Week 9 - Feel Like I'm Going Backwards - Couch to 5K

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Week 9 - Feel Like I'm Going Backwards

misterbrownesq profile image


Never thought I'd be one to come begging, but i could use a bit of advice. After feeling good about myself after every run of week 8 - like i was really getting somewhere - I've found the first two runs of week 9 a real slog.

I'm not really sure what's going on; my diet hasn't changed, my sleep hasn't changed, the weather's similar. Feel a bit like I'm going to pieces mentally during the run, and like the stamina I'd built up has deserted me. I'd been planning to stick my name down for a local ParkRun in a few weeks but now I'm not so sure.

I know there are peaks and troughs in everything, but I feel my positivity evaporating, and right as the finish line is in sight too. Anyone have advice for how to get over this? Feel a bit like apologising for being quite so self-indulgent.

44 Replies

I'm not at your level yet (I'm slogging through tough old week 7 at the moment) but have you stuck to the same route? As I'm discovering running is such a mental thing as well as physical, I wonder if doing the same route over and over is contributing? In my second 25 min run I changed my route slightly to accommodate a greater distance and I really noticed an improvement.

That's all I've got anyway- good luck!

misswobble profile image
misswobbleGraduate in reply to strontiumtom

If you have a look round here you will find countless posts about this issue. It's not an issue,it'smore of a blip.

You will improve on all fronts as you get stronger and fitter, but these things take time. 9 weeks is nothing in running terms ☺

Just keep going! Eat, drink, sleep well and you'll be fine. I think it could be a case of graduation anxiety 😷

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to misswobble

Sleepless nights before sitting my final? Could be!

You're absolutely right about nine weeks not really being long at all, I just sort of...slunk in from my run tonight, and it felt like I'd gone from preparing myself to finish the last run of the programme triumphantly to whimpering over the finish line.

I'll stick at it. It helps having lots of positivity around. Thanks.

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to strontiumtom

Thanks strontiumtom; that's a good shout. I've got a couple of go-to routes, but maybe I do just need a bit of a change. I can tell how far i've come and how far I have to go without Laura telling me, which can be good but can definitely make things tougher. I'll freshen it up for my last run!

All the very best on your way to your own finish line! Oh, and Squaxx dek Thargo!

Ha! Borag Thungg!

JaneyTroll profile image

Maybe you've just had two tough runs in a row? Some days it does feel like a slog, doesn't it? You're right though, in the final few weeks it's a real mental effort. Stay strong mister! You might find your tripping along like a gazelle next time you go out!

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to JaneyTroll

In my dreams! Thanks JaneyTroll. I'm not saying I've breezed through the programme, but you're right; maybe it's the first time it's not really gone my way for whatever reason.

If I'm clearing hedgerows in a single bound at the weekend you'll be the first to know!

At this stage a lot of the effort is mental so remind yourself why you're doing this. You've completed each run of the programme so far and you are therefore more than ready for the remaining run. You will do it and do it beautifully, of this I'm positive.

Just keep thinking of how you'll feel when you've done the last run and what you're going to say in your post when you tell us all about it 😊

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to Irishprincess

What a fantastic carrot to dangle in front of me. Thanks Irishprincess, and thank you for the positivity just when i need it.

Firstly you are not begging or self indulgent - this is a hard thing to do. I am not sure there is anyone that has sailed through this. I had my blip at W7 and it was awful. As you say no reason - just didn't have it in me. I thought all the pain would be physical and then realised that it was mental too 😂

Dig deep and remember why you started and why you want to finish, run slow when it gets tough (my slow run is slower than my walk!) and you will do this.....C25K is the start

Go, go run and the collect your graduation badge - think you may have deserved it 😀 can't wait to hear about your great next run 🏃👏

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to lightweightkate

Thank you lightweightkate. You put a bit of a lump in my throat there, I'm still getting used to all this positivity. I'll keep your words in mind when I'm lacing up at the weekend, and I'll tell you all about it when I'm done.

lightweightkate profile image
lightweightkateGraduate in reply to misterbrownesq

Go you. Waiting for your next post 😀

davelinks profile image

Well done for getting where you are and push through those negative thoughts, they will lessen as you graduate go beyond and get fitter, keep it slow & steady and also go with what MW & IP say😊

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to davelinks

Thanks davelinks; some reassurance from someone who's been there, done it, and graduated is just what was required.

JaySeeSkinny profile image

Are you subconsciously scared of life after graduation and sabotaging yourself? Many of us had difficulties with motivation immediately after graduation, maybe you're just bringing these difficulties forward. In which case it's them pesky gremlins again and you need to boot them out!

GoogleMe profile image
GoogleMeGraduate in reply to JaySeeSkinny

I think this happens a lot more than we realise.

It's definitely quite good really to get the infamous Bad Run (or two) under your belt before you have to let go of Laura's hand because They Happen.

