Couch to 5K
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positive news & W5R3 Saturday

I saw a physiotherapist this morning about my back issue. The good news is that I can keep on running and exercising - which I am so very pleased about!

The issue I'm having is more my left lower back around the SI joint. Apparently my muscles are all tightened up and knotted so the physio is going to work on my lower back massaging it to loosen the muscles up. The physio is confident he can knock the pain on the head with massage. I'll need 6 sessions, possibly less depending on improvement levels. I might need to go back every so often for a massage if it begins to tighten up again. But it seems it is just one of those things!

So.. phew!!

Now.. I have got W5R3 next. And frankly, I'm peeing myself about it. The thought of running for 20 mins is overwhelming. I need some positivity. Physically I think I can manage it because I run soooo slowly but mentally how on earth do you approach this?? Any advice gratefully received :)

27 Replies

Hi Manc! Great news on the back :-) WK5R3 is more of an exercise in gremlin management than in legs - I remember it vividly. Try and experience the run, feel the good bits - just being able to keep bobbing along feels good! But, when my inner-spud started telling me I couldn't do it, I found myself doing a mental checklist - legs? OK, tired but working; lungs? OK, breathing heavy but not laboured; heart? OK, still going, seems to be behaving itself; conclusion - inner-spud trying to put me back on the couch - it was enough to keep me going 'til the end :-) Hope it helps. Good luck! If you've done everything so far you should trust Laura and the program and go for it.


mental checklist is a great idea - thanks! :)


That is such wonderful news! Thank you for sharing it.

And as for how do you mentally approach w5r3? You've just been given the answer by your physio. You thought you might have to stop running. It turns out that actually you don't, you'll be perfectly fine with some massage. If you can turn a corner like that, then 20 minutes is going to be like (pardon the pun) a run in the park. Easy peasy lemon squeazy in comparison to having to give up running completely.

You will totally ace w5r3, it's yours now, you own it. Your good news gave you the victory before you went left the house. All you need to do now is put one foot in front of the other for 20 short minutes. That's far less time than you have spent worrying about your back, so the running is going to be no sweat at all.

Now go and make us all proud :)


will do! Thank you :)


Good news.




Great news :-)


thanks :)


Just go for it - that 20 minutes will be over before you know it, and I bet you'll have a huge grin on your face when you complete it - I know I did! You'll find that once you're running with a rhythm, it's easire to keep running than you think, and in many ways easier than the interval running, with the interruptions from the walks.

Good luck - report back!


will do - thanks for your encouragement :)


Four strategies work for me...

1) You know that you can already run for 8+8minutes, that's 16 minutes in total (yep, just ignore the walking part in between the 8 runs :-) ) and now you just have to run for another 4 minutes. You can definitely run for 4 minutes, so you'll have no problem running for 20 minutes. Mind games. Just run those 4 additional minutes at the start of the run, then go on to run the 16 minutes you've done W5r2.

2) When you start to get tired, start to split the run into manageable sections. 'I'll run to that lamppost', 'I'll slow up a bit when I get into that shadow', 'after the next driveway I'll go a bit faster'.

3) Pick a route that you've not run before. That way, the scenery will distract you, and you'll never run past a part of your run where you have stopped on an earlier run (I have assumed you're running outside)

4) When the gremlins start saying "you can stop whenever you want", do a quick sense-check of your body. This is the Potty strategy above. Is your breathing OK? Are your legs in any physical pain? Is your heart-rate OK? Unless there is a medical reason for you to stop, there is no other reason for you to stop running. You can use this with strategy 3, too - ignore the gremlin, and reassess your medical condition when you get to the next corner, or at the end of the next song. You'll have finished the run before you know it.

Great that your back is going to be OK. Now, defeat W5r3 and it will be all down-hill from W6 to W9 and graduation.


those are great strategies - thank you! I'm unsure about a different route though as the other routes i could take involve hills/inclines and I'm not sure I could cope with those as well as running for 20 mins for the first time. :)


It's a mind game this run, as has already been said. I was going to say something similar to MarkyD. Good advice there!

Another thing I like to do is really focus on my arms. It sounds weird but it helps me LOL! When you start to think you are struggling, and the gremlins start, focus on using your arms to help you run more. It does two things, takes your mind off your legs and breathing momentarily, and it physically propels you forwards.

