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Couch to 5K
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Graduated...but still feeling exhausted after a run!

Hi all,

I recently graduated from the c25k programme (yay!) and am just trying to keep up with the 30 minute runs at the moment, with a view to gradually increase that to longer runs, and also increase my speed (I realised after I started using a GPS tracking app that I'm not actually averaging 5k yet!). I still find 30 minute runs challenging, although not so challenging that I am feeling awful while running or getting a stitch. I usually stop feeling tired, but also feeling like I could have run for 5 minutes more. Which is good :)

When I stop running, I do my 5 minute warm down walk home, then have some water and go for a shower. However, the evening after my run, I feel absolutely exhausted. I have been making sure to eat something after I get in as I thought it might be low blood sugar, but it just takes me forever to recover and I find myself lying on the sofa for the whole evening. I got in around 6.45 last night and even at 11, when I was getting ready for bed, I still felt knocked out.

Will it get any easier? I really enjoy the running, but have now started to dread how I feel afterwards and how long it takes me to recover. Should I just keep up with the 30 minute runs for the time being without increasing my time, until I can recover a bit better?

Thanks for any advice!

13 Replies

Yep, it will get easier. If you keep the time and distance constant, then your body will become more and more efficient at running that time and distance. Then when you eventually decide you want to be quicker or go further, it will become harder again, until your body gets used to that. And so it goes on and on and on :)

It's a good sign that you feel there is still a bit left in the tank when you stop, so I'd suggest you're probably best of doing what you do: Focus on getting a bit more used to the 30 minutes and save the increase in distance or speed a few more weeks. It *will* get easier. Promise!

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I completely agree with Tomas. You will adjust, tho' it will never actually be easy because you will do more. Don't worry about the 5k- hardly anyone is there at graduation, and lots of us never get there in 30 mins. Good Luck. Linda

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Hi Glitter (?!).

Perhaps you need a new target?

I found that after I graduated, I slacked down to 15 min runs and even dropped back to 1 sometimes 2 runs per week!

I jumped back into the C25K programme (Week 6/7) for a few runs and then jumped into Active 5k to 10k training which has seemed to fix the problem.

Leaving Laura's encouragement is very hard for some of us so we need an adjustment period.

Hope this helps.

Lord Obe


I'd be tempted to follow KK's advice and check with my GP -it shouldn't leave you so exhausted that you are dreading it. It isn't easy mind, but it will get easier.

Have you tried running at a different time of day? I prefer to run first thing (before breakfast) and I come away feeling invigorated. If I run in the evening I tend to collapse in front of the sofa and snore. It might be worth trying sometime at the weekend and see if it makes a difference.

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Thanks everyone for your advice! I think I might try to keep up with the 30 minute runs for the next couple of weeks and see how it goes. I guess it could just be that I'm still getting used to it, but will see my GP if I'm still experiencing the same issues after that! Thanks Adam for the suggestion of running in the morning - I might try running in the morning on a weekend and see if it helps.

I'll also look into the Active 5k to 10k app once I've become a bit more comfortable with 5k. It'll be nice to have another goal to work towards!


Don't forget that you don't need to make every single run a 5k. You could mix up your 3 weekly runs by doing a slow 5k, a quicker 30 minute run and a short hill work or interval training run. KK has a good point though. A quick trip to the GP would rule out anaemia, which could certainly make you feel exhausted.

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As AM says - each run doesn't need to be the same. I have 3 different types of runs which I rotate between: the 5K, a short and fast interval run (currently using the 5K+ Speed podcast), and a longer but slower plod (going up in length - was originally 6K but now anything up to 12) for when the sun is out, I've got time and I need to get out of the house and get some fresh air


Running first thing in the morning, before work always left me tired and I do physical work, so it showed in my energy levels. However, as I increased my distance on my weekend run, I found that a 5k before work became less and less tiring as I became fitter. Ten miles still leaves me dead beat for the rest of the day........so I suppose I just have to keep increasing the distance until the problem disappears.

It is important to refuel after your run, even if, like me you find that running suppresses your appetite. I find protein and carbs good and am assured by my cycling son that they are the necessary things to top up. Scrambled egg or beans on toast, along with fluid top ups, hit the mark.


Wow. That feeling you get at the end of the run... You know, the burning lungs, the aching legs, the eyes on stalks moment? That's what's it's all about. It means you just did something that 90% of the population will never do. You just nailed it. You pushed yourself beyond anything that most will never do.

I know it hurts for a little while, and it always will. But as you go forward, you will do more and more before you reach this point. Last Saturday I ran a 10k at 6 minutes per km and I was dead on my feet at the finish.... But I recovered within two minutes. The more you do, the easier the recovery will become.

Wear that (very brief) pain as a badge of honour. it separates you from everyone else.


I found in the early weeks I was up and down like a yo-yo, sometimes getting my runners high at 11 PM, that's useful lol, and sometimes feeling quite tearful for no reason. It seems to have levelled out a bit for me now, I make sure I eat a bit more, and also drink - I read your body only has the one signal for both hunger and thirst, so make sure you're hydrated. Also, why not add in some shorter faster runs? That worked for me too, the 30 min runs can seem a bit relentless...


I just posted a similar question, because I am finding I am sleepy after a run. It's not physical exhaustion, more a desire to nod off. I wonder if there is a correlation between lying around on the sofa and then not sleeping well at night, leaving you even more tired day by day? I have just acquired a Jawbone UP 24 so I can monitor steps and sleep quality, as I have a feeling I am messing up my sleep patterns. May be worth looking at your activity and sleep overall?


I'm kinda hoping it gets easier too, I seem to have reached a plateau with it all; can cope with the longer runs now but still fairly slowly, and my calves still hurt even with rest days, stretches, exercises, rollering etc... I'm assuming that taking up this running lark aged 46 is a lot different to 26 and that it will take a bit of time to reach some kind of equilibrium!

The thing which seems to happen now is that I get RAVENOUS! I have to hide all the biscuits.


Just thought I'd resurrect this thread... I decided to go to the doctor to get a blood test, just to make sure everything was ok. Apparently I have low iron levels, which probably explains why I've been feeling so tired. The doctor has suggested I take iron supplements for the next few months, then get a follow up blood test to see if I've improved.

It's pretty annoying, I don't want to have to take a break from running in case I lose momentum! I think I'm just going to keep up with the running, in the hope that my recovery gets easier as I get fitter and my iron levels increase after the supplements.

If anyone is experiencing the same as me, I'd recommend getting a blood test just to rule out any underlying causes.


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