special club Squirrels is. We hope that you will want to continue running with us.

You are welcome to continue running with Squirrels for the remainder of the year at no cost. And you are welcome to join as a full member when we all renew our memberships in the New Year.

Following completion of the C25K programme, we will run some sessions to integrate our new members into the club. You will not be forgotten about once the C25K finishes

Can you tell me more about Squirrels?

Squirrels started in 2012 as a group of friends running together. Over that time, the club has grown from strength to strength - in early 2022 we reached 100 members and (as at Summer 2023) we now have over 150 members at the club.

We are proud that our club is a non profit group run by our members, for our members. We feel that we have a strong culture of providing support and positive encouragement to each other - if you ever are at a local race this will be evident by the noisy and colourful support provided by our members.

We are proud of our inclusivity - regardless of sexuality, gender, religion or ethnicity - if you share our values, you are welcome. We also cater for runners of all abilities, our motto is "no Squirrel left behind" and for this reason many of our members travel from all over Leicestershire to run with us.

We are passionate about making a difference in our local community. As part of their running, over the years our runners have raised thousands of pounds for charity. We also have a club charity which is selected each year by our members.

We also have numerous social events throughout the year - both within the running sessions (the popular chip shop run or pub runs in the summer!) or social evening nights, some of which are subsidised by the club.