Couch to 5K
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Taking A Lot Longer Than Planned But Not Giving Up!

Taking A Lot Longer Than Planned But Not Giving Up!

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.

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Smashing post RuthP and you are quite right it doesn't matter how long it takes to complete the programme, there are no two people the same and its not a race either. For me its more about enjoying the running, I don't worry how fast I go, or how far I've run these days just so long as I can still get out there.

I'm with you on the drink of green tea before a run and I have a small banana too although I discovered on holiday in Tunisia that 5-6 dates did the trick just as well as a banana if not even better, they seem to give you an energy boost and it lasts well too.

Well done for not giving up and good luck with the rest of the programme but more importantly enjoy your running :)


You're right about enjoying it - I was losing enjoyment but finally I am getting that back.

Interesting to hear about the dates and green tea combo! I never want to wake up early enough to eat before I run. Do you leave much time to digest it or is it OK if you go out soon after eating?


Well done for not giving in. I know exactly how you have felt. It took me many more weeks than 9 to get my graduation badge. I watched swathes of people graduating but I am a stubborn little thing and like you decided I was not to be beaten. The thing I found for myself was that I was running to fast for me. I, at the moment, am a plodder. I need to plod along at my own pace not race around. I have found in learning this that I will be running for many a year before I have any great speed but I am not bothered as I am running and that's all that matters. Good luck in your future runs.

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I find I need to take it slow too, nothing wrong with that though like you said :)


It took me a lot longer than 9 weeks probably closer to 14, but it was the earlier stages that I struggled on. I was just too fat and too unfit


Congrats for getting through it despite the difficulty!


You sound exactly like me , I got to week 7 and just can't run past 20mins without serious feelings of collapsing! done one 25,one 22 , one 23 but all a struggle as soon as I hit 20mins I am dragging my feet the next few paces. Keeping at it though as 20mins still an achievement for a big old girl like myself!.


Yep, sounds like how I have been feeling! I felt like I wasn't making any improvement at all. You can do it and you will, just keep on with those 20+ min runs, really each one of those is a great achievement. I have to keep reminding myself of that, imagine in week 1 thinking we could run for 20 mins!!


Great view, I wish I could run near the sea. I think you are right, there's a big psychological component to completing this course. I was the same after the 20 minute milestone in week 5. I think I was so unsure that I'd be able to run 20 minutes continuous, that I felt elated after that. A lot of people seem to get that feeling at the point when Laura says you are now a runner at 25 minutes, but I found that run really difficult, so felt deflated. I think the key is getting over our own personal mental barriers, finding our own pace and remembering a few weeks ago we struggled to run for a minute. Anything after that is progress.


I am lucky to run by the sea although today was not as nice as that pic at all ;) You are so right about the 20 mins, I did feel elated and tearful when I completed that but I lost the good feeling from that point on. I agree it's so important to remember back to that time 1 min was a struggle. It's amazing really!


I am currently going backwards was at week 8. Today did week 6 run 2 tonight, like you I am lucky and can run by the sea even if it is in the dark.

I am just taking consolation is the thought I am still going.


Yeah not so nice running in the dark now but I do love the fact that running gets me out there in the fresh sea air. Keep going and don't give up, I just tell myself how much a waste it would be if I had come this far just to give up now. We will get there eventually!


For the runners who are finding it hard to get passed the 20 minutes try some different routes and perhaps start slower and build up your speed gradually. If it's a question of feeling thirsty have a quick drink if you carry water you may need to go to a brisk walk while you do it but it may help you get passed the brick wall and enable you to complete your run. Think about anything other than how much further you have to go, it's a bit like a watched kettle, takes forever and then it becomes a huge undertaking. If there is no obvious reason for not carrying on its just the old demons, so dont let them win, you can do it.


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