Calling all graduates: when does it get easier?

I am in week 7 of the programme (doing run 3 tonight) and finding it quite tough. I managed fine up until the end of week 6, but my last 2 runs have been really difficult - the last 5 minutes nearly kill me breathing-wise and I feel nauseous and SO HOT. By the end of the 5-minute cool down walk I'm fine again though.

When I started this programme I had a vision of finding running for 30 minutes as easy as fast walking for 30 minutes, but now it seems that I am still a long way from achieving this goal. Maybe the goal is completely unrealistic to begin with, but I do hope running will become (at least a little) easier.

Did anyone else go through this and how long did it take until you reached a point where running for 30 minutes was less of a torture and more of a walk in the park (pun intended)?


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23 Replies

  • Honestly?

    I think running is never a straight line, with regards to progress - it is a series of hills to climb!

    Mostly it's a mental challenge - your legs might be fine but your brain is shouting stop! For me, this is why I run...because running is virtually the only time I'm not so busy multitasking that I get chance to listen to my thoughts and deal with them - it's a form of mindfulness. Yes, that can be very difficult at times, painful even but it's a hugely positive thing too.

    Cheesy as it sounds, I think we need to try to enjoy the journey of running and not see it as a means to an end (something I am currently battling with). You're finding the runs tough BUT you are succeeding and can only get better if you carry on. If it was easy, you'd step up your goal and make it harder for yourself again - the whole point is that it' s a challenge and the sense of achievement you get stems from that.

    Would you feel any satisfaction if you were running for 30 minutes without even breaking a sweat? :-)

    Sounds like you are doing great - keep going! x

  • I guess you're right Honorsmum, maybe I am just expecting too much too soon. I completely agree with focusing on the journey instead of the end goal, thanks for reminding me of that.

  • It might seem like it's not getting easier, but you push yourself more each week...

    For me 5km became easier when I started pushing on to 6km

  • Thanks Crox, this actually makes sense. If I look back to week 3/4, the thought of running for 5 whole minutes freaked me out. Now I can do it with my eyes closed. Hopefully one day I'll feel the same way about 5 whole kilometers!

  • I'm not sure the first ten minutes ever get easier! On the other hand, a year ago I couldn't have run for two minutes, so something's definitely improved.

    I did find week 7 and 8 really tough though - I think it's a pretty big jump up, and like most people, I was trying to run as fast as I could, despite my icon. For many of us, especially those less young, it takes more than 9 weeks for the bones and joints to get used to what we're asking them to do, and week 7-9 are probably not really the best point to be pushing for speed.

    Just look at what you've achieved though, and carry on moving forwards! :)

  • Hi Greenlegs, as bad as this will sound, I'm glad I'm not the only one who found/is finding week 7 tough!

    There's a poll on here somewhere about which week people have found the toughest, and weeks 5 and 6 seem to be the ones people struggle with the most. I saw the poll and then went on to do those weeks expecting the worst but being pleasantly surprised. Similarly, I guess I thought (based on others' experience) that week 7 would be easier, and when it wasn't I got disheartened and started questioning my ability. I find that, in general, if I'm expecting something to be difficult it's almost always easier to get through than I thought it would be. So maybe all I need to do is adjust my expectations.

  • Seven and eight were easily the hardest for me. I don't think I completed any of them all the way to the end. I got to the point that I was sure I was doing something wrong and wondered if I should just stick at 20 minutes. Things that helped me was to change my route and to lower my pace when I was struggling.

    You'll push through though and be amazed at how you got through. I graduated about 2 months ago and now I'm ready (mentally anyway) to push further.

  • I found for a while that straight running, without the intervals was mentally more challenging, the legs were fine but the brain kept saying "I can't do this" which was I know rubbish but that demon monkey played havoc with my mind some runs. I then kept hitting a brick wall, always about 15 minutes into a run. I would get into a good steady stride after 10 minutes, then bamm I hit this brick wall, which could stop me dead. I just learned to zone out, think of other things, anything really other than what my body was doing. It worked, I sometimes really listened to the words of some of the music I was listening too and discovered its real rubbish most of the time, made me chuckle and helped take my mind off the legs and breathing :) It does get easier as time goes on but even runners who have been doing it for years have the odd bad run, you just have to put them behind you and move on, you never know the next could be one of your best runs ever. :)

  • Thank you Oldgirl, I think for me it's mostly a mental battle too. If I start listening to my breathing I hear how heavy it is and start to panic which just makes things worse. I will try some distraction techniques and see how it goes. I quite like the idea of listening to podcasts and audiobooks as I tend to tune out with music. We also ran a new route the other day which helped for a bit as there were new things to look at.

