A little motivation

I'm curious how many of you would have considered yourselves runners at another time in your life? Could run a mile before or maybe for 10 minutes without struggle?

I'm onto week 3. I'm enjoying it and making it through the runs while looking forward to the next one. But, I can't help but wonder if the bottom will fall out and I just won't be physically able to continue. I've never been a runner so I'm literally starting from the very, very beginning. Did anyone else start with absolutely no running or endurance type exercise in their history?

I'm trying to take it one run at a time, I just need a little motivation and I'm curious if anyone else is in the same boat as me :)


Featured Content

Join the NHS Couch to 5K community

Couch to 5K has been designed to get you off the couch and running 5km in just 9 weeks

Start today!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

33 Replies

  • I think that you will find that MOST people here have NEVER been runners before - I know that I wasn't. Even when I was younger (in the Military), I could never run. But then again, I never ever learned how to. The act of Running is indeed quite natural - we all do it as children - but then, as we age we forget how to do it. We still think that we know how to run - we try to do it and fail miserably - puffing and panting and hurting!! :)

    At age 67, I decided to do this programme - to learn how to run. I now do know how to run - what I have to do from now on is to keep "practicing" running. Running is a skill like any other - playing golf, playing the violin?? - and it must be practiced like those skills. So - there ISa place in the boat here for you -- and believe me , it is a really BIG boat with lots of people in it!! :)

  • That's exactly the motivation I needed. Thank you, Bazza1234!

  • Never was a runner before, never was really athletic. I was always in danger of failing PE. As far as adult athletics go I swam for years until a shoulder injury ground that to a halt. I enjoyed hiking and squash but my endurance was terrible. I'd be winded from a flight of stairs. Then I discovered the program. I struggled with every week of the program, it was never easy for me. But you persevere and you'll be amazed at how far you can take it. My longest run to date has been 13k - I still can't believe this. That being said, some days I still find a 20 minute run tough, but my endurance and fitness had improved immensely. Stick with it, you're prime material for a runner. As Bazza said, it's a learned skill and something we build on every time we get out that door.

  • In my case absolutely none whatsoever. I must admit, sometimes getting up early and hitting the road can be difficult, but the rewards are just incredible. In just two years I've been through the c25k start up phase, the "must run 5k as quick as I can" phase (it's never quick enough!), the "I can't possibly make a half marathon?" Phase ( turns out, yes I can) and now I'm into the "lets run somewhere different" phase and I just "head out" and see where it takes me. All this and I even developed the confidence run in proper events too - with a number pinned to my shirt and everything! Just unbelievable.

  • I hated PE at school and was no good at it at all. The only thing I used to do on and off over the years was the occasional bit of swimming. Started doing zumba sort if regularly about 18 months ago but often couldn't make the class because of other meetings. Tried running a few years ago, but without structure and fave up very quickly. I struggled with even the very short runs at the start....but in a few minutes I am off running the 5k to work. I was definitely not a runner before! :-)

  • I'd never ran before, didnt think I could but this program teaches you otherwise. I'm now on Week 7 run 3 and cant believe I'm now running 25mins solid. Its not been easy for me but Laura and determination keep you going and the support on this forum is the best. Good luck with the program you will do it.

  • I was super fit when in my teens (I could mile in around 4:30!), but a severe case of shin splints totally stopped me from any activity. The in between years saw me get married, have two kids, buy a house & do my best to climb the corporate ladder.

    My increase in happiness has only been matched by my increase in weight! As a short bloke, with stocky frame, going from 10.5 stone to 15 stone not only looks bad, but it also has placed massive strain on my back, knees & every other function!

    I decided around five weeks ago that enough was enough. I've totally overhauled my diet & now have an exercise regime. It is REALLY hard work. On my off days from C25K, I cycle. I also walk a reasonable amount with my current job, too. So far, I've shifted just about a stone (and I feel like a different man as a result) and have also confirmed that leaving it twenty years was a huge mistake.

    I will never achieve my former levels of athletic prowess, but I don't want to; I'm looking forwards and not back. This change of lifestyle is going to extend my life and make it a happier place to be and that is my motivation for putting up with the pain running is giving me!

    Week4R3 tonight and looking forward to finishing so I can run W5 on Cephalonia next week in the heat so I can brag about being an international athlete......

    Good luck - we're in this together!

