Struggling.. but don't know why

So after deciding to go and purchase a proper pair of running shoes to ease my ankle pain I did see a vast improvement. But then the hot weather started and the gym that I go to doesn't have air conditioning which made it absolutely impossible to run in, so that was my first excuse, but since it has cooled a bit I am still unable to run for longer than ten minutes. I now have pains in my ankle again too but I was unable to run before that so I cant even blame that. I'm starting to get very frustrated with myself that I can make it past ten minutes and rapidly losing faith in the whole "running" thing.

To look at me you would think I should be able to run miles a day, I'm slim, relatively athletic build from weight training but all I want now is to be able to run and not have this constant voice in my head saying "this is too difficult, you have to stop now, your breathing is up the left, can you not feel that niggle in your ankle?, this is too hard, you cant do it".

11 Replies

  • The voices in your head can be very compelling. Many of us have abandoned runs because the demons have convinced us we can't do it - but we can!!

    Are you trying to run too fast? That is a common problem with most of us new runners. We think we have to go as fast as we possibly can or we're not doing it right. The truth is, we need to go slowly, we need to build strength gradually and allow the speed to come to us, not for us to go chasing it.

    What about your running style? Are you over-striding? Try and keep your feet landing under your body rather than in front and land mid-foot, use your arms to help push you along when you feel tired. Make sure your shoes are not laced too tightly - that can cause all sorts of foot aches and pains. This link might help:

    but there are plenty of others with similar advice.

    You've managed to run for 10 minutes, which you couldn't do before. That's some achievement. Can you find an outdoor route - running outside is much nicer and dare I say, easier and less boring, than on a treadmill! Don't give up just yet, take it slowly and steadily and maybe, hopefully, things will improve. Good luck.

  • I'm starting to think it's definitely a mental barrier. I start to panic when I glance down and see that I've been running for less time than I thought and then the panic drains my adrenalin so I feel like I'm about to die if I don't stop! It's ridiculous. somebody in the gym (who obviously didn't quite realise how little I have ever ran) said - and in a very casual manner might I add- "you should just try running 3k in 15 mins, then try it in 12". He said it as if it was the easiest thing in the world and since then I've been beating myself up for this bloody 3k in 15 mins! Now, at first I thought I would just stick to the podcasts and not worry about that goal but then I had a really good run and managed to get to 2.8 k in 14 mins and was sooooo chuffed because I didn't really feel like I was even trying that hard. But since then it all went down hill and that's when the dreaded ten minute wall has hit me every time. I admit I do try to run faster to get my distance up but it kills me and I feel like I'm not getting anywhere when I jog slowly, silly I know.

  • But the point is - you ARE getting're getting stronger!! Slow running is hard but really helps build stamina. And treadmill running must be so boring - I have a cross-trainer at home but get bored witless after 10 minutes too, which is why I run outdoors. So much to see and hear, you lose track of time.

    Forget the idiot who said 3k in 15 mins. Blimey, I wish!! I'm thrilled to bits if I do it in 18:00. Apart from anything else, you're putting yourself at risk of injury if you try to reach that before you're ready. You're still a beginner at this lark. Just run at a pace that feels comfortable, doesn't matter what time/pace it is. Follow the podcasts or app and don't worry about anyone else. You're doing this for you, not them!

  • Hi Brobot, not sure what week you are on but as you mention 10 minutes I'm guessing you're around week 5?

    Firstly, do be careful with your ankle, if it persists seek advice - if you've had gait analysis go back and have a chat with the sales assistant, or try a physio. You shouldn't be getting pain and ploughing on may make it worse.

    A lot of running is overcoming mental barriers I agree, this is why the podcasts work, Laura counteracts the negative self-talk so many of us have, but if Laura is not for you then why not try your favourite feel-good music? If it feels hard take it down a notch, don't worry about speed, as long as you complete the run it doesn't matter if it's a jog, you're out there doing it and that's all that matters. 10 minutes is actually pretty good progress, bet you couldn't do that a few months back - keep faith in yourself and you will progress further again. You can do it! :-)

  • Are you following C25K?

  • I was. But then I stopped as I got off track and wanted to see how long I could run for to see where in the programme I should start again as week one and two seemed quite easy. I know that if I had just stuck to it I probably wouldn't be having these problems now lol

  • To be honest, if I was you (and of course I'm not), I'd go back to week 3 (or even W1 or W2!) or so and start from there. Use the podcasts and then you won't be tempted so much to look at the time on your wrist and panic - just listen to Laura instead... You'll find the runs easier if you take it back and step and rebuild from there...

    I found turning off timing information on my Garmin data screen helps me immensely... I'm not bound by pace and/or time then... I can explore those post-run! :)

    It's meant to be fun - so just take it easy!

  • Yup, best to trust the programme. Work on increasing the time you can run and building up stamina. You can do some work on your speed later, but you really need to ignore the 3km in 12 minutes guy. Try running outside - then instead of worrying about how long you've been running for you can aim for a certain lamp post or tree or whatever and see if you get there before Laura tells you that you can stop running.

    As you can do 10 minutes, then I'd imagine you'd be alright starting at W3, but don't get tempted to go "off-piste" (quoting MissWobble below) and you'll be fine.

  • Aha! I thought my Miss Marple instincts were correct. I deduced you'd gone off-piste. No good really ever came of not finishing a job. If you'd stuck to the plan you'd be Graduated by now. Instead of which you decided to go for the path of least resistance. Hmmm I've met your sort before. LOL

    Anyway, now that you fessed up, I'd get with the programme pronto. Let us know how you get on

  • That person in the gym who suggested running 5k in 15 minutes should be definitely ignored. I used to get hung about times when I graduated - i.e. that I still wasn't running 5k in 30 minutes. I find a nice 4-5k route near your house - and vary it - i.e. one day go clockwise and the next run go anti-clockwise (it does make it slightly more interesting). As for the ten minute mark - I sometimes still get this - if I get a niggle I think that's it, I'm off home. But I bribe myself - another minute's running and then I can stop if I feel like it - which often makes me keep going for another five minutes at least. I also find the first ten minutes of any run the hardest and once I'm over that I'm ok. Are you sure you're warmed up first and have stretched properly?

  • There is some great advice here... Draw a line under the last few weeks and go back to the podcasts with Laura at whatever week is appropriate. Keep it slow - there is time enough to worry about speed later. Stop over analysing and just let Laura take the strain and do the thinking for you. Make a pact with yourself that you will just go 'with the flow' until the 9 weeks are up. And I would so encourage you to run outside if it's at all possible, if only to keep away from the '3k in 15 minutes' idiot!

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