Couch to 5K
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Struggling with week 5

Hi I'm doing week 5. Really struggling with run 3. I've been running a bit faster as I feel more comfortable at that speed but just can't complete long run. I run at about 5.5miles an hour so it's not fast!! Any tips please

12 Replies

Hi Lesley. I have only just completed run 3 this morning so I am probably not the best.person to advise but here goes.

I dont think your problem is stamina or anything physical. I would suggest that it is a mental issue that you have. You see 20 minutes as a huge single chunck.

You know that you can do 2 x 8 minute runs.

Why dont you try 2 x 10 minute runs with a 3 minute walk and then have a go at the 20?

If you break the 20 down in your head to 2 x 10 when you are running, you might find it easier.

Good Luck


? Or maybe slow down again if you have speeded up.

1 like

Yes think you're right. Thanks


Sorry to hear you are struggling with this run. It seems to have a reputation all of it's own (undeserved in my experience) so it's possible that you could have a mental block about it. However, you mention being more comfortable at a faster pace so I suspect you are going a bit too fast and burning yourself out. The aim of the programme is to build stamina and the ability to increase the amount of time each week that you can run. 5.5 miles an hour is pretty speedy, especially at this stage of the programme. Try slowing right down and see if that helps. Good luck with your next try and best wishes.


Thanks for your advice. Will think about what you've said!




Thanks! Build up stamina then speed me thinks!


Hi Lesley,

Just noticed your post after posting very similar:

I've always been inclined to sprinting rather than long distance running, so think I'm still going a bit too fast.

Did you crack it in the end ?


Thanks for your post. To be honest no I haven't. I just find it hard to run slowly! I've been away and had other commitments so slightly half hearted . At the moment I've been running for 5 and then walking for 3 minutes just to keep my hand in. How are you getting on ?


Hi Lesley, Thanks for your reply.

I'm re-doing W5 - I'm using the 5K Runner app which is slightly different in that it seems to have more walk intervals during weeks 6 and 7, ratther than the NHS programme which dives straight into the 20 min run on week 5. Yesterday I re-did W5R2 which is 5R+3W+8R+5W+5R tommorow I will tackle 5WR3 - 8R+5W+8R - the one I failed on last week.

I have a similar problem as you - running slowly enough to maintain longer runs - I'm ok so long as I can have the recovery walks in between !

Maybe it would be an idea to slowly increase the length of run eg 5.5, 6 mins and so on and decrease the walk if you feel recovered enough to continue running ? That way you might feel a sense that you're getting somewhere and feel less half-hearted..


Hi there, thanks for bothering to take the time to reply. I will try that app you mentioned. Have been for a lovely ten mile walk on the north York moors - beautiful. I'm sure I'll get there just a bit longer than some. Good luck with your running!


I have just done week 5 run 3 and i was hard but i only go slow, i was very grateful for the 5 min times but i only run on the track i was just my stubborn ness that kept me going


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