Couch to 5K

Will I ever start to feel the love?

In my final week of the program and planning my graduation run either tomorrow or Sunday. I have found every stage of the process really hard and I have to admit, I haven't really enjoyed any of it. I am reasonably fit and love the other forms of exercise I do regularly (cycling, power pump, circuits etc.) but I am just not feeling it with running. I really WANT to enjoy this, I love being outside and I travel a lot for work so running is something I can do anywhere in the world, and for free. But currently the only thing I feel is relief when I have completed a run and got it out of the way.

There is so much experience on this forum and so many people who speak with such passion about their running, I just wanted to ask the question, am I ever going to love running? Is there something I can do differently to bring about the enjoyment I would so love to feel? Or am I just not a runner and should I stick to what I do love?

Thank you all in advance for your wise words!

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How speedy are you? I only ask...in case you may be missing something...because for some of us.. well , it is not just about running.. it is about the journey and what you see on it...:)

I was the original Grey Snail...I run and I ramble...my journey has taught me about running, got me much fitter, stronger whatever..but also released inhibitions, creativity and general feelings of well being. Sounds a bit hippyish... ? Maybe, but I re posted a post yesterday.. it sums up what the running can be about, if we give it chance to evolve..You might have a read if you have time?

healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

It may not be that running is for you...but, maybe, relax, start looking around, beyond the running path...you clearly have the world at your fingertips... wow... what a running journey you could have then!

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Ha! I would love to be able to say I was a speed freak but I am slower than slow - my running speed is only about 1-1.5mph faster than my walking speed! I read your re-post and that is exactly the kind of feeling I would love to have when I'm running, but instead I just want it to be over :(

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I was so bored once the runs got longer. Then I tried running in the woods. Up and down along narrow paths, twisting, turning, jumping over nettles. Always having to think ahead and seeing different things, fishing lake, deer, even the dog walkers are more polite. So maybe you need to try a more varied route.

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I'm way beyhind you as I'm only half way through week 4 but have enjoyed it all. I think for me it's because I had such low expectations of what I would be able to achieve. I am quite literally going from couch (at least more like desk) to 5k. I have been so chuffed every time I complete a run that it gives me a buzz for the rest of the day. I guess if you are already fit and active it wouldn't have the same impact.

Where do you run? Is it somewhere you are used to cycling or doing other activities? If so try a route that stimulates you that you wouldn't otherwise experience. Do it differently...may help.

BTW, congratulations for nearly completing the programme. A real achievement especially if you don't enjoy it 😀

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Of the handful of people I can remember asking the same question as you over the last four years, at least one was already physically active, a keen cyclist. He stuck the course but decided that he probably would not continue running, since he so much preferred to be on his bike. This is countered by another cyclist I recall well, who was very fit, in his sixties and took to running in the winter to supplement his training and was delighted with his discovery of running.

We are all different and seek different things from this. I would suggest you follow the advice of SCB1 and run in an environment that you can't experience on a bike. Run a clifftop path, a beach, a moorland or forest track and forget completely about speed and distance covered. Stop to enjoy the view. Walk. Run through puddles, become a child again, running for the sheer delight and exhilaration of being alive. In brief, remove the performance aspect from the exercise and just run for fun.

I tried one organised 10k race and concluded that I would have enjoyed myself much more running by myself......for myself....and that is what I do. You may not be a curmudgeonly old bastard so that may not be your way, but give it a try.

Here's hoping you find the love.

Oh, and try smiling.

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Sometimes in life you don't know what you are looking for until you trip over it and maybe you just haven't found our own running recipe yet.

There's something in you that despite what you say has kept you this far and it can't just be bloody-mindedness. Bloody mindedness only gets you so far - go on have a think!!! something in all these weeks running must have made you smile, or feel satisfied or something..

As a real newbie, all I can say is the running and the forum keeps me sane, when I think of flaking, I realise some folks with big problems (or health issues or fitness issues or personal issues) have found something that keeps them going, and that motivates me to pull my finger out and run. For some it's the scenery, for others the sense of achievement, or the routine, or the camaraderie of this cracking group.

I hope you find the love, but if it's not here then it may well be elsewhere. Good luck with Cupid

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There has been so much wise advice already, I can't really add anything, other than the agree.

You have identified for yourself that you want to run, for the convenience etc. of it. You appear to be a very self-disciplined person to have come this far with something you have clearly endured rather than enjoyed (yet).

I have to say these feelings were similar to my own, although I wouldn't flatter myself by saying I have huge self discipline.

I remember one Christmas when I missed the refuse truck and ran up the road to give the team their Christmas box; I swear I tasted blood in my mouth from the effort of running. THAT was the pivotal moment that I knew I had to do something to get fit and thank goodness for c25k!

Getting through the program was an achievement that made me feel I could call myself a runner. The effects of the running were what kept me going.

In time I got to the point where I couldn't cope with not getting out for a run. It was only the horses coming into our lives and the ill health of my other half that forced me to stop in the end (but I'm still back again - can't get it out of my head!).

All I'd say is, we all run for different needs and sometimes we have to put the purpose before the love, if that makes sense?

