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Couch to 5K
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New here and need encouragement!

Hi everyone

I completed week 2 run 2 yesterday and although I already look better and feel better in myself I'm sad to say I'm not feeling the love for the running! I have a mental battle to get myself out there doing it which goes on throughout the run. I really, really want to do this though as I need to lose weight and get fit. Every other post seems to read that people are enjoying it . . .am I alone?

Also had really bad aching knees yesterday - is this the norm or have I injured myself in some way? They still ache today but not so bad.

Words of encouragement gratefully received, I'm really surprised I've got this far! Vicki x

24 Replies

It's early days still and you will ache for the first few weeks, even on rest days. By about week five or six I realised that I no longer ached, apart from very minor things, definitely not uncomfortable. Do post run stretches.

We are all different, both physically and mentally, but most people on this forum seem to go on to love their running. It is still hard work and requires a certain stubbornness of mind. You already are aware of how the running is affecting you in good ways, and when you can look back at your achievements, like your first five minute run, your first twenty minute run etc. I am sure that you will derive satisfaction, knowing how far you have progressed.

Let Laura encourage you and keep us posted with your progress. I hope you learn to enjoy your running.


Thanks - yes I do ache even on rest days though not as much. And I certainly am stubborn so I need to use this to help me to keep at it, thanks for your post


I've recently graduated (from being a complete non-runner at the start) and I don't know that I love running - I have a compulsion for running, I want to go running even on 'rest' days, so know I can't - but it does seem to be a constant struggle, albeit that the struggles become different ones. It started as a struggle to go out in the dark and cold, then it was a (huge) struggle to get past 3 minutes, now it's gone from 5k to 6k. I've lost a fair bit of weight, and have toned up so much, I know that I don't keep having to go out every other day, but I still do it, so maybe I do love it :)


Thanks, it really helps to hear from those who have gone through the programme as I do wonder if I am capable at times :)


Hi Vicki. I can't speak with any degree of experience I'm afraid as I only started week 2 myself yesterday, but I certainly can sympathise and relate to where you are at the moment. I'm the same as you in that I can't say I enjoy running yet, but am determined to press on knowing all the benefits that the program is bringing and will bring in the future and trusting that as my body, breathing etc adapts and learns then the enjoyment and comfort will come.

At the moment just revel in the huge difference that this is making to your health and well-being and be immensley proud of yourself for getting out there and getting the job done. The enjoyment will come, I'm absolutely sure, but we just have to get our heads down and crack on for now, tell our bodies and ourselves that this is how it's going to be from now on and trust that more relaxed and enjoyable running will come soon.

As far as the aching knees go, I assume you've got decent running shoes that are suited to your gait?


It sounds like we are in a similar mental place. I'm determined too and I'm proud of what I've done so far. I just have running shoes but no idea re gait, where would I get that checked please? Thanks so much for your reply


Hiya. If you search locally you should find a speciality running shop that will either have video equipment linked to a treadmill that they use to analyse your gait or (as in my case as the treadmill was broken down!) have the expertise to watch you run up and down the pavement near the shop (slightly embarrasing!) to see how your foot lands and lifts off to find the correct footwear. I didn't realise before that there are various shoe designs / inserts / moulded insoles etc that can give you the correct support and help take pressure off of your knees, hips etc. based on how YOU run.

Have a look at these :



or have a look at the links 1/2 way down this page for example (just to give you an idea) : sweatshop.co.uk/stores/mead...

Keep that resolve and effort going - you know it makes sense!


Hi BP,

Thanks for these links - the Sweatshop looks closest to me. The Soggy Foot Test looks fun too. Did they offer you a discount for helping them market their services outside the shop ;-)

It looks like you are on similar run phase to Tykelady and myself so it'll be good to see how we progress through this.


Hi. No problem. Worth doing an internet trawl to find the closest ones to you, those were just random examples. After the run outside the shop they said they couldn't offer a discount - they had to reimburse Bristol City Council for the damage to the pavement :-(

Saw further down that you've completed week 2 - brilliant news! Well done you! (I'm doing my second run tonight). Keep it up, don't let me catch you!


thanks for this. I think this is definitely something I need to explore as soon as I have some spare pennies! So much info on those websites, never realised there was quite so much to it all!


Hi Tykelady. It came as a surprise to me too! For me investing time and money in the correct footwear may help keep me going - I don't want to have wasted the cash by not seeing it through and keeping aches and pains away as much as possible is a priority!