  • No running ever, no endurance, but didn't want to die without knowing if I could ! Still struggling (with hills in particular) but still improving 15 months on....

  • I have no running history. I orienteered in my 'middle school' years but that was pretty early days for the sport itself in the UK so the fact that I did well did not reflect much running. I liked being outdoors seeing new places and I liked the mental challenge and very brief bits of running (I preferred bouncing through rough ground) On this basis I was entered in a school cross country in which I came last having walked almost the entire way.

    I have running relatives and I had no wish whatsoever to emulate them - it seemed to come with a whole load of things of which I didn't approve. It was academic anyway, I became very ill for several decades. After about 30 years I sensed a weird shift and knew that I could attempt a little more activity. I was also aware that I'd not been given (as I used to be for PE) a pass to exempt me from the adverse effects of inactivity, however enforced the inactivity might be. And I had hit obese and although I'd lost weight slowly and steadily before without exercise, it was a tough prospect to do that again. So I started with random acts of fitness ie parking at the other end of the supermarket car park. I got a puppy.

    It was when I found a brisk walk just too painful to sustain that I wondered about running. I found the NHS C25K and I liked the idea that it was asking me to run for just 60 seconds. So I started in my full normal gear, walking boots, on the canal towpath with the dog on her lead. I managed 4 of those 60 second runs and walked the rest. Which was about 3 and three quarters more than I thought. The weird thing is that although it took me more than 12 attempts to complete week 1, the rest of the programme didn't need anything extra, I ran mainly every other day.

    I've slowly added in other things (swimming, yoga, cycling (with electrical assist) and I do after a fashion wear running kit now - minimalist trail shoes, sports socks, big firm control knickers and sports bra... but cotton t shirts and full length cotton leggings (I have more conventional running capris but that is for the very hottest weather) I am now a healthy BMI having lost 20kgs (still the same dress size!) It hasn't been a cure - I still need to spend most of my life in bed, and it has not inspired my nuclear family to be more active. Some people's brisk walk is faster than my usual running pace. But I have done things which give me a real sense of achievement and can run more than 10k. I'm still running after 3 years and haven't picked up an injury yet.

    You will be able to complete the programme. What you do with it after that is up to you... faster, longer, steeper, rock-solid regular, racing, intervals. And you might find some things are a better fit for you than others.

  • Ha ha that's funny about walking the cross country. I hated cross country. A friend of mine reckons a generation of knee problems was created by that overzealous trend to just make kids run as far as possible. I was just at the tail end of it in the eighties/early nineties, but that probably contributed to my feeling that running was not my thing! I remember we'd all walk while the teacher wasn't looking, and you definitely didn't want to be seen to be last, but no one was in much of a hurry either. I hope they don't bother doing wholesale group things like that at schools anymore - what a surefire way to put people off running!

  • Ha ha ! I hated sport and those mean 'sporty girls' at school so much I used to 'lose' pieces of kit on the way to the sports field, the punishment for turning up without full kit was being sent on a cross country run...the my friend and I would be sent off for the cross country run and spent the hour smoking illicit ciggies under a nearby bush....no running required !

  • I had detentions that involved doing 'cross country' runs too. I also had detentions where I had to saw up pieces of metal in the CDT lab. Both things I do by choice now, being a runner and an artist!

  • Cross country was the bane of my comp years. Our sports teacher used to send us down to the river then make us run back up the hill. She'd get the other PE teacher to drive, hung out of the window and slapped us on the bum when we started lagging. I think she is one of the reasons I never wanted to run.

  • I've always ridden my bike but for transport rather than exercise. I thought this made me a fit person but I was wrong as I put on nearly 2 stone in the past 2-3 years, became increasingly breathless and even developed slightly too high blood pressure (in my thirties). I also thought I was just not a runner's build, as I am quite a broad hipped sort of shape, with stocky thighs which I put down to all the cycling. But I found there's no such thing as being the wrong build. I also found out what being fit really feels like. C25k for me felt like just the right thing, a gradual pace, an encouraging culture on here, and a level of exercise I just wouldn't have achieved otherwise. 2-3 months since graduating I'm still one of the slower runners on here, but I run regularly now and don't see myself giving up. Partly down to finally getting my weight under control again, and the nurse informing me not only my breathing's improved but also my bp is at a healthy level. There's no reason why you shouldn't see the same sorts of benefits too and also achieve the ability to run for 30mins. Personally, I tried to never look more than a couple of runs ahead, and just trusted the system. Hope that helps!

