I am in trouble! Can anyone help please? - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
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I am in trouble! Can anyone help please?

So, I am a graduate who has also completed the last 5x50 successfully, but then kind of stopped doing exercise due to work and family issues.

My problem is that I agreed to do a relay marathon in 3 weeks time in Köln with my work colleagues. I was fitted with the T shirt last week and thoughtI should get sorted with some training today..

My first run was terrible. I could not keep going and had to walk a lot of the latter part of the 5.2k I managed in an appalling 40mins. My heart rate was also through the roof at over 180bpm at its peak. Bearing in mind I have to run either 9 or 12k I am now in trouble.

So I need to restart the couch to 5k, then move this on to 9 in 3 weeks!!

Has anyone any idea how to go about this and where to start?

21 Replies

I'm afraid I can't really give you an advice where to start again. I just want to say that Köln is a lovely place to run. I did a 5k charity run in the Rheinauhafen last Saturday and it was a great experience :)

All the best for your running! You can do it and even if you have to walk some parts, don't worry. Last week, the first people started to walk after only 5 minutes!!! And those were sportive looking people!


Thanks for your reply. I have not run in Köln before, so that aspect will be nice.


40 minutes is no shame and well done for getting back into it. Perhaps go straight for interval training and some long runs. Mix it up a bit and see if it helps.


Thanks. So in this context, what would be considered as long?

My longest run was 7k which at the time was easy.

I thought it would be easy to do a couple more, then yesterday has dented my confidence big time.


You didnt really say how much of the 5.2k you ran but if I was in your shoes I'd concentrate on running a 5k for the first week then if that goes well, try for 7k the next week then see if you can make 9k on week 3.

If you are struggling then try slowing your pace a little and maybe just increase by 1k each week. The support from the crowd on the day might get you a little further anyway.

Make sure you get some rest in between run days, drink lots of water and avoid alcohol.

This is just my opinion but probably how I'd approach it.


Well I would say that I maybe ran 3k, then walked.

I ran for 25mins tonight at a slower pace and want to get to 30 mins running by the end of the week.

The most I have ever run is 7k, so I like your idea. I will go from the 30mins to 5k, then build it up..

I was unsure if to have a rest day, but I used to need then, so will go with then this time as well.

Thanks for your assistance. I will blog on the main area if I have anything of interest to say.


:-( My PB is 37 minutes!! :-(

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thanks, I Have always been fast, but long distances the issue. I stopped running at around 3k, so that is more the issue.


Don't be so hard on yourself. I took two weeks off due to injury. I then went back and could not run 20 mins ... I'm training for half marathon in 2 weeks time. I took the next day off and then went on a 7 mile run and was ok. So just ease yourself into it and as long as you have at least one big run done before your relay I wouldn't worry too much. Good luck.


Thanks.. Do you think I should maintain the one day on one day off idea?

Also what would be a long run? I will slow my overal pace right down soi can run for at least 30 mins,but not sure how to go longer in such a short time.


How long is completely up to you. I considered how long it was before my half marathon, what I'd achieved so far... So I went out thinking I'll do 5 miles and ended up doing 7. I did 9 the other day but had to walk a lot of it as I was having a bad day... I just accepted that I was having a bad running day and I'm about to go out now for another try. Good luck


So what? Mine's around 35 minutes and have been running for over a year! Just think of where you were when you started the program. This thing is that running is meant to be for (a) your health (b) for fun -- PBs are an extra. Have fun ! You'll do it even if it does involve a bit of walking :-)


Thanks, I appreciate this. I always had issues running longer distances, so it was horrible stopping so quickly and seeing my hr so high


Thanks for all the advise to everyone.

I guess this was the time where my body was not capable and my normal mental barriers were not the thing stopping me in this case.

I read intervals and long distance, which seem sound.

I guess I need to plan my runs carefully over the next 3 weeks to get back into it.

Maybe days off in between and then 5k on Monday (just get though it with a reasoned hr) then I am not sure what. If anyone knows a programme or website that could detail the way, I would love to know about it.

Thanks again. I feel slightly less worried this morning.


Runkeeper has training plans for free, for everything from a 5k to full marathon. These are generally spread over much longer periods than you have left, but you could look at the schedules and pick out some ideas from the various runs they would ideally include.

Best of luck and keep us posted. We will be rooting for you!


Thanks very much I will look there and see what I can come up with. Time is indeed short, so I hope I can cope.

I will post the progress.


You don't want to overdo it while training in case you injure yourself. I think I would try starting with, say, run 8 minutes, walk for a minute and then gradually increase the running times with each run. Run at a speed where you can talk reasonably comfortably and you should be able to keep going for a long time - I think if you concentrate too much on speed at the moment, you're likely to end up injured. Warm up properly before each run and stretch regularly, not just after your run. You could also do a bit of cross-training on rest days, something low-impact like cycling or swimming to help with your fitness generally. Good luck :-)


Thanks. Looks like good advice on the injury side of things. Today I really ache and so I definitely pushed too hard both aerobically and from a muscular point of view.

I was actually concentrating on duration when I ran, but went off far too fast (5k 30min pace as per my grad. run and all on the treadmill after. It was simply too fast for my current fitness.

So slower is the order of the day.


Patience will pay off, let us know how you get on.


Hi there, having graduated, I too was recently in the same position but for different reasons. About 3 weeks ago I started the 5k again as I'd have 4 weeks off. At first I was completely lost and couldn't decide which which week to go with. Eventually i decided to get back to 5 k within 3 weeks. I started with 5 and 8 mins runs (week 5 run 2) for a solid week (hard work). Then week 6 run 2 twice, 3rd run 20 mins. Then week 3 I ran for 20 mins solid then 25 mins then 30! This has worked for me and I'm back to graduate but it was really disheartening when I found myself back to running 5 and 8 mins as I'm someone who needs to see quick progress! Just remember, once your back to 20 mins the rest will be easy. Good luck, and if your out of practice ake sure you really warm up and down. Good luck! You can do it! :)


Wow. Thanks for this detailed post. It sounds like you are as impatient as I am (I am of course time limited) and some nice advice.

I had today off as I was out and I ache, but some careful training tomorrow sounds good.


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