Starting to struggle on Week 4

Hi everyone,

I am new here and wondered if anyone could offer me some advice. I completed week 4 run 2 last night and really struggled. I kept going and didn't stop but I really had to slow my pace down. Also I sweat so much when I am running, is taking me a while to get used to! I am currently only running on a treadmill in the garage (once the kids are in bed!)is this ok? I don't think I'm brave enough to run outside in public yet!

Thank you

19 Replies

  • HI busymum.

    I also run on a treadmill at the gym, my pace is very slow, and I sweat buckets (literally!!).

    I just did W5R1 this morning and felt ok with it but for the first 4 weeks my legs would sting at night, and I would sleep late the morning after a run.

    Personally, I run about an hour after breakfast while my energy is high in the morning, but I recognise that many be difficult for you with children.

    Don't give up, keep going, you are always one run away from your goal.

    I am doing this to lose weight, but I want to keep going because my ultimate goal is good health.

  • Hello busymum! There is absolutely nothing wrong with slowing down! I run about 9 minutes per km. It's about time and distance- the speed will come later. I would have to say that week 4 run 3 was easier than run 2 in some ways (despite having a cold). Your endurance will build quickly and it won't be long before you surprise yourself. P.S. I sweat like a pig. It's not just you. Keep at it! 😃

  • first, well done! I think - just slow down and don't worry about it. I'm 'running', as Laura says, "just a gentle jog", at about 6.6Km/hr. My walking speed is about 5.5. Not much difference, and quite slow, but this is really early days.

    The answer probably is: Whatever it takes - just keep going.

    And keep checking in here! I've found everyone really positive.

    Good Luck, A

  • Hi BusyMum31! First of all - you are not alone! I remember around week 4 - 5 I found the runs to be a bit tougher and a shock to my body (and mind), especially the middle runs for some reason!? Most of all though - you did it and kept going, no matter how sweaty you were or how much you slowed down, I found in the first 5 weeks I was more red and sweaty than I am now in the later weeks, I think that will calm down for you in any case (and it's never about speed but more so endurance so don't worry about that). I repeated week 4 twice as seemed to struggle in it too, that really helped and now a few weeks later I'm just about to start week 9. Some days you have good runs and sometimes bad but as you build up your strength by following the plan you will Really start to find your stride! So stick at it, you are doing great and good luck - see you at the finish line! :)

  • Well I can at least tell you why you're sweating so much. You're running on a treadmill, and you don't have a fan blowing on you. I have the same problem, spinning at the gym, now. Wet sweat is a sign that your body's cooling system isn't managing to keep up. All your skin knows how to do to cool you is to sweat, so the hotter you get, the more it sweats. If it gets crazy hot, evaporation doesn't take place, so you don't cool down very well (you're losing little bits of heat with each drop, but nothing near what you'd lose if that drop evaporated).

    This is probably knocking on to the other elements of your run. If your cooling system is working sub-optimally, your muscles are going to fatigue. (This is just about the basis of the currently fashionable "born to run" idea, that says we evolved to be able to just run animals down until their cooling systems fail, and they die. We do have very good cooling systems with our naked skin, apparently.)

    The best solution? Put the treadmill under a dust cover till Winter, and venture out there onto the streets. You can search this forum for the stories of people who took that plunge, and discover that there's (almost?) always a happy ending. Try it. You'll love it!

  • Firstly, you completed your run despite the problems. Well done on that. You have the mental toughness to complete this course.

    The programme is designed to push you that little bit further every week so (unfortunately) it is also that little bit harder every week. It is also designed to be manageable. We are the living proof of that.

    Secondly, I understand your concerns about running outside. I was exactly the same. It was around week 4 that I ventured from my 'off the beaten track' footpath to the public park.

    I quickly found that no one was paying any attention to me, with the exception of fellow runners, all of whom gave a smile and a that knowing nod of (we have all been at your stage) encouragement.

    Even if there were those who were less charitable, I was plugged into Laura and could not hear anything :)

    The distances that you are now covering are substantial and are certainly a lot more than the majority of the population can manage. You should be damned proud of that!

    Finally, I dont know your circumstanes but perhaps you could venture out to the park with your family and your partner and kids could follow on behind?

    I would encourage you to make that plunge to external running. There is nothing finer than the breeze in your face as you run. You even gain a welcome appreciation for the rain :D

  • Hello. I'm so glad that you posted this as it means I've read replies from fellow slow runners and no longer feel like I'm the slowest in the world!

    I've just completed week 4 and had realised on the week 3, three minute runs that I was trying to go too fast (bear in mind that I was already being overtaken by sprightly dog walkers!). Once I found my pace, I actually loved the five minute runs.

    As for 'venturing' out. Please just do it. I run sooooo much better outside - and enjoy it far more. I'm a size 20/22 and expected gangs of ne'er do wells haranguing me around every corner. I came up with (still come up with) bitter rebuttals to shoot them down. No one has ever batted an eyelid.

    My face may be the colour of beetroot, I may be shambling along at 16 minutes a mile (split pace), but I LOVE running outside!

  • Good on you Emily! Inspirational!

  • Well done for doing this. Slowing down is the best thing to do. I always sweat on a treadmill, but never outside. Although the treadmill is fine, outside is much nicer I think, but may be difficult for you with the children. Don't worry about running in public, other runners will never criticise you and anyone else is not worth bothering with if they are on the couch.