  • Nope, I'm not a runner, I can't do it, I can't breath properly, my legs won't do it, my muscles are too weak, it's too far, my knees won't take it, I'm too overweight, I'll look stupid, people will laugh, I don't have the right clothing, it's too early, I've eaten too much, I have a hangover, it's too cold, it's too hot, it's raining.

    I started the couch to 5k with my partner back in April - neither of us have ever run. I expected I would use at least one of the excuses above at some point, but amazingly not once have any of those things got in the way.

    Yes it is hard some days, but just carry on, put it behind you and don't give up.

    We finished the 5k plan after the 9 weeks and are now heading towards a 10k.

    I can now run comfortably for 45 minutes. 45 MINUTES!!! I pinch myself every day just to make sure it is actually me that can do it.

    As Bazza said earlier, most people here were total newbies to the running game, but the bug gets you and takes over.

    You can do it - and you will feel amazing. Good luck.

  • I was a runner in the past able to do a half-marathon at one point, however laziness and couch potato syndrome set in for the last ten years and I've put on approx 6st. On e thing I do remember when I first started running pre-C25K my first jog was about 50 metres then I had to stop. I just did a little more each day till I was capable. Alas I have to start all over again with the C25K which is good because of the girl telling you when to jog/walk etc. It's like a training partner. My advice to anyone once you have done the course and are able to run is to get a like-minded training partner. Someone to help motivate you and vice versa.

  • I ran as a teenager but I was a sprinter. 400 metres was the farthest I ever ran, apart from forced cross country in PE lessons. I had no inclination whatsoever back then to run any further, but here I am now about to do my second 10k race on Sunday. This programme just works! Good luck :)

  • I've never considered myself a runner, I still don't , I hated PE at school, never did anything 'athletic', I started C25K as something to keep me occupied and moving a bit when I was in the throws of being made redundant. I then planned to try to complete it before my 50th birthday - didn't quite manage that, but, it kept me sane through a difficult time, the 'running' if you like was a side effect. 3 runs a week was too much, I got overuse injuries, I now run twice a week, one long run and park run most Saturday's. I have completed 2 10k 'races' which I'm very proud of, I don't have any ambition to do longer distances, I just enjoy my 'wobbling' the feeling it gives me, the delight of what my 'older' body is capable of after each and every run. I've lost a little bit of weight through healthy eating, and have toned up - that I am happy with.

    I now consider I have to keep doing it otherwise it'll all go pear shaped and I'll expand like a puffer fish! 😄

    Yes it's hard to get out the door sometimes, but this very simple activity pays you back in spades, it's so worth it - I went out the door in the rain this morning, it was fantastic! 8k later, I'm back home, looking forward to a lovely hot shower and a great feeling of being alive, can't beat it!


  • Yes, you just described me. Now I can do 6k, still slow (50 minutes) but I love it.

  • YES, the whole point of Couch to 5K is that it takes you from DEFINITELY NOT A RUNNER to being a runner! The plan is really well designed, and even when it seems like a big jump from one week to the next, you'll find that you can absolutely do it.

    I graduated the program about 10 days ago, and I'm still floored that I can get out the door at 6:30AM, run for half an hour, and still get to work before my colleagues stagger in exhausted from their night at the pub.

    I feel amazing, powerful, like I can do anything. I'm absolutely shocked that my body can do this - especially having suffered with asthma for almost all my life, thinking that exercise was something I could never do.

    You will get there, and it will feel so great. Keep at it and good luck!

  • Cpartello, what a great question!

    I too wondered whether the other people posting may have had other lives in the past where they were fit once and returning to something they loved.....but I kind of knew from what was said that they weren't. Even so, confirmation is great.

    I am 45, type 2 diabetic, had a minor stroke/TIA a couple of years ago (probably due to the undiagnosed diabetes), not really over weight but terribly out of shape. I have ALWAYS struggled with fitness. I so relate to the others reminiscence of awful PE teachers. Always the last to be picked etc.

    I have just completed W2 R3 and my right knee is starting to complain!

    I am not looking forward to W3.

    But knowing lots of other people have been here, just like me, gives me the confidence to carry on.

