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Couch to 5K
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Should I be pushing myself harder?

Was speaking to a proper runner yesterday and have been told that I am not pushing myself enough.

I have been jogging along at a slow rate, nice and steady as Laura says. I am managing all the runs fine, as in I can't really do much more by the time I have finished but am not unable to move, breathe or do anything but sleep when my walk is over.

So, should I ignore this runner or should I be pushing myself. I feel that if I push myself I will put myself off and I am probably building stamina albeit slowly. But I am now wondering if I am just lazy.

10 Replies

You sound like you're doing a great job! Everyone as their own pace!


Don't worry about what the "proper" runner said. You are a proper runner too !

For now, keep following the program - it sounds as if you are getting along just fine. After you have graduated, you can try the Speed and Stamina podcasts and those will get you pushing a bit more - BUT, don't do these interval runs for every run, maybe just once a week, as they can be quite strenuous. Also, include one or two easier runs a week - maybe the same pace as you are doing now but adding on a few minutes extra if you can,so you gradually increase your distance.

If you start pushing too hard you are likely to pick up an injury - making small but steady improvements will be a lot better for you.

If you're following the program, you are certainly not being lazy.


Ignore that person who might be some sort of 'proper runner' but who doesn't seem to know much about how to motivate beginners!

I agree - do what you feel comfortable with, and then, if and when it feels fairly easy, then you can increase the pace. But don't go and put yourself off!

Going too fast too soon is not only off-putting, it also makes you more likely to pick up injuries.

OK, so you might take longer to get what some people would consider a reasonable speed - but even super-slow is way better than going back to being inactive.

Well, that's what I think anyway. And I struggled with running 60 seconds in December, but 5 months later (and at the end of the 5x50 challenge after c25k) I am still running - mostly fairly slowly - but yesterday I ran 5k and today I ran 6k - and walked 8k and cycled 26k. All in one day. Which has to be better than sitting at my laptop all day, which is what I'd still be doing if I'd tried to run faster during c25k. :D

Nuff said! :)


I think you sound like your doing grand, some runners think you always need to push as hard as possible, but this is known to cause injury. I'd recommend continuing as now and as sfb says mix it up when you graduate.



Ignore the runner. You go at a pace that's good for you. No point in pushing yourself to the point you (struggle to say this word) fail the run.

You go at the pace that's good for you and ignore everyone else. There is plenty of time to build on what you have learned and achieved after you graduate.

Wishing you all the best x


FFS what is doing te programme if it is not pushing yourself! Ignore the patronising jerk.


A 'proper' runner would know that you need to pace yourself and go at your own speed, to prevent injury and discouragement. Just do what you are doing and you will get there. You are right about the stamina, that does build up slowly.


Thank you for putting up this post, and for all of the helpful comments. I too had been worried if I should be trying to go faster; I'm doing about 4km in just under 30 mins at present ( on W8) and after 28 mins running I'm tired and glad to stop, but not being sick or passing out. I try to keep a steady pace, including on hills and as my blood pressure has come down significantly I reckon it is having a good cardio-vascular effect. Sounds like we may be tortoises rather than hares, TeaAye, but you know who won in the end!


I started C25K with a vision of what a proper runner was. I soon became discouraged and overwhelmed because I could not run fast. Thankfully, I found this wonderful group and learned what a proper runner truly is. Listen to your body and set your own pace. A proper runner will also encourage instead of discourage. Keep doing what you're doing because you're doing great! :-) Gayle


Thanks to you all for this. It is really reassuring to know that my slow jogging is ok, and that even when I do manage to make it the runner stage, I don't have to feel like I am not enough of a runner.

I struggled with the last couple of minutes of W6r2 but am going to try the 25 minute W6r3 this week anyway; probably after my Pilates class as I should be nicely warmed up; will bring water and banana with me for energy though ;0)


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