Couch to 5K
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W4R1 - anxieties, tears and epic fail!

Went out this morning full of confidence after Friday's enjoyable run, back to week 4 again. Sun was out and it was quite warm and I think I may have been a tad overdressed but set off along the seafront, noticing that it was far busier this week. Where were all these people in the winter?? Found the first three minutes quite tough but then the first bit of any run I find tough so thought no more of it. First five minute run came and I slowed right down as I was finding it very hard going. Took a sneaky look at my heart rate and it was flying up, through the 180s and then when it hit 190, three minutes in, I panicked and stopped. And I'm sorry to say that's when the tears came, more out of frustration than anything, worried that I'm never going to crack this. I don't know whether my anxieties are affecting my heart rate or if my heart rate is making me anxious.

I have been told before to leave the watch at home but the reason I bought it in the first place was my worries about my heart rate, it does have a habit of racing off very easily. I have had ECGs etc in the past, no issues.

Anyway I walked until the next three minute run which I did albeit extremely slowly, in fact I can walk as fast as I ran but it was running of sorts. Then I just walked the rest, feeling quite worn out. My other half who runs with me says I bounce a lot (!) when running but no idea how I change that or whether that matters. Also I'm wondering whether morning runs may not be my thing as Friday was great after work.

I had previously posted about iron levels which I will mention at the docs again. I did wonder during that five minute run whether to just give up trying completely, after all I started this in September and not getting very far. However I'm a stubborn so and so and don't want to fail. So I guess maybe this was just another bad run day, onwards and upwards as they say.

Any thoughts and advice gratefully received!!

11 Replies

Yep, first up cut yourself some slack. There is nothing to be anxious about so STOP it. It only makes things harder. CHILL!! Run very slowly!! Laura tells you not to bounce. She tells you to imagine you are running alongside a hedge, just a bit below head height. There is someone else on the other side of that hedge, and that person should not know that you are running. Perhaps you've not got to that bit yet but she'll be telling you that soon. I presume you are using C25k podcasts

This is a golden time so enjoy yourself. It's FUN!!! When you go nice and slowly, and stop worrying, you will have more puff to complete the sessions. Frenetic and anxious are not part of the programme. So be a bit Zen baby! Hang loose. Loose as a goose. Try it next time.

Good luck !


I find when I run slower I bounce more, no idea why. I haven't been using the podcasts so maybe that would help, I'll try on Tuesday. I don't know where these anxieties have come from, normally I am pretty chilled! Thanks for the advice, will try and hang loose from now on 😀


Hi Lisa

I remember your "Week 5 implosion" post from a little while ago - I was one of the ones who recommended you leave your heart-rate watch at home.

Sorry to hear you've had difficulty with Week 4 now... I would deffo agree with MissWobble that you try and chill out a little, but I also have a few questions and observations about your post above and the Week 5 post:

(1) The watch - is this a TomTom Cardio? If so, the heart-rate measurement can "spike" ... A LOT - it's very variable and can shoot up to the likes of 190 (or higher) when actually your real heart rate is probably around 140-170, which is fine. Ask yourself this - does it feel actually feel like your heart is going at 190? The watch measurement depends a lot on how tight the strap is, where you've positioned it on your wrist and how warm you are - the watch can take a while to warm up before giving a stable measurement. So it *could* be that your heart is performing perfectly normally, but your watch is actually *lying* to you (GASP!) . I can show you graphs from my own TomTom where the heart rate has shot up, but it's actually just an aberration of the device. It's actually a known issue with the watch - have a look here to see what I mean:

OK, so that's the watch issue...

(2) Have you an on-going heart issue? Has any medical professional advised you *not* to run because of your heart? You've had an ECG but you say it showed *no* issues.

In which case, what are you concerned about? Is this more a mental issue?

