Couch to 5K

Struggling at W6R2 - HELP

I've just completed W6R2 today and really struggled. I finished it alright but can't say I enjoyed it. I found a real buzz from the first few weeks but am apprehensive now as i feel it's more of a battle to complete each run. Maybe the novelty is wearing off or the programmes steps up to really push us - any comments? Hopefully this is just a wee phase but I am dreading W6R3 Friday - 25 minutes - arrrrghhhh!

16 Replies

Yes, it does ramp up after the first few weeks, and some of the novelty does wear off. But instead of novelty, imagine how awesome you will feel when you finish those longer runs!

Some days are just "bad" days, and that doesn't mean your next run will be "bad". You may feel great next time, even after struggling today.

If you feel a bit apprehensive of the next run, try thinking about it all in these terms: There is no law that says you can't redo the run you just finished on Friday before moving on. If at some point you are really struggling, it's fine to shore up what you've already accomplished. Alternatively, if you try a run and just can't do it, that doesn't mean it's all over for you! You can always try again on your next run day. It happens. It certainly happened to me, and I was able to not only complete the program, but continue running for months afterwards. I've heard about lots of people who took longer than 9 weeks to complete the program, and did just fine. I was one of them. You can't lose, whether you do your previous run again or try the next one; it is still good progress.

And you may surprise yourself with the 25 minute run on Friday anyways!

If most/all your runs feel pretty brutal now, you might want to confirm that you are doing the following. (They will improve your chances of success as well as your comfort.)

1. Go slowly. I used to think that running meant.... *running*, as in to catch a child wandering into traffic. This is really more of a "light jog". Going slowly will let you build up time and stamina. After you get to 30 minutes you can work on building up speed. Don't go increasing both at the same time.

2. Rest well. By this I mean actually give your body time to rest on rest days, scale back on other activity if you need/want to, and be sure to get enough sleep. Your body really needs the down time to prepare itself for your next run.

3. Nourish and hydrate. Lots and lots of water (except immediately before your run) on all days. Eat food with vitamins in it, be sure you are getting sufficient protein (used to build/repair muscle), and that you meet your minimum calorie needs. If you run on an empty stomach - and that is hard for you - try a small snack first.

Good luck! You can do it!


I cannot add any more to Alaiyo's reply (perfect Alaiyo) only re-iterate the 'bad' days. Everybody has them, which bring in doubts about your abilities.

Food and drink - I always have something like a banana about an hour before running and drink plenty during the day which definately help avoid that 'sluggish' feeling.

Also, think about the benefits of what you are doing to your body. The feel good factor after every run (apart from the odd bad days!), the improved fitness of heart and lungs and increased muscle strength.

Good luck and keep running


First of all, well done for getting so far. Many people fall by the way-side before getting to week 6. Would agree with everything kirble and Alaiyo say. Some days are just bad ones, and as the weeks go on, it gets tougher.

I would just say take it slowly and steadily. You are only in competition for yourself. Once you have finished week 6, you will only have 3 short weeks until you graduate, then you will feel fab!

Well done and good luck!



All of the above but I think the next one is the run that Laura suggests changing route. I did that and found it helped.

Good luck


It seemed to get harder and less enjoyable for me for a bit, but I treated it all as a learning curve - learning how to pace myself properly and not start hyperventilating as soon as I began running certainly helped (something in my brain just decided I was running therefore I needed to breathe really hard, when really that's not the case at all!)

Hopefully you'll get over this bump. Just take it nice and steady and give yourself a break - you've gotten this far so you've gotta keep on trying :)


I can't add any advice to that which has already been given but will say, Well done for getting this far and good luck for the rest of your runs. Hopefully, this is just a little bad patch, or 'blip' and you will soon start feeling better about it all. I'm due for W6R3 tomorrow and will take a philosophical view of it, take things slowly and just see what happens. So, I shall be there with you in spirit. Best wishes.


Great advice above. I know quite a few people struggled a bit with week 6, it is hard work, but at the end of it you suddenly turn a corner. Your body is responding to the load you've been putting on it and your rest days and sleep become more important now you are working harder. I have a theory that your body needs to 'catch up' a little having gone from intervals to solid runs... You will be fine, don't panic and you'll be looking back in a few weeks thinking how great your achievements have been (and no doubt will continue to be) :-) You can do it!



Laura has prepared you for Week 6 so have faith in her, the programme and yourself. You'll get it done. You just have to believe it

Then, when Week 6 is in the bag, you'll reflect and wonder what you were worrying about.

Happy running. Enjoy it!


Many people find week 6 hard but many also find their bodies are ready for the rhythm of the non-stop runs and find they come as almost a relief. It can start to get boring at this point - you now have 10 pretty similar runs to do - so it is a good idea to change your route, maybe run with your own music, whatever you think might work for you in order to freshen things up and bring back the buzz. This is the stage where your determination to succeed really gets tested but also where you can start to feel you are actually running and that's a motivator in itself! Keep the faith, dig deep, make sure you look after yourself physically and take things at your own pace. Enjoy!


I hated the first 2 runs of week 6 but started to enjoy the longer runs - without the interruptions.

However, perhaps it's just me as it takes me some minutes to get into a run and before I start to get my breathing (well gasping for air really) sorted out. Take it steady and stick with the programme and you'll be fine.


I cannot add more than everyone else, stick with it, vary your route etc... I struggled with this week.. but kept with it...

Maybe you could google map your route and compare it to a different distance... I know I can run 3k easily now on my route, my parents live 3k away and I couldn't imagine running that distance to visit them, but obviously I could if I wanted too, it really put things into perceptive for me of what I can achieve...


After W5R3 I really disliked going back to the interval running. Thought I wasn't gonna be able to push myself to finish the program. Once I hit W6R3 I started to enjoy the program again. If you enjoyed the 20 minute run maybe you'll feel reinvigorated now that your interval training is done.


I've just had exactly the same experience. I really struggled on Monday with run 1and not much better yesterday with run 2. I was thinking maybe having got the dreaded w5 run 3out of the way we subconsciously think we're better runners than we really are? I don't know if I've been running any faster as I don't have any fancy gadgets but that might be why I've struggled this week. Just have to see how the 25 minute run goes tomorrow. Good luck x


As everyone is saying, well done to getting this far! I did Run 3 of WK6 on Wednesday this week. Can't pretend I wasn't nervous about 25 minutes but, trust me, Laura makes it OK and even manages to put in a few supportive 'surprises'! I'm planning to start WK 7 tomorrow, although will certainly start repeating sessions if I feel I need to...let us know how you get on!!


Remember that great buzz the other day when you completed your first 20 minutes? Hold on to that! You can do it, you will do it.

We all sometimes have a run that just doesn't go well, it's par for the course and not a worry. Just believe in yourself and remember you can do it.

Lots of people struggle with W6 - you're not alone!


Guys thank you so much for your constructive advice and words of encouragement. W6R3 here I come! I will keep you posted on how I get on. Good luck to everyone else especially those going through a rough patch. We will get there!


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