Couch to 5K

Why is this getting harder, not easier?

Let me say right away that I'm in my very late 30's ... ok I'm 41!, and extremely unfit. The good news was that I realised I had to make a change so I started C25K two weeks ago, knowing that I'd have to repeat some weeks due to my lack of fitness, and that was ok, I accepted that. The problem is that I have just completed my 5th run from week 1, and I feel like I am going to die. My legs feel like lead weights, lungs on fire, and I was almost dragging my knuckles across the floor on the last run. Why does this seem to be getting harder not easier? The 3rd & 4th runs were far easier in comparison. I'm drinking plenty of fluids and try to keep to a schedule for my runs (using a treadmill), but this morning was really really disheartening. I WILL stick at it (as enough is enough), but can anyone offer me any advice as to why I feel that this is getting harder not easier? And any other tips in general. Thank you.

6 Replies

Are you maybe going too fast? Try slowing down next time. Many of us are slow, and began running slower than we could walk! I don't do the dread mill thing, but found a quiet place to start running. And went s-l-o-w-l-y , now I'm going a bit faster. Having said that my 39 year old lungs still can feel like they will explode!

1 like

Because the programme is all new to you and you are not fit! WELL DONE FOR STARTING! That is the hardest part - getting out of the door first time.

I wonder if you may be setting off at too fast a pace and exhausting yourself straight away?

The mantra is 'Slow and Steady' and that applies to the whole programme - set off nice and gently so you still have the energy to finish the run.

I also wonder if you are eating the right foods? I just blobbed on my first Parkrun feeling just like you described and a friend of mine told me a pasta meal the night before is what I needed.

Hang in there, I'm sure you will find a way through it. It is a big challenge you've taken on but if you read the posts you'll see how people have coped - and won through in the end!

Relax with the running, trust Laura and don't beat yourself up. You are doing something good for yourself and you will start to feel real benefits very soon.

p.s. I am in my early twenties - for the third time (at 66!)


Was the weather different on your 5th run compared to the weather on runs 3 and 4? I find that the more hot and humid it gets the worse I feel and the worse I perform.

Other than that I can only echo what Plinth and Beek have said. Slow and steady wins the race. As Laura will tell you repeatedly in weeks to come, it's not about speed, it's about completing the run to build stamina.


I agree with all the above. Try running out side if possible. You get less board and the time will go by easier.


I do agree with the above. I am 44 (shh!!!!) and I do feel unfit (still-after months of running) at times. I do my 5K under 35 minutes but not yet in 30 minutes even though that was/is my aim. When I first started c25K in Feb, I felt sooo unfit, bit better now. I used to run after work. I asked fellow runners what to do and I was asked to eat a Banana or a Yoghurt about an hour or two before running, and water helps you to keep yourself hydrated. Also as Beek says 'slow and steady' helps. You can always do the 'speed' thing later on, the main thing is to do the course first. I was also told that eating Pasta on the previous night helps, but being not so big on Pasta but Rice, I have Rice on the previous day when I plan a big run. Well, some times most of the big runs are unplanned anyway. Good luck to you, it is great to start after that keep going, you can do it!


Thanks to all who posted suggestions above, and to be honest my run this morning was much easier than the last! So I'm pleased about that :) . Running indoors on the treadmill isn't ideal but it's what I've got at the minute, though I do hope to make it out into the 'great outdoors' soon... As soon as I'm a bit more confident that someone isn't going to ring an ambulance thinking I'm having a heart attack lol (kidding)... So I think the bad 5th run was due to a combination of factors as you all said, and I upped my water, ate more carbs the night before and slowed down a little bit. So a big thank you again for the advice and support, it really was appreciated. And I'll remember that this is not a sprint but a marathon....a 5k one... (sorry couldn't resist the pun!).


You may also like...