Lost my confidence - week 2

I'm a 40ish woman, massively overweight and grossly unfit. I completed week 1 last week and was on a high. Run 1 of week 2 was such hard work but I got through it with one 30 second pause in the middle. I was apprehensive about W2R2 but actually found it enjoyable and I did it. This morning, I tackled W2R3, confident that all would go swimmingly after my successful W2R2. How wrong I was. My legs felt like lead and it was if I was running through sludge. I got to the end of each running section but had to pause twice for a drink as I was gasping for breath. I'm now scared to move onto week 3 as I'm not sure I'm up to it. Have I taken on too much with this programme?


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54 Replies

  • Not at all - you're doing fine. Slow down, as slow as you can possibly go. And no beating yourself up for a run that didn't feel great. It happens to all of us, even the graduates. Just pat yourself on the back for getting out there and mentally move on. If you don't feel ready to move up, repeat a run or two. You can take as long as you like to get through the program. You are doing great, please don't let one crummy run upset you.

  • I'm going quite slow already, more of a shuffle really. I'm doing the programme on a treadmill as I wouldn't dare run in public and I have it set to 3.5 miles per hour for the run; perhaps I should try 3.2 and see if it helps. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

  • Seriously, as slow as possible. Two colleagues did the program together and one of them runs slower than the other can walk.

  • I don't think I could run on a treadmill; the idea of running without going anywhere would be very demotivating for me.

    On the other hand, being morbidly obese (my BMI is 35.4 :( ) I can understand very well the issue of self-consciousness... but you shouldn't think you are running "in public", you're simply running outdoor. ;)

    More importantly, there is nothing to be ashamed of; on the contrary, your efforts be healthier do not only benefit yourself: if you think about it, your are also contributing to reduce the strain on the NHS... so be proud of every step you take! :)

  • Hi Red, you are doing a fantastic job.

    The hardest part is getting started and you've done it! Just go slowly and be proud of every step you takeYou haven't taken on too much you just need to make it manageable by taking as long as you need , don't be scared in a few more weeks you will be wondering why you were worried.

    I still have days when I feel the way you do ,I just slow down and look back to how it was when I started and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    Good luck

  • Thanks. I just hope I can make it through the programme. I'll try to stay positive and thanks for your support.

  • It's hard to stay positive some times but the support you get on here really helps, it kept me going just reading everyone's feedback

  • Hey, don't panic! There are the good runs, and from time to time life dishes up more taxing ones that don't turn out the way we hoped. I call that phenomenon "wading through porridge runs" - they happen to everyone on occasions.

    The programme IS made for you - reread your post and look at how much positive there is in there apart from this one experience. If you let the little voice take over, then the gremlins win... and we don't let gremlins win here, we boot their backsides, stick the tv remote in their gobs and get those trainers on. You've got so far already; look at what you've accomplished and KEEP GOING.

  • Thank you. That makes me feel better.

  • Ah, the Inexplicable Bad Run! Happens to everyone and you don't need to panic about it: just keep going.

    And it's worth keeping an eye on your attitude to yourself - would you describe a dear friend as "massively overweight" or "grossly unfit" to strangers? You'd probably instead be talking about their good qualities, like, for instance, having the grit and determination to start running. You deserve the same respect from yourself that you'd give anyone else you love.

    And sorry if I sound an idiot! Spent a long time telling myself I wasn't good enough so I'm a bit preachy about the joys of being nice to yourself!!!

  • You're so right. My doctor told me off recently for speaking negatively about myself. It's good to hear that other people have experienced the same feeling of running through knee deep mud!

  • The runs at the start of the programme felt the hardest for me because I hadn't exercised at all in years. Don't let it get to you. Go back out as soon as you had your rest day and if necessary repeat a run rather than move on, like someone else suggested.

    Listen to Laura and keep it slow. Trust the doctors who put the plan together and challenge your body, it may surprise you.

    Good luck and keep us posted!

  • Think I'll do another week 2 run, slow it down even more (!) and see how I get on. Thanks for your support.

  • You may not want to hear this but if you didn't sustain a running motion the whole time Laura told you to, that session needs to be repeated anyway. So you've got perhaps a couple more trips out with Week 2 by the sound of it (depends how quick those gulps of water were whether it is one or two more)... and then you will be ready for Week 3. But it will be at least as much about your head being ready as your body, and every run whether you complete the thing in full builds your fitness. The time when you don't *need* to do an extra session is when it feels awful, is hard but you ran for the full time Laura said.

    It can be useful to have some strategies ready for when "I can't run any more" hits...slowing right down, taking smaller steps, straightening up and running tall, using your arms, and, if you're almost there at the end of the run segment, I'd say a little running more or less on the spot is OK too. It's all building the running mindset.

    'Massively overweight and grossly unfit' is meat and drink to the NHS C25K programme (as someone who took 12+ attempts and many weeks to complete Week 1, I'd say you are not as unfit as you think you are!)

