Thought I'd try the couch to 5k app for two reasons. 1 I need to get fitter, I'm overweight and pushing 40! and 2, I suffer a bit from Health Anxiety and everything you read suggest that exercise is good for that too. However I went running W1D1 and to be honest I struggled I think I missed the 3rd 60 second stint as still hadn't got my breath form the other runs. The last stint I think the jog was more of a walk to be honest. Anyway after the warm down at the end I sat in the chair and felt dizzy my chest felt unusual, I thought this is not good for me I'm not doing this again and braced myself for 30 minutes awaiting the heart attack to occur. Because I suffer anxiety induced chest pain this is hard to overcome. Ok so convinced myself that I'm never doing this again. However this morning I woke up still feeling light headed. I don't ache that much but really want to do this for me and my mental hurdles. Hope this makes sense and wondered if anyone had some similar experiences.

16 Replies

  • Right.. take it really slow and really steady.

    The running will help, but it is going to take while for your body and mind, (especially your mind, those pesky mind gremlins are so strong), to get used to it.

    Now you know that you are not going to have a heart attack, that is one thing you can be positive about.

    Just maybe try again and take it slower than the slowest snail...:)

    I empathise completely, as I had anxiety and panic attacks , in my 20s.

    Now 65, at 40 you are a mere youngster :) and if I can do this.. I bet you can!!!

    Maybe to set your mind at rest, a well man? ( I am assuming you are male)..check up at your GP's..?

    Good luck and let us know how you get on?

  • Hi Thanks for the reply. Dr checked me out all good. Anxiety getting the better of me at times. I feel so determined to do this and I agree the slow pace approach is for me at the moment. My anxiety strives on peculiar feelings of the body. Today I am paying the price with the terrible feeling of fainting at the moment. However that aside I wanted you to know that words like this make me want to go out and run now. Although I wont :) rest day an all! . Thanks again.

  • All good there then.. you know basically you are healthy ! :)

    You go for it... we will support you on here, and folks will understand your issues too... lots of us have all sorts of things that ail us! ( My panic thing was a choking sensation..)

    Stick with it and us..have your rest days as the programme suggests.. also check out the link to Strength and Flex on the website.. they are great for your rest days.

    We will look forward to your next run post in a couple of days :)

  • Maybe with the word "run", you associate something more than a slow shuffle? You don't need to run faster than you walk. I would repeat the run after your rest day, going very slowly and if you feel a tightness in your chest, stop and walk. You will get there but it might take you a bit longer. So what? Your goal is to be a runner and not to get there in a certain time frame. I read a post on here by someone who took 9 months to graduate and now she's a confident runner. It will honestly get easier, trust the programme. It has worked so well for many of us. You are a spring chicken compared to some of us. I was 49 when I did the programme, many were considerably older. There are people 70+ on here getting into running.

  • The first week can throw up all sorts but it's good in a way because it helps you sort out the areas you need to concentrate on. You don't have to do week one in one week if that makes sense, if you want to work at you confidence for a little while go out and just do one of the runs and walk the rest for a week, say next week do two of them. Even if you do it that way you will still feel very positive about the journey you are on. If the light headedness continues I would have a little word with your GP just for piece of mind. A lot of people have had to start with walking first so your not alone and we are all here to help. Good luck.

  • First of all, at 52, I wanted to get moving and healthy after years of eating too much and sitting down! Running was something I admired others for doing but for me, it was torture to run for 1 minute and "enjoyment" was not possible for anything faster than a walk. However, I thought I would keep going, slower than a snail but it could be loosely described as running. Then a friend started the programme. I was a couple of weeks ahead of her, she is in her thirties and I sort of thought I would not be beaten. Running for three, eight, ten minutes all came and went. On rest days, I crawled under the duvet with the electric blanket on. Still not enjoying running and every time, thought to myself "why are you even doing this?"

    Pure stubbornness drove me on. My friend stopped around week 4! At around week 5, I noticed I was feeling good about myself, sometimes I was enjoying running! I graduated, wow and my heart and lungs were working so well and I was looking forward to run days.

    Keep going, doing something new is going to be hard and seem impossible but you can do it and just imagine how u will feel at the end! Julie

  • Julie, Great words and thanks for the response. I am struggling today with how my body feels, and my mind even more so. However I am determined once I convince myself I am not dying/fainting etc etc.

  • Running is a strange thing, sometimes I am desperate to go for a run and it ends up being a hard slog. Another time, I am tired and end up doing an amazing run. Just do the best u can and keep going out!

  • Hi Guys

    I can't thank you all individually but your comments do make me want to complete this even if it takes forever. This is coming from me today who is feeling shaky and faint from yesterday which is amplified by the anxiety. Today I keep thinking I am going to faint/pass out.

