Couch to 5K
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Week 6 run 3 - not good

I just tried week 6 run 3. I struggled the whole time but I was pretty confident that I would finish, but with 3-4 minutes to go I got a horrible stitch in my side -- probably the worst I've ever had. I tried to keep going but I was practically doubled over, so I had to stop. It's the first run I have ever failed to complete; I've repeated a lot of runs before, when I didn't feel ready to move on, but until now I've never been unable to finish a run.

I know what everybody says, that we all have bad runs and that I have made great progress from where I was in the beginning. But it still feels like I'm not doing very well. I have never been able to get into a rhythm and zone out while I run, and I'm painfully aware of every breath I take, no matter how slowly I run. I thought it would get easier, but I still dread the days that I have to run. I'm not going to give up, but I feel like I'm never going to become a real runner.

5 Replies

Sorry to hear about the stitch; that does sound horrid. :-( Did you do anything different before starting this run? Eat anything you haven't prior to previous runs?

Try not to feel disheartened; you didn't just stop because you wanted to, you were in pain with the stitch and had to stop.

Oh, and a 'real runner'? A real runner would keep going and wouldn't give in, just like you're doing! :-) Many would just say sod it and not go out again, but you're determined and that's fantastic.

It's always tough; even now, having just completed week eight, I struggle, and don't find it easy. Keep on going, you will start to enjoy it and when you do, you'll be so pleased you didn't stop! :-)


Thanks for the encouragement! I really like what you said about being a real runner.

I can't think of anything different that I did before this run, I guess it was just a bad day. Now that it's been a while, I've recovered a bit from my pessimism and I'm feeling eager to try again.


Have you ever run with a more experienced runner Em? When I first started C25K I was struggling - my friend said, 'run slowly', and I said 'I AM'... she came on a run with me and made me realise how much slower I could go, even though I already thought I was going slowly! I was shocked at how much easier the run became. You should, in theory, be able to have a bit of a conversation when you are running, if not, you may be going too fast... She kept telling me that if I'm struggling, I'm going too fast/working too hard and won't progress. Also, breathe deep through your nose into your tummy (I focus on my breathing (particularly when it feels like it's getting tough) and have never had a stitch (touch wood).

Finally, make sure everything above your legs is relaxed, as tension in the upper body will make it work harder and stifle your breath.

Don't be put off - you are a runner - you are doing it! Just remember to go easy on yourself and you should progress quickly. :D


Thanks for the advice! I've now completed w6r3 (yay!) and w7r1, running just a little slower than before (I'm on a treadmill so I can tell my exact speed). I noticed today that I do get a little tense, so that's something I can work on in my future runs and hopefully it will help my breathing.

I don't know any experienced runners in my area, and I'm a little to shy and self-conscious to join a running group or anything like that. I usually run at 4.7 (mph I think?) but the last few runs I went down to 4.5 and 4.4, which I think is pretty slow. Although there's no way I could hold a conversation while running, so maybe I should take it down a bit further.


I know what you mean about joining a running group! My friend was selling their benefits, but I'm running with my husband, so always have company, and we have a park just in the next road, so it's all about convenience at the moment!

I have no idea how fast I run! and i'm not really bothered at the moment: I'm just trying to reach the goal for now. Just slow down until it eases up - you shouldn't be gasping for breath, getting stitches or feeling burning in your chest at all. You're ahead of me - I'm going to do my Wk6 Run 2 tomorrow morning before work: let's hope I heed my own advice and enjoy it!


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