Bit of a struggle!: Hey all, I started a couch... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Bit of a struggle!


Hey all, I started a couch to 5k hosted by my local running club on Saturday and it was a bit of shock, not just from the 8am start and it being white over with ice.

Its a 10 week program (not the standard 8?) Firstly I have NEVER jogged/ran anything before, secondly I am currently losing weight and eating better (slimming world) so I KNOW this will get easier and better. I currently stand at 6 foot and 19.5 stone.

I knew I was unfit but wow, I managed to "keep up" with the group until about half way and then the the struggle started. Quite eye opening and to be honest, a bit of a slap in the face. Everyone else seemed to manage it, ages from kids to 72. I was so embarrassed when I eventually arrived at the end and everyone was halfway through stretching out. But hey ho, I'm here to get fit and everyone has to start somewhere.

On the Sunday the outside of my feet hurt quite alot, and today they are better, so I am putting that down to bruising / my feet getting used to the weight. This initially worried me as I have "Supination", (My big toe doesn't touch the floor and high arch), it could still be a cause, but the pain is no where near as bad today. I've got some non expensive running trainers (it's not like im running around in stupid shoes) This is something I will go get checked at a proper running shop. But for now I just need to get on with it and at least start. No point in a gait analysis when I cant even jog properly!?

So, along with going for a brisk 1.5 mile walk every lunch, I'll attempt w1d1 again tonight or tomorrow, at a much slower pace. However I really doubt I'll be in a position to do w2d1 on Saturday.

Backup plan is there is a second group starting on the 26th, so if I keep going until then (gives me a week) I can hopefully get myself to a better state and try again.

The two main things that got me on the first session was breathing and pain in my sides. I never completely stopped though, and continued moving for the whole thing (just), with some great support from one of the guides as we went round who made me go slower to eventually manage to jog the last 60 second stint fully.

So, I've got a bit of a plan, however I just feel a bit deflated. I was massively scared about doing this, but I did it and I have some great friends who are doing it with me and supporting.

Anyone have any advice or tips I can do to help with this?

If anyone cares, I'll keep this updated with my journey. I'm expecting it to be pretty hard, but with a bit of grit and determination I'll get there. And after all this, I'm actually excited about running my first 5k eventually :)


17 Replies

Welcome Tom to the couch to 5k and well done for doing your first run. !!!

Never worry about how you are doing compared to others---there will always be someone slower and faster than you even if you get to the Olympics. :)

The important thing is that you are moving and you will get fitter with every session. That's just the way the body works.

Most of us I think experienced some discomfort at the early stages---the trick is to allow yourself enough recovery time between sessions---so your muscles can repair themselves. Go very slowly during the early stages so your body can get used to it.

I find it helpful to go for a few walks on off days as this seems to make my muscles less stiff.

If you ran out of breath---it might mean you are going a bit too fast--try slowing the pace or take more walking breaks. It won't stop you getting fitter.

We would love to hear about your journey as you go along. Good luck!!


Hi Tom! Welcome to the madhouse :) Congratulations for deciding to get fit and lose weight - don't let the gremlins get to you! The first step has been taken, and if you take just one day at a time and look back at what you have accomplished rather than scare yourself by worrying about the future milestones, it'll all come together.

Don't compare yourself to others - everyone is different. One step at a time, one day at a time, and keep reporting back here so that we can cheer you on! You've got this!


Wonderful Tom! Keep it up! Slow & steady, it doesn't matter that your last! Your'e doing it in the best environment outside! not in a gym!

Yes it's really tough at first, maybe more so for you with the way your feet are, also it's mind over matter. I can tell you now from personal experience, you will reap the benefit's of your effort's, tell me in a few months that I'm wrong! Ha Ha!

No, at this stage in the programme it doesn't matter too much about shoes, but you may want to look into orthotic shoe insoles for comfort & support & of course eventually a good pair of running shoes & gait analysis. Good shoes to suit you will be essential!

Let us know how you go on...

Good luck!


Thanks guys!

forgot to mention I smoke too. But that's stopping, I have drastically cut down since Christmas and looking to stop this or next week. (Hey, I found out it isn't that easy to just quit, who would have thought that!) So that will help with the breathing!

I have got some big weight loss milestones, (Holiday in 14 weeks so I'd potentially like to learn to swim and scuba by then, so looking for a 3 stone loss/3lbs a week) but if I don't hit them, especially now im "jogging", i'll be building muscle so I'm not that concerned and i know i'll be loosing inches! It's more about fitness level and confidence than hitting numbers :)

davelinksGraduate in reply to psypher5

I stopped smoking 25 years ago after 20 years, just threw them in the bin, never had e cigs then! didn't need them, Just will power!

And think of the money you'll save as well as health benefits.