I reckon that you have correctly identified a strategy to address this by varying your route (other than Tincture of Time and going out for your next run in due course which are also pretty reliable for all head things)

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to GoogleMe

Thanks GoogleMe. I think I'm having my first "wobble" after thinking i might just get to finish the programme without one. What a chump! As you've said, I'll rest up and get back on the horse because there's nothing else for it (oh...and because I want that 'graduate' badge!).

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to JaySeeSkinny

I know i'm anxious about what comes next JaySeeSkinny. Having the programme to stick to makes running infinitely "easier" for me; being left to my own devices afterwards is a slightly daunting prospect. My first post on the forum was about just that - what next?!? I've had a few pointers about other podcasts to listen to, so I'll start doing some digging once I've finished W9R3. Maybe I was just getting too far ahead of myself.

PS - any tips you have about what helps keep you motivated or other podcasts I could listen to would be gratefully received!

runningnearbeirut profile image
runningnearbeirutGraduate in reply to misterbrownesq

I consolidated with about 3 weeks of W9 before trying the Stepping Stones podcast one week, then the Stamina one the next and the Speed one the next. Then I went through quite a long time of 1 Stamina and 1 Speed every week and I can't remember what I did for the 3rd!

Two things are really important to most of us to keep going after graduation:

(a) routine - running on the same days each week makes them happen more easily

(b) a target - have a go at a park run and then every month or so try to improve on your pb (don't try every week, it just doesn't work like that!). At some point you'll start thinking about running further and running faster, but for now just think of it as part of your life. Setting a monthly target of how far you intend to run is a good starting point - 60km would be 3x5k every week, so tweak it from that according to what is realistic and that is another great target to aim for, and one that won't get you overdoing it and should therefore help you avoid injury.

stewieUK profile image

These feelings can come in at any time - for me it was week 8 and it was so bad I reverted to week 5 to build up a bit of confidence. But having done that, I sailed through the rest of the programme end even skipped a couple of runs to complete the three W9 for graduation. Does this mean the gremlins have left me? Not a chance! I still can't progress from the treadmill to outside, so I will ask for guidance and encouragement. You will succeed, you will get your mojo back, you will graduate but believe me, you will still have good days and bad days.

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to stewieUK

Thanks stewieUK. Maybe it is just my first proper wrestle with the gremlins when I thought I'd managed to miss them. In any case, you're right (i hope!) - I'll get there and find that missing mojo on the way. It's nice to know there are likeminded folks who've needed the same help from time to time and are happy to share the benefit of their experience with those of us who're still very much at the beginning of our running career.

McFitty profile image

Week 9 run 2 - I think I posted something very similar. I have no idea why it happened (or happens) but it IS just a blip. I don't think we recognise until after graduation, quite the mental strain that we go through in those weeks leading up to it, let alone the physical exertion.

Remember just how hard those first weeks were? You got through them. All of them. And now you're going to graduate - and that is just the beginning of your life as a runner. Go and have a fab run and then tell us all when it's done and we'll be ready with the bubbly and heaps of well-earned applause! :)

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to McFitty

I honestly don't think I'd realised quite how much I've been...holding my breath?...in the run-up to graduation until you pointed out the mental exertion that's involved.

I'm very new to running, and still even newer to this forum. I think it's amazing that people are willing to give so much positivity and encouragement to people they've never met; maybe it's the shared experience, maybe its because the people who take the time to respond are just straight-up lovely. Thank you McFitty.

Sammully profile image

Stay strong and keep those gremlins away. You are so close now just keep going. Good luck xx

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to Sammully

Thanks Sammully!

Sometimes it's in the mind. Sometimes when running I have life things on my mind what I'm going to do that day or things to sort out ! I run better when I get into thinking about the run, like wow I'm over half way or think about things not related to my daily life,.

Sometimes I get into a zone think about what other music I could play for my runs in future. Or funny or happy memories from the past drift in. Bit like daydreaming. almost entranced . Or even funny posts put out by contributors to this site. Anything but day to day stuff. Even glancing at the wildlife on the lake distracts me.

Perhaps you were thinking about whether you should enter the park run. Perhaps worried about failing it. ?

I always feel that I run better on a non working day. I say only feel I do because usually I always perform at least as well as my previous run. Again mind over matter again.

After graduating On a run I felt good and did extra half lap of local lake I run which I hadn't planned. Sometimes your progress comes in leaps and bounds. Or sometimes stall.

But I'm sure you'll get there as others have said take it slowly and don't think too far ahead. Think about how great you feel about what you've achieved so far that you probably thought was impossible. you've come so far and sure you'll get there.

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to

I wouldn't disagree with any of that Hidden. Thinking about it, today was probably the first time I didn't get into that trance-y, passive mindset. Maybe it just wasn't the right time to head out, but I didn't want to back down once I decided it was time to lace up.

Failing the Park Run is a bit of a worry, but the mistake I feel like I made today is maybe not just letting go of worrying about what happens after graduation, or whether I can make it round the Park Run, or even whether I should have gone out for a run in the first place, and just let one foot fall in front of the other for 30 minutes. Maybe my mind needs to get a bit fitter too.

poppypug profile image

A very honest post misterbrownesq , thank you for sharing with us .

