Is it really possible to hit 'THE WALL' in wee... - Couch to 5K

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Is it really possible to hit 'THE WALL' in week 6 :(


Ok, title says it all really. Ran week one of week 6, expecting it to be easy ( I've run for 20 minutes already and done 2 5k park runs) and I was a mess... a rasping, chest hurting , overcome by negativity mess.

I'm ashamed, embarrassed and feel like I am back to square one and made no progress. I don't want to quit, but I don't know how to keep going if I can't run for 8 minutes and not feel like I've just run a marathon.

Feeling despondent, Beth :(

19 Replies

To follow on from aboe ( as can't find an 'edit' button) So well have I been doing and so convinced I COULD do this I started a running blog. There is a positive 'about me' page, a fact based first post and a despondent 2nd one and that's it :( runningfortherainbow.wordpr...

Is all hope gone ? :(


Week 6 was my nemesis!

My problem: I was going too fast and it was overheating due to the hot weather - I felt like it nearly killed me - and that was after I gave up at 18 minutes.

I know what you mean about feeling like a failure, I felt the same, but you aren't at all. If you have got to this point, you CAN do it. You just need to have another go.

Stay upbeat and just try again, but I would suggest you go at a slightly slower pace. It worked for me and it was the first point on the programme that I realised my pace was WAY too fast. I slowed it down and even then, when I made it to W7 (just finished today) I am running 5k in around 25 minutes at my 'slow' pace.

You can do it. Don't feel down, if you have got to this point you are nearly there!!


Now week 6 catches loads of people out. After the euphoria of running for 20 minutes there is something about the return to intervals that is very tricky and lots of people find it hard. Maysie1 is spot on with er advice to slow it down. This is all about building stamina so slow and steady is the mantra. You are the same person that achieved 20 mins running last week - you can do this!


Ah - the week 6 wall! Yes - it's a tricky one... the secret seems to be "slow and steady". I think it's easy to think that after W5R3 that W6R1 will be a bit easier... unfortunately it's not quite the case. The intervals are set to train you for endurance and stamina...

You can do it - you just need to go SLOW... :) You already did 20 minutes non-stop... you can do this... slow and steady - it's not a race... it's physical endurance and a mental challenge... slow it down..


This is a programme, which infers a period of time has to elapse from start to finish. It's not achieved in one hit. I think some peeps are wanting to rush things.

You learn to pace yourself. If you slow down then the everything will slot into place and you can start to enjoy your runs instead of fighting the rising panic all the while.

Give yourself a break and calm down. You're meant to be enjoying this. So chill! That's an order.

Set yourself the challenge of enjoying your next run. Be slow and jog round, take your walking breaks when Laura tells you to and you'll be done in no time. It's like any task in life, if you try and do it too quick you get all het up and end up all thumbs. A bit like those tasks against the clock on the Generation Game! You don't tackle the wallpapering hell for leather do you? You have to take time to prepare, get all the tools for the job set out beforehand, clear the decks, have everything in place that you'll need to finish the job. You know if you do that then you'll do a good job and everything will run smoothly and at the end, when it's done, you can stand back and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Let us know how you get on!

Thank you so much for your replies, I so, so appreciate it. It doesn't help that my hubby is an ex amazing runner ( 10 miles was like a walk in the park for him!) and whilst he is trying to be supportive, he doesn't 'get' my angst as running has never been a problem for him :(

I'd love my problem to be going too fast- oh how I wish it was going too fast! But I have done two 5k parkruns now and my timings are awful ( they aren't the reasons I attempted it... i was just pleased to have finished it and to be alive!) The first was a little over 39 minutes and the 2nd was 36 minutes..... so there is no way I can be going too fast :( BUT, I was really proud of myself as I am nearly 40, never run in my life, ex heavy ( very heavy smoker) and Mum of two.....I'm never going to be Paula Radcliffe but i would like to get to 10 minute miles at least.

Today is a rest day- i am going to try and find the time to make up my own set of inspirational songs as music has got me through alot and I'm going to keep reading these comments to remind myself I CAN do it..... I realise now how much mental strength running takes. It is like my glutes and hamstrings are coming along a treat but my mental strength is being zapped by negative Nora! I am also going to try and motivate myself somehow, remind myself WHY I'm wanting to run ( health, fitness, but perosnal achievement and self confidence AND to raise money for charity.

Huge thanks again, Beth x


Sweetie your Parkrun times aren't awful! Actually, they're really really good for a novice runner. Don't judge yourself against your husband's times and achievements, just concentrate on what you can do. Loads of people have said it already, but slow right down, then slow down some more. It's the only way to do it. Speed will come later when you've built up your strength. good luck for your next run :)


I think MissWobble's advice is very good. You say you have already done two 5k runs, yet you are on week 6 of the C25k programme, so have 3+ weeks left to complete before you should be running 5k.

