Couch to 5K
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How do I overcome the mental blocks for running for longer periods?

I'm stuck on week 5 still. I'm enjoying being outside and doing the programme but week 5 run 3 is a nightmare . I'm no where near completing it I'm only up to 10minutes. My body stops to a walk after it. Its getting me down, im begining to feel like ill never graduate. Do any of you have any tips for overcoming this?

6 Replies

Hi blueybull. I know exactly how you feel. I was stuck there for four weeks. I was getting really stressed about it. I actually did it on Thursday. My sticking point was a mental thing.

Here are some things that helped me. 2 runs a week I went back to wk 4 run 1 and worked through the program again. This helped me realise that I had lost so much form with trying to just focus on the wk5run3. Also once a week I did a freestyle run. I ran for as far as I could manage while trying to add in a. Min at a time. But the main thing that made the run on Thursday different is I slowed down. I set out thinking as long as I run for 20 min it dosent matter how slow it is. Everytime I felt like quitting I slowed down just a fraction more. As soon as I got past my longest run and I was still going I knew I didn't want to go home with this hanging over my head anymore. Also someone told me when I was having trouble try counting to 100 as it takes the mental focus away from the run.

Hang in there I know it feels like a long way off, but you will do it. And it will probably creep up on you and your body will just say you know what today we are doing this. Best of luck.


Sounds like a real problem has developed and devious tactics are called for blueybull. Try starting off slower to begin with and gradually build up to a comfortable stride. Change your route completely too. Do you have steep hills to contend with, if so aim for a flatter route. Don't think about the time, think nice thoughts, anything at all to take your mind off what your legs and arms are doing, they won't stop unless that demon on your shoulders gets its own way. It very often is a mental issue more than a physical one. Another option would be change the time of day, if you normally run in the evenings, can you change to an early morning run time? Also ask yourself why you have this brick wall that you can't get past? What causes it, is it pain, boredom, breathing issues, if it is any of these things, try addressing them and you will succeed. Go out there with a positive frame of mind, if there is nothing physically stopping you from running then just go for it. Wishing you all the best, you can do it, honestly, you can, we are here to support you too. :)


Thanks for the reply, I've taking note of all the responses. I live in the Pennines and my village is on a hill so I have had to think of a flat route but it's very beautiful, it's on a viaduct, with lakes on one side and valley drops everywhere. I love it. I've gone back a few weeks to build my self up further so will see how it goes. I will not let it the better of me I will overcome it. Thanks


There are some tips in my response at the link below which might help.

Other than that just tell yourself you are going to complete the run, it just doesn't matter when.

Might take the pressure off...

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I'd guess that you are going too fast to start with, a common problem as you can tell by the previous comments. Shorten you pace length and slow right down and you might find you can carry on a bit further. Even if you manage one extra minute, or just 30 seconds, that's an increase! A few of those should help you to get past the barrier.

Arms - the oft-forgotten friend of the runner!! Are you using them? Are they crossed in front of your body and making no effort - or at your side, parallel and pumping, working hard, helping to push you along?! You would be amazed at the difference really using your arms can make when you're tiring.

Aaand...if you have to stop, really, really HAVE to stop after 10 mins or however long, well, stop, walk for a bit until you've got your breath back then set off again! There is no shame in doing that - lots of us have done it - and I often found that once I'd restarted I was able to carry on for longer and actually run the 15 or 20 minutes.

Intervals are a great way to help increase speed and stamina and something many of us do post-graduation, working towards 10K so never worry about stopping and re-starting.

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It took me a few attempts of Week 5 run 3 before I completed it. I'm on week 8 - it's taken me far longer than 8 weeks to get here. Don't put pressure on yourself, stay relaxed, I eventually did the 20 minutes by thinking well, if I don't do it now, I'll have to do it in another couple of days... also I slowed right down. On the long runs I still have to battle to get through the first ten minutes then I'm kind of okay... but I still think "one more minute"... "just the next lampost" and I also slow right down if I'm tired, or I think "I'll keep going past these people and see how I feel then". Try changing your route as well - I regularly change mine or I get bored and I also think of certain places where I normally walk so it becomes a 'walking place'. Relax and trust Laura and remember it doesn't matter how long it takes you to get there, it's taking part.


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