Couch to 5K

W5 blow out

I knew it would happen and it has happened big time. A couple of mins run, then walk, then run etc I managed that. 5 Mins run? yep ok, 8 mins run? Ok the first time but not twice, I knew I couldn't and I didn't. I can't even think about looking at 20 minutes, ridiculous.

As those that have read my posts before know I really struggle at this, I hate running and always have even when I was young and fit. Some what contrary to this I love Park Runs, I have done 33 (or 34) but I have never got to the 2km marker without having to start to walk run and then I do 1 min run 1 minute walk. I still do them and enjoy the atmosphere, the team spirit and camaraderie.

But I am just too unfit and too heavy to run for more than about 10 minutes before commencing the walk run.

Please don't say, "slow down" or anything like that because speed is not the issue, my wife walks faster than I jog (shuffle).

The human body is simply not designed to bounce over 20 stone of fat, even hanging off a 6' 4" frame for any length of time.

This always happens, I start something, I get so far and then it comes to a screaming halt and i give up. I am so fed up as you can probably tell as I haven't logged in all week.

You are an amazing group and I am grateful for your support thus far and it been great encouraging you back. Hang on in their, get involved in Park Run if at all possible and enjoy your successes.

I will give this week another go although I know I will never get to 20 mins solid shuffling but in my heart I know I just need to concede that running is not for me.

26 Replies

This programme is all about running for 30 mins nonstop. But d'ya know what? I almost never run 30 mins nonstop these days. I do all sorts of distances and intervals and speeds. If you are out there moving your bod, who really gives a stuff? We love your posts so just keep shuffling and posting. You never know if you keep moving maybe some pounds will be shed and jogging will get easier?


Useitorloseit hit the nail on the head. Keep getting out there, don't worry if you need to walk. Something is miles better than nothing. Don't lose faith in yourself. Be careful or I'll start singing Kate Bush's "don't give up" (you'll have to sing Peter Gabriel's bit).

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Just keep doing wk 4 till you feel ready for week 5.... There is no time limit on when to finish the 9 weeks......I'm starting week 5 and have told myself if ya can't do it don't worry just do the week 4 one said it was going to be easy......what exercise is? But you are doing it so well done....keep up the good work......😃😃😃😃😃😃

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last june I was well over 20 stone and 6'2" so bigger than you. I'm now well over 15stone (but still 6'2"). If weight is the issue and I think it's at least a contributory factor, then control your calories and with the running, even if you have to redo week 4 several times, you'll soon lose loads.


What they said, in spades. If you look like you're going to give up, we'll come and get you! Honestly, just have faith, don't expect too much, but keep trying.

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I agree with all of the above. The programme is all about challenging yourself to get to the next level when you are ready, just as you have done with each of the first four weeks. Those gremlins have really got their teeth into you haven't they? I'm glad you're going to give it another go (remember, there is no such thing as failure, only feedback) and I look forward to hearing about your progress. BTW, you are way ahead of me, because I've never done a parkrun and feel pretty scared at the idea of even turning up for one!


Now you really are being a chump ! Why be put off by a bad run ? Why not change the chain of starting something and then giving up ? Why can't you just stick at the run you're on until you CAN complete it ? You've done fine so far and we have enjoyed your posts so don't have a hissy fit and throw all your toys out of the pram at once. Come on....we don't all 'enjoy' running but I think we all enjoy that we CAN run, at whatever level. DON'T GIVE UP !!! (at least not just yet)

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Chalfont chump, I saw you at Southsea Parkrun last week. I ran (slowly) all the way to 3k, walked a couple of minutes, ran to 4k, walked a couple of minutes, and ran to the end. Your run / walk process was very effective and you finished ahead of me. So please don't think running is not for you. It doesn't matter one jot how fast or slow you are, or how many times you walk versus run ... You are a runner. And I am sure if you look over those 30odd park runs, you will see you have been gradually improving. Keep on plugging away.

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When I first looked at this program I decided I needed to get fit enough to do it. Like you I was over weight. So I decided to use a tread mill and do it via heart rate. And only walk. And run one min after 10 min only. I kept this up until I noticed a big improv,ent in my heart rate during the same amount of excercise.