Don't try to run before you can walk (sorry for the poor analogy). If you set small achievable goals - like the programme does, then you will be fine.

Don't worry about your husbands running ability, he is not you, so what he can/cannot do isn't relevant to YOUR progression.

And if he doesnt get it, just quote my mothers old line, 'no-one likes a smart ar$£' anyway.

Thanks Maysie1. I agree, misswobble's advice is fab and I also need to think about myself like a single wallpapering project rather than trying to DIY a whole house on my own- in a day! and I definitely agree that I need to stop trying run before I can walk!

I like your mother's line too - I will think that next time he's wittering about his amazing 8 minute miles and half marathon training ;) ( he also has never smoked or had two kids... I need to remember this... I am an average woman, not an elite athelet who's just let themselves' go a bit.'

I am going to miss my run tonight aswell.... so that says alot doesn't it? If i was ready to quit, I'd feel relief.Plus the fact, I am NOT a quitter.... often a disappinted perfectionist but not a quitter! :)

Many Thanks for building my confidence and keeping me motivated- wish you could all come running with me and I'd be fine :D

Beth x


39 mins and 36 mins for Parkrun at W6 ? You may very well be going too fast.....


I agree with henpen - 36 minutes for 5K before you've even finished the programme is really fast! I'm doing my first 5K since graduation on Saturday and I reckon I'll be lucky to see this side of 45 minutes at my current pace ;-)


Oh, the dreaded w6! You're not alone :) Many, including myself, have been caught out by w6. It's a strange one indeed. Don't be too hard on yourself. You have come a long way and it hasn't been a waste of time. Continue as you are and I'm sure you will be fine.

Those are great times for a 5k park run! I graduated a good few weeks ago now and am 29 and 5k takes me anywhere between 31 and 33 minutes so I think you're doing brilliantly!

I was warned about week 6 as you get a surge of confidence from week 5's 20 minute run and then maybe take week 6 at a good pace expecting it to be easy and it really is not!

Be kind to yourself you're doing really well, I think everyone has a few bad runs which leave you feeling like giving up and the best thing to do is get back out there :-)


When it gets tougher to run simply slow down but keep going. As long as you aren't experiencing any pain then sometimes it's mind over matter and learning to quieten those gremlins telling you that you can't run any further. You can and you will.


Don't be down, RFTR! You've run for 20 minutes in W5r3 and then W6 comes along, looking all innocent and without a care in the world. And then claims another victim. Many folks here would say W6 is the unexpected, hardest week. It is a transition, intended to build your stamina.

My advice is simple - run slower (yes, even slower), make sure you are adequately fuelled and watered before you go (by now you'll know what works for you) and try out a new running route (find some new scenery to distract you and give you something new to look at).

You'll conquer W6r2 and we all know that you can do it!


Wk6R1 caught me out too, so did Wk9R2, sometimes you have a good one, sometimes you don't, keep going though, you can do this :-) (also ex heavy smoker, mum & 5 stone overweight!)


Yep, the awful, sneaky week 6! Caught me out just need to slow down a bit and keep plugging away...BTW, I wouldn't say too loudly that those 5KM times are awful, most of us here are still trying to get to 5KM, let alone achieve it in what seems like very respectable times.

Thank you so much for your support and advice, i really appreciate it. I am looking forward to my run tonight and am going to make sure I really slow down. I thought I was running slowly but everything is relative. It was suggested I try a parkrun ( by very competent runners who meant well) , so I did but of course then comes the comparing which is silly as I am a total beginner. For me, those times are AMAZING curlygirly... and I was so pleased, like I say to even finish and in one piece was a major achievement- it certainly wasn't easy. But it comes back to the comparing thing again and even though, logically I know I shouldn't compare my times to people who have been running alot longer than me and probably at least 10 years younger.... I dunno, I originally found it weirdly motivating to try and, if not keep up, at least push harder. i realise now how silly that was as I have been so disappointed by something I should be over the moon about- I am trying to run before I can , well, run really :(

Soooo, I am going to leave the parkruns until I have completed the program- I want to enjoy it and be pleased with my little achievements rather than chasing times etc really If anything I'd love to get into trail running in the next few years- just for the sheer joy of being out there and the freedom. I'm not going to even contemplate that if I beat myself up for not being an athlete in 6 weeks! Not everyone can be a Usain Bolt or a Paul Radcliffe but we can all better ourselves. I will stick on my favourite tunes tonight and be proud of how far I've come:)

Huge, huge thanks again for advice, talking sense to me and keeping me going- you are all fabulous :)


I found week 6 the second hardest (after week 1 - actually getting out there and doing it was vvv hard), I got all complacent after week 5 run 3 and running 20 minutes, I really struggled with the whole of week 6 and repeated a few of the runs a few times and almost gave up. The key is to go slow - I found I completed the 20 minute run in week 5 by going very slow and in week 6 run 1 ran too fast. It's all about rhythm and pace.

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