Couch to 5K

Going Backwards!!

Hi all.

I've just got in from week 8 run 3. I seem to have hit the wall and bounced back a fair bit! I only managed 27 mins on run 1, 24 on run 2 and today only 21 mins!!!!

I completed week 7 okish, I finished the week with a bad cold so as I was going away to visit the wife's family I decided to take the week off. I came back amped and ready to go for week 8 and now this!

I have been arguing with myself a lot more this week whilst running, but also my legs are really heavy by the time I do stop. So maybe a mix of physical and mental demons dragging me down.

I'm basically looking for a kick up the a@se and to see what others would do in this situation? Should I go back to the beginning of week 7 to give myself a boost or attempt week 8 again? I certainly won't be heading out into graduation week just yet :-(

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I thought I was doing better than I actually was at week 7! I ran a full thirty minutes and thought yay that's it I'm a runner and can keep on at this pace. Well it wasn't to be, I only managed a 15 min slot next time! I'm giving myself a few days off and plan to head out again on Sunday. I think the key is to not beat yourself up about it, put it down to a dodgy day and start out a fresh next time and if you have to repeat it isn't the end of the world! Good luck!


Week 8 was definitely my worst week - my legs seemed to turn to concrete and I hated every run! Maybe just give Week 8 another go? Going back to 7 might be a bit downheartening? Would it help to slow down a bit? And tell the gremlins to go and play somewhere else!!

Good luck anyway!! You WILL graduate!!! (If I did, anyone can!)


I would maybe just repeat the last run in week 8 and see how that goes, and like everyone else said, don't beat yourself up about it, and yes maybe slow down a bit, I found that as I approached week 9 I put a bit of pressure on myself and it really didn't help, just relax and enjoy it, you will be graduating before you know it with that lovely shiny badge after your name! :D


Don't go back. Do the week 8 run again. You are right, it IS a head thing. Physically you are ready for this - the step up from week 7 to 8 is next to nothing, but those head gremlins....!

Know that you CAN do this, you just need to really believt that and let yourself. Set yourself a target each time you want to stop; go slower to the next tree then set a new target. When your breathing feels too laboured, lift your head up, push your shoulders back and keep going for another 50 steps...

You are so close. You can do this.

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It's all in your head. Of course you can do this. You have proven already that you can. Having said that, the mind is far more powerful than the body, so it's the head you need to convince.

I would do week 8 again, but don't go backwards. And try to time your next run so that you leave the house on a high note. You need just ONE successfull run to convince the gremlins that you're in control of stuff, rather than stuff controlling you.

All the best :)

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It's all to do with the gremlins. When I felt knackered, and ready to give up, I would tell myself "I'll just keep going to the next lamp-post" and kept repeating that. A lamp-post seems much easier to do than e.g. another 8 minutes. Little victories, that's the way to shut those gremlins up.


I would reiterate what has been said above, but also add that it's nothing to get vexed about. If you ran 27 minutes instead of 28 today, well it's the 27 minute syou did run that count, not the minute you didn't. It's still another 27 minutes in the bank and 27 minutes further than you could run 7 weeks ago.

Training is a process, not the events of one day.


I would also do week 8 again.

Colds can knock some of the stuffing from you but I agree with what has already been said, your problems are at least 90% mental.

When you are at the point where you want to stop, just ask yourself:

1) Am I having difficulty in breathing?

2) My legs feel heavy but am I in pain or injured?

If the answer to both of those is "no", then you should be able to summon the willpower to go on for the next minute........... and then the next one.

You know you have it in you to go to 27 minutes because you have done it and there is no way that you have regressed in terms of physical capability since then.

The first time you overcome the gremlins - it will become easier the next time they show up. All the best.


Cheers folks, week 8 run 1 for Monday it is! Me Julie for another week!

Don't get me wrong, on reflection I'm chuffed to bits getting this far, when my previous posts were week 1&2 problems!!!!!


Great advice above , just one more thing - ditch the word 'only' !

Any running is a 100% improvement on no running :)

Happy running :)


Slow down a bit...


You don't say why you "only managed" those times on those runs. If you ran out of energy, then make sure you are well hydrated, have some fuel on board and maybe think about running slower. The target is a time, not a speed, so by going slower you will achieve it. No point going back to W7, you are so close to cracking W8, so stick with it. Those long runs are tough, but you can do it.

Good luck.


I "only managed" because I felt I didn't have the energy to carry on! I run at half 5 ish in the morning, the only time I can get a run in during the day. I struggle to get out of bed for that, but I manage to fight those demons, I have a glass of water, lace up and of I go. For my 25 min runs of week 7 I was covering around 4.5 km. Is that too much?

Thanks for the tips and motivation, I'm certainly not going to give up 👍🏃


I've just done WK8R2 and I'm finding it hard too. Bizarrely, run 1 I had a sinus infection and a thumping head, was in a bad mood and my dog (who I run with) was being very naughty, my ear buds kept falling out and I had a really dry throat etc - everything out of whack but I completed it. Last night I thought would go much better as I'm much better and in better spirits - it felt like such a hard slog, heavy heavy legs and had to fight the demons 'til at least 14 mins mark, ( I love it when Laura tells you you've done 5 mins and should be settled into a nice rhythm - it the worst point for me as my head is screaming 'Give up! Give up!') I didn't feel either that I covered as much distance as had to slow right down. I remember thinking at one point that the laws of running operate in a parallel universe because in spite of best laid plans the opposite happens. On reflection the only thing I had done yesterday that perhaps had zapped some energy was go for and 1hr pram walk and having not eaten my dinner before hand. Perhaps the best thing is to not over think it, not give it the air time and just go out again. Look after yourself, get some rest and after your next run spend time doing some stretches as it does help with the legs. You'll do it!

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