Couch to 5K
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Well I had read lots of people saying that W6R1 and 2 were much harder than they expected after nailing the 20 mins of W5R3, but I felt pretty confident nonetheless when I set out today. 5/8/5? a mere bagatelle! I did 20 minutes non stop the other day

... and of course, i had exactly the same experience as everyone else. It was hard. Not aided by the fact that I was running in the middle of the day on the hottest day of the year so far. But I managed it. Puffing and blowing and sweating, and could hardly walk another step, but managed it.

But here's where it gets interesting. I have read somewhere that when we think we have reached our limit, we have in fact only tapped about 40%. Interesting but I couldn't see how it applied to me.

Today I walked slowly back to the car park where I had agreed to meet my wife and dog, who had been walking behind me. I was REALLY looking forward to the big bottle of water she was carrying for me. But when I got there there was no sign of them. I looked around for a bit then walked on. It seemed a bit odd as they should have made it that far quite easily. After 5 minutes and still no sign of them, I began to get a bit worried so started to jog, and then run a bit quicker as I still couldn't find them.

Eventually I did - there was a miscommunication and she thought they had missed me so had walked the other way. I inhaled half the water and poured the rest over my head as was a bit hot by this point. When I checked my watch however, I was very surprised to find I had run another 8 minutes, and at a faster pace, and because my mind was focused on finding them, had scarcely noticed the running.

Not a motivation technique I would recommend, but it was a real reminder of how much of our limits are in the mind.

6 Replies

It catches people out a bit as you discovered, which is why some of us give advance information to those about to embark on week 6. It's up to each individual whether they take it on board or not. Good luck with your next run and best wishes.


That's so interesting Rignold. Can't say I've ever felt like I still had 60% left after some of my runs but I completely take your point. The mind is our limiting factor. Thanks.


Hi Rignold, great to read your post. I completed W5R3 today (mad dogs and Englishman ...) around lunchtime. Have to confess ditched Laura and took my friend who runs for support. She talked non stop with me grunting alongside but I managed the 20 mins. Couldn't believe it so pleased. I was of the same opinion, the next run will be a doddle after that especially with it being so hot, now I know not to panic when I find it hard!


On the contrary, week 6 is a lot tougher than it seems. The return to intervals after the euphoria of the 20 minute run is not a soft option. Keep it very slow (even slower than that), very steady, stay calm and you will see it through okay. Good luck and best wishes.

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It's a tricky one that W6R1, like you I thought it would be easy after W5R3 but no ! It is interesting that you managed a further 8 mins without really thinking about it. I bet if Laura had said you had another 8 minutes to go it wouldn't have been so easy. I agree with KittyKat007 that you tend to run to what you expect and think that is your limit when in fact your body can actually do much more. Amazing really....


Well done, Rignold! Yes, week six is something to be very wary of. It sounds so easy after running a full twenty minutes, but it's far from it! And that is interesting; I always find that when the little voice tells me to stop and I push through, at some point thereafter I really start to enjoy it and don't want to stop! Good luck for run two!


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