  • I'm on week 4 too, and have found Run 2 of every week the most difficult to complete. I don't have access to a treadmill so it was run outside or don't run. I run slowly - I suspect it's not that much quicker than my brisk walking, but I'm still running, which is something I'd always said I couldn't do. Nobody has said anything at all, despite the fact that a lot of my route is along a busy A road. That may be because I run with my hubby, or it may just be that nobody cares that I'm shuffling along. I think that either way, I probably wouldn't notice as I'm in my own little world, concentrating on breathing! I love being outside - the smell of the privet hedges in the evening, the breeze blowing, and on Thursday I ran in the rain which I absolutely loved! Give it a go outside, you may find that you like it.

  • for reasons of my own post tonight, I appreciate your wisdom in this post, about the middle runs....

  • Hello Busy Mum and well done for getting this far in the programme! I would echo everything that's been posted in reply to you. Just have faith, keep going and don't be too harsh on yourself! I also think you should get outdoors - especially before the snow and ice arrives. Don't worry about what people think either. The idiots who would be cruel don't have a brain anyway and other people will just be impressed - try it and see.

    The other thing I would add is that we all have bad runs. I've run 10k on each of the last 2 Sunday's but last night's 5k hurt like hell! You may find that you're next run is a breeze and you really enjoy it😄

    One last thing: the sweating! I'm quite fit, do a lot of exercise and I sweat like hell regardless of whether I'm in the gym, on the road or doing Pilates in a school hall☺️ I've come realise that we are all different and have accepted that looking like a damp, sweaty beetroot is the price I have to pay for a longer, fitter life!

    Best of luck


  • The key phrase for me in this post is "I kept going" - doing that despite struggling should make you very proud of yourself and hopefully a confidence boost! You did brilliantly, well done!

    Week 4 was one of the hardest for me, I found it quite a step up, but try just to keep going! If you want to feel more comfortable with it before moving on to w5 you can always repeat it, or some of it, but unless you haven't completed a run I wouldn't say it's necessary at all!

    To me it sounds like you're doing great - it is exercise after all, you're meant to sweat, just shows how hard you are working!

    Regarding the treadmill, if you're happy with that keep it up, I would only say it sounds a bit boring and you might find the runs more enjoyable with more distractions and the "wind in your hair". Nothing to be embarrassed about - have you ever seen a runner yourself and thought anything negative of them?

    You can do it :) x

  • I just completed week 5 so not far ahead of u. I did week 1 on the treadmill but then tried going out. Found it so much more interesting and the fresh air cooled me down too. No one even noticed me and I even jogged past people, now I prefer going outside. The only thing u can do is slow ur pace, breathe slowly and deeply, that might help. When I was inside I was sweating too but different in the fresh air. Also let people see u because u might make them think about getting fit too


  • Excellent work. Slowing down is the one piece of advice no-one ever pays heed to while doing the programme, and the one piece of advice that is most iportant. It's not about speed, its about building stamina and learning form and mastering breathing and rhythm and all those fine things. Once you have mastered how to run and have practised doing it for half an hour at a time, you can think about how fast you do it, if that is your thing, but for the time being, slower is better.

    As for sweating: it's summer, you're doing physical exercise and you're indoors. Drink some water and have a shower when you're done.

  • Could I add my voice to those encouraging you to run outside? Two reasons ... firstly, you will keep cooler (btw, running in light rain is great as long as it's not too cold) and secondly, (selfishly) I could do with the inspiration! To explain, whenever I see anyone out running who is, shall we say, a less than optimal shape and size for running, it always makes me think that I need to get my shoes on and get out too. Seeing obviously fit people out running makes nowhere near the same impression on me.

  • running is running, whether it's outside or on the treadmill. I did all but the last run on the treadmill. the problem running in the gym is boredom. I can maybe do 30 minutes, but to do more than that you have to run outside. (though actually intervals and hills works great on the treadmill, cos you have more control of speed/distance/incline etc)

    best advice I had was to slow down. without that I would not have finished the course.

    And don't worry about what people think about you outside. I am a bit (ok, quite a lot) overweight, but I wear a compression top that makes me look like an over-stuffed sausage, but it's far more comfortable than a t-shirt so I wear it. No runner hasever made a negative comment about what I wear or how fast I run, or my running style. I've had the odd smirk from non-runners, but they are still on the couch and don't count. Then you get encouragement from compete strangers, two teenager lads cheered me on last night. it was the fourth time I'd gone past them and I was getting a bit tired. "That's 4 laps mate, rather you than me" and I got a thumbs up.

  • All of what they said. And sweating is normal - don't people sometimes say "I need to work up a sweat"? As long as you've a shower to come back to, what does it matter (I prefer a bath - nice and lazy, and cheers up my aged muscles - but a shower is OK)

    I have done all my runs outside, although admittedly in the early days I used to try to find routes where no-one would see me. I think the treadmill would be really boring and that would make it three times as difficult to keep going.

    And as to speed - it doesn't matter. It probably won't ever matter. Finishing is all that matters, and you've got what it takes to do that.

  • WOW! Thank you so much everyone! Your replies have really motivated me and reassured me that I'm on the right track. I have just completed week 4 run 3, started off a bit slower this time and found it much better. I think I have been trying to go too fast previously. I have upped my water intake too.

    Thank you so much again to everyone for your replies :-)

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