Approaching week 5 - am very overweight - will I cope?

Hi all,

I'm a complete newcomer here but have been reading your posts and found it really inspirational. I'm currently mid-way through week four. Run 1 was fine - the five min runs were hard but achievable with a little left in the tank. Run 2 I did last night and it was much harder. Just one of those bad days, but I got through it.

I currently weigh in at over 17 stone, which for a 5ft 7in woman is hugely overweight. I'm also a smoker (I know, I know - could I BE any more unhealthy?!) So far, I've been coping with the programme (running on a treadmill, which is a little easier on the joints). I struggled with shin splints for the first couple of weeks but now I don't get any pain. I walk at 3.6mph and run at 4.6mph at the moment and am achieving about 3.5km at the mo in the half hour.

I'm very daunted about week five. I know it's not going to be easy, but has any one else of around my size managed to complete the programme? Any smokers too? I want to know if it's achievable for someone as overweight and unhealthy as me.

Thanks in advance for any advice!


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29 Replies

  • If you are managing to do week 4, you are ready to move on to week 5 regardless of the weight and smoking issues.

    The program is designed for all ages, shapes and sizes so don't fret too much. Just continue to take the running intervals nice and slowly.

    All the best.

  • Asthma, screwed foot ones, forty years just about of twenty plus per day ciggie addiction, overweight and totally disbelief in my capacity to get past week four.....But, doing it slowly, steadily and with a number of "Practice" runs ( no fails once you get out the door) I did it.

    Believe me - you get as far as you have, you too can go all the way. Just run your own run and enjoy the journey :)

  • Only 20! LIghtweight! 😀

    I used to have a chimney on my head! We can all get fitter, healthier and slimmer, and do more exercise, if we choose to

    You are off the couch and moving, which is a good start. Just keep moving, make some improvements to your diet and chances are you'll quit the gaspers too. I certainly hope so as you know how bad they are, especially for someone trying to improve their health.

    Good luck with the next session. Take them one at a time 🙂

  • Thanks all. I'm planning on giving up the cigs soon - I managed six months last year - but I've just started a new job so I've decided I need my emotional crutch for a week or two still. When I gave up last year, I noticed a real benefit in my aerobic fitness (just my cycle commute) so hopefully I'll see the same this time around.

    I think my problem is I've been reading so much about how awful the week 5 run 3 is, and my brain has been saying 'well if all these people find it so hard and they're not 17 stone smokers, then how the hell will I manage?' But Dunder's comment has made me feel a little better. I've got this far with no probs so I just need to push on!

    I've lost about a stone since I first started the programme so with a bit of luck, I'll have dropped another by the end. I'm also considering giving my local park run a try - just to do whichever run I have scheduled for that week, then walk whatever distance I have left. I'm terrified about going from treadmill to outside, because I've always found it really difficult to push through the mental wall without the little count-down clock and the steady speed. I tend to give up too easily! But I'll only improve if I give it a try :)

    Thanks again for all your replies!

  • But running outside you are much more in control, you can vary your pace and slow right down or speed up, without messing with buttons or looking at screens. I believe I have yet to see a single forum user for whom knowing their speed has proved helpful during the programme.

  • I have never run on a treadmill so I can't make a comparison, but I do love running outside. Give it a go!

    You are amazing, by the way. Running, giving up smoking and losing the excess weight you carry around. Your future you will thank you! Well done💪🙌

  • Thank you! I'm trying to slowly make the changes so that they're sustainable. I've lost lots of weight very quickly in the past by getting a bit obsessed with exercise, but it wasn't sustainable, so I'm hoping to build healthy habits rather than just focus on the weight loss this time.

  • Good to hear!

  • We all start out with stuff going on. You are doing very well, why stop now? I had a couple of stone to lose but I found guessing my food and running was only resulting in me putting weight on as I treated myself for being so "good"! I put a stone back on. Counting calories was made easy with a free App called My Fitness Pal and now the naughty stone is back off and I am battling to get the last stone off too. Keep going, you will notice you will tone up and breathing and stamina improve too, and it could even be fun one day

  • Oh it's definitely fun. Those endorphins kick in and I enjoy it, even if it's really hard. Yes, it can be tempting to over eat - I do find I'm very hungry after my runs, but that having a couple of pints of squash or water sorts me out. I'm an old hand at dieting so I have that side of things down, and if I don't see a result on the scales then I can feel it in my clothes and how I feel.

  • Course you can do it! I'm 5ft 4 and was 15 stone 4 when I started at the beginning of Jan. Still 5ft 4 :D but now 14:3 and have 1 more run left before I graduate! I'm now running for 30 mins non stop, and my seasonal asthma isn't really bothering me at all. I've always run outside on the roads and it's great! I have a good drink and a banana before I set off just for a bit more energy. YOU'VE got this you know, YOU just have to believe it's possible...xx

  • Whoop! Thanks - that's inspired me :)

  • You're totally fine, you'll do great. Week 5 is about convincing yourself you can do it. And I like the Parkrun idea, run and walk as much of it as you like. You may want to try a run or two outside first just to get the feel of how it's different.

  • Yeah - I'm nervous about running outside because I know it's harder. But I suppose I should just bite the bullet. The local Parkrun route is a couple of laps around a lake on the flat, so I could go there any time and try it out. Might make that my goal for the weekend!

