Disasterous - I can't run outside

Arrived in UK on Thursday morning, things have gone downhill since then ... first of all my boiler packed up so no hot water. Also no internet. Spent Thursday and Friday trying to get things up and running to no avail. This morning I thought I would try and get myself up and running, and that was also a disaster - I couldn't do more than 5 minutes of outdoor flat running, SO MUCH HARDER, legs aching and completely out of breath. I kept having to stop and walk, then try to run again, but after 15 minutes of doing this I turned around to go back and now could see my shadow and realised how ridiculous I looked (literally just walking and making the action of running with my arms). At this point I gave up and walked home sobbing, completely defeated. Where do I go from here? I was almost finished and now I want to give up. I have been kidding myself.


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24 Replies

  • Oh Cairokitten i'm so sorry to hear that. I've read your posts and plans to return to the UK with interest (was jealous of having a sitting room big enough for running). Don't be too down hearted, running outside is different and it may take some time to adjust, but you have definitely built up some fitness already and should be able to tackle the couch to 5k in a different environment.

    By the way, I think we all think our shadows look slightly ridiculous 😆

    Take care- give it a day and get out there again and keep posting xx

  • Ah Cairokitten dont give up! You have had sooo much willpower to do the programme the way you have, it's going to feel very very different to run in a different country, after a busy couple of days and outside. We've had it very humid, with a very high pollen in the uk in the last few weeks - it looks deceptive because it's overcast but it has had a huge impact on lots of people's efforts and breathing, don't be disheartened!!

  • Big hug! Give your self a break my dear! Sounds like you are physically and mentally exhausted! You have been travelling ( not sure if moving county or returning from holidays - sounds the former which is huge ) and the dealing with frustrating basic things like no hot water and Internet! Then doing something new? Of course it was a struggle. But you still did five mins on the trot ! (That's all I can do anyway). I'm sure it will get easier but give yourself time. If you have been used to a treadmill why not join a gym and try that for a bit then try again outside? Me, I'm scared of treadmills but like the fresh air and scenery outside but yes the ground is uneven and hilly and things get in the way (running down pavements on wheelie bin day is fun- a free obstacle course). Anyway be gentle on yourself! You are still a runner!!

  • Chin up I bet it's not half as bad as you think it is and the week you've had has only made it seem worse.

    I would imagine if you are running inside a house that you would be turning a corner every few seconds or so and that would naturally slow you down as you shift your weight and balance to change direction. Then out you come this morning into the outside world where you can run in straight lines for much much longer and you're not used to it.

    Don't worry you will get there you just need to slow right down, look ahead and not down at your shadow as we can all look ridiculous when the sun is low 😀.

    I really wouldn't worry at how slow you need to run to complete the required time as its about the constant excercise at this stage and not pace or distance. If you need to go just above walking pace then so be it. There's time enough to get faster once you graduate.

    Welcome to the outside world, leave it a day or so and have another go. Perhaps consider dropping back a week or two to compensate for the extra effort required outside.

    But you can do it and we've got your back 😀

  • OK, I officially love this forum. I will keep going ...

  • You want to do this! I was amazed at your dedication running around your living room, because it was not possible to run outside in Egypt. How fantastic is that! And I know you've been looking forward to running outside, but it's not the same. The ground is uneven, there are hills and inclines, you have to watch out you don't trip over curbs. There are people. But you're out there, you want to do it - and you will. Go back a couple of weeks. Even go back to week 1 and do that. If it's easy move on to week 2 etc. Build up your confidence. You're probably also tired and stressed. But you are a runner! Look forward to your next post!

  • Keep going and you will get there. Your body just needs to adjust dont let your brain prevent it from getting the opportunity. Who cares what we look like as long as we get fit and healthy. Keep running x

  • Please don't give up after your determination has got you this far.

    I know before you came to the UK you ran on a treadmill a few times; so give yourself a boost and finish the program on a treadmill.

    Afterwards you could always try running outside again; maybe repeating the program from about wk4?

