W6R3 Two questions and an observation! - Couch to 5K

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W6R3 Two questions and an observation!


Completed the run yesterday. I have a few questions:

1) I've noticed a few people complaining about legs and lower back problems. I have had no issues until the long runs and it isn't legs and lower back its my upper back as I have previously had two whiplash injuries. I wasn't in severe pain probably just discomfort. My question is is it ok to continue running? I want to do it but I'm not going to do it if it is going to have a detrimental affect on my back. I feel ok this morning and am wondering if I continue running will it help my back?

2) I hated it. The long runs I mean. I want to do it probably to the point of im not going to let it beat me. My question is does it get easier to do the long runs and do you enjoy it more? I was in the company of a few people recently who do park runs. I didn't tell them that I was doing 025k. One person said how much they hated it when they were doing it. Said they enjoyed before and after but hated it at the time. He is a very fit person who has cycled up mountains in France. All I could think of was does it get easier?

As part of my job I help people become more self aware. It seems to me that there's nothing to make you more self aware than doing 025k!!!

21 Replies

Hi Happywalker.

The discomfort in your upper back might have been caused by simple muscles tension; while you run, it might be useful to go through a quick body check every now and then and an sure your neck and shoulder are relaxed, your back is straight and your core is engaged.

For what concerns the second question, running get easier as your fitness and technique improves but "more enjoyable"? Well that depends on whether you actually like running or if you are doing it because you think you have to. I am an advocate of doing what makes you happy and running makes me happy... but if is a "chore" for you, if you "hate it", there are other ways to stay fit; you just have to find the one that works for you.

Anyway, you are already 2/3rd into the programme; it would be a pity giving up now. My suggestion is to give it a bit more time and to decide whether running is "your thing" after you graduated.

Happy-runnerGraduate in reply to secan

Secan thanks for this I did wonder when i am running whether my upper body muscles should be tensed or relaxed so I have been trying to relax them more but I wasn't sure if this was the right thing to do so this definitely answers my question

I do want to keep this up and will definitely see the programme through, health willing. I love walking outside hence happy walker but did this to challenge myself. At the start of this programme I was gasping for breath after running for one minute now running for one minute is a nothing - easy peasy. So I'm hoping the more I run, the fitter I become and the more I will enjoy it!! 😀

secanGraduate in reply to Happy-runner

Great! Good luck with the rest of the programme. :)

Happy-runnerGraduate in reply to secan

Thanks secan 😀

SmelliepooGraduate in reply to Happy-runner

I have had a whiplash injury too and the best advice I recieved was to keep my eyes on the horizon and not at my feet. This helps to keep the back posture in the right place. It has helped a lot.

Keep on going, it does get easier. There were times when I felt like I hated it (esp. Week 6!) but once I got the long runs going and got better at them I started to enjoy it more. Another tip, you should not be out of breath at all. Run slower, and if you think you can't run slower then run on the spot and start from there! Much better for joints and back as not as much impact. X


We used lots of muscles for running, and if we're new to it, then we're going to feel it.  I was reading in the paper the other day about the efficacy of pain relief for arthritis and it concluded that exercising our muscles to make them stronger brought about pain relief.  Back exercises were specifically mentioned. It seems sense to me to strengthen under-used muscles.  C25k will do that for you, as will walking more.  Cycling, swimming, gym or home based exercises are great too.  I suppose we need to keep moving to keep things in good working order.

it's not easy, but it's so worth doing.  As long as you take your time, and don't try going too fast, you'll be fine.  Laura will remind you about your running form from time to time during the podcasts, and give you the reasons for it

I do hope you'll stick with it. Good luck

Happy-runnerGraduate in reply to misswobble

Thanks Misswobble this reinforces what I think I suppose I just needed to know that I wasn't doing any further damage! Using muscles definitely has to be better than not using them. Thanks for your encouragement 😀


I go with what pecan says. But you will get niggles while doing c25k, I did and I still do get twinges with various parts, part & parcel of running, but as long as it's not serious pain, I don't worry about. As he say's, check your body position, and take it steady, see if the backache goes away.. Maybe have extra rest if it nags on..

It does take time to get into it. I would go through the programme now and see how it goes and how you feel, as your body is probably still adjusting to the change. Well done to getting where you are!😊

Happy-runnerGraduate in reply to davelinks

Many thanks dave it is a brilliant programme I can't believe I have run 25 minutes without stopping!!!


Haha, sorry I meant secan! No, you are not a nut!😂

secanGraduate in reply to davelinks

While I am (a nut, I mean)... :D


I agree with all the above but would like to add that since graduating I have enjoyed the running much more. I ran on a flat exercise path during C25K, at first this was a chore, but got better as I got fitter. I was determined to complete the program and concentrated on that goal.

Since graduation I have relaxed much more. I have changed to off-road running where the views are stunning and the terrain changeable, and I'm listening to my own music instead of the podcast. I'm much happier now my eyes, ears and heart are being fed. I can honestly say that I love the running and enjoy doing a mental checklist during my runs (head, shoulders, breathing, core, foot placement). And I love knowing i am improving everytime I go out.

Maybe you should try small changes to see what makes you happy. 


Thanks slowstart this is good advice. I think one step at a time. Love the thought of the stunning views 😀


Yes, it gets easier, I'm not sure when it did for me,  but I suddenly found even long distances easy. Well, easy-ish! Yes I enjoy them more, but I enjoyed doing the programme too even though it was hard.

I hurt in all sorts of places when I started, that said if you're concerned about your back, maybe you should have a chat with your doc?

Happy-runnerGraduate in reply to Curlygurly2

Thanks curlygurl2. I'm not sore today which I think is good maybe it's just when I'm in the throes of it!! I'm enjoying the challenge and when I have done it, the satisfaction, just not when I'm in the middle of it! 😀


I don’t think I hate it. It’s hard to know. Sometimes, in the moment, it feels like a struggle and I want to stop, but I’ve never had a problem getting myself out of the door to do a run (no one is more surprised at this than me). I always found exercise very boring (even things like aerobics and zumba) but somehow this isn’t boring. The sessions aren’t too long, the structure suits me and the rapid progress you make is very motivating. I always love how I feel when I’m done. My favourite part of the week is breakfast after an early morning run.

SlowstartGraduate in reply to vivster

Well Vivster, I'm sorry to say you're already hooked and I think you have the love/hate relationship with running at the moment. Some days the runs are harder than others and therefore less enjoyable at the time but as you're getting the "after run buzz" I think you're on the way to loving it !!!

Breakfast is always better when earnt.

Happy-runnerGraduate in reply to Slowstart

Breakfast is definitely better when earnt 😉

Happy-runnerGraduate in reply to vivster

I actually love aerobics and Zumba but I wanted a new challenge and I like the way the programme sets you targets that have been set by people who know better than me! Like you I can't believe how I'm actually going out of the door for a run! And when im not, like today, feel as though I'm missing it. What's that all about??? 😀

SlowstartGraduate in reply to Happy-runner

Exactly. Non run days always feel like there is something missing no matter what else you do. 

We've found our legal high!


Your post really made me laugh. It made me laugh because you call yourself Happy runner. I hate the running bit too but I do remember liking being fit enough to run round my whole park without stopping which took 25 mins. I'm looking forward to that as I'm only on Week 3.

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