Couch to 5K
60,397 members93,056 posts

Just why is running so hard...?! (only semi-rhetorical!)

This is my second attempt at the C25K programme; having made it to week seven (and honestly hating every minute of the actual running!) over 18 months ago I took a break while at home for Christmas and have apparently been making excuses ever since!

Anyway, recently my life got a little less crazy so I went back to the gym and for about a month just did the elliptical for about 45 minutes 3 times a week. After this I thought going back to the C25K programme was a good idea and that maybe just maybe it would be a little less torturous than the first time around - at least at the beginning!

So week 1 I guess wasn't so bad. Then week 2 happened! I completed the last run of week 2 yesterday and ok I think I'm going a little faster than I was my last attempt (but still nowhere near a 5k in 30 minutes pace) and yes I got through it but it's hard. Really hard! What is it about running that is so much tougher than the elliptical? Anyone know - or at least have a similar experience so I know I'm not crazy? I can do over four miles on the elliptical and while it's a work out I can enjoy it but running for 90 seconds 6 times is exhausting!

If nothing else I was hoping you lovely people could just encourage me to keep going with it ... all my friends either thinking running is the worst idea ever or run 10K's on a regular basis so no one can really identify with my struggles!

8 Replies

You've come to the right place for encouragement - a lot of us felt that way when we started. I wonder if you're going a bit too fast. Yes, the name of the programme is couch to 5k but the truth is the majority of people don't manage to cover 5K in 30 minutes. Focus on time not distance, there's plenty of time to get faster later on in the programme. Just trust in the programme and keep listening to the podcasts.

There's a really great post from yesterday that should give you lots of tips too - its called 10 top tips for newbie runners I think.


Running is hard because you are doing yourself good

I focus pm how good I feel when I've run well. O wouldn't say i manage 5k on 30 minutes though.

Keep it up - we're all rooting for you!


Personally it felt hard all the way through the programme for me, but any time it felt 'undoable' I would slow the pace and that's what got me through each run. A big part of this is learning to listen to your body and finding your ideal rhythm, that's when it feels good, so have faith - this will come together for you if you keep plugging away Michigan. :-)

As for the elliptical, it's low impact and propels you to some extent so easier on your whole body, running is all you that's why it feels harder - good to cross-train though.


You are going too fast - slow it right down. Some people say that they can walk faster than they can run - but it does work! Don't take any notice of trying to do 5k in 30 minutes - the only aim of the plan is to get you running for 30 minutes. It's about stamina, not speed. I've been a Graduate for ages and I've only run a few 5k's in 36 / 37 minutes. I've no desire to run 5k in 30 - my only goal now is to run for an hour. If you want to run 5k in 30 minutes, that's great but aim to complete the plan first.


On the podcast for Week 1 Run 1, Laura says that the aim is to get you running for thirty minutes non stop. The 5k in 30 minutes is not the target and while you should be pushing yourself, if you go at it too hard you will not enjoy it. Many C25kers have not managed 5k in 30 minutes by the time they graduate and use it as a post graduate target. Don't put yourself off by setting your sights too high. Running, within your capacity, is a joyous thing that most of us are addicted to, regardless of our speed.

Keep us posted and we will cheer you to the finishing line. This scheme really works and is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Stick with it and good luck.


Where are you doing your running? If you can possibly get yourself out somewhere lovely, preferably not a hard running surface either, as well as listening to all the 'go slower, shorter paces' stuff, you may feel differently (I like big puddles myself and never run on roads). There are people who do C25K on treadmills and I take my hat off to them. I don't think I could do it.


Thank-you everyone for all your replies, advice and encouragement!

I plan to head out later today for my first attempt at week 3 and I will be following your wise words and reducing my speed! It feels impossible that I will be able to run for 30 minutes, but it also feels impossible that I could run for 25 and I know Laura got me to that point before so I guess I will have to trust her!

Thank-you again - it makes such a difference to know I'm not the only one trying to do this!


Oh and the 10 top tips for newbie runners was great too so thank-you for the suggestion! :)


You may also like...