Maybe you need to do something similar.


Can I suggest perhaps taking it back a week? I supported a friend to do the programme and she is 20 stone, we did each week twice. However I walked to her run and she found it really tough but she did graduate.....ok so a couple of questions:

Why do you want to be able to run for 30 minutes. Do you enjoy it?

What made you choose running?

I'm only asking to check that your heart is in this as that is a huge factor in succeeding???

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hay Chalfont Chump, I don't always enjoy the running!

I battle with the head Gremlins everytime I run, I start week 9 in the morning.

I know how you feel, I will battle with the Gremlins again and again.

They can be a serious struggle some days, I just think about the satisfaction I feel when laura sais OK you have done your run now slow down to a brisk walk.

You are getting out there and doing something about your health I salute you!

No one said it would be easy, if you need longer then that's fine, and as some of the others have said, you are out there doing something about it.

I am not kidding when I say I never would have thought I would get this far

I really was a couch potato before I started this on 15th April, 60 seconds of running and I thought I was going to have a heart attack! Some days plod plod plod, other days you have more energy, just go with your body.


Aw CC , you sound as if youre in Eeyores Gloomy Corner, Chin up !

Break the cycle, make this the time that you DONT give up.

Keep going !

Onwards, always :-) xxx


Can I ask what it was, specifically, that persuaded you that you had to stop during that second 8 minute stint? Was it that your legs couldn't take it or were you out of breath?

I can only imagine how tough it is for a guy your size but with a little more determination, I am sure you will get through this.


You did the first 8 minute session. Just keep giving it a go. You can do this. It might take longer than 9 weeks but that isn't remotely important. Don't miss this chance to make a change when you've come so far and are doing so well.


You hate running but have got to week 5

Well done you...

I'm newbie and wk2 starts tomorrow

I have not run for over 30yrs and no really excersise until last year when trained I walked 2 half marathons,I have always said I'm not a runner due to dodgey knee but know that being the wrong side of 40 I need to up my excersise to shift the extra weight I carry.

As the others have said redo weeks if needed and if it takes you a few weeks to build up then does it matter in the great scheme of things....I may need to read this again when I hit the wall as run times increase..

Good luck and be proud of what you have already achived


I don't have any wise words but just wanted to say keep trying and you will get there. Xx


I would keep going Chump, i really would. You have to keep moving to get the weight to shift. as you slim down the running will be less strenuous. You can do some cyling, walking and swimming. Just keep moving that bod ☺

Good luck 😊


Please don't give up.your mind seems set on not completing. When I got to W5 I decided do the 1st run and see how far you get with the 2nd 1. It worked keep doing W5 and adding 30 secs or 1 min to the 2nd run. You will get there :-D


This sounds way more like a psychological self-sabotaging fear of success thing to me... I seem to remember too that you are trying to do this without the benefit of Laura's encouragement in your ear.

It must be so bloomin' exhausting to think of yourself as someone who always gives up... much more exhausting than running. I am sure there are lots of things you thought and felt in your younger days that you have usefully left behind and you don't have to be forever defined by hating running.

That said, one of the critical elements in my success (I feel a bit like a rather perverse Lazarus in that I get out of bed, run, and go back to bed rather than taking up my bed) has been telling myself "You don't have to do this if you don't want to" There's a strong rebellious streak in a lot of us (and I would argue that this might be especially true of someone who thinks "I don't need Laura, I can do it with my watch") and feeling that you *should* run doesn't really get many people very far, so it can be good to play that one at its own game.

But the question is... if you are not going to run, what are you going to do instead? Sometimes it is easier to just run than answer that one!


Another big lad here (6'3" and over 19st in January, now 14st 8). CC you've been a valued member of this forum for long enough to know that what everyone is saying is right - you can run Wk5 if you get over the mental barrier.

If slowing down is not the answer then try repeating Wk4 a few times until you feel the pressure's off or changing things up entirely and having a go a Wk5 with a new route, on different days or in different gear.

Your impressive record of parkruns mean you must have seen plenty of people who are far from athletic-looking conquering their running demons - talk to them, listen to this lot and take as much time as you need to get back to enjoying it.