    The whole lead legs and running through sludge thing...often a pretty normal experience for runners in the first 10 minutes of their run so in a way it shows you are joining the running 'club'

  • You're so right. I think I'd best do another run from week 2 and see how I get on. This is so hard!

  • I'm just a week ahead of you and recognise a lot of what you're saying. Don't lose heart. You're off the couch so a massive well done. And go slower. Lots of people said it to me. I didn't think I could go any slower, but I did. You can do this. Be kind to yourself, body and mind 😃 good luck!

  • I do my runs on a treadmill so no one can see me and I run at 3.5 miles per hour. I'll slow it down to 3.2 and see how I get on. Thanks for the support.

  • You've had so much good advice that's there's little I can add except to say you don't have to complete the programme in 9 weeks. Lots of us (maybe even most of us) repeat runs and even whole weeks because we aren't quite ready to move on to the next one. There's absolutely no shame in this - it's far better to repeat a week 12 times and end up finishing the programme than to push on to the next week and end up discouraged and give up running altogether.

    If you were to go back over previous posts, you'll find loads of people complaining that the first 5-10 minutes are the toughest of every run. Personally, If I'm ever struggling to complete a run, especially if it up hill, I'll pick a spot maybe 50 yards ahead and tell myself i can make it as far as there. Then when I get there I do the same thing again, and again and again... It sounds basic and simple, but you'll be surprised how well it works.

    Very very best of luck Red. You *can* do this, just take you're time! :)

  • Thank you. It's so lovely that people have taken time out of their own lives to give me support.

  • No worries, its what we do on here. When you've got a bit more experience you will too :)

  • Totally agree with the others. My legs always feel like lead for the first few minutes. You will get there, but beware, it is addictive! :-)

  • Really? At this point, I'm having difficulty seeing how that will ever be the case with me but I'm hoping it will be. Maybe in X weeks I'll be laughing at my scepticism! Thanks for the support.

  • Definitely really. There are lots of us that went from never having run in our lives to doing half & even full marathons or more. (and many, like me, a lot older than you.)

    I lost weight as well, using the NHS 12 week plan, which is also brilliant.

    Anyway, for you now, definitely one run at a time & trust in Laura.

  • I'm following the British Heart Foundation diet with lots of support from the nurse at my GP practice. I'm hoping the exercise will help with my weight loss. Not seen any sign yet but I'm hopeful!

  • That's excellent. You will see results more in toning than actual weight loss but once into the exercise habit it will help keep the weight off.

    It is good to hear about NHS support as a lot of people on the weight loss equivalent of this site don't seem to get any.

  • Cannot add to the advice you have been given by others but just want to encourage you not to give up! It is early days and you can do this - repeat week's, go really slow and you will get there! Good luck.☺

  • Thanks. I'm going to try repeating a run from week 2 and see how I get on.

  • I have been exactly the same, on a high

    one run and achey legs on the next making me feel as though I can't do it. However rather than going back I have soldiered on and due to start week 4 on Monday.

    I feel excited and nervous and anxious all at the same time! Regardless we are out there doing some exercise and I personally don't care if I don't graduate ( although I will try my hardest ). Part of me never wants it to end.

    Good luck on your journey we are all rooting for you and each other xx

  • Thanks. I'm going to repeat a week 2 run as I think mentally, I'm not ready to move on as the bad run dented my confidence that I can do it. As soon as I can get through a week 2 run without stopping at all, I'll move on. I really do want to graduate but this is so hard!

  • Thanks for all the support everyone. It's so lovely that people have taken time out of their own lives to support a stranger. I really appreciate it and I'll keep you posted on how my next run goes.

  • Nah don't be scared. This is gonna be fun. You just don't know it yet. Forget being scared or stressed. This is just a walk with a bit of a jog thrown in. You go dead slow, save some puff that way, and you'll be fine. Being worried makes you tense up, so hang loose and relax. I think most of us were in the same boat as you when we started, after all it is aimed at complete couch potatoes, but once you get cracking your frame of mind starts to improve as does your waistline and general health. Good luck with the next run, have fun, then come back and tell us how it goes

  • Thanks. Fun? You're right, I don't know it yet but I WILL keep going.

  • All great advice, so nothing really left to say but have a look at the number of people rooting for you, we are or have all been where you are with the same emotions, no kidding!.

    It's looks like a big wall in front of you but Laura helps you pull it down one brick at a time and the view on the other side is amazing!

  • All the support is lovely. It's given me confidence to push on.

  • No, far from it. there are going to be good days and bad days. You can have a bad run in W2 or W9 or 2 years in to your running or 10 years in. I'm sure Paula radcliffe has bad runs days. You can take pauses for breath and water. You can repeat days, or repeat weeks if you need. I usd to be on my hands and knees between intervals when I started C25k, and now 2 years later and a lot fitter, my legs still feel like lead and I am still gasping for breath at the end of a wrokout - it's just the point at which that happens has shifted up quite a bit.

    You definitely have not bitten off more than you can chew. You can do this. All you have to do is keep pressing play and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Everything else - the breathing, the distance, the time etc, will all come as you progress. Just keep on keeping on.

