Couch to 5K
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Feeling frustrated

After progressing through the 9 weeks without too many problems I now feel that I've hit a wall. Just can't seem to get passed 30 mins (4k). Tried slowing down, changing the route, using Laura, not using Laura but I just feel I have nothing left in my legs and have to stop and walk. I really want to be able to run 5k and enter a park run with my sister but I don't want to if I have to walk part of it. Oh well will just keep on getting out there and giving it a go. I'm only running at the moment should I be doing something else to improve my fitness?

9 Replies

You've been running for approx 9 weeks which is not long is it, in the scheme of things. It takes quite a while from a standing start straight off the couch to be able to run 5k. There is nothing wrong with taking a breather! I don't know why some runners feel that there is. I have been running nearly a year and I take breathers all the time. They allow you to finish a run which you might not otherwise do if you hadn't stopped to get your breath back. Many of us here do stops or slow-downs routinely and it's very useful when you start running longer distances

Do the Parkrun! You'll have a great time. Running is supposed to be fun not a dreaded chore. It's ok to enjoy it you know. If you relax and just enjoy the run you might your time increases.

Improving your fitness is a good idea and you should include other exercise on your days off, eg cycling, walking, swimming or exercise at the gym or at home to fitness DVD's. I do Jillian Michaels ones. I walk a lot too


Thanks misswobble (not! I saw your photo!). You're right I'm probably expecting too much too soon! When I think about it it's amazing I've got as far as I have. Actually had a feeble attempt at jillian Michaels 30 day shred yesterday and I can really feel it today so think I need to work at my overall fitness. Think I'll go out without watches and trackers next time and not worry about how long or how far and if I need to walk a bit well so what!!


I felt the same way when I finished. I had signed up for a 5k run one month later and thought I wouldn't be able to do it. I was discouraged.

I did 30 minute runs for a bit. Then for two weeks I ran 30 minutes twice a week and on the 3rd run tried to increase to 33 and then 35 minutes. Then I forced myself to do 5k as my 3rd run of the next week whether I had to walk or not. I did end up walking for a bit near the end. The week after I did one more 5k without walking.

I was very nervous about the 5k run but I figured that if I had to walk a bit it wouldn't be the end of the world. I didn't end up walking at the run but did slow down a lot a couple of times. There were many people that walked during parts of the run and some of them had very fast times.

I think that I had a mental block about going for more than 30 minutes. Signing up for a race or going to a park run is a good way of encouraging, if not forcing yourself to run longer. It's motivating to be in a large group with the same goal. You get caught up in the moment and end up doing your best.

Try an organized run. They're a lot of fun! You'll end up getting hooked.

Maybe on your rest days you can walk, cycle or do exercises such as squats, lunges and the plank.

Hang in there! You'll be doing longer runs soon


Thanks for the wise words. I'm going to try to improve by overall fitness and stop looking at the clock!


Don't be so hard on yourself!

What you have achieved in a relatively short time is really amazing, so don't beat yourself up by setting yourself more targets yet. Just stick with the running and enjoy it.

With each run your fitness and stamina will improve (whether you realise it or not) and soon you will be making longer runs with no problems.

If setting targets means you aren't enjoying it, then you won't want to do it any more - which will be worse!

Keep smiling (and running). :)


Thanks Maysie. I just expected to be able to continue adding a few minutes each week.


If you want to run 5k, my advice would be to enter a Parkrun and just do it!

I ran my first 5k and first race last weekend. Previously, the longest I'd run was 30 mins over 3.7km and I ran the 5k in 42 mins. I got a bit muddled at the start and didn't have my headphones in or music lined up, so when I got to the halfway point I walked for a few minutes, sorted out my music and had a drink to settle myself before taking off again.

Funnily enough, some of the faster runners would steam past me at a fast clip and then slow down to a walk for a section, almost like they were doing intervals. I'm like you though, I prefer running continuously.

I was one of the last in, but didn't care - everyone was supportive and encouraging and I felt great for just getting out and doing it. Now I have a 5k time I can work on!

If you're tired by the end of 30 mins/4km, and you're worried you may run out of steam, perhaps you could try slowing your pace down a little in the 5k and try to keep some energy in reserve to finish off the race.

Good luck! You can definitely do this :-)

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I had this issue too - 30mins/4k legs wouldn't go any further so I turned off all the notifications that told me how long/far and just ran until I couldn't do anymore - when I looked at the phone I was 30sec off 40mins so I just kept going. Longest 30secs ever !

I was def. getting hung up on how far/long so I think it's a mental not physical thing.

Hope you get there with your goal :)

Good luck !


I'm going to try that next run. Like you I think it's more a mental thing. Going to try a new route too so no clues about distance either!


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