Should I give up?! : Two weeks ago I finished... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
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Should I give up?!


Two weeks ago I finished Week 9, I felt fantastic!  Since then, I have ran three times a week completing 5K in under 30 minutes and I've been so proud of myself! However, half way through this week I started to panic when I was running; I was out of breath, my legs were stiff and every part of me wanted to give up but I carried on, finishing 5K in 28 minutes - I was so glad that the run was over. Then, two days after when I went for my next run, those feelings came racing back and at 15 minutes, I gave up and walked home feeling defeated and disappointed. I feel like I just can't run anymore, should I just give up? Couch to 5K was amazing and I loved every week running further and further but now I've lost total confidence and I'm at crisis point: what should I do? 

21 Replies

You have no reason to give up but you might benefit from slowing down a bit.

By the way, do not underestimate the potential effect of the warmer weather on both your running performances and the way you feel.

I'm no expert but my two penn'orth is:

Are these new feelings, or do you experience them at other times? If you've had them before, then treat the running ones as you would those. If they are entirely new, can you analyse what brings them on? Perhaps a trip to the dr is in order.

I don't know your fitness levels but they are obviously good as you are running fast for a recent graduate. Many of us don't get to your times after months, or even years, of graduating. Don't give up, unless you have fallen out of love with running but try doing a new route, very slowly. Slow down your runs for a while. Assuming, as a new grad, you are new to running perhaps your mind and body need to catch up with what you are asking of it. 

One thing you most definitely need to do is apply for your graduate badge! You have earned it 😀


Why are you going that fast?  I have run a 5k in 34 minutes, my fastest and I graduated a long time ago!  First 5k was 43 minutes!  When I graduated, I decided to run at a comfortable speed and it has improved naturally but I like to plod along, nosey at the neighbourhood, leap over muddy puddles, skip over tree roots and gambol along the grass!  Maybe you could plan some running adventures along the way, nice slow ones.  You are doing amazingly well so y stop now, maybe just make some changes 


Please don't give up! As Annie says, you are doing really well to achieve 5k in 30 minutes (I graduated at Easter and haven't really got any faster - still not managed 5k in 30 mins). You will hear lots of people on this forum say 'Slow and even slower is best'. By very gradually increasing distance and speed you will be less likely to pick up an injury and maintain confidence and enjoyment. I like having a target to keep up motivation but a realistic one! Have you tried any of the Couch to 5k+ podcasts (stepping stones, speed and stamina)? They are great for adding variety and i find Laura's voice very encouraging. Are you running 5k each time you run? Maybe try a shorter run once a week, but still nice and steady, that might help ease your feelings of panic. No need to rush.....enjoy. Best of luck and keep posting. 


echo what everyone else is saying, just put it down to a bad run, they can't all be great! Have a few days off and next run just go out and take your time , I definitely struggle more if I try to go too fast. Don't throw your progress away by giving up at this stage. Maybe if you miss the structure of c25k ,join the quest on here and set yourself a few goals for a 6 week period, like running 3 x week, or adding a few minutes or km every few weeks, might help you stay motivated?


Hi I agree with lots of the comments people have made already, especially the dramatic change in weather. Maybe think about setting yourself a new goal, like running your local Parkrun, or finding a nearby race. I find when my motivation flags having a new goal in mind really helps !

Two weeks ago you felt fantastic when you graduated, remember?🏃🏃🏃

Hang on to that feeling instead of the feeling of failure because of a couple of bad runs. Allow yourself to have bad running days. You don't need to quit running altogether just because you have a couple of less-than-perfect runs. 

And allow yourself to slow down and enjoy while you run. Perhaps do a run without measuring distance, or is that too radical? 😉

Most running is meant to be done at an "easy" pace. What Mo Farah might call easy is far beyond what most of us can manage at flat out, but he certainly doesn't run pbs every time he goes out on a training run.

Aim for a pace where you can talk, and go out with a target time you want to run for rather than 5k. If you slow down, you'll find you can build up on the 30 minutes.

I'd agree with giving the C25K+ podcasts a go.

Every now and then, run at a faster pace - on your own or in a parkrun, but not every time you go out.


Sorry, I totally agree with the other comments... just slow down! 

Okay... you did the 5K in 30 minutes. Brilliant; you clearly are very pleased and proud, and so you should be. :)

Now, instead. maybe, of forcing the next stage of the journey... let it take you? Slowly, steadily and enjoyably.

