W4R1 "A failure worth learning from!"

W4R1 "A failure worth learning from!"

2 X 3 minutes runs


2 X 5 minutes runs


Today's weather is as beautiful as it can get I suppose at this time of the year. It should have been enjoyable. Something went wrong. ☹️


I am too close to not finish and too deep to get out.


I am trying to dissect and understand the events leading up to and during the run.

Please do drop me a comment if something is quite obviously out of place and/or an erroneous practice.


What happened?

I wasn't able to finish my scheduled 4 runs completely. Last 30 or 35 seconds or so of the first three intervals were clearly crushing.

2 minutes of the last 5 minutes runs was a mess. Coughing fit has started.


Slowed down to walking pace for 2 or 3 seconds and continued running for 30 seconds. Repeated this until I finished the day.


Events leading up to the run (started warming up at 12 noon):

1. Went to bed at 2 AM in the morning. Did sleep well until 11 AM before refreshing myself and started warming up.

2. Had my dinner at 20:00 last night. It was a little on the greasy, salty and spicy side with little to no fibre content. Plenty of carbs from the naans and the rice though. Did not have any food whatsoever before warming up at 12 noon the day after (Which is today).

3. Had a little too much water half hour before warming up.

4. Until this week, I have been running either early in the morning or late in the evening. Today the sun was blaring in the face. It quickly became too hot for a jacket and too cold (4°C) for just a running t-shirt.

5. Chose the same route as previous weeks. I was pretty familiar with where a run stops and a walk begins. As today's runs were longer, the whole thing was rollercoaster of emotions expecting to stop, run or walk. Should have chosen a new route as I have always did on new weeks.

6. I can't think of a reason why there would be a coughing fit. Still am occasionally coughing after an hour. Quit smoking a year and a month ago. I didn't have this problem in the previous weeks.

7. During and after the run has finished there has been a burning sensation in my larynx. Reflux? Cold air breathing?

8. I am having a back of the head pain right now. Can't suppose it would be dehydration. Still haven't had food yet. Hunger?

9. My usual route was perfect for winding down and reaching home after the run. It had quickly become not enough distance especially running for 2 X 3 minutes and 2 X 5 minutes. Had to go around a plain stretch of road before exhausting the scheduled time for the last 5 minutes interval.

10. I usually go for Spotify running music. Today I had to go with a different language music with completely out of sync tunes with my running pace. It was just a white noise during the runs.

Any opinion would be much appreciated. I had to pull myself up now and get cheered up for the next run.


I am not going anywhere before finishing the W9R3.




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13 Replies

  • Hey nchunc.

    First things first, don't panic. Bad runs happen. Read more of the posts on here and you'll know you're in good company. They still happen to me every now and then and I'm nearly a year into regular running now after starting on the C25K this time last year.

    Looking at your sequence of events:

    1. You had enough sleep, and you're used to running shortly after waking up so that's unlikely to be the problem (unless you're really not used to late nights?)

    2. I doubt very much that what you eat will make much difference at the moment, there's enough energy in your body to last you quite a distance.

    3. This one stands out as drinking too much or too little water has had some horrendous effects on me. If you're feeling dehydrated you might be better off taking a water bottle out with you and sipping little and often as you run. If you don't want to do that then have a good drink as soon as you wake up and then nothing for the hour before. (Running with a belly full of water sloshing around can make you feel awful.) I also drink water or milk with rehydrating tablet when I get back, but that's because I had issues with feinting after runs in the summer, so may not be necessary for you.

    4. The variations in temperature do hit quite hard (see above). And what to wear may be quite a journey for you if you're a human boiler like me. You may find that a long sleeved T-shirt and running gloves and hat are better than a jacket as you can take the gloves and hat off if you get too hot.

    5&9. Boredom and familiarity with the route became a problem for me around week 5. Try a new route as often as you can.

    6&7. Cold air causes coughing as well as the burning sensation in the larynx. Or you may be coming down with something??

    8. Could be a bit of a sugar crash as you haven't eaten. I know a lot of people run on an empty stomach, but I always have something sweet before a run and as soon as I get back. I find it stops me getting dizzy or getting a headache. Doesn't effect everyone that way though, so try it and see.

