Couch to 5K

Day 1

I attempted day 1 today and only got half way through the 3rd jogging section. I'm really disappointed. I have asthma. I am on meds for it and always use my inhaler when I exercise. I took my two puffs before I left. One while walking. Another one during one of my runs. And by the third run I was starting to have an asthma attack. My knees and feet were also hurting terribly. I exercise pretty regularly, usually walking for about two miles. I'm about eighty pounds overweight. I'm just really discouraged at this point. I figured I'd try again in two days and see if I can make it any farther. Any tips?

11 Replies

Try running really slowly. If it's still too much, Try walking fast, no running for a couple of 30 minute sessions, then try w1r1 again.

Or if you can't do all the intervals do as many as you can and then try more on the next run.


I agree try slowing down a bit, it's very easy to start off too fast. If that doesn't do it take your time doing the first run. Start off and do what you can stop and keep going out three times a week and try and add just one more interval in each time. The most important thing is to listen to your body and do not do anything that can pressurise yourself too much. Slowly but surely your body will get used to it. It's not a race and many of us on here took a lot longer than 9 weeks to do the program. Be kind to your body. Good luck.


Maybe speak to your GP/ asthma nurse and see if they can advise you a bit? Sounds like you might need a different inhaler/dose.


Yes, if your exercise level change then chances are your meds will need to change. Keep it up!



I'm almost finished week 3 now & I have chronic asthma, I was the same as you when I started just slow down try the slowest slowest jog you can, keep calm & don't breathe too fast every time you go you'll learn how to regulate your breathing a bit better, good luck :)


I slow down and try and just keep moving. Had a crappy run two days ago and was on 7.5km/h on the treadmill - I can walk that fast, but just kept going.

Also, sometimes I will go to walking when I should be running, I walk until I sort myself out and then run again (I then punish myself at the end by redoing the bits I didn't do in the middle - usually doubling it, but that's a stupid thing to do and just the way my head works".

As I run I just keep thinking "something is better than nothing". No shame in slow, no shame in redoing a run, just try to keep the feet moving. If you slow right down and can still only do 3 runs, try to do a bit of the fourth run. Each time I try and do a bit better than the time before. It helps me get through, I repeat to myself "I have done 10s better than last time, I have done 20s better than last time".

It's stupid, but whatever gets you through.


Hey don't worry about are off the couch...just go slowly.when I started I swear my jog was slower than my walk...but now I can comfortably jog for 30 minutes..still relatively slow but big improvement on when I started.....there is no rush to get the programme finished...good luck😊


Lots of peeps run with asthma so it's do-able. Just take it slowly and steadily ☺


As others have said, just try to build up gently - it's bound to be a shock to the system! If your feet and knees hurt, it may be worth getting some proper cushioned running shoes if you don't already have them. You could also consider running on a softer surface - short grass rather than concrete. A treadmill also can be a bit kinder on the joints initially (albeit, a lot more boring!).

A good idea to have a chat to your GP - I'm sure they would want to support your efforts.

Good luck - let us know how it goes.


First of all, well done for starting this programme. Don't be discouraged - loads of people run with asthma, so it is possible. I developed asthma at around Week 3 which was irritating, to say the least. I was 49 when I started and 3 stone heavier than now which puts me at probably 4 and a half stone heavier than my BMI says I should be. It was mild exercise-induced asthma but now is considerably worse if it's cold or if I get a bad chesty cold (I get bronchitis). Anyway, I'm on two puffs of Seretide (purple inhaler) morning and night and then Ventolin 30 minutes before I run. The key is to take the inhaler 30 minutes before you go, so all the tubes can open up :D . But why not go and discuss it with your GP or asthma nurse? They should be able to review and give you better advice than I can - that's just what works for me.

As others have said, take it really slowly at the start as well. You'll find many of us on here who've said that people can walk faster than they are running, and that's fine! Your knees and feet will get used to it. Walking is a different action from running so everything will feel odd. Take an extra rest day - it really doesn't matter. Try only doing 30 second runs rather than 60 seconds. But don't give up! All the very best to you.


I have no knowledge of asthma and suggest you take some advice from your support nurse on how best to manage it. Certainly you need to keep your breathing stable which probably means slowing down. Next time you try, here's hoping you get further.


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