Can't seem to run more than 10 minutes - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Can't seem to run more than 10 minutes

Dimple_7 profile image
32 Replies

Have loved C25K up until Week 5 Run 3 and the dreaded 20 minute run. Really struggled and ended up walking the second half of it. Moved on to Week 6 Runs 1 and 2. These were fine because again, you ran for upto 10 minutes with a walking break in the middle. Struggled with Run 3 again yesterday.

I just can't seem to run non-stop for the longer periods of time.

Did anybody else struggle with this? Does anybody have any tips for me?

Thanks in advance.

32 Replies
mixindave profile image

think you would be able to slow the pace down a bit more? that should help you get further for sure. try and run comfortable so you can easily talk while you do it.

Dimple_7 profile image
Dimple_7 in reply to mixindave

If I slow down further, I'd be 'power walking' and this to me is cheating?

Whatsapp profile image

Sounds like you are creating your own mental barrier. The runs in W6 are longer than W5R3. Even W5R2 you were moving for 21 mins ( not including warm up/ down walks). The walking part of the interval runs are still exercise, just at a slower pace to reduce you heart rate. So the step up is not as big as it seems.

The reason people are scared of the 20 min run is because, though their body is ready, their mind is full of doubts. You need to be strong and push through those doubts. You can do it - you just have to believe in yourself.💪

Dimple_7 profile image
Dimple_7 in reply to Whatsapp

Somebody else said this to me and i think you may be right.

I surprised myself even being able to get this far... I think I just prefer small (achievable) baby steps. I'd prefer to run for maybe 12 minutes rather than straight upto 20. But I know I can slow the pace down. Only thing is that if I slow it down to a fast paced walk, I feel like I'm cheating.

IgaT profile image
IgaTGraduate in reply to Dimple_7

Try slow down, but still have the "flying" moment when none of your feet touch the ground (which is definition of running ;) ). My slow jog is definitely slower then my fast walking pace. Don't worry about the speed ;) Slow and steady, like a snail... in pudding... with a turtle on the back ;)

Millsie-J profile image

Slow down, pick a nice , different route. Hydrate well the day before, and go, go, go. You CAN do this, believe in yourself runner!

Dimple_7 profile image
Dimple_7 in reply to Millsie-J

Thanks for the advice... I will not give up.

Millsie-J profile image
Millsie-JGraduate in reply to Dimple_7

And you are correct, you must use a run motion, even if it is slow. Walking, even power walking, is a different technique. This is a running programme let's not forget.

Try to relax with the run. Don't forget most people's body takes 10 mins or so to realise it is required to go into 'run mode'. When it does realise it changes how it pumps oxygen around the body and then the run becomes/feels easier. I take 12 minutes to get to that point. So concentrate on how long it takes your body to adjust, which will take you past the 10 minutes, then be amazed at how good you feel in the longer run!

You. CAN do it runner. Let me know when you plan to run and I will aim do a virtual run with you at the same time if it will help.😃🏃🏼‍♀️

davelinks profile image

No! You must not give in! Never give in to the gremlin's, do as others have said and push through with more grit & determination!

Workerbee profile image

I did too and I walked for about 30 secs at the midwAy point. It's a big leap and looking forward to the "break" runs for W6R1&2. Thought I might try out parkrun for R3 as will be easier to run with others as hope crowd will pull me along. and can finish with 5 min cool down walk.

Dimple_7 profile image
Dimple_7 in reply to Workerbee

I thought the exact same... I have signed up for park run as hoping the buzz will get me through. Yet to do it though!

Dimple_7 profile image

It appears that all I think about when running is the running... the aches and pains, how long is left etc. Even listening to music isn't distracting enough.

I have now downloaded Audible... hoping listening to a book will be better... we shall see on my next run.

DawnRun profile image
DawnRun in reply to Dimple_7

It sounds like you are trying to 'rush' your way through the course and I know the feeling. It's ok to just think about the running when you run, but I think (and this course will teach you this) that you can also think your way through a run.

You have to go slow on run 3 of week 5, you can run faster on week 6 to test out your pace. Eventually you will be able to focus on your running but it won't be on how long there is left on the course, it will be on how much you have done. I was for a long time thinking I have 3 kms to go in a run, and now I tend to think , well I have done 2 kms. It doesn't sound like a big deal It's a huge difference in the way you approach it and on how you enjoy your walk/runs.