  • Like others I would say don't give up but may be wipe the slate clean and start the programme over so you can compare like for like for each run. Running inside in different temperatures in a completly different country with less pollen and humidity is different from the good old uk. The first 5-10 mins is aways hard and most of us have to really concentrate and get through those minutes before settling into a stride. I know I look ridiculous but then I look less ridiculous than that person sitting in their car in the Mac d s drive through queue not making any effort at all. Start again, start slow.

  • Hi Cairokitten, this is one of the most supportive forums on the internet - and sometimes support requires a gentle challenge.

    I read about somebody who met a challenge in their run caused by some physical effects (tiredness, aching legs etc.). That is normal and happens to us all. However, you then unfortunately made the same mistake we all do which is rather than fight the gremlins you jumped right onto their side and did their job for them :-).

    Bad runs happen to all of us. The absolutely critical thing is NOT to get lost in that one tiny moment. It is so easy to associate that singular experience with the whole of your running career, and rather than think 'how odd, this isn't at all like my runs, hopefully the next one will get back to normal' you, and I, and we all think 'this is awful, every run forever more will be like this, forget about all the runs I have already done, no, this isn't for me'.

    Which, in a gentle, support and encouraging a way as possible, is pretty ridiculous :-).

    We all feel for you, we have all been there, we will all be there again no doubt. The ONLY thing you need to do is to decide to keep going REGARDLESS of the gremlins.

    You are absolutely right, you 'have been kidding [yourself]' in thinking that one run represents every run ever. Of course it doesn't, it is one run out of how many?

    Given that most people who starts this program was on the couch for longer then was healthy it is a fair bet there are a lot of people who are pretty self-conscious. I am 20 stone which unfortunately means any sports related gear I wear needs another 2 or 3 'X's in order to fit properly, but I still go out in my lycra-tight shorts and t-shirt. I even go out wearing these: healthunlocked.com/couchto5... :-).

    That was (hopefully a squishy and gentle) stick.

    The carrot is that it is all worth it, it really is. NOBODY thinks you look as silly as you do. I expect nobody even notices as most people are far too obsessed with themselves to notice.

    The very very few people that do are numpties and will be cruel out of insecurity.

    I feel for you, I really do, I know how you feel and I have felt that too. But, taking the emotion out, the fact is I read about somebody who had a pretty bad time before the run but went for a run anyway. They struggled with the pace so rather than giving up they did the sensible thing of walking, then they tried to run and then walked. This is absolutely great so far - it shows determination and guts and a really good 'I won't be beaten' attitude. Then it all gets a bit weird and their shadow offends them and they give up all hope!?

    The ONLY difference between you and the many many people how have passed isn't your experience it is the decision you made to only run when it is good. You need to run DESPITE the gremlins.

    This is enough of a wall of text.

    Sending hugs, hopefully some helpful challenge and encouragement your way.

  • Great post :) Are you still using those barefoot shoes? How are they now? I have just bought some bouncy Asics as the impact of concrete just feels so hard, but now I'm thinking again ...

  • I am, and I love them. However, they do take some getting used to :-).

  • Oh Cairokitten, don't despair! It sounds like the problems people sometimes have adjusting to running outside after training on a treadmill.

    The problem is probably about learning to pace yourself. This would have been self limiting in your front room but now you have to work that out for yourself- likewise settling into a regular cadence will feel quite different from what you have been doing. You just have to reprogramme your style a bit.

    Go back to somewhere like the beginning of week 5 in the programme and build up again. It's only a short setback and you will soon be running more happily - all that front room training will pay off!

  • Oh no :( I echo everything everyone has said - what a change that you are having to make! Sounds like a lot of stresses outside running have impacted too. But you can do it! Remember, very very slow. Ullyrunner makes a good point about pacing yourself outside being so so different. I think I remember that you said you'll be running by the sea? I've actually had to run along the other side of the common away from the seafront on many days as the wind can sometimes just be too much!

    Even if you have to take a couple of steps backwards to get a bit more used to the new conditions it is not giving up, just giving yourself some confidence. You can do it, don't let all that progress you've made go to waste!

