Couch to 5K

Does the mental monkey ever get off your back?

I don't usually run on Fridays. I run on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and do an interval strength workout on Wednesday. All of those workouts are with a friend, so I've got a built-in motivation to keep going because if I stop then she thinks it's time to stop too.

This morning I felt like going for a solo run, so I did. But that damn monkey and its incessant negative chatter was annoying to say the least. Conversation (with myself) went like this:

First five minutes of running:

ughh, too hard. I should probably be having a rest day today anyhow. Maybe I'll just do one lap (1k) and then go home.

Five minutes down:

I suppose this isn't that bad. I'll see how I feel at the 1k mark and then maybe go home.

One kilometre down:

I might keep going until 10 minutes and then that will do.

Ten minutes finished: Oh, I think I've covered more ground than usual. That's not too bad. Maybe keep on going to the 15 minute mark. If the 15 minutes falls before the 2km marker then I'm going home. If it falls at, or after, the 2km marker then I'll finish the full 30 minutes.

Fifteen minutes (2.1km): Oh, actually I think I'm enjoying this now and I'm already half way through. Must remember to hang out the washing when I get home. Wonder if the kids have managed to get themselves dressed yet ..... numerous other non-running related thoughts ....

Pleased to say that I ran the whole 30 minutes, covered 4.1km (which I think is my best yet) and I really enjoyed the last half of the run. But that first part is still a mental struggle! Does it ever get any easier?

5 Replies

I'm really impressed that you'd got to "I suppose this isn't that bad" in a mere 5 minutes! I'm not what you'd call an enthusiastic runner myself (week 8) and can mentally moan and groan for the whole thing, but I do feel smugly upbeat when I finish and know I get a day off tomorrow!


That first five minutes felt much longer than five minutes! But once I hit that time I've normally slowed down to a steady pace and then it starts to feel okay ;)

I totally agree about the moaning and groaning only to feel smug at the end of it. I guess that's our reward for running - smug satisfaction


Every run I do involves a dialogue with myself (or is that merely a a schizophrenic monologue?) where I alternate between berating myself and being mildly surprised that I am not dying, then cheering myself on, then berating myself again. Some day I will try to write it down. I can't imagine the internal conversation marathon runners go through.


Oh I can't begin to imagine to amount of moaning I could do to myself running that far. Glad I'm not the only one that goes through that schizophrenic monologue!


I've just finished my 3rd run of week 9, hurray for me. And I think I've found a way of reducing the amount of annoying internal monkeychatter that's plagued me through all my runs so far.

First, please indulge a bit of background waffle. I'm in my early 40s, a little overweight, but have kept reasonably fit at the gym and doing karate since my 30s. But until couch25k I've avoided any kind of running, put off by memories of horrible cross-country runs from my schooldays (and fears that my slightly dodgy knees wouldn't cope). I tried a bit on the treadmill, and hated it, struggling to run for more than a minute or two before being a sweaty uncoordinated mess. I can't quite remember now why I decided to try the programme, but I'm really glad that I did. I know the idea of running for 30 minutes non stop felt like madness not so many weeks ago.

My last two Week9 runs with Laura have come in just under 5k, so I was determined to do the distance today, and I switched to listening to some music that I actually like since I knew roughly how far I'd need to go on my regular route to make the distance (also, I'm not sure I could have coped with hearing 'You and Suzie' again without something bad happening). With Bellowhead's Broadside on the iPod, the run was way easier than any previous one because I found myself singing along to the lyrics (in my head!) rather than arguing with myself about how much further I may or may not be able to go. So I reckon the trick is to have music you love with lyrics that you know and use that to keep the monkeychatter at bay.

I'm not sure this album did me any favours in terms of speed since its a bit of a mix of fast and slow tracks, but it definitely made the run more enjoyable; I managed 5.8k in just over 35 minutes, and I reckon I had a bit more distance left in me if no more speed (then I ran out of trail, and stopped!)

Anyway, now to apply for my green badge!


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