This programme is very much a mental challenge as well as a physical one. It brings all kinds of emotions to the fore, I found.

One more run to go and you will do it !

Everyone has tough runs, even elite athletes, if that's any comfort to you :-)

Once you get your Graduate badge, you can then have a little break ( if you wish ) and think about what you want to do next .

Good Luck , we are all rootin' for you ! :-) xxx

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to poppypug

Thanks poppypug. I know that most challenges involve a certain amount of 'mind over matter', but i didn't realise that the C25K would be quite so...emotional. Elation, doubt, pride, doubt, relief...more doubt. Did I mention doubt?

It's nice to know that there are people who've had a lot of the same experiences that I have on C25K journeys of their own. I saw someone on another post mention that being able to post on the forum is a big motivational factor for her, and I can understand why. Thanks again.

Go and do your parkrun anyway, it will introduce a whole new world of motivation. Don't forget how far you've come in 9 weeks !

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to

Why the hell not? Might go and try to tackle to course once or twice first to make sure I can get round it without needing oxygen! I'll do it Hidden; promise.

runswithdogs profile image

In addition to all the wonderful advice above, maybe consider an extra rest day. Sometimes we need two or three days off to perk ourselves up - my runs following a little break always feel good. New route has been suggested, and that's good. You could also ditch Laura and put together a special (and not too fast) playlist. Or try running to a non-running podcast - an audiobook, a comedian, anything. You've come so far, and the world is your oyster. I also recommend trying W1R1 again on your initial route and see how different you feel/how much further you travel. You'll amaze yourself.

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to runswithdogs

Those are all great ideas runswithdogs. I know in myself that sticking to the three-runs-in-a-week routine has made things more of a chore some days than others, so I didn't go for my W9R3 yesterday. Today's the day!

Aww, I feel for you! The only advice I have is to keep trying - some of the earlier runs in the program felt like torture and some of the later ones felt like a breeze, no rhyme or reason that I could ever work out, but I think it always gets better over the long term!

Curlygurly2 profile image

I had similar feelings at that stage, I found I just needed to eat a bit more before a run. When I was a swimmer I used to get up and go, I just can't do that with running. I'm not saying you need to stuff your face, but just give a little thought to whether you've actually eaten enough to fuel that run. Porridge is what does it for me!

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to Curlygurly2

It's funny Curlygurly2; the whole 'food' thing has been at the back of my mind these last few runs. I can't honestly say what works better; sometimes when i've eaten before heading out I'm glad that I did, other times it feels like I'm carrying a bale of hay on my back. Think i"m going to try keeping a little diary of when i run, and what vp've eaten before i do to see if I can try to narrow down what works best. I'll give the porridge a spin though! (PS - salty or sweet?)

Curlygurly2 profile image
Curlygurly2Graduate in reply to misterbrownesq

That's a really good idea, to monitor how you feel after eating. Everyone is different, I find I can scoff a massive bowl of porridge then just go straight out and run! Most people allow a couple of hours to digest it.

Recently I've been doing overnight oats - oats and milk in the fridge, it soaks up nicely. And sweet every time, or at last not salty! Strawberries if I have them, or brown sugar, today I had chopped dried apricots.

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to Curlygurly2

Overnight oats are the best! Some blueberries or raspberries in there, a little shake of some chia seeds, maybe a dab of honey...mmm mmm!

b275 profile image

We're all allowed a "wobble"

Mine was at the end of week 8, I just couldn't & didn't want to run, I didn't want to finish the course, what would I do after? what would I do without Laura telling me?

All absolute rubbish excuses, I had almost a week off then made some goals for when I'd finished. Run 5K, run Park run, run 5k in 30mins etc. I got my enthusiasm back and there's no stopping me now.

I've managed the 5k several times, now the norm. Did the park run today, which was hard but I did it in a good time just need to crack the 30 mins now.

Goals are what keeps most of us going and now you're nearly there!! Good Luck, you can do it!!

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to b275

That's awesome b275 ; well done for getting your mojo back. I'm in exactly the same spot now that you were a few weeks ago, so I'm going to go hunting for more motivation and try to tick off a few goals. The Park Run's the next step I think, although the course nearest to me has a significant uphill stretch around half way round. Think I'll give a few tries on my own before trying to perform in front of an audience.

Thanks for the advice!

b275 profile image
b275Graduate in reply to misterbrownesq

Mine is a "significant" uphill out of the woods and then the finish as well.

I was going to try on my own first but then I had a Saturday off work and thought why not!! Still can't believe I did it AND how much I was shaking before I got to the start.

OO I just noticed you got your badge- well done you made it!!

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to b275

Thank you :-) Might have a little brag at the bottom of this post!

PS - hope this doesn't sound too stalker-y, but yours isn't the Falkirk ParkRun is it?

b275 profile image
b275Graduate in reply to misterbrownesq

No, miles away Newark, Notts

misterbrownesq profile image
misterbrownesqGraduate in reply to b275

Ah - that makes me feel a bit better about asking then. Well done for taking the ParkRun challenge, I'll let you know when I'm brave enough to do the same!

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