Stuck in a rut 😞

I graduated approximately 6 months ago and even though I am running at least twice a week I am having great trouble doing more than 5k and some weeks can't even do that 😞.

I am not sure if either I am not cut out for running further than the 5k or if I need to do something extra to ensure I can get past that 5k sticking point.

Any suggestions?


22 Replies

  • Sorry to hear you're struggling. Only a suggestion, but are you running too fast? What stops you ? Breathing, tiredness, pain?

    I graduated C25k around Sept and now run between 6 and 10k. Every time I felt tired, I slowed down and increased the distance by 10% max each time. If I can do it, I think you can too as I'm absolutely not a natural runner!

  • Biscuit0107 I do my first 1k in just under 7 minutes which is a tad fast for me to be honest and the rest then range from about 7.15-7.50 minutes per kilometre.

    I think it maybe down to pace and a bit of a mind over matter thing ( breathing is ok and no pain when running)and that my app on my phone needs to change from its current Audio cues.It currently telling me distance and pace every 15 minutes so if I hear it twice I have run for 30 mins.

    Should I change my audio cues to distance only have tried it that way and it helped for a bit.

  • Interesting that you should post this....I am starting to think I'm stuck in the same rut! I graduated 3 or 4 weeks back and was initially quiet content to knock out a few 5k runs each week and at the same time see my times come down to very nearly 30 mins. I ran tonight and prior to starting out I told my self I would push on past the 5k. But as I reached my 5k finishing post my desire to push on just seemed to evaporate and I quit! I'm fairly addicted to running whilst listening to my own playlist of music and this is kind of stopping me trying the post 5k podcasts, but I suspect that what is stopping me progressing is the structured program of goals and advances that the C25K program provided. I think I'm going to try a post 5k program (not sure which yet!). I'm also thinking about running a different route, I've more or less run the same old way since the start of C25K and boy it's getting boring (particularly in the dark!)...maybe a new route would help?

  • New routes help. If you're really music-motivated craft a new playlist with your must-run favourite songs coming up right around when you'd usually finish a 5km. Also going back to run-walk intervals is good for building distance.

  • Runwithdogs,yes my music needs changing for sure and running/walking maybe a start aswell a maybe doing a structured programme again as skywatcher suggested earlier.


  • Skywatcher, I do wonder whether it is something to do with the structure as well as my early pace and app cues .I am using a Windows phone for running wonder if there are any decent 5 - 10 k running apps for it?

    Whilst I have a variety of routes I run that are all about the same distance between 3 - 5 k they are never boring sadly and if people understood that red traffic lights mean stop and a green man means I can run then I might not be almost bouncing off people's car bonnets as I nearly have recently on various occasions !!!

    I agree dark nights don't help especially like now when it's been raining for days or snowing like it is now.I have tried running in the morning but that isn't any better for me either.


  • Realistically, we all have a limit to what we can actually achieve. Might be 5K for one, a hundred for the next person. :)

    I can see how I would get bored just running whatever distance it turns out I am ultimately capable of so here's what I am doing aobut it :)

    I would be very chuffed to be a 'Long distance Runner' and in a well-known book written around that subject, five miles is the target.

    however - since doing better than I expected in a 5K last Sunday, I can see where I would like to run in 10K's someday.

    So - two targets for the 'nebulous long distance' (no pun intended)

    In the short term - ie, the motivation to get my bum out of bed on cold rainy mornings - I've broken my runs into three categories.

    This mixes up things and keeps it fresh - I can moan, whine and whimper about whichever one I am running while forgetting how much I moan, whine and whimper when I am doing the other two also :)

    I do a 'Short Run' which is 5K. On this my main goal is to run 5K, underlying challenge is to run it speedily ('speedily' being a relative term of course. My 'speedily' is a very distant cousin to 'fast' :) ) This gives me a day when I know to within five minutes how long everything will take, so it's handy to run it midweek when I am supposed to be on time for work :)

    Hill day - was my least favourite until I realised in my first 'race' Sunday how much it benefited me. Used to be on hill day I concentrated on how many extra calories I was shedding, and another good mid week session because 40 minutes running up and down was my timetable so again a known lenght of time and some chance of being in work on time. Plus - I always figured that the other two days were not as gruesome so remembering hill day helped me through those by comparison :)

    'Long run day' - this is Saturday or Sunday morning. I go to the Park and just run. I like to make at least 2.8 miles but I don't put too much pressure on myself for distance or 'speed'. I am slowly building up to that 5 mile target but I am doing so in a very mellow frame of mind.

    On all my runs I listen to recordings from the BBC Radio iPlayer site - Drama, Comedy, Discussions....usually very easy to find something I can become engrossed in and that stops me from getting 'bored' running :)

    Each run then is different from the previous, and the recordings make every run a bit different :)

    Hope some of this helps you keep going :)

    Best Wishes :)

  • Irish John - Yes maybe i should be doing some shorter runs anyway and be attempting to do longer runs eg 5k+ not as frequent as every time I run.

    I would ultimately like to be doing upto 10k runs so I can do a proper run for a worthwhile cause but need to be comfortably doing 5k before I go to the next level,or am I looking at that wrong?

