So near but yet so far

I got through the first 6 weeks of Couch to 5k no problem but am now stuck on Week 7 which makes you run for 25 mins non-stop. It just doesn't seem to be getting any easier. I'm doing all the right things but I can't make the breakthrough. Nothing hurts, and I'm not really out of breath. It's just I can't build endurance. I find it especially difficult to keep going round the 15-20 mins mark, but sometimes if I get to the end I can speed up for the last minute, which suggests there's something left in the tank. What should I do? I'm 58 and 3/4 and have been trying to run for about 4 months.


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17 Replies

  • Take heart - C25k wasn't easy for me but I hit a real wall in Week 7 and just couldn't run for the 28 mins either.....or so I thought!! It can be tough but you are saying that you have got to the end and also sped up as well so that's just brilliant. You also sound like you are feeling good on the runs which is a real plus!

    Just keep on going, slow right, right down when you feel like you want to stop, take a few days rest and tell yourself you can do this 😀 may want to repeat a couple of runs to build confidence but don't stop - you have done so well to get this far 😀

  • You don't say whether you are actually managing to complete the runs? The advice would always be to slow it down - even if you believe that to be impossible.

    Take a couple of days rest and try a different route so there are no visual triggers to make you think about giving up.

    You know that this is more a mental problem than a physical one.

    You've come such a long way - stick with it!

  • I find the c25k much more mentally hard then physically. I am only able to cover 2miles in 28minutes(I just finished wk 8) at the moment but I hit 'walls' many times throughout my runs. ..I would say at least 4times while i'm running so that's a I can't tell you how many times I feel like I can't go on. What gets me through them? Pure determination and positive self talk. I slow down even further if that's possible, I'm so so I have been known to give myself pep talks during those times..out I run early in the morning so no one is I will say things like, "you can do this!", "dig deep", "Just make it to the next block" etc.. Then when I'm approaching the last 5min I say to myself, "there is no way you are gonna quit now! You only have 5min left!" I also use 'markers' along my route to gauge how much longer I have to go and this seems to break the run down into smaller portions so it's less overwhelming. With these tactics i have been able to complete my runs. Especially since you say you are feeling well physically I would suspect it's self doubt that is keeping you from reaching your 25min. Honestly my runs are NEVER easy. I struggle for every minute physically and mentally. You can do it! Believe me when I say the mind is often what holds us back from reaching our goals. Believe and you will achieve!. Let us know how it goes. Way to go on getting this far, I will be routing for you. :)

  • Great reply 😀

  • Oh and one more thing...if things get really hard I have my go to song by Eminem "till I collapse"..the words especially at the start of the song pump me up and help me get the job It's a great running song..

    I have also used army cadence songs. I know it may sound strange but there is something about them that keep my feet moving. It makes me kinda feel like i'm running with the army There are so many to choose from. Find one that speaks to you and give it a try. I swear they work. My husband who is an avid runner thinks it's kinda strange but whatever He does love the Eminen song though.;)

  • So so slow, but so much faster than being on the couch! (Or that's what I tell myself!) Lovely advice, thank you. Keep it up!

  • For what it's worth I think your 'problem' sounds mental rather than physical, and it has affected very many of us who have reached your stage in the programme. You clearly CAN do it, you've just got to convince yourself you can and kick those 15 minute gremlins up the bum and out the way. We've all been there, honest! From what you say, you're actually doing rather brilliantly, and if 'nothing hurts', then you've no excuse not to smash the next run!

    Best of luck (not that you need it :)).

  • I'm at the same stage and finding the long runs quite difficult so all the advice is really helpful. I don't know if I could slow down more than I already go - I seem to cover about 2.7km in my 25 minutes.

  • Ooh yes you can! I had a 25 minute run where I covered 2.35k :-D (and honestly, I did have both feet off the ground).

  • Thanks for that - makes me feel better! Although today I apparently managed 3.5k - making progress!

  • I did the programme last year at about the same age as you. Week 7, where there's no going back to run / walk intervals, also hit me hard. My problem was mental, not physical, and I am guessing yours could be too.

    Here's a few things that worked for me.