  • Thank you. I'll keep at it and try to ride out the rough days.

  • Hi Reddanbydan,

    You have taken the first step and begun your fitness and weight loss journey. That is amazing. In August 2014 I was nearly 20 stone. I got an NHS referral to weight watchers and started on a long journey, which I have not yet completed. I tried various fitness things- Aquabeat, pilates, walking, visiting a gym, swimming etc. some I liked, some I didn't. Now 18 months later I have completed Couch to 5K, done a couple of Fireman's runs (about 1.7 miles) (I missed 2 through ill health but have 2 to go) and feel fitter than ever. My New Year challenge is to swim 37 3/4 miles before the end of May so my running is less frequent.

    On my journey through couch to 5K which began May 2015, I have runs where my legs feel like I am walking in treacle, I can't breathe and I need to just take a pause, but I did and can run for half an hour. But I still only run/ do High impact exercise on 3 days a week. with Pilates on a day when I do not run or swim.

    You are AMAZING because YOU are doing the first steps towards being a fitter, healthier person. You should take your measurements every month-Neck, Chest/Bust, Below Bust/chest, waist, hips, thigh, calf, wrist, upper arm, With diet and exercise you will see a difference quite quickly. You may see inches when you dont see weight- I lost over 2m in total so far. Just 1 stone to go.

    You should also take selfies in the mirror of a full frontal (in leggings and Tshirt) and side view. You will see a difference really quickly. I really wish I had followed the advice to do that.

    Good luck with your C25K. Like others have said, you can still go slower... take your time, repeat weeks/runs when you are not feeling so good about your run.

    Keep up your hard work. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve and how your confidence and self love will grow, but it takes a while to stop seeing yourself as the fat person in the mirror (unfortunately).

    GOOD LUCK! Keep running and try to smile and stand tall.

  • Thanks for such a caring reply. I do Pilates too once a week and really enjoy it as it destresses me! I like your advice about measuring myself, I'll do that.

  • Do the photo thing too- It's worth it even if it feels horrid just now. I so wish I had more....

    I have just spent hours hunting for photos that show my progress over the last 2 years. I hate having my photo taken even now!

  • It's called a bad run, and I've had lots of them. Don't take it personally, just forget about it. The first few runs are hard. They do get easier, just a bit.

  • Thank you.

  • Good luck Red. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to complete c25k it's the doing it that matters. Every run matters good or hard. Remember to do some leg stretches afterwards and take at least one day rest between runs. Each run is helping your body and improving your stamina.

    Slow and steady wins the race. :)

  • Thanks. I took your advice and did some stretches after today's run.

  • Ive just repeated my week 2 run 3 this morning. I took all the great advice; kept my walk the same speed as before but slowed my run down slightly and I found it much easier. I'll attempt w3r1 on Tuesday keeping to those speeds. Thanks for all the confidence boosting comments.

  • Really glad today felt better. I think the thing is to not freak out next time it's tricky, but remember today's run and know that it'll all change and then change back again and that's ok. I'm impressed you're doing pilates as well and that's going to really help minimise your injury risk and make you a quicker, stronger, more efficient runner in the long run - I really need to get back on the yoga and strength training, it is such a help.

  • That's great news Red. Well done. Each improvement will help build your confidence too. Keep up the good work.


  • Thanks, I'll try!

  • First of all, big virtual hugs being sent as I know how easy it is to feel bad about yourself when trying to do something like this. I started this process last September, aged 57 and weighing over 15 stone which is nearly double what I should weigh at only 4ft 10. I took the programme slowly and repeated several weeks but finally graduated just before Xmas and, believe me, if I can do it, you definitely can! To start with, do each session at a really slow pace, so literally at the pace where walking becomes running. There is plenty of time to speed up once you've graduated although I am still not exactly speedy! I joined Slimming World at the same time as I started C25K and I found being in a diet group enormously helpful. So far, I've lost 2 st 10.5 lbs and I find the weight loss motivates me to run, while the running motivates me to stick to the diet. Win, win! :-) I think the main thing is to stay positive (no putting yourself down!!) and realise that any progress is fantastic. It took us a long time to get this overweight and unfit; we're not going to become skinny athletes overnight but we can make amazing strides towards it if we just keep going. Good luck and let us know how you get on. :-)

  • Great advice. Best of luck with your journey too.

  • Big hugs Red ((( )))

    Well done for taking up this amazing programme . Keep going , it doesn't matter if you don't complete it in 9 weeks just take your time, no pressure .

    You are doing really well, you really are and YES you CAN do this !

    Good Luck and keep posting xxx

  • Thank you.

  • My suggestion would be instead of be afraid of going on to week 3 stay on week 2 a little longer and once you feel happy you've cracked week 2 then move on to week 3. Although it is '9 week' programme if it takes people a little longer it doesn't matter, the aim is to get there at your own pace. Also remember that C25K training is more about building up stamina than speed! Speed comes later. Good luck. You can do this!

  • I think it will most definitely take me longer than 9 weeks!

  • That doesn't matter!

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