    I wonder if i changed what listen to as in your comment would help certainly wouldn't hurt.

    Every comment posted is good advice no one can ever give bad advice so thanks for taking the time to post this and I am sure I will move on from this little rut.


  • What happens at the 5k mark? If you're starting off too fast then try to run at a comfortable pace (one where you could hold a conversation) to see where that should get you. Try finding somewhere new for 1 run a week, on a day off perhaps. If it has a route that's just over 5k, so you have no chocie but to go past that mark in order to get home/to the car park/what have you, then you may find yourself gradually running more and more past that barrier.

    Maybe take your mind off distance and focus on time spent running for one run a week. Try out & backs. Run in 1 direction for a set amount of time (usually 20 mins) then turn around and head back. As you progress you may find yourself going further and further out in the given time, or you may not.

    It's ok not to be a long distance runner, you're still going out & running :)

  • Haybop86 - At about 5k I normally just stop to be honest as my route which ever I take normally brings to where I need to be to do my post run walk back home.

    I split my running so I do do the 15-20 mins then turn round sometimes but then when the audio cues say now done the 30 mins I will just stop.

    I could go further to do a bigger loop if I wanted but wanted to use that as my route for a 10k route, if that doesn't sound daft!! I could use my local canal towpath in day time as not lit at all in the evenings.

    Yes agree the fact that I am still running is a bonus (and something I still quite enjoy doing) as far as I am concerned especially if you consider what I was like at the start of C25K programme at the beginning of the year.


  • You may be missing the structure of a programme. There are plenty around to take you up to 10k.

    But is that what you really want? For some it is absolutely enough just to get out a couple of times a week for a good workout. The choice is yours - there is no rule that says you must push harder.

  • Hi Ullyrunner,Yes I think that structure is one thing I am missing,hopefully I can find a Windows phone one then.

    I would like to run further than my current 3-5 k to not only prove to myself I can do it but also I would like to do a 10k run at somepoint before I reach 50 and I only have a couple of years to do it to meet that goal.


  • It sounds like you put pressure on yourself to succeed, so do I. :) Do try just going out and running once just to "run" - AND see how "slow" you can do it. Call it a "Just Because" day. I think you may well find a new insight into how well you are actually doing. :)

  • Butch, you definitely need a plan and a good plan at that. Something to move you from where you are now up to the next level. :)

  • Ancient Mum I agree I will find one and use that as my motivation



  • HI Butch

    If youre breathing okay and you aren't in any pain , I think it is most likely your mind playing games with you . I have followed a couple of training plans, and they really help me personally as it takes away the " Oh what shall I do today ? " aspect .

    Once I know what distance I have to do that day, that's it , I tell myself " Like it or not, you are doing 7k ( or whatever ) today , and Im not coming back until Ive done it "

    I use My Asics , I really like their plans. Say you want to do a 10k in maybe May next year, you just put how many times you want to run each week and it works it all out for you .

    I would also change my route and my music, but Butch its entirely up to you . Theres no right or wrong way. You could do 1 x 3k , do one of the C25k podcasts and then do maybe a 5k and work up your distance that way . I do understand, I think a lot of us missed the structure of the programme afterwards.

    Good Luck and I hope you find something that suits. Youre still out there running , which is a bonus in itself :-) xxx

  • Thanks Poppy will take a look at My Asics and put a plan in it and see what comes out.

    But as you say I could do some of the latter weeks in C25K again and see what happens.



  • Hi butch. I too have been stuck for a while making slow progress. Tried stepping stones podcasts a few times but did not give me much success. As a member of my local leisure centre I booked a personal trainer who advised cross training and intervals. A couple of sessions at £15 a time a few weeks apart has paid dividends . I will see her again in a few weeks to get advice on how to move on again, but this has worked for me -good professional advice and encouragement helps. I also like having a plan again. Good luck.

  • Hi Inominate - Another good suggestion will think about that as another option if the " My Asics" doesn't work.

    As i am currently not a member of a gym and it it is maybe something i need to consider,that would allow me to use a treadmill also for running in these dark wet nights



  • Hi Butchdingle 😊, lovely to hear from you.

    I was the same, struggling to do minute more than the 30. Then I noticed Oldfloss was doing 7k then more and she mentioned doing the Bridge to 10k podcasts.

    I looked into this and started doing the Sammy Murphy ones and they are great. Structure like in the c25k. The first one is 4 x 10 min runs with 3 60 second walk breaks..

    Now I'm up to week 3 and running for 51 minutes. ( 3 x 17 mins still with 2 60 sec walk breaks). It feels great and you can do longer courses. Getting close to 8k now.

    I still break this up with 30 minute runs sometimes, and the c25k + podcasts too.

    Maybe give it a try, you might like it .

    Let us know how you get on.😊xxx

  • Hi Jan-now-runs,Hope you are well and you now seem to be getting on with it which is good.

    i will take a look at that aswell as need that structure to keep me going especially when i look outside and see its dark and wet.

    Dont worry i will keep you updated with my progress xx

  • Im fine, thank you, and look forward to hearing how it goes for you.😊 This forum community is great for keeping enthusiastic about running, whether its reading about others successes or posting about your own progress.xx

You may also like...