Best of luck,



Hi, have been thinking about your post since yesterday and it reminds me of how I feel when I'm depressed (and I'm not talking about the Monday morning blues, or having a bad few days at work but something I've been battling for years, with varying results).

I might have got the wrong end of the stick but if not please stop beating yourself up and give a few of the great suggestions other people have made a go.


Prune, how perceptive are you? I have been battling depression for 10 years now. A big part of it is my weight and health I am sure. I hate the way I look every morning when I look in the mirror, but don't seem to be able to do anything about it. It has been a month now and I have just sat and re-read all the comments.

You and everyone else are amazing.


Hey CC, so glad to see you are back!! Thanks for replying, it picked me up massively after a difficult weekend in which I just want to crawl into TDP (the dark place).

Hope you're enjoying the Grand Prix (guess someone has to ;) ) and looking forward to the next post from you.

P x


You're moving and that's more than a LOT of people are doing who are watching telly and eating junk instead, does it matter if you're walking or running?

You say you can't get any further than the 2k mark at Parkrun, how about every week you set a wee target for yourself to go a little bit further and build your distance and stamina? This week you got to the 2k mark, how about next week you go as far as the next tree, then week after you go to the park bench beyond the tree, then the following week you go to the bend in the path beyond the bench?

I found the time increases tough mentally and physically in C2K as I would count them down in my head willing them to be over. Maybe changing perspective would help?

Don't give up, I know you can do it!


I realize this is a late reply, and I hope you're feeling a bit better about things now. But I saw this and signed up just to reply...

I wanted to reassure you that it isn't just you, nor indicative that running is not for you. I'm on week 5 as well. My partner (self described "18 stone of idiot", bigger and heavier than I am) sailed past me and is now on week-god-knows-what. (If you think it's disheartening running while overweight, try being overtaken by someone overweight :P)

And you know what? That jump from 8 minutes to 20 minutes in week 5 is straight up MADNESS.

I can manage to run 5 minutes at a time, some better than others (sometimes I'm anxiously checking my stopwatch at the 4 mins 50 sec mark, waiting for the second when I can stop) - at a push I can possibly do a couple minutes more. 20 straight mins is laughably unobtainable for me at the moment.

So week 5 I'm doing all 5 mins, 3 mins walk, 5 mins, 3 mins walk, 5 mins. Maybe next week I'll try the 8 if I feel like it. No way am I going to attempt those three workouts in the same week. I was mired in week 4 for ages because I got injured and then had to start up again. Only try and move on when you're ready.

My partner ( who has long since surpassed me) had a problem at this juncture as well. What he did, instead of making the (ABSURD!) jump from 8 minutes of running to 20 minutes of running, in one week, designed a spreadsheet that increased the running time and reduced the walking time much more gradually, easing him into it over time.

I can understand people saying to you, well, it doesn't matter if you need to walk sometimes, you're still running, but I can also understand your frustration at wanting to progress.

But honestly, I think the couch to 5k plan needs to be used as a tool, that you can customize, use and modify as necessary to your own circumstances, rather than a stick to beat yourself with if you don't measure up (to it's ridiculous expectations!!).

...Can I also give you a book recommendation? Try Chi Running by Danny Dreyer. The boyfriend recommended it, and while there's (to my mind) some parts to gloss over, there's also some great practical advice about posture and attitude; listening to your body etc. (also helped me understand how I got injured). I think I would've become dismayed about not being able to be a certain way by a certain point according to a certain plan if I hadn't already had a more holistic approach extolled.

(I'd quote from the book, but we've moving house and it's packed >.<; the gist is, only move on if either you're completely comfortable and it's going well, or if you feel you could do a little bit more. If you feel what you're doing is the absolute limit, then don't exceed it. The no-pain-no-gain push-yourself attitude will just lead to injury).

Sorry if this has come off in any way preachy, but I just wanted you to know week 5 was also a stumbling block for me and my partner and you aren't alone there.


Thank you so much, what a great reply.

All of what you are saying makes so much sense and I am very grateful, not preachy at all.

Funnily enough I have just made the exact same comment to a newbie about no-pain-no-gain will lonely lead to injury.

I am taking all this and more on from various people and feel totally invigorated.


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