Couch to 5K
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20 minutes done but it was so hard

I've just (20 minutes ago) completed W5R3. Everyone posts about how great they feel after running for 20 minutes but I just feel knackered!

The first few minutes were tough then I settled into it but the last 5 minutes were a constant mental and physical battle to keep going. I think I could have walked faster than I ran.

I'm pleased to have done it but rather than spur me on it's made me think maybe I'm not cut out for running after all and I was so positive going into it.

And I got such a bad headache 2 minutes from the end.

Anyone else feel like this?

3 Replies


I didn't get that euphoric feeling after the 20 min run like you I was knackered. You are cut out for running you have already been doing it well done! Stick with it and trust the plan yes after wk 6 its longer runs but take it easy and complete each one, no matter what pace you are going. At some point you will get that feeling for me it was wk 8.

As for the headache try take paracetamol before your run I tried this a couple of years ago and suffered terrible headaches and gave up. The doctor said it was fine to take a paracetamol which did help, maybe also make sure you're properly hydrated throughout the day.

Again well done on the 20 min run!!!


I think you should be really proud of yourself! That was obviously a tough run for you yesterday, but you battled through it physically and mentally and came through the other side. I think you definitely are cut out for running if you can challenge yourself successfully like that. And don't worry about going slowly, it's keeping the running action going that's important. As for the headaches, I need to guard against those by doing my best to be well hydrated, well slept, not too warm, as relaxed as I can (easy to tense shoulders, grit teeth, etc) - and I know I'd suffer if I tried to run without having had breakfast. (Military exercises take less planning than my runs!) Don't be downhearted. Keep in mind why you started the plan in the first place and realise just how much you have achieved! Let us know how week 6 goes!


Well done on completing week 5! I did feel good when I finished week 5, but only in the sense of achievement. Everything else felt bad and hard! And I did get a bad headache too, but like others are saying I'm making a lot more effort to drink more water now.

I should be on week 8 or something now but a mental block means I'm repeating week 6 again. I know what it's like to compare yourself to others, asking why it has to be so hard and wondering if you're cut out for it. What gives me comfort is the graduates who come on here and mention that it doesn't need to take 9 weeks, it has taken longer for many and they are now still going strong. That's not to say it will necessarily take you longer, just to emphasise the fact that it is hard and that's ok! Doesn't mean you're not cut out for it :)


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