The Mother & Teenager C25K Challenge

The Mother & Teenager C25K Challenge

One thing I never thought I would be taking up again at 50 is running!  I did all that and got the t-shirt way back in my 20’s and 30’s. Keeping fit and healthy is of course a priority, but over the last decade it has been of a more conservative nature than returning to pounding the streets and parks of South London.  So what happened?

Well with a a staycation planned for our summer and lazy days stretching ahead with just the youngest teen for company, it struck me that we could both benefit from something to focus on and as I wrote only a short while ago having a shared interest with your child or teens is so valuable.  It gives us a common purpose, keeps us talking and keeps our relationship alive and as any parent with teenagers will realise that is not a bad thing.

There are some seriously accomplished running mumbloggers out there, Sarah at Mum of Three World for one and some like the fabulous Prabs at Absolutely Prabulous who like me is pushing back against midlife in style.  There have also been many wonderful and inspirational pieces written by other bloggers about their own Couch to 5K (C25K) journey including Charlie over at Mess & Merlot, who not content with reaching the 5K milestone, pushed herself onto 10K.  Aspirational indeed but for now we like all newcomers are just focusing on the first steps to 5K.

The C25K programme is not new, it has actually been around since 1996 and ironically was actually devised by a young man called Josh Clark with his 50 year old mother in mind, to encourage her to address her health.

When I hit 50 earlier this year I reviewed my midlife exercise regime with its focus heavily towards Pilates and Barre work outs and booked sessions with personal trainer Clare at Live In Fitness Retreat.  A 56 year old whose mantra is that “50 doesn’t define us anymore”, Clare took me outside of my comfort zone and introduced me to HIIT, a way of exercising that can be done in just 12 minutes a day.  It was a real eye opener for me in terms of my cardio-vascular health, I managed the sessions and still do some at home, but it was evident that it was something I had neglected in recent years.

Following in the footsteps of Josh Clark’s mother and all the other 50 year olds like her I hope that apart from binding me in a shared agony with my daughter, running again will address that area of weakness for me.  But this experience is not just about me, the other half of the “us” is my daughter who is keen to return to school in September fit and ready for the hockey season ahead, with its gruelling training schedule of early mornings and late afternoons.  For her it is all about improving her stamina and of course hanging out with me!

So how has it been so far?  Well we are almost at the end of the third week of the nine week programme and I think I can safely say we both feel quite smug.  Firstly, because we have proved to the doubting boys in the house that the girls in the house can do “sweaty, heart pumping” exercise if we put our minds to it and secondly because quite frankly not every day has been easy!

There have been days when we have been too hot, too cold or soaked to the skin by archetypal English downpours.  Some mornings we have just been dog tired.  We have also been embarrassed as we pass people we know with the dulcet tones of Michael Jordan booming from our phones encouraging us to start, to stop, to run, to walk but most importantly to keep a steady pace and just keep going.

This aside, however, we have enjoyed the warm up walk and the chance to chat about “stuff”; the way we feel at the end of each session; the fact we keep on doing it not because we have to but because we want to and that as each run passes we have ticked another box, plus we are getting close to noticing a real difference.  Of course we have exchanged a few cross words along the way but we don’t pant now, we breathe and not just in time with our own footsteps but with each other. We are in sync on our runs, supporting and coaxing each other along the way.

Josh Clark said that he wanted the programme to be easy and rewarding, recognising that we are creatures of inertia and need carrots to get moving and to continue.  In that regard, it is working for us thus far.  As beginners the schedule is sustainable.  I don’t know how far we will go with it and whether once we reach the end and tick off our first 5K we will then join the masses running several times a week.  I do, however, hope that we will both reap the rewards of improved fitness and at the very least we will get together once a week for some more “us” time.  Watch this space!


Have you embarked on the C25K challenge or something like it?  If so I would love to hear how you coped.






  1. September 4, 2017 / 9:04 pm

    Wow, well done you. I have only ever got as far as 5k and then I stopped – stupidly. I’d love to do something like this one day! Thanks so much for joining us at #TriumphantTales. Hope to see you again tomorrow.

    • Jo
      September 5, 2017 / 5:19 pm

      Well at least you finished it which is the main thing and am sure you could easily pick it up again. Thanks for hosting. #TriumphantTales

  2. August 31, 2017 / 4:49 am


    That seems to be an enjoying challenge. As long as you enjoy, the tiring challenge is nothing. I am inspired to walk every day for the sake of a healthy life. Thank you for sharing. This was an inspiring story.

    • Jo
      September 25, 2017 / 10:41 pm

      I am a big fan of walking too Wendy. Many say that it is just as beneficial as running. Thanks for your comment.

  3. August 23, 2017 / 8:37 am

    Well done for doing this and for getting your teen involved! Great way to have a bit of bonding time. I suggested this to my 17 year old daughter but she said CBA (can’t be arsed). However, she did say that we can do some bonding over a Nando’s today, so I guess that’s our time 🙂 Having just turned 50, I feel the need to up my fitness game but I do try to go to the gym/zumba once or twice a week and walk the dog everyday, so I’m not too bad, just that I can really see and feel the pounds creeping around my middle and I don’t like that! I may give this C25k a go. Keep running! Lisa xx

    • Jo
      August 28, 2017 / 6:03 pm

      Ha ha what is it about teens and Nando’s? That is exactly where my eldest insists on taking me too. Since this post I have managed to injure myself so am back to just walking and will try a bit of Barre next week too. I know what you mean about the pounds round the middle too, it really hit me around age 48 and despite my best endeavours nothing shifts it. My husband keeps saying reduce the wine but I just can’t! Keep walking, it’s kinder on your joints and just as rewarding. x

  4. August 19, 2017 / 9:36 pm

    I have nominated you for a blogger recognition award Jo. Don’t know it you do these lovely.

