It's so tough: I attempted week 1 run 1 and... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
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It's so tough

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I attempted week 1 run 1 and found that I couldn't complete it. I could not control my breathing. Plus my legs felt so heavy. I only managed three rounds. I am so down as I can't even complete the beginners run. It doesn't help that I hate being out of breath and sweating.

has anyone else experienced this? If so any tips on how to overcome this?

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Hi PK. It sounds like you may be trying to go too fast. I know this sounds crazy, but speed is really not what is needed at the start. To put it in context, it does not matter if your 'jogging speed' is slower than your 'walking speed'!

When I started, I could hardly walk up a hill without being out of breath. I hated running at school and like you I also hated being out of breath and sweaty. Things get better as you progress as your body changes to compensate, but sadly you will always be sweaty when running. My revelation came when I found I could jog and hold a conversation at the same time. Admittedly it was downhill though.

Don't worry if you need to retake a run. Take as much time as you need. One of the ideas behind the course is to do it in relatively small steps so that you body has time to 'get used' to the new demands being made upon it. The first step, and possibly the biggest change, is getting off the sofa and getting started and that is what you have just achieved! Well done! Don't be disheartened! You'll find it easier as you continue.

Good luck and keep going! Post regularly and we will support you all the way. The end is very much worth it.


Hey thanks for the reply. I will certainly try again and slow down. I was always rubbish at sport at school and have recently found out that I need insoles for my shoes as arches are too high which probably didn't help as my balance was off. I will start again this week! Watch this space....:-)


Originally when I decided I wanted to get fitter I went for 30 minute brisk walks three times a week. I didn't know c2 5k existed, but I don't think I'd have dared try it straight from the couch. After a couple of weeks of walking my confidence grew and I could tell I was getting faster so decided to google how to run. It can be difficult knowing how to pace yourself, even now at wk 8, but if you take your time and keep moving I'm sure you will see improvements. However slow you are going at least you are moving and increasing activity levels.

When I started it was winter so moving was the only way to keep warm, but maybe you need to think about what you are wearing so as not to overheat? I am finding that difficult now as the weather is changing and may have to invest in some alternative attire. I will watch this space for possible advice! Good luck, don't beat yourself up, keep trying and I am sure the rewards will come.

in reply to mandap

Hey thanks for replying. That's a really good idea about the walking. I might give that a go first to help build confidence. I wore a tshirt and a tracksuit top which come to think about it, is probably too much. X


It took me 7 weeks to complete week 1. Don't worry and slow down. Worry about speed after you have finished the c25k.

You managed 3 out of 8 so did you walk the rest? Maybe next time try to run 30seconds of all 8. Then if you can do that, the following run run 45 seconds or 40 seconds- whichever you prefer. Eventually you will be able to do the whole lot. My first week I ran 10 seconds and walked 2minutes x 8, and increased the 10 seconds and decreased the walk til I got to c25k week 1

in reply to helcl

Thanks for replying. It makes me feel better reading that others have had similar experiences to me. I didn't walk the rest, I gave up annoyed with myself but like you say I could have walked and still have achieved some thing. I like your idea of breaking it down further into 30 second chunks or even less. I am going to give it another go!


This was me too! Those goals can be hard to reach, but each time you go out you will find you can do a tiny little but more. And trust me, before you know it, you will complete W1R1 and be ready for the next challenge. The programme is designed to push you a bit, then help you consolidate your progress, so expect setbacks and do repeat runs if you want.

Perhaps you can celebrate that you managed 3 rounds ... which is 3 rounds more than everyone who did not make the effort you did today! I find having a goal in mind helps, be it losing weight, taking part in a race, or just enjoying that feeling of running past people huddled in the rain at a bus stop.

Keep it up!

in reply to genevan

Thanks for replying. Yes I am going to keep at it and give it another go as you are right- 3 rounds is better than nothing. I think I just need to learn to take baby steps.

in reply to Pink_kittyo

Good for you!

When I was doing c25k I went out on a run with a colleague. I wanted to give up after 2k. He said "think of reasons to keep going rather than reasons to stop." Wise words!!!

in reply to Pink_kittyo

Keep us posted .. peer support is a wonderful thing!


I am 68 years old - and I started C25k 12 months ago.

BUT - before I started C25k , I had a good look at the programme -- and decided that it was too much for me!!! Run for 1 minute - 8 times over??? I don't think so!!!

So - I started my running journey with this 7 week programme instead - It looked and was a lot gentler - starting out with running periods of only 15 seconds at a time. After 7 weeks, I was running and walking 30 seconds each at a time for distances as far as 7.2 klms!!!

This gave me the courage to tackle C25K - and I finished that after another 9 weeks.

Now I run 10K races!!! :) Who would have believed that I could do that !! :) -- and so can you!!

Wow that's great! You must feel amazing. Well done! I am going to try and take it in gentler steps. Slow and steady wins the race they say! I really appreciate you replying- thank you.

It is tough! Its supposed to be tough- if it was easy and didnt challenge you then you you wouldnt gain anything from it and you certainly wouldnt see progressive changes and improvements:)

Just keep trying- who cares if you have to complete runs- its not the end of the world and nothing bad will happen if you dont finish one (or two or three or however many!!!!). The only people who know will be us when you tell us, and we sure as hell wont judge you because we have all been there too!!:) it took me way longer than 9 weeks to complete c25k but whatever! Completing each individual week is as important and as challenging as completing the whole programme IMO.

its easy to fall into the trap of being put off from trying again when you find a run really difficult but push on thru that and eventually u will complete it!! Xx

Hey thanks for the reply. Yes you are right- if it wasn't a challenge then what's the point. I just felt so ashamed, I am feeling so much more positive now so I'm going to give it another go. I will post my progress. πŸ˜€

in reply to Pink_kittyo

Yes yes dooo! You KNOW you can do 3 of the runs so get them done and push on through to get a 4th one done, and if u can do that you have made an improvement! Thats something you could do 2 days ago, and now you can! Let us know!