I knew I wouldn't enjoy this W5 R3 so I changed the course for a different one, which was more challenging funnily enough but I somehow felt it wouldn't matter if I didn't get to the end as I could say to myself that I was testing out a new track (which I was anyway). But I still was forced to run slower due to the conditions. And I managed to run 20 minutes- When you have done it and you will, it will make you face the next stages in a positive way rather than thinking your legs hurt (they will hurt less), and how much time you have left.

Row99 profile image
Row99 in reply to Dimple_7

Peter Kaye worked for me! I was so busy laughing the time just flew! Don't be hard on yourself, if you need to build up by doing a 12 min run, then 15 min run then that's ok too! You'll get there! And really think about why you are stopping - one person on here said she did a mental run thru of 'are my legs hurting so much something's going to snap? Have I really hot no oxygen left? Is my heart beating so fast I'm gonna die?!! If not its probably the gremlins talking. I found it helpful to say to myself 'ok I'll run to 12 mins & see how I feel. Ok I'll go for another 2 mins now & reevaluate etc. Good luck, don't forget you're doing great!!!!

IannodaTruffe profile image

Walking means that at all times you have contact with the ground. Running should see both feet off the ground on each stride.

If slowing down is not working then step outside the programme for a while and just add a couple of minutes to your ten minute run, then another couple, until you reach the twenty.

Don't ever look to see how long is left of the run.

I would suggest that the problem is mainly in your head. You don't say why you stopped, but unless you are in pain you keep going.........that is what runners do. If you are exhausted, then slow down. Above all, BELIEVE. You can do it.

You shouldn't really be moving on to week 6 until you have managed to run for 20 minutes non stop. LannodaTruffe has some good advice here. Also, l wouldn't attempt a Park run until you're actually ready to run 5K. You will push yourself too hard to try to keep up and perhaps injure yourself. There's no rush. Take it slow and steady. Many of us have completed the programme and didn't manage to run as far as 5Km. All you're aiming for initially is to run for 30 minutes non stop.

Dimple_7 profile image

Thank you all for your advice. I am definitely taking it on board. I think I am pushing myself too hard because my boyfriend runs and I keep comparing myself to him. I sat him down today and we had a chat about him being supportive. I have decided to step out of the programme and focus on running distances. Hopefully listening to an audiobook will also help.

Millsie-J profile image
Millsie-JGraduate in reply to Dimple_7

I think IannodaTruffe above meant adapt the programme by adding a couple of minutes on to each run until you complete the twenty minutes. Then move on to week 6. Moving to distance may not be the answer because what you really need to do to extend distance is to run slowly. But if you slow down you will begin to cover less distance not more, and you will become despondent and in danger of not continuing to run.

You can do this. Leave BF at home and run for yourself; your run, your pace.

You can do it!

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeMentor in reply to Millsie-J

That was my point, precisely, Jacs and I agree with all your response.

Barbara14 profile image

Hello Dimple - qualified running coach here. Can I ask a few question to see if we can get to the bottom of the problem and then work a way through:

Are you getting puffed out (i.e. Red faced, not able to speak,) or are you legs giving up (buckling)

Are you having rescdays in between runs

Are you warming up before the run

Are you filling down and stretching after you run

Any particular medical problem that may stop you

Any particular things happening to you body you may need to mention eg heart rate pounding, chest tightness like your bra has shrunk??

Let me know and we can try and adapt c25 as it is only a plan not a prescription

Take care b

Dimple_7 profile image
Dimple_7 in reply to Barbara14

Hi Barbara - thank you!

I am getting a bit puffed out but this is getting better. It's my legs that are the main problem - my ankles/lower leg really hurt. I've been to a proper running shop and have had a gait analysis done. I over-pronate and have bought new running shoes for this. They have helped but my ankles/lower legs still hurt when running for long periods. There is no buckling as such. And I've been told that running does hurt and you've just got to fight through the pain?

I did usually have a rest day between each run. However, recently I haven't - because I feel as if my runs have been a failure and therefore don't count.

My warm up is the 5 minute warm up walk at the start of each run. I also circle my ankles.