Are there new routes to explore, even reversing a run, ( no, not my running backwards :))? Just forget about distance and vary the time you are out. Have you used the C25K+ podcasts... they are different, quite good fun... a bit weird.. (Stepping Stone, v. odd) You can do them, as they stand, then later, build into a run ?

Weather changes are so odd at the moment as my lovely friend secan says, and could be affecting your breathing. Listen to the advice, as JoolieB1 says, and have fun on your run...lots of us trying new things at the moment!

"Fast enough to get there...slow enough to see."


Don't give up. Your mind is playing games. I find a great motivational tool is run zombies, I get quite engrossed in the story. I would suggest you are going too fast and your mind is panicking throwing your breath out of sync. It has happened to me, I just slowed right down and actively concentrated on my breath. Have you thought about yoga? It's a good way to develop an ability to calm yourself down when your mind is screaming stop. Obviously if it is a stabbing pain you stop. 


when i graduated I felt  little lost didn't know what to do or how to progress. I think taking some time to relax and consolidate is a good idea. also start to think what you would like to do next. the c25k is a highly structured programme and when finishing it people sometimes miss that structure...there are lots of avenues available 10K, hm, m, park runs, joining a club, new types of training -hill runs, trail runs, speed runs interval training, run/walk, heart rate monitors...having reached a really solid basis the world really is your oyster..try out a few new things see what you like! Who knows your journey may just be beginning!

How about finding and mentoring a newbie?  You obviously have masses of skills to share! Join a group if there is one near you and definately do a park run.  You have got the ability, now find your route to have fun with it.


A sub 30 minute 5k may be a natural easy pace for you, but it sounds to me like you are just pushing too hard. As others say most of your running should be at an easy pace, which is when your body will develop.  Have a look at this It may help you realise just how slow you should be going.

 An obsession with speed will put you on the injury bench. It has been a recurring theme on this graduate, no Laura to keep you in check, flat out to the physio and in one extreme case I recall, the advice to stop running as they had done irreversible damage. By running slower you can pay attention to your technique and form, as well as appreciate the world around you. Mix up your runs and target a PB maybe once a month.

Don't give up. Running should be fun, not a test. Keep running, keep smiling.


Slow down! I agree with the others. Are you missing the gentle Laura in your ear? Maybe go back to running week 9?

Or run in a new place and take time to enjoy your surroundings. Try a bit of run / walk to break things up a bit. Run with someone else.

You know this is purely a mental thing, right? Try a bit of distraction.


Thank you everyone for your considerate comments, you are all so right; I have pushed myself too fast but I've decided not to give up! Running is such an amazing experience and reaching the end of couch to 5k was a huge achievement, why should i walk away from it all because of a bad run? So, this morning I went back to week 6 run 2, to get back into a slower pace and rebuild my confidence. It's only less than 3 weeks and I'll be back to where I was, running at a better speed and in the right head space! And yes, Maxiscot I do do yoga and it's so liberating! Wow, thank you guys for being so motivational. I wouldn't have put back on my running trainers this morning if it wasn't for you all. Thank you. 

in reply to j_a_w94

Just what I was hoping to hear! Brilliant! This forum is the most amazing one of its kind. 


I read your post yesterday morning, and was amazed because you could have been describing me.  I've been feeling exactly the same since graduating a couple of weeks ago - my determination, drive, stamina etc all seemed to have deserted me, and after a disastrous run on Friday where I got a crippling stitch and only managed to run for 18 minutes before walking home in tears, I too was considering giving up. 

However I read all the advice you were given, gave myself a talking to and went straight out and was pleasantly surprised to find I was back to my normal 30 minutes without too much trouble and really enjoyed it, so hopefully back on track.

So glad to read that you're not going to give up either :-).

Good to hear!

in reply to pinklady2499

This forum is such a brilliant platform to share and help one another! I'm so pleased we're both back into it and that our fellow couch to 5k runners motivated us both :-) 


HI there - it sounds as if you are pushing yourself a bit too hard. Perhaps it might help to plan the next couple of runs as adventures, where you visit new or favourite places in your neighbourhood, to make running pleasurable rather than a race against the clock. I agree with JoolieB1 that frolicking around and looking at the scenery makes the whole experience much more fun!


It would be such a pity just to stop. Why not try going a little more slowly? Still run for 30 mins but cut the distance. Then you could build up again. All sorts of things can make you feel off colour for one or two runs. It does not have to be for ever.

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