You started.....well done you!!

Your experience is extremely common and mistake is generally that you are going too fast. I don't want to knock you, but you are probably not going to be selected to run in the next Olympics, but if you take it slow and steady you will complete C25k and you will become a runner.

Good luck, you can do this.

Hey thanks for the reply. Haha yes you are right- I think I have been trying to sprint thinking I'm an olympic gold medallist. ☺️

Slow down seems to be a common theme in these replies so that's what I going to do. πŸ˜€


Yes! The very first time I did C25K with my friend we struggled big time with W1 R1.

We had overdressed (and were almost melting we were so hot) and were running far too quickly.

You should only be going at a light jog, not sprinting off. It is hard to get this right to begin with.

I remember the look of sheer dread we gave each other at the end of that first run. We had signed up for Race for life - so we knew we had no choice but to keep at it. If we hadn't - i'm pretty sure we would have quit.

On a positive - we stuck with it, graduated and completed Race for Life. It was a smaller one than others, but we completed it in 22mins and were 11th & 12th over the finish line. How amazing is that - and we felt exactly like you that first run.

I stopped running for various reasons - but I'm back on the program because I KNOW it works. I'm on week 9 now (I'm running on my own this time - but all the lovely people are on this forum to share in my experiences - so I know I'm not completely on my own)

With regard to you getting hot - can you wear layers that you can peel off? Have you got a technical fabric top. These wick sweat away and keep you dry at the same time.

I'm a sweaty betty and wear a long sleeved one and these are just right for me and the weather at the moment.

Stick at it - you can do it!

in reply to Sarah-A

Hey well done on the race for life. I bet that was amazing for you. I would love to do something like that at so maybe that's something to aim for.

No I don't have technical tops- I just had a tshirt and tracksuit top so I think I might shop around.

Thanks for replying. πŸ˜€


Please don't be disheartened. You have made a great decision to sign up for this. I can't add the the good advice you have been given here- just take it slowly and at your own pace. This forum is full of stories of people(including me) who have amazed themselves with what they have achieved. We are all different and some take a little longer to get there but that's ok. Good luck with the programme. We are all willing you to succeed

Thank you so much. I can't believe how many replies I have received. It seems a very supportive and motivational forum. I going to keep at it! πŸ˜€

in reply to Pink_kittyo

We won't let you fail - we'll be with you every step of the way - as I said, just like everyone else was here for us.


Just to echo everyone else here. Slow & steady gets you there. I couldn't even run for a bus when I started & this morning I completed my first run of wk 8. I am still not fast but thats not what its about. Take your own time to do it. Redo where you need to & keep using these fantastic boards for support. You can do it. X

in reply to Noaky12

Thank you. I am going to stick with it at a slower more steady pace! πŸ˜ƒ


You have make the biggest step and have got out there. This is the hard bit. I struggled with the 60 seconds and like most people felt disheartened. I came on here and got the advise to SLOW DOWN. This is not a race and the 9 weeks is suggested but you can take as long as you need. :) Once you have cracked week 1 the rest will follow. I graduated just over a week ago and was totally amazed. You can do it. :) Good Luck :)

Thanks for your reply. Yes the generals theme on these messages is to slow down. I am going to try that and see how I get on. If I don't make it, I will try and beat it the next time. I feel much more positive now.

I so know how you feel... I think I started not from the couch but from a fetal position on the floor! This is my fifth attempt to complete the program and this time I am only a week away from making it.

It took me three weeks to get through the first week and some weeks I need to repeat a day a few times to get through it. I also found I needed a couple of days between running to recover sometimes... my poor legs are moving a lot of weight.

And like other have said go slow... like really slow... just a bit faster then walking slow... speed will come.

Don't give up... most people started out like you and me... just keep going... if I can do it so can you! :)

Thanks for replying. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. I will keep at it. πŸ˜ƒ

in reply to Endlesslybreathe

Well done endlessly - what an inspiration. Good luck for your exciting last week.


Yes, I agree with what everyone else has said - go way slower than you think you should. Don't give up - you'll be amazed by the progress you will make! Good luck :)


Can't add to the excellent advice above - just to wish you good luck! Stick at it, it's so worth it!


You have made a start, that's fantastic! Don't worry about what you didn't do, celebrate what you did. Set a small target for your next run and don't go to fast. You will get there in the long run.


I never sweated until about wk 5 - sounds like you're going a million miles too fast. And hey, we don't do failures on this forum - what you mean is, gosh, I completed 3 rounds - so well done. That's 3 minutes more running than last week. Well done. This forum is the only thing that kept me going. I scanned the replies below - its not easy, no, otherwise there would be no gain. And oh, the aching legs, I hate that and it was really bad the first week, after that, everything got a bit better - but every, and I mean every, stage is tough. I have always maintained also, that the first run of week 1 is the worst. Please keep going - you'll be carried along on the euphoria of success after a while. And you clearly want to do it as you're already looking to this forum which is exactly what its here for and everyone, without exception, has had support from people who are, afterall, just a few weeks ahead of you and have been in exactly the place you are now. Good luck. Sorry to go on - but I'm just so passionate about it - and I hadn't run for 40 years.

Thanks for replying. I don't think you went on at all. It's really nice to hear other experiences. I think I was trying to go too fast. I am going to keep at it and hopefully I will get the bug! πŸ˜ƒ

yes yes yes - i didnt complete my first one, had to sit out a run on my third. go mega slow as your legs need to learn how to run first. ive repeated wk1 twice and just done wk1r1 for the thrid time xxx

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