What's wrong with my head??!!?!

I've been running 3 x a week since end of May using c25k. I still cant run longer than 5 minutes. I know I physically can but theres something in my head that tells me to stop. I've tried different music, audio books, run buddy and different locations. It gets to the point I just want to cry (and sometimes do). I've done a few 5ks walking/running and have another one this weekend. I dunno how I'm gonna do it as my head seems to be getting worse rather than better. I've signed up to Great South Run 5k next month and if I wasn't being sponsored I'd pull out as it seems a step too far.

I look forward to running and think it'll be easy but as soon as I get out there I break down. Maybe I was a failed athlete in a previous life haha


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30 Replies

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  • So are you in a Groundhog day loop of W5R1?

    How long are you walking each time between the 5 min runs? You could try gradually reducing the walk breaks so you run 5 mins, walk 60s. 45s, 30s etc. If you get it down to 10s breaks between runs the difference will become so negligible as to be the same as continuous running.

    Also,w hat happens if you go out without a watch? just run and see how far you get? Without the pressure of knowing the time perhaps you could beat the clock gremlin.

  • I tried doing right up to the 25 min runs. I tried just running and I give up before 5 minutes. I have gone back to Week 6 run 1 I think. 5 min run, then 8 then 5 again with 3 mins walk in between. I seem to be happier walking than running. I thought I'd do the "run as long as you can then walk shorter in between" idea but I'm not disciplined enough and just walk more :/

  • Tbh, if you are happy doing it, then just carry on. If it ain't broke etc. When i m running purely for pleasure, as opposed to training for something, I run, walk, sit down even. Why not just carry on and extend your ditances out. walk/run for an hour.

  • I see your point but I would like to be able to run for longer periods and not feels so sad/angry/frustrated.

  • It is harder to have to repeat a run several times than it is to get it out of the way and on to the next one

  • Sounds like you need a running partner. Someone nice who will encourage to run for longer. Even if it's just 30 seconds a time.

  • I've had a running partner. If they are mean I get annoyed and if they are nice I get annoyed. It doesn't make me do anymore I just get more frustrated haha

  • Is there someone that holds a gun to your head and says that you HAVE to run?? :)

  • yeah me. I want to do it haha

  • The more we strive to attain something the more this something tends to slip away from us... let go of any idea of running for more than 5 minutes, forget the "have to" or "should" - and enjoy your walks!

  • Linda, from what I can see, there's nothing wrong with your head. Just kick that gremlin out! You have no physical pain, ignore that thought and go through it. Are you going too fast,? back it off a tad.

    Rig may have a point about the watch, and it may also be something to do with the GSR coming soon, and you don't want to fail, so a bit of pressure there, but try not to worry about it, it's only a run, and you should enjoy it, just keep at it, you will come good!...πŸ˜ƒ

  • I think you are being very harsh on yourself , some good advise already given :) just go out and enjoy what you do be it run or run/walk ... focus on small goals which are easier to achieve along the way :)

  • The mind does try to control us and sometimes succeeds, that is why we didn't run earlier. Tricks I used: tell my friends I am running today so I know I will have to face them, find a running buddy (even if not an actual fellow runner, someone on the Forum or the C25K Facebook page who you can message about ur run, tell the voice in ur brain to shut up because today I am doing this, or just to that tree, now to the gate, over the road, to the red car)! If I listened to my mind, I would fail but I graduated. If I can so can you, come on u can do it!!


  • Yeah today I ran to the goal, then to the tennis court then I couldn't loose face so had to run past the footballers haha that's how I managed to do my 5 mins today :)

  • There is a clue. Run where there are people so u have to keep going! Once u take control of the voices telling u to stop, they will get weaker and weaker and in the end they won't even bother speaking, they know you won't listen to them anyway LOL

  • its hard to run where theres people cos I only live in a small village. But I don't run for longer at parkrun so there is truth in the fact I run more with people about :)

  • Don't be too hard on yourself. Run/ walk is perfectly legitimate exercise which will keep you fit. Why not settle happily for that for now? You don't wNt it to become such a big thing that you start to dread going out.

    You may just surprise yourself one day!