You've already done the training for this - and you can do it! Good luck :) xx


thanks spiky - good advice :)


Oh, one more trick that sometimes help... when you want to stop after 15 minutes (or whatever number), question yourself whether you REALLY want to have to go through this again, running 15 minutes again the day after tomorrow plus the extra 5 you still need to go? With all the hard work you've put into the run already, do you really want to back down and have to go through this again? Hell no, far easier to just carry on for 5 minutes more now.


good tip - thank you! :)


Great news about being able to continue to run.

I did wk 5, run 3 last Friday and it really wasn't as bad as I had built it up to be. It was hard, don't bet me wrong, and I was very, very slow.

The first 15 minutes were okay but the last 5 were really, really hard. But I just kept thinking to myself "I've done 15 minutes, I'm 3/4 of the way there - I am NOT repeating it".

The last two minutes were awful - I felt like I was dragging myself along but I just kept focusing on what was ahead of me - a bench so far along so if my two minutes ended there I could collapse onto it. Passed that - oh a wall, I can collapse onto that if Laura says I've done it. Sod going straight into the 5 minute cool down - I'm having a 30 second breather! I ended up collapsing onto a post as soon as Laura chirped up to tell me I'd done it.

One word of advise - I found wk 6, day 1 harder than wk 5, day 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


eeek Week 6, haven't thought that far ahead!!!!!

thanks for your advice. am sure I'll be having a breather after 20mins of running ;)


I thought that once I got half way, then mentally I couldn't give up, the first 5 mins are always the hardest though for me,, I rewarded myself with 1 little tic tac mint each time 5 mins was up,( works for me but be careful not to inhale it if puffing, my OH told me this &now i worry when I recommend it! ) once I got to 15 mins there was NO WAYi was gonna give up, it really is the best feeling when you stop after 20 mins and you stay chuffed all day long! :) also the incentive of a really nice breakfast/dinner/snack after and a giant cuppa always helps me along! Good luck you'll be great , I agree week 6 run 1 seems worse somehow! :x


thanks aliboo... does Laura say when you've reached every 5 mins?

Having a lovely breakfast to look forward to sounds good :)


Hi Mpoodle, sorry to hear about your back but fingers crossed it will get sorted with the physio. I was apprehensive last week and excited about doing the 20 mins and as has been said it wasn't that long, only advice would be make sure you do plenty of stretches before hand. I didn't do many and found my calves tightened up whilst running but it was ok and you'll be fine. I've got 25 mins saturday and tbh not had a great run tonight W6R2. But keep focussed and you'll be fine. Us plodders get there in the end. Good luck and hope you feel better x


thanks Julia for reminding me about stretching before hand. I always seem to remember that I haven't stretched about 3 mins to the brisk walk! I shall make a concerted effort to remember to stretch before my run on Saturday.

Yep.. am certainly a plodder. I just hope I can plod for 20 mins!!!! ;)


Hi Poodle, good news that you can keep running, that must be very reassuring for you.

I broke the 20 minutes down into 5 minute chunks in my head, it really helped me.

You can do this y'know. Everyone here felt the same about this run, but the programme is designed to build up your mental strength too and it is do-able.

Just do what youve been doing, take it slow and steady. Keep calm, Deep breaths...

Enjoy it , you are going to be so chuffed with yourself and you can come on here and tell us that you did it and how amazing you feel ! :-)

Good Luck Poodle, you can do it, believe it ! :-) xxx


Hi Poppypug, thanks am really pleased I can keep running. Thanks for the advice about breaking it down into 5 min chunks. Does Laura pipe up after every 5 mins?

I so hope I can do this run. I am determined I will do it.

Well defo let you know how I get on.

Thanks again,

xxx :)


Laura definitely gives you loads of encouragement on the podcast Poodle. I am not sure if it's every five minutes but she does pipe up pretty regular . Have a read of the week 5 posts , they were such a big help to me . You're not alone Poodle , everyone felt the same as you about this one . You can do it xxx

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Thanks. I'll have a look at the week 5 posts. I don't know why I'm so nervous. Argh!! X


Its normal to be nervous Poodle, youre venturing into the unknown. Honestly you can do it , I promise , cross my heart :-)

You are going to feel sooo amazing when you finish this one ! :-) xxx


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