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Couch to 5K
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Week 8.. trouble in paradise

Hi.. I need some advice... I've been on the C25k for the last 10 weeks and things for going great up until Week 7. I took a week's gap between week 6 and 7 because of travel but i came back to week 7 and initial runs of 25 minutes were exhausting but doable. I wanted to be confident about running 25 minutes so i did the 7 week run a total of 5 times, 2 of which i had to stop mid way. But i moved on to week 8 thinking i was fatigued with week 7 and my first run of week 8, i started feeling a lot of pain in my lower back ( which happened also maybe in week 2) in the first 15 minutes. I had to stop at the end of 15 minutes because my right calf also cramped up. The pain in my legs hon runniaven't gone away thought my lower back pain stopped the minute i stopped running. I'm feeling pretty disillusioned and I'm not really sure what has changed. Or why I'm not able to do the longer runs. The program was challenging upto week 7 but it seems to have gotten the better of me the last 2 weeks.

My question is, should i supplement my 3 days of running with maybe 3 days of some other workout which helps build stamina? I'm thinking about starting a yoga class, something more low impact so i don't feel exhausted on running days.

I'd appreciate any advice. My steady jog seems to have come down to panting crawl.


6 Replies

I really wish I could offer something more constructive, Sarita but it is all a bit of a mystery.

Yoga is great but is not going to help much with stamina. Squats are a fantastic exercise for building leg and lower back strength and also serve as a good aerobic 'supplement'.

Try some calf raises to strengthen the calves too but since you mentioned the word "cramped", are you drinking water before going for a run? Hydration is really important.

Whatever the issue is, I really hope you get to the bottom of it. It is really unusual to make the sort of progress you did and then for things to just plateau.


As Dunder2004 has said, cramp is usually down to lack of hydration. Not sure where you are but it was quite warm in the London sunshine today and good hydration doesn't just start in the hour or two before a run. It's also quite normal for the pain from bad cramp to linger for a day or two.

The addition of Yoga would definitely be beneficial and your teacher should be able to tailor some specific poses/stretches for you. It'll also highlight any weak areas for you to work on.

The longer runs are definitely harder on your body, which is why the programme builds you up slowly. Make sure you're not pushing yourself too hard, keep your breathing relaxed and if you can find a friend to run with and keep a "chatting" pace, so much the better!


I live in Mumbai, in India. So yes, its very warm and humid. Which is why I run either early in the morning or late in the night. It is too warm to run post 9am. I'll hydrate better , hopefully that should help. The calf cramps are new. I haven't had them so far in the program. Maybe just need to build better leg strength so i'll try yoga or some aerobic exercises on alternate days and see if that helps. Thanks for the advice


Hey Dunder2004, maybe it is hydration. I run first thing in the morning so i don't drink too much water before i start running. I'll try and see if that helps. I really hope I get to the bottom of it, it is a little demotivating . I also did this long bike ride on saturday so don't know if there was some fatigue but i'll try and couple of things to see what helps me get going. Thanks.


Dehydration was definitely a problem when I exercised in the heat and humidity of Hong Kong. If you are exercising first thing, I would work on getting really well hydrated the day before, so you only have to top up in the morning. In chilly Scotland, I drink over three litres of liquids a day. My tea cup holds 500mls (these days, most authorities seem to count tea as a liquid for these purposes) and at the same time as I make a cup, I take a 500ml glass of water/squash. That happens at 9.30, 11 and 3 (standard tea-break times in my office).


I guess i feel water usually is not a problem for me because i tend to drink a lot over the day but it is getting warmer so maybe I'll consciously hydrate. Thanks :)

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