Couch to 5K
53,041 members85,133 posts

Week 5 -- Again

Hi everyone, I've been a bit slack about joining the forum here, so I'm already quite far down the road.

I think the main thing I've learnt by doing the program is that, on the physical level, everything depends on your core. When I first started, I eventually ended up with continual back pain. It wasn't unbearable, but it was definitely very uncomfortable. What I did was reverse back down from where I'd progressed to (Week 4, I think), cut back on anything in gym that felt like it had the slightest impact on my back, and searched YouTube for stomach exercises suitable for someone with a sore back.

The ones that worked for me in the end were the ones where you bring up your knees, and then try to lift your bum off the floor with your stomach; and the similar "curled up on your back" one where you sort of bicycle toward your elbows. Combining those with reduced running ambitions sorted out the back pain, and allowed me to move forward.

From your point of view, if you're new to this, the way you could make use of this back pain of mine is probably just to remember that there's nothing preventing you from just doing week 1 over and over again. There's no hurry. (And right now, I'm doing I think my third repeat of week 5, while I wait for my hip to stop hurting. It's a core thing again. Years of core neglect take time to fix. At this stage there's no need for me to reverse back down to week 4, but that's always an option.)

The final initial input I can offer is that I think it's worth waiting for a bit of speed to develop, rather than just building up the ability to shuffle along for 30 minutes. There's a certain speed at which running feels nice, and it's not the shuffle (unless you're having a little mid-run break from overdoing it when you started). I spent a long time on week 3, just trying to go a bit faster in at least the first runs, and that worked for me. You're not me, so something else might work better for you. What will always work the same for the both of us is if both adapt the program so that it's enjoyable.

OK, so then there's actually One More final final input. Try to believe this: You can ENJOY your runs. Make your program fit You, and you will get to the point where you actually Look Forward to running. I know that sounds impossible (I certainly would have had a hard time believing that when I started), but you can Enjoy this.

6 Replies

You hit the nail on the head!! Core strength is crucial for runners. I only discovered this when I was upping my distances beyond 12k, but many months later after core work, those distances are no problem.

Planks to you!!!


I've been neglecting those planks lately, and that might be one of the reasons why the stiffness has broken out again on just the right hip.

I must try to fit in maybe 10 a day for a while, and see whether that won't speed up the process of just running the thing off.


I think the core exercises and the walking, running, swimming, cycling is all necessary (or as much of it as possible) I think I only ended up getting hurt because I stopped doing my exercises as I had nowhere to work out as my house got knocked about. I had been working out religiously on my non running days. Wise after the event though, sadly

Well done Gary. I hope those crunches and planks sort you out.


Thanks. Certainly with the lower back pain I had, as soon as I backed off a bit and did core exercise, it stopped, so I can probably hope for similar easing if I manage things like that again.

It does set one back quite a lot when it becomes hard to keep up the exercise, too, yes. I even measure my running progress in terms of what I consider my current "fallback week" to be, rather than on the level I'm on, or what I'm hoping to achieve. (So at the moment I'm on a "week 4 fallback" rather than "about to go onto week 6").


Back pain is the pits isn't it but those core exercises will strengthen your back. I think much back pain is caused by bad posture and not exercising enough and/or being overweight. The programme will certainly help with that. I trust you're eating well. I think it's part and parcel of getting fit, and once you've sorted out your back and your running that you'll want to be as fit as you can be so diet becomes a key part of it

Good luck with it!


I'm fitting into a pair of jeans I packed away in a drawer years ago, and I think this might even occasionally be part of the problem. All the nice solid fat the muscles could compress against in my belly is melting away, and leaving the muscles over it over-elongated. :-) (or so I tell myself)

Yes diet matters a good deal. From what I've read, it operates largely independently of exercise (in the sense that the only way you lose fat is if you slightly undereat). The main reason the fat matters, though, is that it's a risk factor in diabetes. I hope never to have to live with that disease.


You may also like...