  • Positive pants on and positive thinking wins through Be11adonna. Listen to your body though and if it hurts at any time, slow down, pain shouldn't be ignored it could lead to a serious injury (after checking its not the demon monkey telling you your in pain of course) ;)

  • If you're struggling with the mental side, try an event, 5km parkrun's are brill, don't fret about the distance or your stage in the programme, no one at the parkrun will care. The extra but of motivational boost that you get from having someone just in front of you is amazing.

  • Thanks for the good suggestion Crox. I live in Belgium, so no park runs for me unfortunately, but I have signed up for a 4km community race this Thursday. In September I'm doing a 6km charity run to raise money for breast cancer research, which is what got me started on C25K to begin with. Just hope I'll be able to do 6kms by then!

  • I am like you and finding the longer runs difficult. I just find myself stopping and also I get SO HOT. I end up looking like a beetroot. I even stopped wearing my "Race for Life" tshirt as I was the same colour from the waist up to the top of my head. I also hope it gets easier and somehow more enjoyable as I am finding it a slog at the moment. I found it a slog before and came on the site and started reading different comments and found that boosted me. Sorry I can't give you GOOD comments, but someone will I have no doubt.

  • I am almost at the end of the programme (last run tomorrow) and I must admit I have found weeks 8 & 9 VERY heavy going but also MUCH more satisfying. You need to slow the pace if you can when you get too hot and keep in the shade (I'm often already at a snails pace and to go much slower I would be in reverse!)

    I find the blogs inspiring and a bit of a comfort because you realise a lot of us have found it hard at times. That's when you realise that you too are only human and in fact you are probably doing O.K. Oldgirl's comments say it all. Keep your sensible head on and just do it!

    Good luck and happy running. It does get easier in a funny sort of way.

  • Beek, I was definitely comforted when I realised that it was normal to find the later weeks a challenge. And last night's good run has made me want to see the programme through to the very end. For the first time since starting week 7 I felt like I could probably run the extra 3 minutes in week 8. Hallelujah!

  • Thank you everyone for your support yesterday. I went out last night and had the best run of the week! I ended up doing a bit of everything to get through it: enjoying the run in the moment, distracting myself with my own music, and adjusting my expectations. By the end of the 25min, I was just short of 4km so ran on until I reached that goal. Best of all, I did not feel sick and was not as hot.

    This forum is great, I get a lot of support and inspiration from reading everyone's posts. Thank you again!

  • I now run about 5k 2-3 times a week and the first 5-10 minutes is ALWAYS about my breathing not being right, my neck feeling stiff, my feet being sore, my knee playing up, and usually a new twinge or other that I think I haven't felt before, you should hear the conversations in my head as I 'talk' to myself! Then somehow, without me being aware of how or when it happens, I find I've hit a pace and stride that's easy for me to maintain - it's not fast and not pretty but hey, I'm running!

  • Hi,

    I hated the last couple of weeks of the programme, couldn't breathe, went really slow, questioned the reasons why I was actually doing it and would anyone care if I gave it all up and went back to doing no exercise.

    Several things helped me - I signed up for a 5km event, so there was a goal to following the programme.

    I used my own music for weeks 8 and 9 (80's hits work for me).

    I found a route I enjoyed - a local (flat) park.

    Never drop to a walk if it is not part of that week - if things get tough, drop to a snail pace jog, but complete the week.

    Logged onto this site all the time - brilliant motivation.

    I completed the 9 weeks about a month ago and have only really started enjoying the runs about a fortnight ago, and run 5kms 3 times a week.

    Keep going, you are doing great. Good luck.

  • Thank you wait-for-me, I think for me it is all about expectations. I had thought I would find these weeks easier, but now that I know they will be tough I can set my expectations accordingly and consequently not be so down in the dumps when I have a tough run.

    I am doing some of the things that helped you too: will do 6km charity run on 15 September, been listening to my own music since last week, never drop to a walk and am on this site all the time!

    Unfortunately none of my routes are flat. But I guess that just makes me stronger.

  • Like others have said, I find the first ten minutes the hardest....the place where you are on the programme is really hard... I found every one of those runs a case of mind over legs and it was so tough.... It does get better I promise, once I am established in a long run after about 15 to 20 minutes, I just focus on enjoying nature, the freedom and my own strength. My legs just carry on. I have bad runs too, and that always grounds me as to how hard it is, and I remind myself that back in February I got wheezy running for the bus.....Good luck and well done on your progress...

  • Thank you Juicy, for me it is a case of mind over lungs!

  • Love reading old posts. The themes are perennial it seems; the wisdom timeless and insightful. I wonder how these posters from four years ago are doing today on their running adventure?

  • I hadn't even thought of going for a run at that point.

    It seems odd to me that there was another life in which I couldn't run or do any of the things I take for granted now.

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