Struggling to move on from 5k: I graduated... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Struggling to move on from 5k


I graduated several months ago but due to work and family commitments have struggled to run regularly. I am trying to get back to good habits but am definitely a morning runner...this is tricky but at present i am trying to run on sunday mornings outside and then once or twice on treadmill at home. I find the treadmill much harder and am lucky if i can manage 15-20 mins but at least its better than nothing. Also i seem to be slower on the treadmill and so when outside i am concerned that i will never get further than 5km....any words of wisdom of how to push on etc gratefully received.

11 Replies

So many graduates seem to struggle after graduating. It's as if you've lost your purpose. I'm not there yet, so don't know how to combat the "post-graduation Blues". But I hope you get over it. Maybe go back and do some of the runs with Laura again. Or do another programme to get to 10 k? Stay on this forum at least, there's so much positive energy here, also from the graduates.


It sounds like you need a plan. JaySeeSkinny is right that you can feel a little lost after the programme. I think it's because you go from being very structured to being out there on your own so to speak. I wouldn't worry about getting further than 5k unless that is something you specifically want to do. Any amount of running is good (yes even your 15-20 mins ;) ) and we are all different. Some of like running the long distances where others like the shorter distances. There's no right or wrong in any of it. Just whatever you find suits you best at the end of the day. I can't comment on treadmill running as I just don't and never have done apart from a gait analysis (which completely put me off!) but from other people's comments I gather the two are very different. There are other podcasts you can use such as speed and stamina if you need a friendly voice in your ear. Otherwise you could try increasing either your distance or time by just 10% per week. Some people find entering for races good motivation. Or you could just consolidate what you have already achieved. And don't forget just how much you HAVE achieved!

Life has a habit of happening so I hope you manage to find the time and motivation you need to get yourself back into a routine that suits and that you love xx

Happy running :)


You need another goal. I've started c25k because I'm badly overweight and unfit,this plan gets me to decent level of fitness in a structured way. After 9 weeks I'm going to add in swimming , rowing and just focus on getting faster over the 5k, then after another weeks, I'll switch to a plan to focus on core strength and running longer distances. My ultimate goal is to lose 25kg this year, but I'd like 20kg gone by summer, I've lost 5kg so far!


I really struggled with motivation after graduating. Now I've downloaded zombie run (a free app) which is a story based running app. I found this a great motivator as it tracks your run on GPS and you "collect" items as you run. Like you I find it difficult to get out other than weekend at the moment but any run is better than none! Good luck and happy running


Oh dear... it is really hard when you find yourself in what appears to be an unbreakable cycle with no way forward.

But. you are a graduate, so you know you can achieve what seems to be the impossible.

Lots of good advice will follow your post I am sure.

I am following Couch to 5K+ podcasts ( as hilbean says, the friendly voice in the ear), but a bout of Bronchitis has hampered this and is still causing the odd problem. But, it is a really good follow up programme and you can pick and choose and go back and repeat sessions. ( Good for me building back up to full strength.)

The time commitment is difficult, especially with a family. I too, am a morning runner. and the lighter mornings are making a difference. Is there any way,at all, that you could get out a couple of mornings in the week by getting out earlier?

I do remember the difficulties of that, very well, ( used to get up an hour earlier every morning to do a field walk/jog when I was teaching, and made sure everything for the family was organised the night before), but maybe once you have done it a few times?

Not saying it was always easy, but once the routine was established.... Just a suggestion.

As everyone will tell you, a run is a run, short or long, but the fact that you want to do a bit more is weighing on you.

Maybe try and re jig your routines... give the Stepping Stone podcast a try... keep posting...and just hang in there...Probably, this hasn't been much help, but... we are all rooting for you! :)


Hi nin 12

I was another of the lost soles after graduation. Everything became a target - run faster run longer, compete. Target targets targets. It became a chore. Then one day I just ran - no pacing time, no music no phone. Running for the simple enjoyment. God I never thought I would hear myself say that !!!

I was still very much a novice for the first year after graduating - I think I just needed to put in a few running miles, just to know what I can do. The answer is anything I set my mind too. Running is a mental challenge - that's all. It will take you where you want to go. The question to ask is what do you want - I personally don't have a set timetable . Although I don't think I have ever missed my Sunday run. Sometimes it once a week. And sometimes four.

Make time for yourself to run that fits in with home and work. You are just as important , you will feel so much better, if you take the pressure off.

Run and enjoy

sarah469Graduate in reply to Juliejam

This really rang true with my experience too - I started setting myself targets and it all became a chore - now I just try to run 5K (no matter how long it takes) every Sunday and enjoy it, and I do! Didn't make it out yesterday but that was because I felt ill. Once the evenings get lighter again I hope to be able to get back to running at least 2x, hopefully 3x a week. Good luck! Don't put too much pressure on yourself and as others have said, remember how far you have come!


I'd say you need a goal and something to give your running life a bit of sparkle ✨ is there any reason that you choose the treadmill rather than exploring outside? I would suggest signing up for a race, OR having a goal of say a 10k. To bring some sparkle I would suggest investigating some routes from home to places you've never been and take pictures, start an Instagram account to document your adventures ( I do this and I love sharing the pics and following everyone else's journeys). Or join a running group, I'm sure there will be one near you? Good luck and please just enjoy your running 🌈


I graduated at the end of last year. I know how you feel I got to week 9 twice in 3 years and then sadly gave up but this time I had a plan. My goal was parkrun, they are great. Now I run 3 times a week, one treadmill, one round the streets and one parkrun. I don't want to run much farther than 5k but to run it faster. I too don't really like the treadmill so on my treadmill run I do interval training. I run faster than normal for 1 minute and walk for the next minute until I get to 5K. It definitely improves my speed and stamina and I don't get bored!

You have done brilliantly to get this far and still be running but don't be hard on yourself and find something fun to look forward to and set yourself a new achievable made the first one YOU GRADUATED.

Hi there

Like you I graduated a while ago and found it really hard when the weather changed to keep running - I've tried the treadmill like you but find it very different, hard and also incredibly boring!!! - today I thought something is better than nothing so went running/walking across the roads/footpaths that I used to run in the summer - it was great - did what I could but I still use Laura's Week 9 because it is so motivating to hear her countdown every 5 mins - what I changed was that I didn't do the 5 min warmup walk as I thought that would make a change and also when running with others they don't seem to do the warmup - I think that you've achieved something awesome already - 30 mins running - just keep doing what you can until the weather gets better and life looks more manageable!

Like you I'm a morning runner - which is crazy, because I was never amorning person. Bu then I was never a runner, either! Since graduating, I have tried the C25K+ podcasts, but don't like them very much. I still use Week 9, but when I'm on form, I carry on running after the thirty minutes is up until I've completed 4K, or 5K at weekends when I've got more time. At the moment I'm building back up from a two-week illness break, and have just finished Week 8 (I go back to week 6 after a break).

My plan is to get strong again, and then start B210K, but that was my plan last year too, and I keep getting set-backs. Nevertheless, the important thing is to keep getting out there. If we never do get beyond 5K, you know what? It doesn't matter! We're off the couch, and staying off it is all that really matters - especially when other people start following in our footsteps. So far, two of my colleagues, an ex-pupil, and my husband have started running with Laura as a direct result of seeing what it's done for me. So I can't give up now.....

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