Oh dear!: It sounded better than "Oh s... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
108,181 members139,366 posts

Oh dear!


It sounded better than "Oh s***!" .... I'm stepping through weeks in a repeat (third time) of the programme, this time one run from each week until I hit a blockage and carry on with the programme from there. So far the best I have managed previously was in my second C25K programme attempt when I managed a practice at W6R3. Mostly from sheer panic and desperation after then not completing a re-attempt at a W5R2 I put myself for a second time back to the very beginning of C25K. Disappointingly today in my third programme cycle it turned out to be a practice run at W4 - which I've done successfully twice before! So I guess that it means I must (disappointingly) carry on with week 4 and get back into the programme from there. Never mind, you can be sure I'm STILL not giving up ....... BUT, I'm sure that my problem is still in my mind and as usual I stopped running in the second longer 5 minute period. Any suggestions for getting my mind under control, please? Before anyone says it, YES I'm nonetheless glad I made the effort and got out there today - if there was an Olympic Gold Medal for procrastination then today I'd be strongly in the "running" for it.

20 Replies

When I want to stop, I have various mental games which I can play. Top of the list is the 'why?' game. Are my legs ok? Am I breathing? Am I in serious pain? Or do I actually feel physically ok?

That checklist keeps me going for a bit, and usually reminds me that it's my head wanting me to stop. And I try not to let my head have a say in these matters! ;)

Then there's the 'I'll just run to x then I can slow down' - but as I get to x it magically moves further on...

Or there's the 'just x breaths to go' game

You get the picture.

And the other thing: take it SLOW! Not so slow it's painful and difficult, but try to take it gently, not doing a quick run or thinking about how far or fast you're going. It's only about the time for now. :)

davidhwynnGraduate in reply to RainbowC

I sometimes think I'm in the zone you describe as "so slow it's painful and difficult". I can very easily power walk faster than I jog, and can power walk for a full 5K ... that's what is making this stuff soooooo veryyyyyyy frustrating! I swear that the moment my feet get into a running gait my mind starts saying "you're tired, so stop now!". I'll try the "Why?" game .....

RainbowCGraduate in reply to davidhwynn

I find it so hard to judge my pace while I'm running - I've lost count of the number of times I've come home from a tough run which felt slower than a slow thing in slow motion only to discover it was quicker than usual! So now I've started to just relax and try not to think about it so much. My comfortable speed is a notch quicker than I'll do if I'm trying to do 5k, but if I'm going for the extra time I can't go so slowly it's too uncomfortable. So there's lots of learning still going on for me!


I think you are 100% correct that the hurdles are mental and not physical.

The only suggestion I have is when you first get an inkling that you want/need to stop, you ask yourself:

1) Am I struggling to breathe?

2) Am I suffering from any injury?

If the answer to these questions is no, you are fine to go on another minute. If you still have those feelings after a minute, ask yourself the same questions again.

davidhwynnGraduate in reply to Dunder2004

Thanks, again it's the "Why?" question RainbowC mentioned, so I'm DEFINITELY going to try it. This is starting to bug me!!!!!


It is most definitely a mind game. My least favourite gremlin is the one that plants the 'you've done this before, so if you stop it doesn't really matter' mindset on me. Usually at around the 10 minute marker when everything feels like such a slog and just before the 12 minutes where I find my pace and it starts getting easier. He's caught me out more times than I care to admit😠

pollyp1Graduate in reply to McFitty

Next time stop that sucker (NOT you!) in it's tracks by saying 'I've done this before so I can do it again'...


I count .. I do not know why ,but if I am finding running a struggle I count. Usually I end up counting every time my right foot hits the ground and it gets me through. I think I'm weird 😂

RainbowCGraduate in reply to Lornia

Me too - although I count breaths rather than steps. :)

davidhwynnGraduate in reply to RainbowC

with the way I breathe sometimes doing this running stuff I would get to a BIGGGGG number!! Getting the message, though and will be giving the principle a go later this week.

RainbowCGraduate in reply to davidhwynn

You could always just count up to 10 or 50 or 100 or whatever over and over, if that works better for you... ;)


I'm going to give up procrastination tomorrow!


It's running. One foot in front of the other, slow as you like. Just do it!

No need for these constant internal wrangles, it's not any kind if dilemma. Come on!

Miss Wobble 😊

davidhwynnGraduate in reply to misswobble

Of course you're right, but believe me I am trying!


I'll be a bit more brutal that the lovely comments above ;-)

Permissible reasons for stopping whilst you are running:

1) Obvious green-stick fracture (bone sticking through skin)

2) Traumatic loss of blood

3) Uncontrollable urge to vomit/wee/no.2

4) Fit, seizure, asthma attack

5) Traffic

6) 'Giving the finger' to a heckler.

For everything else (cramp, stitch, muscle pain, swallow a fly...) you're only allowed to slow down a bit, for a short time.

Hope this helps ;-)

davidhwynnGraduate in reply to MarkyD

Bully! ... but I get the message


Ha ha 😀

We just want everyone to do well David 😀

There is something in a recent Runners World about using your mind. They are keen on mantras which a lot of people here use. They say NOT to use something like "don't stop" or "don't crash" as they are ultimately negative but suggest things like "power up" "do the work" or "move those legs". ju-ju- 's "push that body" is a good one. If nothing else they stop you thinking about other things. Sometimes I just use cars or garden gates as markers and keep aiming for the next one - they come quite close together!!

They also say negative thinking can be self fulfilling and you can think - this is where it always go wrong, so it does. Celebrate the small victories.I wonder if you would just be better to drop back a week when it is hard rather than start all over, you know you have done those runs.

Don't mean to lecture, I got to 10k then went for about 6 months of struggling to run for 15-20mins so I know how hard the mental stuff can be. If I knew what shifted in my head to let me move on I'd tell you but I don't.

Good luck - we all have faith.

davidhwynnGraduate in reply to ancientrunner

Thanks, I'll try anything...... I went back to the beginning again because yet again I felt so demoralised, but this time (third programme attempt) I have just done 1 run session of W1, one of W2, 1 of W3, 1 of week 4 .... that one turned out as a practice run. I'll be trying again at a W4 later this week, if - as I intend - I succeed, then I'll move on to W5R2, then W5R3. I want to get back to W5R3 as soon as I can because that 20 minute run was my blockage point first time round. I'm cursing a bit though, because today's a rest day and the sun is shining, it's warm but not hot - bet you it's raining tomorrow.

Distraction seems to work for me. My easiest runs seem to be when my mind is completely absorbed with matters other than running. I can easily spend half an hour mulling over problems, planning holidays, shopping lists....you get the idea....and before I know it, the run is over. I find if I give myself too much time to think about how I'm feeling during the run then my mind is drawn to sore legs/trouble breathing/I-can't-do-it-thoughts. It's a strange thing this running malarkey!!

You may also like...