Newbie week 1 complete but struggling - advise

I've just completed week 1 and have done an extra run 60 secs run/90secs walk but still feel like i'm struggling with my breathing, run 3 seemed like i was getting the hang of it but run 4 was horrible and felt just as bad as week 1.. is this common? any advise, should i stick with the week 1 schedule until i feel comfortable running this or just progress.. help!!


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16 Replies

  • Hi Candy656, I found all the runs challenging, all the way through the program because I went too fast. Whilst C25K shouldn't be easy, it shouldn't be unbearable either. It will take your body a while to get use to this new demand you are making so go easy on yourself and take it slowly, no really slowly. If you think you are going slowly, slow a bit more. Only you can judge whether to repeat runs, it really depends upon your starting fitness level but believe in the program it's been tried and tested and works. It will start feeling better soon, and so will you.

  • Hi candy565, I've just graduated recently and I felt exactly like you most of the way through the whole plan...some days I wondered if I would ever 'breathe' normally when's finally happening....that first 5 minutes is getting less and less horrible (do still have the occasional bad one, like most of us seem to) but on the whole I can't believe that there are lots of minutes on my runs that I'm not even thinking about my breathing (so I can't be struggling) keep at it....if this old gasper can get there I bet you can too :) xx

  • I'm no expert and only on W3 but I also found Week 1 really hard and Run 3 particularly hard - just wanted to stop as I couldn't breath and my legs ached so much I could hardly put one in front of the other. The amazing people on this forum told me to keep going and start with week 2 as I had managed to complete the runs. So I did and now I've just completed Week 3 Run1. I have read about loads of people who repeat weeks and the advise seems to be go at your own pace and what you feel comfortable with. I am sure that I will have tough days ahead but at the moment I am enjoying this and at end of week one I was seriously considering giving up......thanks to the people on this forum I didn't. Congrats on week 1, good luck and keep reading the posts - they've really helped me keep going :-)

  • I am repeating but that is due to having to rest a week. If i'd not been sore I would definitely of gone on to Week 2 - I really hope i'll make it there one day, there must be a record for longest time taken to finish Week 1? I'm on Week 4 now !

  • Don't feel bad if you choose to repeat a run. I repeated W1R1, still couldn't complete it but did better, couldn't quite finish W1R2, but then I finished W1R3. I tend to repeat the run if I wasn't even close to finishing and I push on if I was almost there. It's personal preference honestly. That said, if you keep pushing on without finishing your runs, you maybend up in trouble down the road. Keep it up, you'll get there.

  • The leg aching thing is a killer - but it's not, it just hurts a bit. My legs on week one felt like lead! My calves (should that be calfs)? were screaming at me to stop and the front of my legs were on fire. I was literally dragging myself to the finish of the podcast. Then someone told me to drink BEFORE I ran. It wasn't an instant get out of jail card but my legs were slightly better on the next run and slightly better on the run after that. It does get easier, you may not notice it getting easier but when you look back, you'll think "I can't believe how far I've come." This site has been a godsend to me. I lurked around for a few weeks on here before posting because I was scared I'd give up but the advice, the support and the cameraderie (especially for us newcomers) is really unbelievable. I've redone a week (week 3) because I'd not managed to complete a couple of runs and just felt I couldn't move on to week 4. That worked for me but maybe I was being a wuss, I'm not sure. Listen to Laura not the gremlins but be gentle on yourself :)

  • As others have said, it is going to be hard; think about what your poor body is now being asked to do compared to last week. However, it is incredible how quickly the body adapts, but, and it's a big but (no jokes please), you are almost certainly going too fast, just like me and everybody else.

    The guidance seems to be: 'if you can have a conversation easily then you aren't going fast enough. If you don't have the breath to tell Laura you are dying then you are going too fast'. For some (me included), I couldn't walk to the field without stopping for breath, and it was only across the road!

    Take heart though - it IS supposed to be tough, slow it down (if you have to run slower than you walk, that's fine). But, it does get more sustainable. I won't say easier because that is a lie (well, maybe it does become a little easier) :-), but you become more comfortable with discomfort and you can achieve a whole lot more for the same effort.

