Struggling to get back in the zone, but at least I'm still fitter than before c25k

I had a couple of weeks out of it with a bug, then a crazy catch up week, overworked plus two inconveniently timed job interviews (neither of which I got), then a 3 day mini holiday, and now I'm again in catch up mode with loads of work to do. I'm trying to still do my runs, but I haven't got a plan, and I'm not getting in the zone when I run. I'm also running less, having only done 4 runs since the beginning of May. All previous plans and motivations have gone out the window. I'm running a 3.5k circuit at approx 8min/k, which is not a comfortable pace - I feel out of breath the whole time and struggle to really start flying with the running. I really want to get back to the 7min30sec/k I was running in week 9. I need to change something, find a way of working back to 5k at a better pace, perhaps build up fitness another way through core exercises, do interval style runs etc. I really want it to start being enjoyable again! I keep telling myself at least I'm still out running :)

On a positive note - on holiday me and my boyfriend did some very long and hilly walks. He was incredulous that I was keeping up with his long-legged pace, and we were even overtaking other walkers. I was also pacing us, e.g. when we were walking the seven sisters (not the North London one, the Sussex cliffs), I was working out we'll be at the top of the next one in 5 minutes, then the one after another 10 minutes, ooh we can do that one quicker as it's less steep, let's say 5 minutes, then it'll be 15 minutes along the river estuary to the tea room for cake. And then the whole thing in reverse to get back to the car afterwards. In the past I'd be needing regular sit-downs to recover with my inhaler, and my bf would be getting itchy feet wanting to walk further, me limiting him with my lack of fitness. I think c25k has made the difference :)


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21 Replies

  • Glad to see you're still with us ruth, missed your posts. So the wheels have come off a bit recently, don't feel disillusioned, it's happened to most of us at one time or another. You must have retained a considerable amount of fitness to climb those hills, or was the carrot dangling in front the cake?? Please come back to it, take it slowly and enjoy it, it is meant to be fun after all, not another stick to beat ourselves up with. Maybe you need an incentive ..........

  • The tea room was an excellent incentive, but not sure I could incorporate that into a 3x a week running routine. Good to hear from you sparky :)

  • It might help to have a plan to focus on. I am using a My Asics plan which is pretty good. You put in your details - distance & time you are aiming for and when you want to run it eg a 10k in September taking 1 hour 30 mins. The site then generates a plan based on 3 or 4 runs a week - you chose how many times a week you want to run. Your plan details when & at what pace you run, there is also flexibility in that you can change your days if you need to. I've found it helps me to have something to focus on. Good luck.

  • Thanks for your advice Megzig. I definitely need some kind of plan. I don't really want to work towards 10k though, more like 5k, so I can do a park run. I'm think maybe I could work towards 7k, then 5k wouldn't always be the furthest distance I've done and therefore the most difficult. I just googled 7k running plans and found this, the warm up photos in gorilla costumes at the end are amazing, made this tired girl smile anyway :)

  • Good to hear from you RCR. Hope you get you running mojo back soon.

    A goal/plan to focus your efforts could help.

  • Hi Dunder. Thanks, working out what that goal/plan is really... how are you getting on? Did I miss your graduation? Hope all going well :)

  • Going well thanks and yes you missed my graduation. I forgive you though ;)

  • You might be putting too much pressure on yourself Ruth as you have been through a lot. Your fitness has improved, you are still running but clearly not enjoying it as you used to. Why not try and slow right down for your 3.5K route and relish in it, taking in the sights and sounds around you. Just run for the pleasure of it and see where it takes you.

    Or, if you want more structure you could try the podcasts again but running very slowly on the walk sections and running faster in the run sections. What about the speed/stamina podcasts? Just mix it up a bit, maybe a different route might be enough to get your mojo back.

  • Hi Ruth, don't beat yourself up, that never helps! You probably are putting too much pressure on yourself. I did the same. Maybe do less (ie shorter/slower runs) a bit more often? You might enjoy them more and remember why you liked running so much, especially when the sun is shining and everyone's looking cheerful. Your walk sounds great, and so good that you feel so much fitter. I was near Seven Sisters a couple of weeks ago and actually fell over, much to the amusement of my kids!! I was trying to come down a big hill very carefully because of the leg that I hurt running and went head over heels lol. Anyway, keep us posted. I'm back on week 4 now - did week 3 last week. It's actually really good fun going back to the old podcasts and realising how far we've come. You could give that a go too? I'm looking forward to doing week 5 again next :)

  • Hey GLudwig. I was going to go back through the podcasts too but first I had that cold after doing only week 1 and then I broke my running headphones. My other transcribing headphones don't hold firmly enough in my ears to risk running with them, and also I can't afford to replace them if they broke too! My engineer bf is trying to fix my running headphones, but in meantime am running with just the sound of my heavy breathing and nice water-birds...

