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Week 5 Day 3 disappointment/depression warning

Had a quick look but couldn't see anything about week 5 here.

I have suffered from depression and anxiety problems for years and would just like to warn others with similar of week 5 in C25K, it jumps from 8 min runs to a 20 minute run which is to me ridiculous and felt like I was setting myself up to fail...and did. I managed 15 minutes before my body had enough!

Anyone with depression will know what I mean, I am now struggling to get back into this as week 5 day 3 is always looming and I think I'll never do it. I have been re-doing the two days prior runs but I left it a week the last time...

I am so gutted at this but I'm thinking about trying another C25K that might transition slower, has anyone any experience of others that may be more gradual? Thanks

15 Replies

I know how hard that jump from 8 mins to 20 mins can be! :-( I am struggling at the moment to get back into running after a weeks break! I think the thing is with this programme is to just take your time and run at your own pace. If you struggle with the 20 minute runs then go back to week 4. There is no one there to chastice you. Just run at your own pace and enjoy it. :-)

I do struggle with depression and sometimes we have to take things slower. But don't feel disappointed, just take it at a slower and enjoyable rate. You will get there. I'll keep posting after each run, as I am jumping back to week 3 again. Don't beat yourself up, just relax, smile and run! :-)


Really sorry to hear how you feel.

Looking on the positive side, you ran for 15 minutes - which is almost twice as long as your previous 8 minutes...a fantastic achievement.

I know that I was nervous about tackling 20 minutes for the first time, but the elation when I managed it was fantastic - many of us on here have said we cried or felt overwhelmed by the sense of accomplishment. It's a real landmark in your running journey, so don't feel bad that you found it tough on the first go.

Running is never a straight line - all of us have terrible runs, great runs...and many unremarkable ones in between.

Maybe repeat week 5 again until your confidence returns - or spend a week running for 15 minutes at a time, before moving on to week 5 run 3.

Personally, I have suffered from both depression and anxiety, and running has been the best therapy ever for both - physically, it sorts out my adrenaline, gets the endorphins going and helps me sleep...mentally, it makes me feel stronger and more confident and in control of my own life.


I have a bit of an issue with some of the word choices used in the C25K programme. I don't think it helps to suggest to the runner that something may seem difficult, but don't worry because you can do it. By putting it that way you are suggesting that something is difficult when it may not have occurred to the runner that they couldn't do it.

I graduated last year and I should point out that I don't suffer from depression, so I have no experience of what you've gone through, but I have enough of a working knowledge of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) to find myself tutting at some of the things Laura says as we go through this process. So, I know it's possible to do the third run of week 5, because I did it last year (in fact that run was my first run that I did on a week's holiday in Austria) and lots of people have done it before and since. And I'm fairly sure that you can do it too. The preparation is enough but I suggest that you make your own track and add positive messages to it.

If I tell you "Don't worry, it's not difficult", I have introduced the concept of difficulty and you'll pick up on the "difficult" without properly processing the "not". (Try not to think of an elephant - you have to think of the elephant to know what it is you're not supposed to be thinking of!) So the messages should be more like, "Relax and know that you have done all the preparation needed to succeed in this run". Do it slowly if you need to and keep telling yourself, "I can do this!" Or give yourself some mini targets (I'll keep running to at least the next lamp-post/tree/whatever) and, when you've achieved that, set yourself another. And celebrate each mini goal as you achieve it and don't beat yourself up if you don't manage the whole thing all in your next run.

And, at the end of the day, if you're managing to run for 15minutes all in one go, you've come a long way from week 1 when a minute at a time seemed like it was going to kill you. You're doing great! Keep up the good work!


I think you did a great job running 15 mins straight! That is a huge achievement, and there's nothing wrong with repeating the week.

In order to get through that 20 min run, I really slowed it down and focused on my breathing. I also had to constantly talk to myself in a positive way and keep out those negative thoughts. I have just failed a run this week and know how rubbish it is, I do not suffer from depression but I do have anxiety and lots of negative self talk. Focus can be very hard but for me it is the key to getting through. I have also tried counting backwards from 100 which someone mentioned on here and it helps distract me from the run.

It's good that you're repeating the runs, it's far better to go back or go slower than to stop altogether. I have found the running helping my anxiety so hopefully it will help you too and you can use that as fuel to keep going through. I know it's not easy though, I am pretty fed up with it too but this community usually pulls me through!


My advice would be to stick with it. This program is tried and tested and week 5 is a tough week for everyone.

Try and focus on the run you did do. 15 mins is fab. Maybe just slot in a transitional one before the big one. Maybe 17 or 18 mins? However you do it I know you'll get there and it will feel so much sweeter when you do.

I completely understand how you could be feeling. As another long term depression sufferer. I know how much you probably hate phrases like, try to focus on the positives etc. And I know how physically debilitating it can sometimes feel. Thats why I'm so impressed with how you've done. You must feel good about that. It's one hell of an achievement especially with the other issues going on.