    10. I don't think music would be responsible for the whole thing, but it certainly won't have helped to pull you out of the misery of everything else. Sometimes a great tune can get my run back on track.

    Other than the water it does sound like you just had a bad run. Try some tweaks and do it again in a day or two and you'll probably smash it. Be prepared that this will happen again and don't dwell on it. In no time at all you'll find the good runs far outweigh the bad ones.

    Hope that helps.

  • Thanks Racdeac

    Thanks for your detailed response.

    It does indeed looks like multiple factors are involved.

    I have always had this notion that experienced runners just get up, run for 30 minutes and cool down.

    I need to go through few threads here.

  • If it helps, everyone has good runs, horrible runs and ok runs. I have found slowing down has been a big help to me in the past, made keeping going possible and helped me to feel relaxed and enjoy my run. Let us know how it goes next time but be determined to put it behind you, it happens to all of us, its all part of working towards our next great run

  • Thanks JoolieB1.


    I guess I will have learn few things from today and watch out for it the next time.

  • The only thing I can add really is how fast were you going? The one thing about having white noise to run to, is it is very disorientating and without your usual beat, you may have been running faster without realising. This could account for pretty much all of your problems. Oh, and the other thing is "No run is a failure" "Ever"! You will always have the odd bad run. It's never a failure. It's always a 'practice'.😊 Set yourself up in readiness for the next run and just try it again. Keep it slow and steady and put the bad run behind you!

  • Thanks McFitty.

    You might be onto something here. It is not clear now what my pace was.


    This pace issue has come up more than once in 4 weeks. Will have to watch it.

  • Without trying to over-simplify, don't sweat it and don't over analyse. We all have bad runs, usually out of the blue and with no obvious reason.

    Just keep the running intervals slow and I am sure you will be fine next time.

  • I wouldn't worry about it - it was a just a bad run - we all have those (I had two this last week, in my first week since graduation!). Just get out there again in a couple of days and have another go - and keep doing this until you've cracked it! You can do this! :)

  • Thanks!

  • I agree with the other comments. We all have bad runs, through the programme and after graduation. It is hard running in the cold but sounds like it was a bit of a mindset blip perhaps this time round as physically, if you're completed the previous weeks you should be ok for this week. Saying that, the jump in running time from Week 3 to Week 4 is one of the biggest in the programme.

    Try to start slow and consciously remind yourself constantly to slow down - it's so easy to set off too fast and then struggle at the end. If I ever wanted to stop I just told myself to slow right down (even if I end up jogging/hopping on the spot) and that usually got me through the running interval.

    Perhaps you could try mixing up your route as it sounds that it was a bit of a mental hurdle today? I also recommend that perhaps you try the NHS C25k podcasts? Most people don't like the music but it's generally set at the right tempo for the walking and running sections. Laura's support and encouragement is really worthwhile and she chips in occasionally at points you might begin to struggle.

    Don't worry about all these things too much though. The next run might be brilliant without anything being different - sometimes there is just no rhyme or reason to a good or bad run. :)

  • Thanks.

    Hopping on the same spot. I didn't think of this before.

    I guess at some level, some sort of physical exertion is more important to become stronger compared to just giving up.

    Thanks for your suggestions. Will give the podcasts a go.

  • Remember only a few weeks ago the thought of running for 5 minutes seemed impossible - yet despite the gremlins sitting on your shoulder you kept going the best you could. You could have given up. But you didn't. I count that as a victory, not a failure.

    I hear you on 4 degrees being too cold for a t-shirt and a bit hot with a running jacket especially running into full sun. I was also finding that I was getting a bit cold on some of the walking sections, even at a brisk walk. So now I wear calf length running tights with long running tights over the top; and long sleeve running top with short sleeve over the top. My running jacket is quite thin so when I get hot I tie it around my waist and roll up the sleeves of my long sleeve top. Once I'm ready for the final walk back, I put the jacket back on to keep warm.

    Hope the gremlins stay away on your next run, and if they decide to go along for the ride, keep on ignoring them!

  • 🙂

    You are indeed correct that the the thought of running for anything let alone for five minutes for the sake of it would have been an impossible one.


    I can already see some difference in my weight, shape and my general mood. Hoping to finish the program!

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