  • You're totally okay. Some runs are just bad. Also, sometimes when we change things up our running needs time to adjust. Now you have wide open routes to run and new scenery, it's tough to hold the throttle back. I bet the weather, the food you're eating, everything is slightly different. Just be kind to yourself. If it takes a couple of weeks to adjust that's expected and okay. Why don't you try an earlier week just to get some confidence while you explore new routes? I return to them often myself.

  • Don't give up you have come so far in such difficult circumstances. With the determination you have shown so far you can absolutely do this. Like others have said slow down. Maybe try to find a nice flat place to run. A park With A long path or two? You are used to turning and running same part over so it doesn't have to be a long path. Then you can build up your confidence running out side. The feel of the path etc under foot will be different to inside and there are more bumps and kerbs etc to contend with so perhaps you would prefer a treadmill? I am sure you will adjust go easy on yourself you have had a busy time and lots going on that will have sapped your energy. Keep posting and I am sure everyone will support you through this.

  • Come on... we don't give up that easily!!!! :)

    Shadows... we all have them and they look really funny...Ever catch sight of yourself in a window.. eeeekkkk ! I used to run past, eyes averted!!!

    You have done so well.. really well and you can still do this!!! Yes you can!

    The humidity here is pretty bad and the air quality..yesterday morning, even early, I found I was gulping air down trying to breathe!!!

    So.... big breath.... and relax. Accept all that has happened to you, all stressful and aggravating... let it go.

    Next run, really really slowly... tell your shadow it can tag along but only if it keeps a low profile :)

    You feel like giving up....? Just look how far you have come... and think... just how far you are going to go!

  • I'd put money on you simply having run too fast! (And of course the shadow thing is lethal - but since when do shadows give a full picture??? Maybe a certain time of day when we are all extremely tall and svelte???) You'll have had to adopt a particular style in order to cope with your indoor circuits (I did the NHS Strength and Flexibility podcasts mostly indoors because of the props needed, and the moving around bits were tough)

    Maybe a treadmill would be the way to go but it is different again, so my hunch is that running around either indoors or perhaps a tight little circuit outdoors to mimic it is what you need for your next two runs. Whereupon you will have graduated because you are a very brilliant and determined person and you can then take your brilliance and determination out for a long straight run then and discover the joy of getting into the zone.

  • Cairokitten don't be so hard on yourself! It sounds like you've had a stressful few days, on top of travelling and a big move. Hells bells, the best of us would struggle to have a great run after that I'm sure! Just take it slow, give your body time to adjust to very different air and climate and you'll get there. Bet the seaside looks lovely though, I'm jealous, x

  • Please don't give up. Hey, you've just done so much, most of us wouldn't have even considered going for a run!

    Running outdoors is just the best thing ever. Look around and find a park or another nice safe area, and you're bound to fall in love.

    And welcome to the UK ☺. The land of all the weather ☺ 🏃 xx

  • Stop being so hard on yourself! Have you ever seen the episode of Friends where Phoebe and Rachel go running in Central Park? If you don't look like Phoebe when you run you have absolutely nothing to worry about. It will all be ok when you find your feet. Good luck x

  • Thank you everyone, really appreciate the support :) I have been licking my wounds for a couple of days, went to the RUNNING SHOP today. Because it occurred to me that I have so far been using very cheap shoes and they do not provide enough cushioning now I'm going outside. So I braved it to ask for guidance and help and they did the gait analysis. Oh the shame of running in public and being scrutinised by a lovely fit young man who told me he went rock climbing as well as running. I have bought some Asics that seemed so much more supportive and bouncy. He warned me that they are not going to be the magic answer to my problem with running on concrete and that my body needs time to adjust. He suggested running on grass, not a bad idea. Anyway, tomorrow morning I am going to try them out, not sure what week I'll go back to, but backwards I know I must go, in order to move forwards again. Thanks again, everyone. Wish me luck.

  • Good for you! The world is your oyster, Good Luck 🏃🏃🏃🏃

  • Sorry I missed your original post Kitten x

    You sound so much more positive now , and that's great !

    Good Luck for tomorrow, you have done brilliantly so far . Keep at it, we are all rootin' for you xxx

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