Week 1 done but struggling all the way - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

117,773 members148,988 posts

Week 1 done but struggling all the way

PaulR123 profile image


I managed to complete the three runs in week 1 but struggled to do so. Even then that was by “cheating” a bit - by walking an extra ten-twenty seconds so I didn’t have to run up a small hill and could instead just run on the flat at the top of it. :-(

In particular the later runs (run 4 onwards) in the thirty minute session seem increasingly impossible to face. The walking recovery periods don’t seem long enough to get back to normal breathing and I’m increasingly afraid that my initial brisk walking pace degenerates during the session to the extent it is more like that of a geriatric in a Zimmer frame.

As such the thought of Week 2 Run 1 and the change in the sessions so that there is increased running and less walking seems utterly appalling.

For those of you who have gone before and who had a similar experience, what would you recommend?

Did you just plough on into week 2 etc and suddenly it was easier?

Or did you just stay doing week 1 for another week or two and then move on to week 2 when the week 1 session seemed easy?

Thank you


15 Replies

I've just done my first run of week 2, it was good! I did 4 of week 1's because my first one was a huge fail. if you look back at my posts you will see the advise I got was to slow down and slow down some more and this is what got me through the rest of the runs. My brisk walk was too brisk and my run was too fast, now i walk slowly and my run is nothing more than a light jog.

If you're not recovering in the walking then i would think you need to slow down, maybe do one more week 1 at a slower pace and see how you feel or go straight into week 2 but at a slower pace.

good luck and let us know how you get on!

Djraw profile image
DjrawGraduate in reply to zobles

Slow down - sounds like you are going for it! Light jog is the key - try that on another week one session - then hit the second week. I wasnt convinced I could do it - but you can! Slow and steady

Irish-John profile image

Just take it Slow and steady and at your own pace.

Less than 10% graduate "on time/with distance" :)

You build up stamina - not "speed" or "distance" - through the programme using it as a framework and "rule of thumb" guide :)

Personally, I have to say there is no "magic moment" when running becomes effortlessly easy. But there certainly does come the time when the running creates LOTS of magical moments while still being "not effortlessly easy" :)

Onward and upward - slowly and steadily, that's what got most of us to Graduation and beyond. :)

Wishing you many happy miles in your future :)

I struggled in the first week and would never have taken on a hill, no matter how low grade. Flat was all I was ready for. Slow down your pace and you will progress. I would try a week 2 run as there is something really motivating about progression and take it really easy. If it doesn't work for you or is demotivating then roll it back to week 1 and be proud!

Hi Paul. If you've managed to complete the three runs, move on to week 2. These first few weeks are very tough because you need to find your zone and it takes a while! It sounds like you may be going too fast. Take it as slow as you can, even if it feels like snails could overtake you! It's all about building up stamina at this stage. Remember Oldfloss's mantra, slow and steady ☺️

Good luck with week 2. Even if you have a few practice runs, remember that you're doing great and we're all here to support you and to cheer you on!

Sadie-runs profile image

Now I am in week 5, I can look back at week 1 and honestly say it was the toughest for me. I puffed and panted my way through week 1. By the time I had done the recovery walk I still hadn't got my breathing back to normal before the next run started!

In part, I think I was going too fast; another factor was just my lack of fitness. However, I ploughed on to week 2, and was pleasantly surprised. It was challenging, but I managed the run lengths just fine. Recovery time got a wee bit better too.

Very slowly, this programme increases your fitness so that you CAN manage the step ups. It is a very clever programme.

The work you can put in is:

- go super, super slow. It is not a race

- believe you can do this!

- don't fret about the runs to come, focus on the one you are doing

It is not easy, no, but do/able. You will see so much progress in yourself as the weeks progress, trust me! But most of all trust yourself. 😀

Hidden profile image

Sounds like you might be running too fast. If you start a run too fast then the end becomes difficult or even impossible. Why not give week 2 a go and see how it is if you really slow down?

If you don't manage it, just repeat week 1 but slower. The programme has to choose somewhere to start and most people can manage 8 runs, but a few really struggle with that, and need a week -1. Repeating week 1 should get you where you need to be.

Any run, even one where you don't make it to your goal, is building your strength and therefore taking you towards your goal of 30 minutes running. I remember week 1 back in May and thinking how 90 seconds of running, never mind 30 minutes, was a tough challenge. But as long as you keep going, you get there in the end. I took 11 weeks. Some take longer. But it doesn't matter. Every time you run you boost your health and fitness so it's worth it.

Richard7 profile image
Richard7Graduate in reply to Hidden

Well said

Polly2810 profile image

No...move on, you are ready and you will amaze yourself! I also hit pause so I could start on the flat for several runs 😜 you will be just fine. Enjoy!!

Yes, slow down. Slow down to a gentle jog, barely quicker than your walking pace. You need to be able to sustain the pace so find the speed that suits you rather than trying to push to run at the pace you imagine you should be doing.

Also, remember that this running lark is as much (if not more) about what is in your head. Try and keep a positive attitude; a 'can do' approach :) Thousands of people of very variable fitness levels have completed the programme. It takes you through carefully calibrated steps to be able to run for 30 minutes after 9 weeks. Each step up is a challenge BUT an achievable challenge.

Move on to week 2!

Lots of good advice here. It may seem hard but after a couple of rest days start Week 2. If you put your mind to it you'll be amazed at what you can achieve.

I was like you this time last year. Really struggled to keep going for a minute, but I can now run 10k in under an hour despite having to restart the programme after week 8 due to having surgery.

I know you can do this... 👍🏽

Oldfloss profile image

Stop looking ahead... you are defeating yourself before you begin! :)

Welcome to the best thing ever... now.. Slow Down!

This builds up slowly and steadily... and that is how you should be proceeding. Slowly and steadily.

Warm up well, take the rest days, put in some strength and flex maybe on those days.. or walking... or swimming ?

Each run follows the next, each week follows the one before and you will find yourself at Week 9, before you know it! Each run makes you stronger... your stamina and strength building up with your running muscles...:0

So.. move on.. slower than a snail on a go slow... look around, enjoy the journey and keep posting please:)

IannodaTruffe profile image

Loads of people struggled like you in week 1, only to go on and triumphantly graduate, running for thirty minutes..........just as you will.

If you don't complete a workout, repeat it, after a rest day, until you do complete, then move on. Each week prepares you for the next, as long as you complete it.

Go as slow as you need to. You will get faster in time, but C25k is about duration, not speed.

Always take your rest days. more than one if you need it.

You will see progress in a very short time, so accept the challenge, push on and prepare for your life to change in ways that you cannot even begin to imagine.

Good luck.

Richard7 profile image

Hi Paul - I finished week 4 yesterday. I have found run 1 of every week really difficult. I think I “failed” W1R1 and W4R1 and pretty sure the same at W2 and W3. But somehow the 2nd and 3rd runs just worked. As others keep saying the program works. Each week is a step up. I know run1 will be difficult now so don’t worry when I cannot do it and plough on. I considered redoing week1 at its end but was convinced by the flurry of help on the forum to keep going so did W2R1 instead - so glad that I did.

vlmiller1225 profile image

Slow Down! My biggest issue is pacing myself and its pretty difficult on the 60 second and 90 second runs to do so at the beginning!!! :) I started week 4 and still have to constantly tell myself to slow down.. it really does make a huge difference!!

You may also like...