I do the 5 minute cool down at the end and do some stretches in the legs.

No medical problems as such but I am overweight.

No chest tightness or anything like that - it's just the pain in the legs :(

Thank you again for your help and advice.

Barbara14 profile image
Barbara14 in reply to Dimple_7

Hello Dimple this may help:

New shoes - great you have had gait analysis done and have new shoes. New shoes have to be broken in and as they are helping to support your feet and then everything over your feet your body alignment changes -so take it easy...

Rest days are important - have you ever seen a dog after a walk - drinks eats collapses sleeps. Lucky dog we usually have to get on with work, household chores etc, if you have tried to run and in your words failed it is still a working out day... you have not failed as you are out of breath - we just need to extend the time a wee bit more each time!!!

As you have changed shoes and are getting a bit puffed (who hadn't been in this heat!) could I suggest we go back a week or two and also start running a bit slower. Dusty Springfield 'son of a preacher man' is a good pace to try - let me know if it is too slow or too fast and I will give you another song to help with pace.

Running does not need to hurt - can we think light soft glide graceful rather than hot red flustered and knackered - thinking positives works.

Shout if I can help further

Spinning_22 profile image

I found R3W5 really hard but the following interval training of W6R1 and R2 easier. Up to then, things had been progressing well. I thought I'd find the next long run of W6R3 and following weeks really hard.

However after a longer break due to the heat wave, I completed W6R3 Friday, going very slowly, especially the last 5 mins! I then did W7R1 on Sunday, again very slowly but felt bit better than W6R3.

I think you need to go slowly, don't worry how slow your going ATM, you're out there and doing it.

Speed and increased distance can be built on later.

Slow and steady is the way to go. You can do it!!

IannodaTruffe profile image

Dimple, you didn't tell us you were missing rest days........that explains a lot. When you run you create micro tears in your muscles, which repair and strengthen on your rest days, NOT while you are running. No wonder your legs ache. Barbara's advice is sound, but if you take at least one day between runs, then the problems will be in the past, I am sure.

You can do this if you just follow the plan.


Lots of good advice above. Missing rest days is like farting in church (not exactly sacrilegious but definitely frowned upon). You need to relax; don't compare yourself to any one else. If you follow the programme as designed (instead of shaving off the corners) then you will succeed and you wont get injured :)

Dimple_7 profile image

Hi all...

I have just ran 25 minutes straight without stopping! (Week 7 Run 1).

I took all of your advice on board - had a rest day yesterday, slowed down my pace on the run and distracted myself totally by listening to an audio book - the time flew by!

Thank you so much for all of your advice and support. x x

Frankel profile image

Well done fabulous effort

autismspeaks1 profile image

It's the same with me,but I have come to understand that its mostly my mind limiting me. Its the same mind game with me at work too. I m learning how to control and rule my mind. I have done it this far to control /tame my eating habits so I will tell it what to do to run all aspects of my life including my running. I just read somewhere that I should do 20 minutes and so can't let it go mentally....yet. Wish you the best!

Splashpixie profile image

I just did the 2x8 minute runs and hadn’t looked at programme but then wondered what run 3 was going to be ... and my heart sank looking at a 20 minute run 😞

Jell6 profile image
Jell6Graduate in reply to Splashpixie

This is a pretty old post, but the programme worked then, and it still does now.

Trust it, if you've completed all the runs you are ready for it, and believe me you will prefer the continuous runs. Just take it really slow, distance is not a goal here. 😊

Splashpixie profile image
SplashpixieGraduate in reply to Jell6

I just feel like it’s a big jump from 5-8 and next 20!! 🥴

JetsNanna profile image

You should really try to slow down. Even if you are running at a pace that you feel is slower than you walk, you will still be running. Walking and even the slowest jog are entirely different motions so no matter how slow you are going you will still be running and still building stamina.

I would also say that you’re almost sabotaging yourself by saying that you can’t run continuously for longer than 10 mins. In the kindest way possible I would suggest to you that the mind is a powerful thing and your mind is what is stopping you. I think that everyone on this forum has had runs where they think “how am I ever going to do that?” but they have managed to chase the negative thoughts away somehow.

So... slower than the slowest slow thing and talk yourself INTO it rather than OUT of it. You can do this!!!

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