    Thanks for the question and thanks to all of the posters for their replies.

  • We're at about the same pace, Idolitorus. W3R1 today. And I'm anxiously nervous for it. A little excited....and now extra motivated that I've read all of these posts! I'm NOT the only brand new runner here. What a relief. I really think I can do this!

  • I've always enjoyed activities like badminton & I swam quite well as a teenager but I had never run a mile between junior school and Jan 2014. My fitness has generally been OK but now turned 40 it was noticeably slipping and getting to the stage that I couldn't just rely on every-day activity to keep me in shape.

    Last year I committed to taking my 9-year old on an 8-day hike in the mountains in California. We were going with a friend with a lot of experience but I would have to carry all our food and shelter for more than a week - that's around 27kg at altitudes starting at 10,000 ft going up to 14,500. I was going to need to be pretty fit for that and there was just no option for failure because you can't be stuck with a 9-year old on a mountain 3-days from civilisation. That was why I started running.

    I started running in Jan 2014 after not having run a mile in 30 years. 8 months later I was in comfortable shape for our California trip and 18 months on I can now step out and do a HM without any additional build-up. I managed 10 miles in 1h27 the other week without particularly setting out to set at time.

    Although I started with an aim in mind, I have found that I enjoy being that bit fitter and have come to actually like running (most times). I think this is about the level of fitness that I would like to maintain so I now just keep it going and mix things around a bit between speed, distance and going to the gym. So long as I do at least three activities of an hour or more each week, including at least one 10K+ run, I seem to stay in HM shape without worrying too much about the details any more, which is nice.

    You really should try it - you will be surprised how much better you feel for it.


  • I started C25K with the same attitude as you - I enjoyed hockey at school, but stayed in the goal so I didn't have to run too much. Cross country was torture :) 28 years later, I wasn't overweight, but was so unfit that I couldn't run for a bus without being out of breath. I decided to get fit and healthy after a wake-up call in the form of the sudden death of two people I loved very much. I'm now hooked on my running, I've lost weight and I feel much better all round - not only in terms of health. I am less anxious, more positive and have more self-confidence and grit than I did before. To add more, my teenager decided to come along with me and got hooked too! So hang on in there, you can do it - and you'll be surprised by the results!

  • Me! Never ran a yard in my adult life. I think I last ran in primary school. Didn't run in the seniors at all. C25k was the beginning for me. I wanted to learn to run so I could give my borrowed dog a better run out as he pulls like a train. Either learn to keep up or be dragged

  • ...and now you're dragging him?

  • I ran sporadically in my 20s but never very far and never consistently, a 3 or 4 times a year thing when the whim took me. I was a regular gym user in my late 30s until work and childcare made it all too hard. I started thinking about improving my health in my mid 50s, when I realised I was not just overweight but creeping to borderline obese and getting out of breath too often. But nothing seemed to stick, other than I was happy walking and swimming, and had stuck to doing a regular Aqua class.

    Last Christmas I was feeling sluggish, not sleeping well, lacking the energy to make the effort with the walks and swims, and had the feeling I needed to turn things around before it got too late. By coincidence, I read a couple of things which mentioned C25k, and decided to look it up. I have never been one for new year resolutions but for the first time in my life committed to myself that I would start a proper exercise regime.

    I started C25k on Jan 2nd and got through the programme by early March. In mid January I joined a Swimfit class and started doing a second Aqua session. A few months on I can run 5k and have a few Parkruns under my belt. I now run twice a week, swim 2 or 3 times a week, do some weights, and continue to do the 2 Aqua classes a week. I bought an Up activity tracker and try to do at least 10,000 steps except for days when I have been in the pool.

    8 months on, I have lost around a stone (without changing diet), lost 5" off my waist and 3" off my hips. My BP is down considerably, as is my resting heart rate. I generally have more energy although I still don't sleep that well.

    Most weeks something is hard but I take it one activity at a time.

  • Probably worth saying I also got OH doing more. He is much fitter and healthier than me (always was) and is now also running (faster and further than me). Oh well.

  • Nope. Not me either. I was another cross country walker at school. I remember my PE teacher literally begging me & my mate to run over the finishing line at one run.

    I very briefly dallyed with ladies rugby in my 6th yr but again it didn't last.