  • Bless you, each of us started running for our own reasons, I am sure we all had to battle physical and mental barriers too but as someone who has come through the other side (no one more surprised than me), my breathing is better, my heart fitter, my confidence and mood together with enjoyment of life plus stored happy memories is transformed. Running gives me discipline and structure and I have lots of fun, even though I run alone, no one much notices me and I plod at a comfortable speed! Looking forward to reading more about ur running adventures. Remember, nice and slow and steady - it's not a race, it's all for you! 😀

  • It sounds like you are doing great. Of course it's easy for us to say 'don't worry, you aren't having a heart attack' and 'don't worry, you won't faint' but really in the end you need to remember the rational thoughts and keep them strong despite all the other anxious thoughts trying to crowd your brain! Remember to keep your breathing slow, steady, and shallow, as overbreathing is often something people will do when they have anxious thoughts that will make you feel giddy/tingling in your fingers/toes when actually there is nothing wrong, and might be what is making you feel so faint.

    Focus on how great you've done so far- better than all those people who didn't go out and try c25k at all- and let that give you some confidence. Even just giving week 1 run 1 another go a few times to get used to how it feels, taking on board all the advice everyone else has given, might get you into a routine you feel more comfortable in, before you try progressing. And keep coming back to the forum to get advice/help/encouragement :) You have done great so far, and don't think things like 'I'm too old/anxious to try this' because c25k really is welcoming to everyone and can really give you so much- confidence, fitness, and releasing stress.

  • Oldfloss has already given some very sound advise, lots of us have various demons and struggles that running has helped lessen or alleviate along the way :)

    It isn't always easy but then the rewards and feelings of achievement wouldn't be so dam good at the end.

    There also lots of us more mature runners:)

    Give it a go , you may surprise yourself at what you can do :)

  • Peoples sign up for C25K to improve their physical health, but few realise that it will do their heads as much good, if not more. I suffered from anxiety before I started this programme, allthough it wasn't linked to health issues like you. A year later, I have seen a dramatic change, all due to running. So please don't give up - remember the little voice that motivated you to start, and get out there again. It gets easier. Don't forget that we all run faster than we think - so slow down, then slow down some more. I started in Febraury last year at the age of 46 after 28 years without sport. If I'm still running today, that means that this programme really works for everybody. Chin up, trainers on, and keep us posted. :)

  • Hi I am due to start week 4 tomorrow. For me the worst week was the first week i felt tired and sore and wondered if I was doing the right thing. I do find the runs challenging and do feel as if I can't breathe etc. but do you know what that is the worst part of my week and everything after that feels really good and the fact that I'm sticking at it feels really good. So I would urge you to continue!

    As for the anxiety I'm sure you're aware of the different ways of tackling it. I did a course last year of which mindfulness was part of the programme and I found it interesting as follows. So part of my work involves giving presentations but it doesn't matter how often I do them I still get nervous beforehand. Previously I would have thought don't think about it concentrate on something else. Whereas this course was like ok I am feeling nervous and this is what nervousness feels like. My palms are sweaty, my heart is racing, I'm feeling sick etc. it's almost like getting used to this feeling. So regarding the running I'm trying to apply it to that too because tbh im not fond of it at the moment but have really set myself this goal and want to achieve it. So my self talk when running, my hearts beating fast, I'm really warm, etc. this is what it feels like to run. Now the 90 second slots feel ok im not even out of breath and that's only after 3 weeks!

    Although regarding the feeling warm I do think I'm going to change to three quarter leggings as I am too warm.😀

    Seriously though. Don't give up yet you can do it and it will help you long term. 😀

    Hope this helps.

  • I suffer from light-headedness with exercise, I suspect due to low blood pressure and generally low blood sugar. It's a horrible feeling that really puts you off - I can't imagine that coupled with anxiety.

    The good news is with running, the more you do it, the less that feeling happens - at least in my case.

    Try the podcast again, but go slow. Really, really slow. If you're still feeling it's too much, try running every other 'run' session. Or just walk the 'running' bits faster and slow down for the walking bits.

    Also, as mentioned above, you might be overdressed. If you're chilly to start with, that's a good thing.

    You just have to make this work for you. You'll get there. Modify the program in any way-shape or form you like.

  • I don't know about Health anxiety, but a couple of times now I have felt faint while running but I believe this was due to lack of water. Although I run early in the morning it can be hot. Maybe make sure you have a good drink of water before starting?

    Start with 30 seconds of running (shuffling) first. Once you are confident, add a few more seconds and eventually you will reach the 60 seconds of week 1

    Don't overdo it. You will find that everyday is better (says the stubborn one who has problems trying to improve her time and distance!) 😝

    What is 40 and 2 ? just a number. I am 40 and 20 and 5 and 4 so more numbers to my name. Don't despair, you can do it.

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