I doubt if you'll lose much if any weight on c25k, that'll come more as you gradate and are able to run constantly for 30mins 3 times a week, I know what your thinking, thats what I thought, I'm not going to be able to do that!! But you will! And 5k eventually as well.

So, a good balanced diet, stop smoking, do the programme, percivere, and see the difference..... I kid you not!😀

I did the c25k program last year and graduated. I really enjoyed the podcast from Laura. You don't need to run with anyone and she talks in your ear and plays music. Just follow her chat and theres no need to run faster or slower than anyone. I never thought I would do it and I got there. And if you cant manage a week progression you just do previous one again

i would also go see foot running specialist and get gait analysis. Ive got high instep and have ended up putting supports in my shoes. as i had an injury related to foot positioning.

Realised i get endomondo premium for a year with my phone, so got that set up and just done my lunch time walk, going to use this as my base and work up from there. Did a 1.3mile route in 23.49 mins. I did the same route (exactly) a month ago, and it took me 30 mins and a slower pace, so that has made me happy!

I'll see how the other walks go this week and then look at beating those times next week :) I get an hour for lunch so hopefully I can eventually double the route.

I shall go see a running specialist soon Lisa, there's one local to me who does gait analysis, so I'll pop in and have a chat when I can. (my foot is still a bit sore after that walk, and I defiantly don't want it to get worse)


The first week was really difficult for me too. I only just made it. Run as slowly as you can, you can always run the last interval a bit quicker if you have the breath. There are pros and cons of running in a group. Obviously there's the other people to encourage you and a leader who will help with technique, but you have to more or less have to do the three runs a week. If you do get the three runs done, you will probably surprise yourself that you are ready for W2. I was continually amazed that each week I could do the next weeks exercise. The program works.

remember what seemed really difficult today will be your warmup in a month or two.

Hi welcome and yes we do care so please update us as you go along. Learning to run is a very individual thing, I think if I started off with other runners I might of quit. I'm a proud plodder and get very down when I try and compete with other people's times and paces. I like your idea of going at your own pace for a while and starting the next beginners running group it sounds like that might suit you and you can find your personal running pace quietly on your own. Then when you rejoin just keep that in mind. Good luck.


Good Luck ! Doing this programme and packing the fags in are the 2 best decisions I have ever made !

Yes we care , please keep posting and if you need any help or if you have any questions please feel free to ask .

Well done for making a start ! :-) xxx

Hi Tom. I ran on my own with the podcasts and that worked really well for me as there was no pressure to it. If you find the group isn't for you, you could always try that but I can see how running in a group would be really motivating.

Yes, BIN those fags! You're on your way to becoming a lean, mean running machine and you don't need those puffers. Do whatever helps to drop them. My mum chewed gum to help her give up. Friend of mine used nicotine patches.

look forward to hearing your news

Well done on starting, and on quitting the fags ! (that's cigarettes for our American friends). 😁

E cigarette or Vape was the way for me, stopped in 1 month easily also gave up going to the pub as I'd always have a ciggy, now I've given up alcohol too as it interferes with my new hobby.! I know I'm going for sainthood. Lol

I think the group running is a great idea but it's tough if you are the slowest one, perhaps consider doing this c25k for a few weeks on your own at you're pace, then when you are more confident join the club. I'd definitely get your feet /gait checked out, it's free at a running shop and you don't need foot pain as an additional obstacle at this stage, there are enough in front of us already. But perseverance is the key, good luck.

Thanks everyone for the support! I'm going to try following the endomondo 5k (looks the same, but can customise it etc, and have spotify on with it too!). I'll be going out with some mates tonight who also started this with me on Saturday.

Had a cig this morning while unfreezing the car, but no more today!

I also took all my measurements yesterday (height, waist etc etc in inches) as a base, so i can measure every week and see whats going on.

Another note, a friend at work lent me some shoes, Hoka one one bondi 4's to see if they help with my feet. Will be doing my lunch time walk later and see how I get on, but first impressions: they are so comfy! So much padding/cushion and the sides of me feet instantly feel better in them.

I could never do this with other people! Because I'm on a treadmill I know that I'm going very slowly. When I walk normally, other people stride on ahead of me. If I was with other people I know I'd try and keep up with them and knacker myself, but doing it on my own I can monitor my own pace and enjoy my improvement. I know some people get a lot out of running socially, but there is nothing wrong with doing it alone and enjoying jogging as your 'me time' if you are struggling to keep up with others.

Little evening update!

Its minus 3 and i just completed w1d1 again without any of the struggle of saturday!

Managed to jog for 60 seconds for 7 intervals fully so am very proud of myself.

Probably a combo of the shoes and just getting used to exercise. Pace wise i was with 2 friends and we all kept together (i think they kept at my pace haha), which made things mentally easier too.

Alot happier today.. :)


Well done! Don't know about getting used to excercise, as only w1 done, new shoe's, motivation from others & sheer determination probably. keep it up!

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