  • I was so overweight when I started the program I didn't dare get weighed!!! I'm 5' 6'' and was size 18-20 so several stone overweight. I managed to graduate without too many difficulties though. Just take it slowly and don't think too far ahead. Just concentrate on each run but there's no shame in a repeating a run or a week if you need to. I've got to a healthy weight now but remember it takes time, be happy with how you are now, just keep plugging away and you'll get there👍

  • Thank you! Well done on graduating and your weight loss :)

  • Don't worry about how everyone worries about week 5... It really has nothing going to do with your weight or fitness. It has to do with your mind. You're going great guns on week 4, so physically you will be absolutely fine. It's the mental gremlins (that we all battle with) who make week 5 seem like a terror-fest.

    Slowly, slowly, just carry on as you are. You're doing great 😊

  • Yep, mentally I'm such a weakling. First sign of anything hard and I'm always ready to throw in the towel. But I've been sticking to it so far so hopefully I'll keep going!

  • I did W4R2 last night and found I had a little more in the tank at the end than I did on R1. I also didn't slow the treadmill during the last 5 minute run as I did on R1.

    I weigh more than you and if you had told me last Sunday that I would run for 5 minutes, TWICE, the very next day I would not have believed you. I didn't think this program would work on someone my size but all the reviews I read, this forum and actually doing it myself have proved that it does. My asthma hasn't slowed me down yet either.

    As an ex smoker I totally get the crutch thing, and if you are determined to give up again then you will and it will help.

    You're doing great times! I'm currently running at 5.5km/hr and walking at 3km/h so only managing 2.2 kms in the 30 minutes. But it's way more than I did before!

    Looking forward to hear how you get on

  • Great to hear there's someone at the same stage as me, with the same challenges. My W4 R2 was a bit of a chore, whereas the first one seemed easier, but I guess you get good days and bad, like I've seen a lot of people say. I think when I move on to week 5, I might need to slow down my times a bit - especially if I'm going to manage 20 mins.

    How are you finding it in terms of muscle pain etc? Once I got over my first week shin splints, I haven't had much in terms of aches and pains at all, but after Tuesday's run (which was WK4 R2) I had a bit of soreness in one knee and one ankle (on opposing sides). I think the jump in the running must be taking a bit more of a toll on my body, but I have some extra stretches for my hamstrings and calves, which I hope will help ward off any injuries.

    I'm just very mindful that as a larger person, I need to keep an eye on any pains so they don't turn into injuries. Last thing I want at this stage, while feeling so motivated, is to have to take time off, because I know I'd find it really hard to start again.

  • Yes, I'm also worried about little aches turning into bigger aches and hampering my progress, especially as I'm on a high and actually doing well. I have a little pain my right knee and making sure I stick to the rest days. I normally run, Monday, Wednesday and Friday so give myself the weekend off although I have been doing some very gentle walking outside. I run on a treadmill too.

    One thing that helps and I know when I haven't done it, is stretching after the workout. It helps a lot! Getting my sports bra on and doing the warm up walk are usually enough of a stretch and warm up at the start.

    So far I've found run 1 (of the three) the most challenging and then they get easier, but that will change in week 5 I'm sure.

  • Don't worry about W5 ! Just carry on doing what you are doing because it's obvious to me that you are ready. Just take your pace steady,control your breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth enabling you to have a good tank of O2 in you. It's more of a mental strategy than anything else. Most of all though just enjoy it! Good luck with the programme 😀😀

  • Thanks all! I did w4 r3 today and felt amazing. Loads left in the tank - complete opposite of r2 on Tuesday. I have a couple of niggling pains in my knees (one in front, one behind) but they go away when I run, and today I spent 20 mins on calf and hamstring stretches after my run. Going to do week 5 run 1 on Monday or Tuesday and feel fairly confident. I'll let you know how it goes!

  • Well done! Enjoy week 5.

  • Thanks! Just did wk 5 run 3 and actually found it fairly easy! Can't believe it!

  • Yay!! Well done. It is easier than the interval running so I'm thinking week 6 (which I start tonight) will be tricky. It still amazes me that this program really does work, for ALL. I'm sure it's very scientific ;)

  • I know - I thought it was crazy to jump from the 8 min runs to 20 and I just don't get how I found it easier! I won't be starting week 6 til next week because I have an actual 5K run on Saturday so I want to go in fresh. I'm now thinking if I take it slow enough I may actually be able to slow jog the whole thing! But we'll see! Haha

  • yes . yes , yes its achievable . im a 5ft9in 17.5 stone 55yr old bloke ex smoking type 2 diabetic [self inflicted in other words] and up until 4wks hadnt done any exercise at all . the runs are designed to leave you that little bit of effort required. believe it or not r3 will be easier for you. its the last 2 min of the last 5 min run where you need to tap in to reserves. as its the last run of the week take it even slower than the previous runs ,,,a snail in slow motion is the ticket, dont worry about speed at this stage , let that come much later. all you need to look at is to jog for 30 minutes continuously . thats it , speed and distance you can work on once you graduate

  • p.s forgot to say , ive not completed but im on w5r2 tonight , remember you cant fail c25k you can only give in and if it takes a couple of goes to get through a week ,so be it as someone said to me the others were just practice runs

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