    • Jo
      August 28, 2017 / 6:04 pm

      You are so sweet, thank you. I am now back from holiday and will check it out this week. x

  5. August 13, 2017 / 11:02 pm

    Go you !!! Well done for getting those trainers back on and hitting the pavement #postsfromtheheart

    • Jo
      August 15, 2017 / 1:36 pm

      Yes I thought so but now with an injured calf muscle not so sure. On a rest for 3 weeks! #PostsFromTheHeart

  6. August 13, 2017 / 9:26 pm

    This is brilliant and so very inspiring well done Thank you for linking to #ThatFridayLinky Please come back next week for

    • Jo
      August 14, 2017 / 10:39 pm

      Thanks Nigel. It’s still very early days but each run is definitely more progress. Thanks for hosting. #ThatFridayLinky

  7. August 13, 2017 / 5:18 pm

    Nice!! Mother teenager running challenge. Great for keeping fit and in shape. Great venture.

    • Jo
      August 15, 2017 / 1:37 pm

      Thank you for your comment.

  8. August 12, 2017 / 8:05 am

    I started running at the beginning of this year and have since completed 5k’s & 10k’s. I have my first half marathon in October too. So far I’m up to 15k, but I’m currently injured which is killing me as I hate not being able to run! I have five year old twin girls who beg to come running with me. This week I’ve bought them their own running clothes and have taken them out running. So far they can run 1k non-stop! I’m so proud of them and they really enjoy running! We’ve entered a Mini mo run race for them in November which is 1.5k and they’re so excited! It’s lovely being able to run with them and I agree it’s good to have common interests. Great post! Good luck! Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

    • Jo
      August 14, 2017 / 10:40 pm

      Wow you have achieved a lot in such a short period of time. It’s wonderful to hear your girls are loving running too, as with all these things I think the earlier you start the better. Love the sound of the Mini Mo Run Race – what a great idea and an inspired name too. Good luck withe half marathon. #ThatFridayLinky

  9. August 12, 2017 / 6:25 am

    That’s totally inspiring Jo. Go show your doubting boys who they’re messing with. How I wish I could fit in my t-shirt way back in my 20’s. My husband, my children and I used to do walking sessions every weekend. But that was a long time ago. They’re all grown-ups now (yeah, my husband too). My teen boy is into boxing now. I “coerced” him to do it. He was getting heavier. Oh, you should’ve seen him during his first month of training. He was tired and angry at me. He’s now fitter, healthier and more energetic. I think his mood improved too. The best part is, he hugged and thanked me for signing him up, telling me that every physical activity seems effortless now. And he gained friends in the boxing gym too. We should encourage physical activity in our children. I was just diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and walking long distance is unbearable. I have special footwear and inserts. But hopefully, after therapy, I can do some walking again. For exercise, I have an elliptical trainer that is non-impact and doesn’t put pressure on my feet. Go girls!
    Dawn recently posted…The Difference Between Teenage Brains and Adult BrainsMy Profile

    • Jo
      August 14, 2017 / 10:43 pm

      Fantastic that you managed to persuade your son to take up boxing, sometimes a bit of gentle encouragement can go a long way and it is so good for them to have a positive outlet for their energy too. I hope he keeps it up. Sorry to hear about your diagnosis that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun at all. I have to admit running has thrown up a few calf issues and am off to see a physio tomorrow amidst a few mumblings of “I told you so!” Watch this space. Thanks for reading Dawn.

  10. August 11, 2017 / 9:52 am

    Wow, well done. I would love to start running again especially with my teenager. Just need to shift some weight first! Thanks for sharing. Popping over from #ThatFridayLinky.

    Ellen x

    • Jo
      August 15, 2017 / 1:38 pm

      Getting started is always the tough bit. I have now injured myself so am hanging up the trainers for a short while. #ThatFridayLinky

  11. Mess and Merlot
    August 4, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Aww thanks for including me in your post, although now I feel a small pang of guilt for not having run in over a month 🙂 (It’s been a tough month though and I do intend to get back out for a a run in the morning!)
    I love that you are doing this with your daughter, such a fantastic thing to share and a chance to just spend time together. Best of luck with your C25K I have no doubt you will both do it and love every minute. xx
    Mess and Merlot recently posted…TRUE TASTE OF MEXICO COMES TO BEDFORDMy Profile

    • Jo
      August 4, 2017 / 9:53 pm

      Ha ha I think you have probably earnt a break. Loving every minute is not quite how I would describe it right now but hoping we get to that point soon. Thanks for the inspiration my dear! x

  12. August 4, 2017 / 6:37 am

    That’s brilliant! Well done to you both! I’d love to get my mum and dad doing one of these – even if they take twice the recommended time. My dad (72) does Parkrun (5k) quite often, but only runs a little bit. It would be great to see him fitter and running more of it.
    Thanks very much for the mention!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…The big Scout campMy Profile

    • Jo
      August 4, 2017 / 9:26 am

      Oh wow Sarah that is impressive at 72! We do see alot of older runners during our sessions and am sure the C25K programme must have a lot to do with that. It’s still very early days for us and not sure the teen and I will ever get to your standard!

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