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What does love feel like? It's not always a terribly nice feeling, not always warm and fuzzy, sometimes it is a bit fierce or frustrated.

I don't know about how you go about the cycling but the other activities sound quite intense. It could be that you are expecting the same feelings about running when it is a different kind of thing... and although part of me would say fair enough, another part of me feels that learning to be active without being intense is a valuable life skill best learned long before you are in the teeth of having to (although I suspect there are good few runners who haven't taken that idea on board either!)

I notice that you signed up to the forum a while back but haven't been posting about your experiences so far... perhaps that's had an impact and just talking here about your running will help with the enjoyment (even if sometimes you're saying you didn't, perverse as that sounds) I will echo what others have said about your self-discipline in getting this far... it is often those who are already doing other exercise who seem to find most difficulty sticking to the programme, so you've done really well. It sounds a bit as though you might be telling yourself this is something you 'ought' to do, for practical reasons. I found it helped me to keep going to tell myself "You don't have to do this if you don't want to".

Maybe you'll just need to whack on an audiobook and see it as listening time whilst your legs just happen to be moving in a particular fashion!

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I find it intriguing that people run and don't enjoy it - and I want to know how they/you make themselves do something they don't enjoy - could be v useful sometimes. As for trying to find pleasure in running - i can only say I enjoy the time off from being busy. It feels like 'my' time and as though my brain gets a rest while my body runs. It's restful- yes, that's it. No social media, no phone calls, no gardening, no flipping DIY. It's restful. Mmmm

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When I first tried running as training, I didn't stick to it. I hated it. I'm lucky to live on the coast. I figured I love walking along the beach, so why not run along the beach. Bad move. It is just so hard work and monotonous. I made it worse by making it a chore, set myself incremental improvement targets for each run, but really just increasing the hard work and monotony. It didn't last.

Then I tried again recently, but this time round the park. Our local park is big, but divided up into small distinct sections, so in one minute you can run through two or three different settings. Suddenly it's not a chore. Except it still is, because I've got my phone telling me when to run and when to walk. So binned off the formal program and set my own challenge. I've had a set back. I've pulled a number of muscles simultaneously which has paused my running regime. But I sustained those injuries while training in my other passion, martial arts, not while running.

For me, running shouldn't be a chore. I think back to when I was a kid, running because it was fun, or because there was so much to see in the world that you have to hurry to see as much as you can in the shortest time possible. Like exploring when constrained by time. To that end, I always try to choose routes where I can't see too far ahead. If I want to see what's round the corner, and the corner is at least 10 minutes away, I can't be bothered. If it's 30 seconds away, no problem. And once round that corner, hopefully the next thing I want to see is only 30 seconds away and so on. It's like being a kid again.

I do track my running efforts, but I don't get hung up on it. I only even look at what I've achieved after I've finished, and only then to enable me to see if I'm making progress towards my other goals. None of which are to satisfy some phone app or series of podcasts.

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Lots of thoughtful comments from everyone here. For me I love the time out of a busy life that running brings. When I'm out for a run on the program I'm not working or thinking about work, I'm not cooking or shopping or being a mum. The time is mine. I choose when and where and if I want to change my route. I can add bits on or take a different turn. I'm guessing that cycling also gives you that flexibility and time out - but of course you can complete the same distance faster. Perhaps you feel that speed is missing? What about trying both for a challenge. A bi Athlon. Do your run then get on your bike. Maybe try to challenge yourself to increase distance on both? Good luck! (Ha I've just read that back and I can't believe I'm such a novice to any excercise and now on this forum, I think I'm qualified to make any comment to someone who is clearly v fit. I hope you don't mind. I'm just putting thoughts out there,)

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It is all a bit strange. I never ever thought that I would become a long distance runner in my old age. - and really, I still don't like running. But, I have been on the injury couch for the past 6 weeks and maybe another 6 to go , and I am almost inconsolable about it. Everybody else is running except me!! It is winter here now - running season . Half marathons and 10K's galore - but nothing for me. I managed to walk 2.5k today at parkrun in 42 minutes!!!!

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Thank you all so much for all your words of encouragement and support, not to mention the tips and advice. I will try out some of the things you suggest and see where it takes me. I might never learn to love running but if I do stick with it then I know that I can always be part of a fun, supportive and caring community. Thanks to all of you, and wherever you are on your own individual journey, keep on running!

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I would agree with the trying a different route suggestions. I started out running around my house and in the streets and really didn't like it at all. I felt self conscious and it was a real trudge. Then I discovered a track around my local nature park with twists and turns and views of the Tyne and all manner of beautiful things. It was a game changer and now I really look forward to each run. Last week I even saw 3 deer! Now if only my knees would stop complaining and I had a 3rd lung I reckon I'd be sorted! 😂 Good Luck and don't give up just yet, I'm sure there's a seed of affection for running in you somewhere. 😊

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I am enjoying it more now, ditching the headphones is what seems to have helped most. Did my first 5k event on Saturday and ran the whole way (slowly!) so I guess I'm officially a runner now, whether I like it or not! Thanks for the tips ;)

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