Thought I would share my progress in case it helps others who are taking quite a bit longer than the 9 weeks. It has been over 9 weeks for me but I have only just nailed week 7.
I don't know why but I hit a wall at week 7. I managed to do a 25 min run once but couldn't complete it after that. So I repeated week 6 a couple of times, still failed 25 mins, did the 20 min run a few times, still failed 25 mins after that, managed to do a few 23 min runs. For some reason 23 was doable, 25 wasn't. FINALLY I am moving forward again and completing 25 min runs.
Anyone else have a familiar story?
The truth is I lost the enjoyment after that big 20 minutes milestone in week 5. Everything felt like a struggle. I was worried I'd give up but I kept going. I felt bad that it was taking me so long compared to everyone else. There was no physical reason I could see for it to be taking so long.
But we need to stop comparing and just do it. So what if it's taken me an extra month just to get between week 6 and 7 (lol!!) - at least I didn't give up. By giving up and giving into those negative thoughts I'd be right back at ZERO right now.
Things that helped me push through the wall (it was very tough mentally):
* Try to see the joy in being outside so early every day. E.g. for sunrises like the attached pic. Yes, some days like today it isn't so joyful but I think the wind and rain numbed the feeling in my legs and made it easier
* Repeating weeks lots of times!
* Downloading a different couch to 5K app that lets me play music. This one doesn't have any speaking and doesn't even give you any milestones on long runs except when you're halfway. At first I really wanted to hear my 5 minute milestones, but now I'm used to running for 10+ minutes with no info on how far I've done I think it actually helps me!
* I started drinking a cup of green tea in the morning before I go out and run. Usually I run as soon as I wake up, on just a bit of water. I think the green tea is helping but could be psychological.
* I told all my family etc about the wall I'd hit so they could force me not to give up!
So if you are in a similar position and not moving forward - whether you're earlier on in the program or later - please don't give up. Don't compare yourself to everyone else who is easily gliding from week to week. It's the doing it that matters, in the long run you won't care if you took an extra month or 2 to complete it, you'll just care that you had the will to complete it.