I've been running the NHS Couch to 5k program with (almost) ease up until this week. I've been really enjoying it thus far but I feel like I've hit such a wall. I cannot seem to get over the five minute runs. I don't know whether it's a mental block but I'm so disappointed I feel like I'm ready to just give up entirely. I gave it a shot this morning, the three minutes aren't a problem, and I made it through 2.5 minutes of the full five and just gave up. Any tips anyone has, do send them my way! I'm struggling!


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  • I'm only on week 2 but I've been reading loads of posts on here! The general consensus is to slow it down, no matter how slow. Keep going as long as you possibly can. If you don't quite manage the full amount of time then try to make up the remainder of time with a brisk walk. Keep trying, don't give up, tell yourself before each attempt you'll go that bit further and eventually you'll be at the full amount of time spent jogging. The worst thing you can do both physically and mentally is throw the towel in.

    I've been struggling loads and i've really had to grit my teeth and clench my fists but i am so glad i did! I have started to focus on my breathing and i've also downloaded a high tempo CD for runners and the music really helps forget how hard it is and time goes much quicker!

    Steph x

  • Slow, slow, slow, slow slow.. ( No quick, quick slow..):)

    Keep it slow and steady...it is a mind game.

    Try not to be disheartened and certainly don't give up...you have come so far!

    It really doesn't matter how slow you go.. I didn't call myself the Grey Snail for nothing.

    Just focus on your breathing and try to relax into your run... maybe think less about the time and more about the run.. does that make sense?

    Lots of tips will come your way, but most, I feel will give you the slow and steady tip. It really works..!

    Come on...as they say,.." Never let a stumble in the run, be the end of the journey!"


  • don't give up keep going- if it was easy you won't appreciate what an amazing thing you've done when u have achieved it :-)

  • I'm going to echo all the 'slow and steady' comments! I've just managed W4R3 this morning, but on W4R1 I went so slowly I think it was actually slower than my warm up walk! Much better to go out too slow and then be able to speed up on the last run of the session (hehe, as if..!) than go out too fast and have to give up. And by slow I mean sslllllooooooooooowwww. Don't worry if it seems stupidly and embarrassingly slow - mine was definitely much much slower than I'd jogged on previous weeks. I think week 4 is all about starting to build up a bit of stamina and work on pacing, so it's vital that you start out each session conserving energy for the 5min runs.

    If it's really not happening maybe have an extra week of repeating week 3, or modifying week 4 slightly, before trying it again? It's been incredibly reassuring for me to read that quite a lot of people on here take way longer than 9 weeks to complete the program. Whatever works best for you!

    Good luck, and don't give up - you can do this! :)

  • I just did W4R1 also and found I had to slow right down to keep going for 5 minutes. I felt like I was jogging slower than I walk but looking back at MapMyRun I was actually jogging far fast than it felt! So even if you do feel like you are barely moving, you probably are going faster than you think!

  • If you give up, you'll lose the 3 minutes you've already got. You've already got so far - just think back to that first run! You'll get there - just stop trying. Say to yourself it doesn't matter if you do 2, 3 or 5 minutes. You're still doing SOMETHING and that's so much better than before. It'll come in time, it's not a race. We have the rest of our lives to sort this. Or do we want to go back to being couch potatoes?

  • Don't give up you CAN do this!!

    I'm quite slow so slowing down isn't really an option so if I find that I'm starting to struggle I set myself little targets eg run till the next lamp-post or run for 100 steps then keep re-setting them and try to focus on thinking well if I've got this far then I might as well go a bit further. This takes the focus away from counting down the time and I feel as if I'm controlling the run.

    This approach might take the pressure off for you ??

    Good luck :)

  • I have found week 4 a real challenge- more so than the others. I've switched over from the podcasts to the app so I can have my own music playing over Laura, and it has helped a lot- especially with the 5 minute runs. I mouth along to the words and it takes my mind off the gremlins telling me to stop (I possibly look a bit mad!) I think the worst thing is when Laura tells you that you're halfway through as it already feels like a lifetime & carrying on seems impossible! As the others have said, slow down & focus, but most importantly don't be too hard on yourself if you're struggling- there's absolutely no shame in repeating a run or a week if you're not confident. Chin up, chest out and let's keep plodding on!

  • Hi jasminlouise, start as slowly as you can, if you feel that your lungs are bursting try puffing out a few long breaths. Try and relax your shoulders and don't clench your fists. Head up and chest open.

    Aim to repeat this five three five three week as often as you need to until you feel comfortable.

    Hopefully you are running on the flat.

    Don't give up you have come so far already.

    Good luck next time out. :)

  • It will get better, it seriously will. I had to plan a holiday wardrobe in my mind or something like that to take my mind off the running and get through it.

  • Hey guys, thanks for your help. You're all rock stars in my eyes. Just to update you all I somehow managed to go out and smash it last night. No stopping, no mad puffs on the inhaler. I just slowed it down and enjoyed it. You've all been so helpful. Thank you guys! X

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