(3) In your "Week 5" post you said:

>> " The TomTom tells me my heart rate is peaking in the 160s which seems high for a 3 minute run?? "

Not if you're unfit it isn't - seems absolutely fine to me. Also, you're born 1974, yes? In which case your approximate maximum heart rate is 220-(your age) = 178 or 179 - but that's only theoretical - it could be quite a bit higher. And there's nothing wrong with it reaching it's maximum for short periods. And believe me, when you're at maximum heart rate, you'll know it! (so ignore the watch again!)

>> "I looked back on W5R3 and saw my pace was 7min/km which maybe was too fast."

A little too fast but nothing outrageous I'd say

"I ran at 8min/km the other day and wasn't as shattered, but my heart rate was just as high. "

There you go, you've found a good comfortable pace to jog at - IGNORE THE WATCH (could be faulty) and go with 8 min/km.

(4) So... get yourself back into Week 5. Have confidence. SLOW IT DOWN!

And finally unless you have a known/diagnosed and on-going heart issue then please...


Seriously, if you have heart-rate anxieties it's just making everything worse.

Just get back out there, TAKE IT EASY, enjoy and it and you'll get through Week 5 with no problems at all :-)

Good luck


PS Iron deficiency? Eat spinach and get some Guinness down yer! ;-)

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Thanks so much for your reply and taking the time to give your advice. I did wonder about the watch, so I guess I should listen to what you're saying and leave it at home. It is the TomTom cardio 2. I do have heart rate anxieties ever since I ended up in hospital after taking an over the counter antihistamine which caused an episode of SVT! So there is definitely anxiety to overcome there. GP said there is no reason not to run so I definitely need to chill out, just find it hard some days.

So I'll be back out there on Tuesday without the watch and with a renewed chilled out attitude 😀. I will, of course, keep you updated on my progress!


That's good to hear Lisa.

Don't get me wrong, the TomTom Cardio 2 is a great gadget and can be very helpful with heart-rate monitoring, but that's for another day. There's NO way you should be concerned about your heart rate at this stage.

And just remember that your GP has said there's no reason not to run (more than my GP: "ooo, bad for your knees!" - BOOOOOO!)

Please just relax and enjoy the >>> JOGGING <<<< :-)

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Your other half is right; "bouncing" waste a lot of energies moving you up instead of forward.

You can try slowing down and focusing on your stride; your pushing leg should fully extend behind you. You can try during some brisk walk until it becomes a habit, in this way you don't have to think about it during the runs.

And please, please, please, leave the heart rate monitor at home; right now it is damaging you. Your body knows when to slow down and when to stop, listen to it instead of looking at almost meaningless digits on a display.

Finally, remember you chose to do this; running should be pleasant and funny (that doesn't mean it is always easy). It is neither a chore nor a mission; there is no failure and there shouldn't be tears of frustration. Every single step, no matter how short or how tiring, is a step forward.


Thanks secan. I was a bit clueless on how to stop the bouncing so will give that technique a try on walking first. And I'm definitely leaving the monitor at home from now on. I'm already looking forward to getting back out there on Tuesday, thanks so much for the encouragement 😀


I am running on a treadmill, and in front of a mirror. When the comment came on about bouncing, I thought I was going ok, until I checked during a walking period.

After some reading, I reduced my stride significantly, and increased cadence to compensate, and found myself bouncing less and running easier.

If you google running form there are a lot of videos and advice on reducing bouncing.

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Like misswobble says... relax... give yourself a break.

What a state you must have been in, no wonder, your heart was racing! Big hugx

Okay.. leave the watch at home.. simple as that... if you have no issues, with your heart, then you have no issues.. just get out there and enjoy, as misswobble says, the journey.

Come on, just go steadily and gently... really laid back,

It's a journey, not a race, relax, breathe, enjoy the view and see where you get to ?

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Thanks oldfloss, I am quite lucky to have a choice of scenic routes to take so hopefully I can let my surroundings distract me from my mental gremlins. And the watch is staying at home!

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You go for it...we will be right there with you..keep us posted? 😉

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