    Take heart, we have all been there and it does work. ALL you need to do is decide to get out the door, trust the plan, SLOW DOWN! and every. single. run. you will proud of what you have achieved.

    To be frank, the c25k is a bit misleading, it isn't about running 5K in 30 minutes, it is about running for 30 minutes non-stop. The 9 weeks are all about building up a platform of running fitness which you can then build on.

    As for retaking a week, I would be tempted to say no. If you can't manage a run without taking a walk, then SLOW DOWN :-). If you still can't then I might consider how much running I could do. If you can do most of the run then continue to the next run, if you have to walk more than, say, 30% of the run then yeah, I might consider re-taking.

    If it helps, my first week was about the same and now I am running 5ks every other day (give or take the odd day off here and there). I didn't run my first 5k until the run after my graduation, and it took around 40 minutes. The only reason you won't be able to do this is if you stop making the decision to get out of the door!

    Keep going, you are doing terrifically, you have done the hardest thing which is getting out the door.

    Oh, and SLOW DOWN!

  • hi all - thanks for the replies - really helpful :-) will definitely look at slowing down a bit and seeing if that helps - i have been using the nhs couch to 5 k app on my phone, is this the same as your all using? or is there something better? thanks

  • Many of us used the podcasts which have the Lovely Laura with her terrible taste in music.

    The music is a great incentive to get through the programme (to be rid of it...), and on the whole her advice is great. I've heard the app can be a bit unreliable.

  • I agree, try the podcasts! Laura gives you really well timed advice too (when you think you're just about to give up, she pipes up with "just 60 seconds left, you can do this!" and you have to keep going to not let her down!) and the music is set up with the right tempo for the walks and runs.

    Give week 2 a go - every week I used to think that there would be no way I'd be able to move on to the next week but I did it! The best advice from this forum is to slow down! Once you can run for 30 minutes then you can focus on getting faster but for now just focus on getting through each run. Slow, slow and slower! :)

  • Hi Candy, welcome aboard !

    Yes, try the podcasts, they do seem to be a bit more reliable than the app, plus they have the bonus of having Laura and her brilliant guidance and advice .

    I know what you mean about your breathing, I used to forget to breathe at times ! It was like my brain had far too much to cope with all in one go. Trying to run , watching where I was going , listening to the podcasts , I think my brain went into overload :-)

    Deep breaths, keep calm , slow and steady, we were all where you are now and we "get " it. You can do this, you really can . Keep posting here of your progress, or with any questions or concerns you may have. There will always be someone along to help.

    Good Luck :-) xxx

  • It is tough - and week 1 more than most! You will however gradually build strength and surprise yourself. The key is to keep it really slow and steady, make sure you take your rest days and stretch out after the runs.

    It's fine to repeat runs, but if you have completed them successfully, I would be inclined to move on.

  • I graduated 11 weeks ago and remember how exhausting week one was. I came back home coughing and spluttering. The breathing comes naturally too over time. I am 50 and have never been into running. I always used to come last at school! Now I can run 5K in 31.30 mins non stop. Don't worry about speed. I find it's a mind thing! Congratulations on taking it up and keep going.

  • well guys - i'm still doing week 1 but the last two runs i chose were difficult as i picked a route with quite a lot uphill runs :-( but last night i opted for a different, flatter route and impressed myself!! ended up a mile from home when the podcast finished so added 3 extra 60 sec runs! and was sooooooooooo chuffed... definitely up for week 2 on wednesday! thanks all.. actually enjoyed it!!

  • Hmmm, you haven't posted in 14 days - I really hope everything is OK and you are still going? Can we help?

  • Hello all! well I've continued running - and am enjoying it.. baring in mind i haven't run since being at school, I've just continued on week 1 as i've wanted to improve and am in no rush to push on and become disheartened.. have been improving all the time and have even shaved 2 mins 40 off my original running time.. still plodding on and will move on shortly - i've even brought a Fitbit to help me! ;-) thanks for thinking of me!

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