    1. Ditching Laura. I'd never really been a fan of using podcasts or the app, partly because I find in-ear headphones really uncomfortable, but also because I don't feel safe if I can't hear people coming up behind me. By programming the run timing into run keeper and having it burble distances at me from my pocket rather than having something in my ear, I was freed from thinking about how long there was to go.

    2. New route, to stop me making associations of where I could be walking.

    3. Promise of a treat if I got through the remaining runs!

  • I sympathise but I think it is mental more than physical. I'm 60 and 3 quarters ! Try as others have said possible different route. As SillyLillie has said perhaps have little markers in your route as I do. I'll just get to the next one in my case a tree or something around Lake. Or if need be consolidate and don't worry about getting to next level too soon.

    I am now running regularly 5K+ and inch by inch am increasing to 6K and my running is getting gradually faster . On my week 9 (about 2 months ago)I was doing I think about 35 minutes for 5K I am now doing 31 without trying I am running faster.

    As I've said before this C25K is in the words of Baldrick a "Cunning Plan". One that works and the best plan I've found to get me fit and running and great health and mental wellbeing. Now only a few pounds off normal BMI from being 3 stone over it !

    I'm sure you can get through it.

  • It happens to us all, and will occasionally crop up evry now and then no matter what stage we are at. :) Partly mental, partly physical. The mind tells us we are achieving 'the impossible' and we get a bit overwhlemed, the last resistance of the body to having give up its comfortable Couch says 'DON'T DO THIS TO ME" :)

    If it is really getting you down, and I know what that is like believe me, take a 'complete break' and try what I did that got me back into the groove.

    I was fed up of feeling fed up at one of the stages and got in a kind of rebellious/sod this for a game of soldiers mood while still wanting to enjoy the programme. So - I went out and made my goal for that days run an attempt to run as SLOWLY as humanly possible without actually lapsing into a 'walk step'.

    It's a LOT harder than it sounds but it turned out to be so much fun to do. I kind of paced myself as if I was just finishing a run - really slow loping steps - and kept that up. I was so busy focusing on 'slow run BUT NOT walk' and enjoying the rather weird sensation that the time flew by - and to my astonishment the distance covered was not all that much less than my 'usual' distance :)

    I learned that despite best intentions we do tend to run faster than we think or wish to, and that if we don't keep this running thorughly enjoyable on SOME level we won't stick with it. We will find some excuse to literally walk away:) Coddfish also mentions a good motivator - promising yourself a treat when you finish. Be it that lovely cold shower or that 'guilt free' scoop of ice cream you can have becuase you burned off a lot of calories that week or whenever :)

    Lastly - there is also a 'fear factor' of - what happens when I graduate? We go on this new and novel journey and suddenly it hits us -whats next? Kind of like 'When will I ever feel like a grown-up' feeling that can hit at any age when we are stressed out about something :)

    You are doing fine, just remember slow and steady is what got the vast majority of us that little bit further on the route each time :) You made it this far, you really can make it all the way :)

  • ^^ spot on :)

  • GREMLINS!! Sneaky little beasties...

    If nothing hurts and you're not really out of breath then clearly your muscles and cardiovascular system are adapting well.

    I found the thought of solid runs- for the rest of my life!- quite overwhelming and it took a while to mentally break through it.

    Try and pinpoint an incentive to get through this bit and totally agree with others that changes of paths/routes can make a welcome difference.

    Good luck :)

  • wow. brilliant, supportive replies from so many people. thank you SOOO much.

  • Wow, so many encouraging messages from so many people when I ran (haha) into trouble in week 7. I finally got through three 25-minute runs in a week and moved on to week 8 today (yay!). it was amAzing. I was tired, but I got through it fine. A fluke?! I was so suspicious about the relative ease with which I did the 28 mins that I decided there must be something wrong with the podcast and timed it when I got home!! I now eat half a banana before I do my run, so that could be the magic ingredient. But the encouraging thing is that all the runs I did while I was 'failing' at week 7 weren't wasted - as podcast Laura says, it's all about getting the miles under your belt, so maybe all the extra runs have actually built a bit of resistance. Even if week 8 doesn't continue this well, today was still a huge confidence boost.

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