A common question: why do people drop out during C25K?

On a forum I contribute to, someone asked:

" I'm interested to know if those who have started this previously and got to week 3 or 4 had to stop because of injury or it got too hard or life just got in the way?"

I have also seen this sort of question in other C25K forums. Here was my reply on the forum in question:

Guys I'm sorry but I'm going to tell it how I see it. The truth is only a small percentage of people finish C25K, and an even a smaller percentage keep running for any length of time afterwards. Some of you have joined our runners group which is terrific, and I urge anyone that hasn't to do so. The thing though is that there are only around ten regulars there who have finished C25K, and are still running long term.

But in that little group there are some incredible success stories. How about Staypuff who has lost 40kg in the last year since starting C25K, has finished a half marathon, and is now training for a 55km race? Graham has lost around 30kg, and has beaten type 2 diabetes. I've lost nearly 25kg, given up the cigarettes and am in training for my second marathon.

I'm sure if you ask any one of us, we would tell you we had exactly the same nervousness and fears when we were doing C25K that you are experiencing now.

Running 5k seemed like such an unachievable goal to me just over 12 months ago, now I go for training runs somewhere between 15km and 30km in distance every Sunday, plus another 3 or so 10k runs during the week.

I'm not trying to pat myself on the back here...what I'm trying to say is that if you stick with it, the rewards can be enormous, any one of you can achieve whatever you want out of this...you can turn your life around, in fact you may even save your life.

The fact of the matter is though that if history repeats itself, most of you will drop out somewhere around week 4 or 5.

I have read so many times people saying they had just achieved their 20 minute run, and that they are so proud, only to disappear a week or so later. I think they lose motivation. Somewhwere along the line an extra hour's sleep in the morning suddenly becomes more important...they miss a few days, and before they know it they decide they've missed too much to keep going.

I listen to a Podcast called Fitness Rocks by Dr Monte: http://www.fitnessrocks.org Dr Monte said in a podcast I listened to the other day that he sees weight loss being a by-product of fitness. In other words, exercise, get fit, and the weight loss takes care of itself. Research has shown that one of the things found in just about all people who have lost weight and maintained long term, is that they exercise regularly.

I think you all have the oppportunity right now to make an incredible difference to the rest of your life. I know running, getting fit, and losing weight has changed my life like I can't describe...it is just so much better now.

As you can see it frustrates the hell out of me when i see people choosing to stop this journey. Commit to at least the 9 weeks of C25K...it isn't that long, and if nothing else, you will have the satisfaction of having run 5km. But hopefully it will have inspired you to keep running, because you have grown to love the feeling of it, and what it does to your body.