Early Struggle

I wanted to lose weight and get fitter so started the Couch to 5K. I am now up to Week 8 and have completed two of the 28 minute runs, although I have found them really tough I have managed to get through it. I imagined with the way Couch to 5K works that at week 8 I would be fine in the early stages of the run and become more breathless in the later stages but from a few seconds in I am struggling and when I hear that I have completed 5 minutes I have it in my head that there is no way I can run another 20+ minutes, I have managed to keep going and the breathing does get easier. I just wanted to ask is this common amongst runners and will it get easier the more runs I do ?

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10 Replies

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  • Our bodies take about 10 minutes after starting a run to stop saying "What are you doing??" and start saying "OK, you want me to run, don't you...". You just have to keep going for those first 10 minutes, perhaps deliberately going slower at first, until you work out a rhythm that suits you. It's quite normal.

  • Hi, well done on your achievement. Yes this is usual. Someone will post the science behind it Im sure but basically you body takes time to realise you need it to increase output for running. Then it takes a while to catch up on the breathlessness, then its all systems go. You dont notice so much until you begin the constant running sessions, it takes my body about 12 minutes to realise i am running. Now i know that is the case i dont panic, just grit my teeth and knuckle down 😀🏃🏻‍♀️

  • Hello and Welcome !

    This post describes it perfectly, please be assured this is completely normal :-)

    healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

  • Thanks Pops, i knew I had read it somewhere, it was your previous post 👍🏼

  • I've been going a while now, and it's fairly common looking on here (and from my own experience) for the first few minutes to be hard - five minute warmup walk isn't necessarily enough to get your heart pumping, so it tends to be a few minutes into the run when you're properly warmed up, blood pounding around and getting the oxygen to your muscles.

    The other thing is if you're using a tracking app or device - look at the pace you set early on - quite a few times I've found that I can end up starting too fast, and that then means that further on I start to flag. By contrast, last night I ran 5k, starting relatively slowly (about 7:15/km pace) - and my last kilometre was the fastest of the whole run, I felt strong and did a 6:30 km!

  • It took me about 2 years before I could start a run and not want to stop within the first 5 mins! It is something we all go through, recognising it is half way to the solution - the other half will come with time and miles :)

  • I feel the same and can be a good way in to the run and then it feels so comfortable I have to keep a eye on the time now I have graduated or I may not stop. lol

  • Ah well if you want to lose weight and get fit then this is the place for you

    Commit to the run walk sessions, every other day, come rain or shine, eating and drinking healthily and success will be yours.

    You have to go very slowly though. Slow and steady buys your lungs time and gives you the puff to finish each session. Take each session as it comes. Don't get ahead of yourself at all!

    Good luck

  • I think what running gives so many people is an understanding of the value of just 'being with' difficult feelings... because this is how it is for so many people... quite the roller coaster and not worth wasting energy trying to suppress or analyse (although it can sometimes mean 'started off too fast' but at any rate easing off often helps anyway)

  • I find the first and last five minutes the hardest.

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