Hi Vicki, I read your post with interest and fear not - for your body will get used to the things it aint used to doing, like running. It took me to about week 6 until my legs, hips and bum felt ok after a run. Your legs and knees will "buzz" but that's just them getting used to all the exercise.

Re MOJO - do you feel a tremendous sense of achievement when you return home from your run? You should do, because it's a great thing you are doing and all you have to do is stick religiously to the program. Just grit your teeth and complete each podcast three times and before long you'll be fitter and leaner and able to run for a bus without looking ridiculous!!

Good luck!


Thanks for such an uplifting response, this was just what I needed to read :) I do feel a tremendous sense of achievement after running and am very proud of what I've achieved so far. Also reassuring to hear my body will get used to it soon - Thank you


It's great that only 2 weeks into the programme you're already looking and feeling better. My legs really ached in the first few weeks but my stubborn streak kept me going. Do listen to your body for aches though and maybe tubigrips might help provide some support and comfort to your knees or perhaps an extra day of rest if they are too painful. Although I'd now say that I love running, I'm not sure if I actually do enjoy the running itself - I still find it blooming hard! What I do enjoy is the sense of satisfaction and achievement and getting out exercising and doing something for me has really helped improve my mental health. I look forward to going running - although I know it's going to be hard I also know that the sense of achievement feels good afterwards. Can you find a running buddy locally or someone on here who is at the same stage in the plan as you so that you can 'run together'? It helps to have someone at the same stage as you and you can support and encourage each other. I did most of my Couch to 5K plan with a friend and it definitely did help to motivate me and get me out regularly otherwise I think I would have lost my drive in the early weeks. Good luck with W2R3 and the rest of the plan.


hi tykeylady,

it looks like we on the same phase of the plan, I completed my w2r2 yesterday too. my mental battle is getting out the door but once I'm out I'm generally ok, apart from the odd grumble gasping for air in the jog intervals.

well done you for winning the mental battle yesterday - good on ya!

as for knee ache, I sprained my lateral knee ligament earlier this year and very wary about damaging it. I therefore try to run(?) on grass, if possible/time permitting, it reduces the impact. i've also been thinking about getting my gait checked so will be interested to hear where this is possible.

anyhows I'll think about you tomorrow on r3, they say 2 brains are better than 1 - so hopefully it will be another victory over the mental battles for us both.


the grumble and gasping made me laugh! I'm glad I'm not alone in this!

Sending positive thoughts your way for tomorrow's run(?) Update me with how you go!


w2r3 done this a.m. and it went well. I'm still struggling to get a breathing pattern during the first few intervals but found myself responding to Laura's "are you ready" on int4 with a "yeah go on then" and the gasping calmed down a bit thereafter.

Not sure about some of the lyrics on the tracks for int4 and the cooldown; "running(?!?!) circles round you" and "just gotta run(?) that extra mile". I think laura may have got them mixed up with a later week's listing. Maybe being aware of the lyrics instead of wondering when the next lot oxygen will reach the lungs is a sign of improvement anyway.

good luck with the run today.


Well done you! Just got my kit on and am trying to force myself out of the door. Will try to pay attention to lyrics. One thing I have noticed is I'm eating better as I don't want to ruin my hard work by eating rubbish. My diet has certainly improved and I'm fancying healthier foods. Had a mental battle over a MacDs breakfast this morning but I won and feel incredibly proud (if not a tad hungry!)


Thats another battle won. I wish I could say the same for my diet - PH unlimited buffet yesterday with the kids. But I do get a sense of my body seemingly wanting better food.

look forward to hearing of another neuronal victory in about 30mins.


I'm back! I decided to try running on grass today but didn't particularly notice any difference. My knee pain and my lower legs really, really hurt. If it wasn't for that I could definitely run faster and for longer. I did manage to jog and complete it all but ouch! I think I seriously need to look into stretching on rest days! See you over in week 3! Are you running on Saturday?


yey another mind over matter, well done you.

hope the stretches help with the pain. these look interesting too nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/...

In light of knee pain prevention shall we take two days rest before we embark on week 3?


Yes 2 days rest would be most welcome! I think it is because I have changed trainers for my last 2 runs, I shall revert back to the original pair on Sunday!


As others have said before me we are all different :) I have found that the 'Strength n Flex' podcast offered by the NHS (and also voiced by 'Laura') is really helping to keep me pain free. I do this on my 'rest day' between runs. I didn't really get in to the swing of it until week 3 (am now at week 5). Stick with it a while longer. You'll surprise yourself :)


Thanks I'm going to look up the podcast as it really hurt on today's run :(


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