Couch to 5K
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W7 and failing

I'm really struggling with week 7 I've attempted it 5 times and completed only twice. I've found the program amazing and completed each run and felt so proud afterward, but week 7 is really testing me. Any tips ? I'm sure its just a case of mind over matter but even the first 5 minutes of the runs seem to be hurting. I've really slowed down and have tried different times and routes but still struggling

8 Replies

It could be (a) gremlins or (b) you have a bit of a lurg of some kind, possibly (c) it's hot these days and you aren't hydrated enough?

If it's (a) tell them to get knotted, if it's (b) have a few days off and get back on the horse when you feel better, if it's (c) you know what to do.

I suspect (a)!


If you've done it twice, and if you make sure to be rested, and then still can't do it, then you're absolutely right: It's mind over matter.

If you've done it twice, then you can also do it a third time.

So we need to give you the self confidence to believe in your ability to do it again. Once you have that belief back, it will be a walk in the park (or a run, but you get my drift, I'm sure).

What will make you feel self confident about running? Probably completing a planned run exactly like you wanted to. So next time you go out, don't even try for w7 run. Do a w6. Tell yourself that you're just giving yourself a bit of extra training, and then when you are out on that w6r3, take it very gently and slowly. Completing is everything. Time means nothing.

With w6r3 in the bag a second time, you now tell yourself that you have already done two w7 runs. Then give yourself an extra rest day so you're totally rested and ready and roaring to go. And then go. Switch brain off, don't listen to gremlins, just run like you KNOW you can.

Happy running, let us know how it goes :)

1 like

Number one point you haven't failed you have had a couple of bad runs, please try not to let it sink any deeper In. Your mind than that. Lots of things can make our runs more difficult. Food, hydration, lack of sleep, not enough rest between runs. Mentally go through your week for the last few runs and see if there is anything there you think might be a cause. If there is nothing then it might just be that you are so excited to be getting close to the end of the program you are starting your runs too fast and running out of steam. I like Tomas's idea of a positive run and by all means tell those gremlins to get knotted. if you really don't feel like you are getting to the bottom of it have a little word with your gp. Sometimes iron (ferritin) issues can flaw you as the runs get longer, but it is not so common.

Good luck.


Hi. When I started the C25K, I ran early in the morning; just threw on my clothes, grabbed a glass of water and off I went before the rest of the family was awake. I enjoyed being up and about early but circumstances at around wk6 meant I had to run in the evenings. It felt much better for some reason. I just felt after eating my evening meal, I had more energy in the tank to complete those longer runs ( allowing a couple of hours to pass of course).

Please don't think of repeating a run as 'failing', think of it as 'consolidating'!!


There is no easy answer, physically the program has prepared you to do it :) it does come down to mind over matter, believe in yourself and the program ... dig deep you can do it and you will :D

Take a day or so ,take a deep breath and then go out and rock it :)


I am sure the barrier you are facing is close to 100% mental.

For your next attempt try to go out when you feel good and when the weather is most conducive. Start off Reeeeaaaalllyyy slow and when/if the mental gremlins appear just ask yourself;

1) Am I able to breathe comfortably.

2) Am I in real pain or exhibiting signs of an injury.

As long the answers are both "no", you can continue for another minute where you can ask yourself again.

I know you have said that you have slowed things down but go as slow as you can until you feel comfortable running for these longer periods.

Good luck.


I agree with Dunder. In actual fact I'm amazed that someone else asks themselves those same two questions. I thought it was just me! Spooky. I repeat them (and the weeks, each one twice) as often as I need to. Today was W7R1 for me, so we're at the same stage. Keep going for it x


I finished w7 last Sunday. Like you, it was the absolute hardest week for me to complete - I had no form, my legs felt like those of an elephant, my lungs hurt. For w7d3 I had to stop and walk for 30 seconds at around 22 minutes. Then I continued to the end, and tacked on another sloooow, hobbly two minutes during the cool down. But I felt miserable about the run, about the week, about my fitness, blah blah.

Yesterday, I went out and ran the 28 minutes of w8d1 with no problems (in fact it was my best run so far). I did stretch well beforehand, I tried a slightly different route, it was a cooler day and I treated myself to an espresso with sugar. I think each helped my spirit, but I think my problem was entirely mental. It is hard to wrap the head around three days of running for 25 minutes with no breaks!

Maybe you should let yourself move forward and see if the change of week helps? You might surprise yourself.

Good luck, I'll be cheering you on!


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