Any advice for week 5...?: I started this... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Any advice for week 5...?

sofaqueen profile image

I started this 4 weeks ago, never for a minute thinking I would get beyond Week 1. I have now just finished Week 4 and am so so apprehensive about Week 5 - just really can't see how I can go from running 5 minute stretches today to running 20 minutes in another week. I know lots of people have raised this, but when my legs hurt after 5 minutes, 20 minutes is such a huge jump I can't see it will be possible. It really seems way too much of an increase. If anyone has any advice on how to mentality/physically prepare for Week 5 I'd be very grateful.

22 Replies
Crismatlotta profile image

I know it sounds silly but don't think ahead, mostly it's our thoughts that get in the way of running. I was like you, started this thinking there was no way I'd get even halfway through, and on Friday it'll be my graduation run!

The other thing is to trust in the plan and in Laura. It actually feels great to do that first long run and you are so ready for it. But hey, if you don't finish it, you can always try again, no? There is no rule saying the runs have to be done first time.

Anyway, you have done brilliantly to get this far, you are off the couch and running three times a week, that is awesome!

Here's to your next run! :)

Totally agree with Crismatlotta. I felt the same as you, I genuinely couldn't see how I was going to be able to do it, but trusting in the plan really does work.

What I've found is that actually I find the first 5 or 10 minutes of any run quite tough, while I'm getting into my stride, and then it gets a little bit easier once I've found my rhythm - so for me, after the first 10 minutes, it doesn't get any worse! I get more tired, but that's about it. Hopefully you'll be the same and you'll surprise yourself :-)

Good luck, I know you can do it.

alcopop profile image

look back at how far you have come. Did you think you could do any of this 4 weeks ago?

week 5 is just another stage, don't look too far ahead and focus on the here & now. If you have got this far, you are well prepared for week 5 and you are capable of doing it. Trust in Laura and trust in yourself.

Happy running :-)

sofaqueen profile image

Thanks to all of you for the advice, it's really appreciated. I know I should trust in the plan because at each stage I truly never imagined I'd reach the next one, but it just seems like such a big leap ahead. I really want to be able to do it and will so disappointed if I don't, but you're right Crismatlotta, if I can't do it the first time I'll just keep going until I can!

LMS2110 profile image

Yep, in line with everyone else here, go for it! The programme works by making sure your body will be ready for each next stage after completing the previous one! It's your head that's playing spooking tricks on you! Repeat advice from earlier - don't read ahead - listen to Laura and trust her!

You'll do just fine .... After all you've come this far .... Who'd have thought ..... ;) :D

Cheers, Linda x

sofaqueen profile image

Thanks Linda - my head knows that I have never run in my life or never imagined I could, that I'm unfit and carrying too much weight so it's like it's saying 'what on earth makes you think running 20 minutes will be possible, you crazy woman???!!!'

I'll try to not worry (too much) and trust in a well developed plan that so many people have succeeded with, thank you :)

I did W5R2 last night and i'm still on a high from running 8mins twice! :) I think the key is not to think too far ahead. W5R1 is 5 min runs, you've already done that so you know its achievable. W5R2 was weirdly fun - my tip would be go slowly. I've reaslised in past runs that i've headed off too quickly and got tired towards the end. I'm a little nervous about the dreaded 20min run on Saturday but keep telling myself its the 2 8min runs I did yesterday plus and extra 5 mins on top and from reading the blogs on here I know I can do it (or at least I hope I can)! Good luck :)

HoundDog profile image

I would agree with everything said here. I spent a lot of time worrying about what was next and it didn't do me much good. What I have learnt from reading the blog is that everyone appears to worry about the same runs unnecessarily, and then the ones we think are going to be easier turn out to be a struggle. It seems that lots of us are rubbish at predictions what we can and can't do, and we tend to surprise ourselves for the better.

I think the best way I've managed to deal with the longer runs is to mentally switch off from the running a bit. When there were intervals to be had, I tended to thnk about when the next walk would be and how long I had left to run, so I never really settled into the run properly. At W5R3 I decided a different change of tack and realised that if I thought about running for that whole 20 mins, it would get a bit boring! I happened to have a case at work ( I'm a vet ) where I got some results that puzzled me a bit, so I set myself a task of thinking it through and having a plan of action by the end of the run. Every time I started to think about the fact that I was running and tired/breathless etc. I consciously relaxed my body, lowered my shoulders and switched my mind back to the thing I was supposed to be figuring out.

This might not work for everyone, but it helped me to deal with the fact that I wasn't going to get a rest by setting myself a different goal for the run that I realised was actually a great distraction. Turns out I made it through (slowly but got there) and my doggy patient is also getting better. Winners all round!

You'll be ok, just start slow, switch into running mode, forget you ever knew how to walk, and turn your mind to the scenery, a shopping list etc. my boyfriend has also suggested a strategy for when I get tired which I love. I'm trying to lose weight and my bottom is one of my 'target areas'. Every time I take a step when I'm struggling, I imagine that a tiny bit if cellulite falls off and I leave it behind. Nothing like the prospect of a smaller bum to keep you going ( not suggesting you have a massive bum - insert appropriate body part, we've all got one!!)