I'm personally using c25k to drag myself out of a current dip. It is helping massively.

Don't let a bad run put you off for good. Shake it off and see it as a challenge.

I wish you luck and know you'll get there. :)


Hi there

I know that wk run 3 is daunting. Take it from someone who "failed". Point one we don't fail we are just not ready

To go up to that run. I came back from my first attempt at it in tears and felt terrible. It took me. Four weeks to get there. I went back to wk4 and redid them all, then once a week I did what I called free run. That was I went out and ran for as long as I could. I took all the pressure off myself about getting to graduation In a given time and told myself I don't care how long this takes I will get there in my own time. I made every run feel like a positive achievement. And they are just because you are out there doing it no matter how long the run.

One day after four or so weeks I went out and there was something different i can't tell you what it was but I knew In my bones this was going to be the day. I slowed right down and started. Everytime I was getting to want to quit I slowed down again. I just wanted that 20 min run more than anything I knew it didn't matter what speed it was it was the time and I did it.

I am going into wk 9 on Thursday and was out today and did my 3rd 28 min run each one clocking a better speed. Have faith don't get too down or fixate. Think of all the positive things you are doing just by being there and trying

Good luck x


Wow, didn't expect so many replies if any so fast!

My other half said the same about my 15 min run but thats the trouble with depression, you dwell on the negatives but I am slowly working on all that and knowing it is half the battle. I dragged myself back out today (I turned 40 last week!) to do Wk5Day1 again and took a different route which helped a bit, problem is here I have hills every route I take and I find them hard...probably mentally though! I do find thinking about something else random helps a lot.

I'm glad I posted now, the replies do help! I'm thinking positive for now... I've changed my running style already using my new Puma FAAS 500 and I couldn't even run 1 minute before all this!

Thanks very much guys, I'll keep posting my progress and try and help others now too!


You ran for 15 minutes! Hold onto that thought. I can mange one, and envy you.

Nil desperandum x

1 like

I've did W1R1 on Friday and exceeded what I though I could do. My glass is nearly always half empty and I know I will give up too easily but for the time being, and while the will is there, I will keep on going and I think you will too. Every day is another day and its up to us to try to smile, exceed our beliefs and just get on with it coz nobody will push us if we don't push ourselves. I'm not going to wish you luck coz I know you'll do it, for nobody else but you, and you don't need luck, just determination!! x


Thanks. I found it ...dare I say it manageable but have definitely hit my hurdle at week 5 day 3 but I've bought shorts, leggings, mobile phone arm band and new sneakers so I can't give up! Lol


Thought I'd post an update although it's not good news...

After not managing wk5d3 I went back and did d2 a couple of times but when I went to do it again I couldn't manage it, I have since went out going back to wk5 day 1 and now 'failed' it. I now haven't been out since which was over 2 weeks ago, my depression is really bad...I just don't think I can do this plan as wk5 day3 is such a huge hurdle. Some people have said throw the app away and just go out and run but I don't think I'd get far without some encouragement. Not sure what to do now, maybe running just isn't for me or should I try the RunDouble app...?



Well I dragged myself out yesterday and ran about 2 mins and gave up. I know no one wants to read non positive posts but I think folks with bad depression or the likes should approach this whole thing with great caution! I ended up in a real mess yesterday after 'failing' again. I'm done for now. :(


Hi StellaDave. I suffer with anxiety and I completely understand the negative internal voice you get.

I have been following the plan since April this year, I get to week 4, then go back to week 2, week 4 to week 2. constantly. I've been working on week 4 again now for 2 weeks.

Every day I do the first 3 minute run and my little voice says 'you can't do this, you're too tired, you can't breath right'. this week I've been replacing that voice with 'its only one song, I can do this', (5 mins run) 'its only 2 songs, I can do this'.

I'm now panicking as I feel ready to move to week 5. But this time, I'm going to focus on running as far as I can go, as anything over 5 minutes will be an improvement.

It doesn't matter how many weeks, months, years this takes me, I will do it as I need to prove to myself that I am capable and I am strong. As are you, we just need little time x


Remember you can always repeat runs. I am at week 8 and had a terrible run yesterday walking more than running. Even if you get stuck at a particular run it's still doing something. I know it's not always easy, but exercise will help lift your mood what about trying a different type of exercise? Mix it up a bit.


I am progressing really well with C25K and will be tackling W5D3 on Friday. It does look daunting and I'm not sure I'm looking forward to it. But when has getting into shape ever been easy. That's why it's going to be so rewarding when we all finish.

Here's my tip... although I'm no expert! Have you ever driven the to work and can't remember anything from the journey? Like you've been switched into 'auto pilot'?

This happens to me when I'm running too - sometimes. And I could have ran for quite a while without even realising it. The trick is to find a distraction - a good one though.

Make a playlist of your favourite upbeat music or lose yourself in an audiobook. You'll get there soon enough. We all will.


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