    I've also pootled about in the gym occassionally & done the odd exercise class but never found anything I enjoyed. Until now.

    I only started the programme because my sister asked me to join her in a 5k fun run, & now, well I'm a teeny weeny bit hooked! ☺

  • never a runner.. couldnt run beyond 200 m

  • I'm 52, ran cross country at school during the winter as I was rubbish at football. The teacher started a clock, sent us out the door, and waited for us to get back. We were never coached on running and so never enjoyed it, walked a lot of it and never learned to enjoy it.

    Since then, I had never run. I took up cycling 10 years ago sporadically, and did get a bit fitter through that, but even the cycling tailed off over the last 3 years. Then in january 2014 I had half of my left lung removed due to a benign tumour. After the operation I had a month off work to convalesce.The first day back home I walked the 5 minutes down to the bank of the river, and then found a bench to sit on for 30minutes to recover ready to walk back home. Each day I walked a little bit further. By the end of the month I was walking about 12km, but it was taking me 3 hours.

    When I returned to work, I continued to walk at lunch time, and at weekends. By august I was walking the same 12km in 2 hours and for the first time in my life (and I dont know why) thoughts of running came into my head.

    One day I was browing the internet, and I came accross the nhs C25K program. It seemed like a nice structured program, and the prospect of being able to run for 30mins at the end of it seemed really appealing. I have to say that, although I had worn cycling shorts and a helmet for mountain biking, the prospect of wearing running cloths in public seemed a bit daunting. Anyway, on one of my 12km walks, I decided to see if I really could start the C25K program. It starts with short run and walk intervals right? so if I can do that then maybe I can start the program :) I was wearing jeans and ordinary shoes, but decided to just see if I could run for 2 minutes. I surprised myself. I felt a bit out of breath, and was ready to walk afterwards, but I could definately run for 2 minutes after a fashion.

    I felt very self conscious running along the road in jeans and normal shoes, but, for the rest of that 12km walk I would run for two minutes every time my breath came back to normal (so probably a six minute walk 2 min run interval ).

    When I got home, I decided, I decided I would start the C25K program. I set the alarm for 6h00am monday morning, and at 6h15 I was out of the door with Laura telling me to start my 5 minute warm up walk. I really loved the program, with Laura telling me exactly what to do. I followed it to the letter. I completed the program after 9 weeks, and in November I ran my first ParkRun. I then built up my distance very gradually in 10% increments. On christmas morning I ran my first 10km while visiting the uk at draycote water. What surprised me, was that at 9h00 on christmas morning I was not the only person running around Draycote Water. I met at least 5 people on the way :)

    I eventually built up to running (still every other day) 10km on weekday mornings and 14km at the weekend.

    Then in April it all went a bit pair shaped. My ankles started to hurt quite badly. I cut down my running to only once per week for 5km until the pain started to subide. By may my ankles were ok, but I had some kind of flu like bug, so my running was still only about once a week. Then I started to build back up again during june and managed 2 weekend 18km runs, new PBs :)

    Currently I have another virus and hayfever, and with temperatures at 37°C here in the Loire Valley I am not feeling up to a lot of running, but I did 5km this morning and enjoyed it. I hope to build up to half marathon distance during the summer.

    So, I was never a runner. Never believed that I could run. Felt puffed out running for a bus. Only have 75% of the lungs that I was born with (not totally true, what's left does expand to fill the space left). But C25K showed me that I love running, and I am totally gobsmacked by what C25K has helped me achieve.

    On the negative side, I now feel very short changed by school. All those years ago they taught me to hate running, when the could have showed me to love it. I still remember a school report, and my father reading the PE report... "has no natural ability" .. that's all they had to say about me. Running can be so enjoyable, and can bring so much confidence, it's such a shame that children can't be shown how to love running the way that Laura does it. It would be such a valuable life skill to learn as a child. I find it is not only helpful for physical health, but makes me feel calmer and more relaxed in my head too. Surely that's worth a little time and effort in the school curiculum?

  • Wow. That is a fantastic story and an inspiration. Wow, again.

  • I never considered myself a runner, and I kind of haven't convinced myself yet either even after graduating! I think until it's a long standing part of my life, and not just something I started this year I won't really feel it.

    One run at a time is a good strategy, but get a plan lined up for what you'll do once you graduate, otherwise it's easy to lose the habit...

You may also like...