Couch to 5K
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Finding Week 4 too hard. Keep at it or back to Week 3?

I have tried week 4 run 1 twice and failed both times :(

I can manage the 3min, 5min and 3min but no way on earth can I do the last 5!

Should I keep trying or go back to week three?

I'd love some advice from anyone who has been there! Not being able to complete is making me doubt that 5K will ever happen ....

10 Replies

Hi. I remember that one being tricky too. You probably need to slow down. I was running far too fast. Try it again, after your rest day and really lower your speed. At first I found that hard to do. I couldn't get into a rhythm but changed my music to slower tempo and after a few minutes it clicks. You get your stride pattern and before long those minutes tick by. Good luck. Don't give up. You can do it just slow it down and think positive.


try both and see what works for you. Go back and repeat W3 then have another crack at W4.

There are no time penalties in C25k. You will not be penalised for repeating sections, nor will it make you any less of a runner if it takes you longer to achieve your target.

We are all different and starting from different levels of fitness/ joint flexibility etc. The programme works a progressive route to building stamina and running ability but there are no hard and fast rules about how long you need to achieve each step. It is important to listen to your body and if it is saying W4 is a step (or lots of repeated steps) too far this week, then do some more W3 until it is ready. Just don't listen if it wants to give up.

"Real" runners (as in elite athletes at world level), measure their training improvements in tiny increments over periods of months, seasons, years even. A week here or there is of not import at all. Stick with the programme at whatever speed suits you and you will succeed.


What good advice. You should be a counsellor, Rignold!


Everything he said :)


Excellent advice above. You may be setting out too fast and using up your energy on the first runs, so take it slow from the outset. Your body can do this - it is probably your mind that thinks it can't manage. We never use the 'fail' word on here. Sometimes it just takes a little bit longer to achieve a particular run. Stick with it and let us know how it goes.


I tend to agree with everything that's been said, except that sometimes it's possible to just get stuck and the more you repeat, the harder it is to move on. It can be so demoralising. You reach the same point and the voices in your head tell you you've reached your limit and you can't go any further. And you believe them.

Have a talk with yourself before you leave. Make yourself run a few more steps, whatever the voices say. Even if it's to the next lamp post or driveway or road sign, that's a success. Once you've done that, it could be enough to break the cycle and you can complete the run.

However, *definitely* slow down, *definitely* repeat if you really feel that would help but don't get hung up on that last 5 minutes. Do what you can, then forget it and go on to the next run.

1 like

I don't know why but I actually find the final five minute run easier than the first. Weird.


When I struggled (W3) I went back and done an extended version of the previous week, i.e. same run/walk ratios but more reps. That worked for me.

Stick at it, you ran for 11 mins before even trying the last 5 min run, that's more than you were doing in W3!


Me too Thanks. I never stretched be for the run but felt like I needed to during it. The stretch hurts as much as the running pain. Could not complete my first 5min run due to the calf pain. Waked for 5 mins (paused the run) and then completed. Will keep stretching thanks for the response.


Hey emmacoo2. How have you been getting on with week 4 after your difficulties? I too have found 4 the hardest. I completed the runs, but had to extend my walk time eg run 3 mins, walk 2 mins, run 5 mins walk 3 mins etc.... I am doing w4r3 tomorrow after a 3 day gap... fingers crossed. I would say just stick with week 4 there is no shame in repeating till you ace it. That is what I am going to do. Good luck!


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