Couch to 5K with 1K to spare

In a market full of Fitbits, Misfits, and Fuelbands, it’s easy to get carried away with sophisticated personal fitness tracking technology.  That’s why [André] took a totally different approach with his super simple run tracking device, the C25K machine.

C25K stands for “Couch to 5k” which is a slimmed down exercise schedule designed to gradually bring people who have otherwise no exercise routine up to a level of fitness where they can run a 5k in just 9 weeks.  To keep participants from wearing themselves out too early, the routine specifies a sequence of running and walking periods to be completed in series on specific days.  Though simpler than most fitness plans, it’s still a lot to keep track of especially when you’re sweating so hard you can barely see your stopwatch.

André found a solution using a bare-bones circuit based on the ATTiny2313.  After loading the C25k calendar into its firmware (which takes up less than half of its 2K of flash), he needs only to toggle the dipswitch to select the appropriate day of the program, and the little device (scarcely larger than a key fob) will beep to let him know to switch from running to walking or back again.

Definitely a great project for any hobbyist looking for a geeky way to get in shape.


  1. bobfeg says:

    “they can run a 5k in just 9 weeks”

    That’s mighty slow :-)

  2. Phillip says:

    As someone who has gone through C25K before, this is an awesome idea. I always thought it would be a good idea to make an app for it, and they finally did, but I love the simplicity here.

    I bet he could integrate the training program for with no code changes…

    • Jon says:

      I also did a C25K program at the beginning of this year. I do think the app is great, but really my wife and I just used a stopwatch and a paper calendar we printed out. It’s really not too much to keep track of.

  3. zaprodk says:

    Cool project. I lile the use of a Dipswitch :-)
    But, how is C2 going to “stabilise” the voltage, being in series with the buzzer ? :-)

  4. In an era when many of us already have a smartphone, and the price of smartphones is pretty much plummeting, I think I would rather go with a simple app, than carry any additional gadgets with me.

    At least not a single-purpose gadget like this. If the buzzer was addressable through Bluetooth, perhaps with a button or two, that could be a great “interface improvement” to use such an app on the run… and use other apps in other circumstances. Actually, that would sound interesting… hm.

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