Good luck!!!

sofaqueen profile image
sofaqueenGraduate in reply to HoundDog

Thanks so much for your advice, everyone here has been amazingly supportive. I like the suggestion about not 'thinking' about the running, and just treat it as something i'm doing whilst thinking about other things. Also love the mental picture of imagining parts of my body getting smaller (I wish!). It's great to see how many people have done this and that really spurs me on. In some ways just can't wait to do it now, to see how it goes after all the anticipation. Thanks again :)

I'm also still very overweight (BMI still a little over 40) and had similar worries about week 5, and ended up not completing W5R3 until the third attempt. I definitely psyched myself out though, it was my head that stopped me from completing it, not my lungs or my legs. And also I would echo the advice about pace - it doesn't matter how slowly you go. Start off slower than you normally do, you can always speed up at the end if you have some puff left. The key thing is to get to the end, not about how far or how fast. I dropped both gradient and speed (I'm a dreadmiller) so that I could get through and then have steadily built it back up again. This morning was my sixth consecutive 20min "run" (I have been accommodating a holiday) and I am ready to hit week 6 with a vengeance on Saturday. Just go for it hun, what's the worst that can happen? If you don't get through it you will definitely have achieved more than you think you can, and if you do, you will feel like flying!

ktaylor217 profile image

I agree with everyone else, try not to think about it too much. I never looked ahead so when I went out for a run it was always a surprise (or shock!) when Laura said things like 'today you are going ot run for 20 minutes!' But by then I would be out of the house with running kit on & no choice but to get on with it!!

My only advice would be to go slow & steady & believe in yourself!

Keep at it!

sofaqueen profile image

Thanks again to everyone and all your support here, it's been fantastic. I'm already 'running' so slowly I'm not sure I can go much slower, but i'll listen to all the advice here about pace and believing I can do it and just try it and see how it goes, and try and pace myself to get through it. I'm not one for surprises so have looked through the rest of the programme already!

CouchToHockeyPitch profile image
CouchToHockeyPitchGraduate in reply to sofaqueen

Can't wait to hear how brilliantly you do! Come back and tell us please. :)

suemcshug profile image

Sofaqueen, I agree with everyone here, you can definitely do it! When I heard I'd be running for 20 minutes non stop I thought I'd downloaded the wrong podcast! But I did it and you can too. It probably seems very obvious to everyone, but one thing I've noticed is that if I spend at least 5 minutes stretching before a run it really helps avoid pain in the legs during the run. From memory I don't think this was mentioned in the podcast, and I assumed that the 5 minute warm up would be sufficient. But stretching out my hamstrings etc before starting each time really helps me. Good luck, if I can do it, so can you!

sofaqueen profile image
sofaqueenGraduate in reply to suemcshug

Thanks for the advice on the stretching - the first week I did stretch afterwards as my legs felt like they really needed it but I haven't done so at the start or after the first week, as I thought the walking would be enough. I think I'm going to need all the help I can get so I'll take your advice and do a good stretch before I start. Still can't get my head around how 20 minutes seems possible but everyone keeps telling me it is!

vespa profile image

Just take it nice and slow and if you can't manage it repeat the week again. I did week 5 three times before I cracked it. It is more of a mental thing than physical.

I'm reading this with interest - I've just done week 3 run 3 and struggled with the 3 minute runs, I daren't look too far in front - the thought of running 20 minutes non-stop seems impossible. But we have to trust in Laura. I'm sure it's a mental thing and I've found when I think of the time I get a mental block... Just keep going. :)

sofaqueen profile image
sofaqueenGraduate in reply to achydunlin

You're right - at each stage I thought 'there's now way I can do the next stage' but have managed to so far - it's just 20 minutes sounds like such a long way!!!

Unfortunately I've twisted my ankle last night, so will have to take a few days or longer out and so I'm even more nervous about it. Well done on finishing Week 3, I actually started to really enjoy it by Week 4 and never thought i'd be able to do it but did - and believe me, if I can then you definitely will :)

Hope your ankle is better soon, sofaqueen :)

Just take it slow and it’s really not that bad .... good look you will smash it

Sussex13 profile image

Try not to worry about it, I found during those weeks, I preferred not to look ahead as my head would get in the way of my run. It's just as much mental as well as physical and asking yourself how on earth you will do it is already giving you doubts, which gets in the way of achievement. You have trained for this and you are ready.. you can do it.

My top tip for the run would be drink some water before you leave and don't panic, just take it slow and steady and listen to your coach. You are ready to do this, the programme is designed this way. I had never run in my life and I'm now running 25 mins with no intervals. You can do this.. go slowly, just one foot in front of the other and get some good inspirational music to listen to... I don't think I could do it without music tbh.

Good luck, we are all routing for you on here and many of us have been there and done it, you can also do it. Go you!

nowster profile image
nowsterGraduate in reply to Sussex13

One annoying thing about this forum is that it sometimes shows you posts that are many years old. This one's originally from June 2013.

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