  • Try something like this? You can replace the carrot, if you wish :-)


  • Hi Linda. Sorry to hear the runs have been a bit tough recently. On the plus side you are getting good exercise and keeping fit! But I understand you want to try and jog for longer periods of time continuously, I get that. we all have personal goals and there is nothing wrong with that as far as I can see, unless it starts to get us down.

    Now if I was in your position, I would personally take a couple of weeks off from jogging. I would forget about running, I would exercise in another form I found enjoyable. Then I would download week 1 run 1 and start from the beginning with a fresh new mindset and would steadily work through the programme, run by run, not jumping ahead or thinking of Parkruns etc, just concentrating on each week as it comes.

    Don't let it get you down and good luck! :-D

  • Ps, I have just tried to edit my post above to include a word I left out and have been told the post has been flagged as inappropriate! :-O

  • Oh I wonder what they think is inappropriate!? Haha I joined the gym a couple of weeks ago to improve fitness and not so much pressure on running. I don't use the treadmill. Only bike and rower. Sometimes the cross trainer :)

  • don't bother with the cross trainer. Stick with the bike and rower. If they have one of those stair climber thingies, they are good too.

  • .?? Who flagged you? It didn't come from me. Maybe there is a computer that doesn't like certain words but I dont know about it. Weird.

  • A red message flashed up at the top of the page. I was worried auto correct had made a terrible mistake haha, then thought maybe someone had accidentally reported the post as inappropriate. :-)

  • The first thing you need to make sure of is that your heart is OK. "Extreme intolerance for exercise" is apparently one of the signs of heart trouble. Seeing as you've had this problem a long time, maybe the best first thing to tick off is the ECG that tells you either that your ticker is tickety boo, or that you need to do things differently. All else that follows, assumes the doctor gave you the go-ahead.

    One of the things that's getting in your way, for sure, is your "diagnosis". Leaping to the conclusion that there's something wrong with your head that's causing this isn't helping. So one strategy would be to leave the cause of the problem as a mystery. (Or more of a mystery, if you like - mysterious enough not to be even the ghost of an explanation.) Why? You don't know. That's "why" done with.

    And then as everyone has said, your main strategy needs to be simply to get some exercise. If you get some exercise, you've achieved the principal objective. Let subordinate objectives like this (temporary) problem of yours ... (it's temporary, that's why you don't want to go writing bad scripts for the cause) ... er ... let 'em be. Go around them instead of head on at them.

    You might even go for doing more exercise than you would have. If you get stuck, that's another small run you need to do. There are lots of such strategies to choose from down below. Keep trying them, and don't tell yourself in advance what the result will be. See how it goes, in the process, get fitter, and see what you can do with that fitness. Can you see that you're guaranteed to win in the end if you just do that? Forget all else but the overriding goal of getting exercise, and an increasing amount of this.

    Hmm. There's one more thing you could try. Deliberately sabotage your attempt to hit 5 minutes. Push quite a bit harder when you take off. Go a bit too fast. If you have too much puff left in you near the 5 minute mark, go even faster. That way you're getting the extra exercise by another means.

  • I used to think that I could only run for 15 minutes and it was fully ingrained in my psyche. Then one day younger daughter said she had entered me for a 2 km race (the distance I covered in 15 minutes) organised by her running club. For the race she stripped me of my watch and phone. I ran the race without stopping - it was 3km! I was delighted when I discovered that. It filled me with so much confidence.

    It is all confidence. Go girl!

  • Hang in there. maybe you just need to slow down a bit. I struggled myself with constant running in the early days mine was down to low iron, it was so much better after I got it sorted. External things to check are hydration, food, and sleep. All of the above can effect your ability to run constantly. If all of these seem fine start running and when you want to quit slow down and keep slowing down until you break the barrier, we exhaust ourselves very easily when we run too fast for a beginner. You will be surprised at how slow you can actually run to get past the barrier and once you've done that you can work at building speed up afterwards. Happy running.

  • Loads of good advice above, but what honestly works for me is running with a male mate who I know for an absolute fact is a better, stronger runner than me (I have a few of these and they are worth having for inspiration and fun as well as to push you). It works because I was brought up to think I can do anything I put my mind to regardless of gender and I am really crap at being beaten by a boy - I get into this face-saving have-to-win mode and end up running much better.

  • When you say you are doing C25K, are you doing NHS C25K ie listening to Laura?

  • Yeah

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