    Sorry to hear you fell over - that sounds frustrating more than comic - you need to look after yourself! I felt so chuffed to be feeling fit enough for long walks, overtaking people with those proper climbing sticks and walking boots etc. It was mega windy though, and slidy on the slopes with all that chalk. You're lucky to be near nice country walks like that. I've got my canals, but it's not the same as having a proper horizon line, sea air, hills and nature all around you... Keep posting too. I thought I had nothing to say and then I realised having nothing to say is a thing in itself and it all came out!

  • You are an audio transcriber too?!

  • For now, til that job finishes and I move onto the next one!

  • Same here!

  • Oh! Wow. I'm not stalking you, honest...

  • Am also a part-time student, bookkeeper, proofreader, tester and (very) occasional lecturer, so could probably find common ground with a few people!

  • You're a bit more varied than me then. I'm just on the audio every day. The running is even more in need after a day of that! I've got a great big file for the long weekend, so am def going to try and fit in a run today. Week 5, Run 1 for me this time. My leg's feeling way better now, so I'm hoping that's the end of it. Are you running today? What's your plan for your next one? PS I work for a London company (TN) - would be a real coincidence if we were both on the same books.

  • Yes it would be, no I'm not working for the same company! I'm generally freelance doing odd jobs for students, lecturers etc. I'm currently nearing the end of a series of 8 interviews, doing the 7th one today. In the past I've done panel discussions and interviews for academic journals, they can be quite interesting. But more often I'm doing the proofreading (more dull). I'm actually also sending round my CV for more work at the moment. One suggestion I've been given is to work for disabled (e.g. blind) students who dictate their essays and I would type them up. I was going to run this morning but after a long bike ride yesterday I slept in til 9am and had to just get up and start working straight away. I'll run tomorrow a.m. tho. (need to get an early night tonight!) Good luck for w5r1, take it easy, although glad to hear it's all looking so promising!

  • I'm freelance too but the company I'm working for at the mo are always taking new people on for a minimum of two shifts a week if you're looking for extra work. Pay's not good, but if you want details let me know! Good luck on tomorrow's run. I also did a nice bike ride the other day, along the coast from Brighton to Rottingdean with my son - it was really windy so a bit hard going, but we made it and had a nice picnic on the beach :)

  • I think the period immediately after graduating is tough for lots of people. Most of us make changes to the structure of our day to fit in running. It's not always convenient but the structure of c25k makes you find a way. Then bam! In come all the things lurking on the sidelines - workload, business trips, family visits, colds and sniffles, etc etc. It's also not easy to find a new structure to replace C25k, it's easy to sort of drift along. The great thing is you have improved your fitness and can still run 3.5k. You couldn't have done that a few months ago. Stick with a pace and distance your body is comfortable with until you feel ready to move on - it doesn't matter whether you increase pace or distance, or do neither. Take care and good luck.

  • Hi coddfish I was thinking about what you were saying about the finite length of c25k meaning we fit it in even though it's not convenient, but how that's hard to maintain once it all gets open ended. That definitely sounds like what's happened in my case. In Jan to March while I was doing c25k, but not because of it, I did fall behind on a lot of things, such as on my part-time college work, meaning I had to extend essay deadlines and work fewer hours, then slipped into my overdraft because I was earning less. I'm now trying to earn my way back out of the overdraft, while having yet more college work piled on, a lot of which ends up happening early a.m. and in evenings. There's no room for manouevre! I'm sure a lot of people on here have their own equivalents to this, especially people looking after young children etc. Thanks for your encouraging comment. I hope all is going well with you.

  • My own compromise has been to drop back to 2 runs per week but make one of them (the weekend one) longer and the other more about speed. I try to stick to the same days / times to keep a routine. I have used evening rather than morning runs when it has been the only way to get a run done - but have a definite preference for the mornings. I haven't made much impact on pace but am gradually adding distance. Good luck.

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