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Couch to 5K
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New to running

Hi, I'm Jesse and I live in the American Midwest. I've never been what you would call super active but I'm certainly giving it a go.

I seem to be stuck on week 5. I can get through the first run, limp through the second and just failed hard on the 20 minute.

Some info about me and things I've noticed: I'm 32, 6'7" (200cm) and 230lbs (104kg). Right now I'm working on increasing my caloric intake but it's difficult. I can barely hit 2,500cal before I get super full for the day.

I notice on the podcast it states things should be more mental than physical now. However I'm still having trouble with leg fatigue and, to a lesser degree, breathing. However, I've been running my neighborhood which is not flat at all. I assume that's probably a factor?

Anyhow, I was just curious if anyone has any tips on breaking past week 5? I appreciate it!

12 Replies

Hi there and welcome :)

Firstly.. well done for doing this, it will be great to have you with us on the forum :)

You are right when you say that the mental side can be an issue, but there really is no need for it to hinder you. Finding a positive mind set, though can be tricky.

If you have a few minutes.. check out the last paragraphs of this post I wrote...it refers to our feelings about our runs and those mind gremlins:)


The programme is geared to take you, in a structured way, run by run and week by week onto the next... each run making you stronger. Taking it slowly and steadily is the key. Enjoying the journey and taking in everything around you on the way.

The hills won't be helping at this stage, although they will be making you stronger for the future runs... and if there is a chance of finding a new flatter route, ( which can also help your mind-set) I would find it.

Strength and stamina exercise is essential on rest days, and, more so, as the runs get longer. Get a little regime together for those days. Other exercise like walking, swimming, cycling, climbing, yoga..or whatever you fancy will help too.

I have no real advice on the eating regime.. I am no expert and am in fact trying to increase my intake of fuel too... and adding a new granddaughter into my exercise regime has made it even harder... fun, but harder:)

I think you may find other replies may be be helpful... Rignold often gives great advice on the eating regimes for running :)

With Week 5, which for some reason has, for many become a tricky week..the only way is to take it gently. Warm up very well and then just really slow it all down.

Keep posting too please, and keep us posted on your progress:)



How is your hydration. You are a tall person and probably require an above average intake of fluids, regularly throughout the day, especially if temperatures are high.


Hi Jess. I reached week four but also live in a hilly area. By week 4 I had to find somewhere flatter. It meant going backwards and forwards over the same stretch but it was the only way I could do it.


Welcome & well done for getting to W5. I was really worked up at the thought of the 20 minute run, but kept it really really slow & steady. My running route is quite hilly and until the W5R3 run I made sure all the walking sections on the programme occurred on the uphill gradients! Cheating, or what? 😂 But on the 20 minute run I had to go for it - lean forward & take small steps uphill. When I started the programme I could walk the route much faster than I could run it 😂. W9 I'm faster running now but still nowhere near running 5K in 30 minutes. So don't worry about running real slow - it's still great exercise as it's a totally different body dynamic. Good luck & keep running.


Ps: well done for making it to week 5. That is a fantastic achievement!


Hello from your neighbour to the north! W5R3 was the first run I had to repeat. Try a new route. One you haven't run before so you don't have any visual cues. Also start off slow, slower than you've run previously. And continue to slow down every chance you get. It's mostly mind over matter for that one, you've done all the hard work already.


Yay!! An American!!!! Welcome! I am from the South (Alabama)! ;)

I too am on Week 5, but have only just started! Hopefully we can both break past it this week!!


Outside it being not super exciting I don't feel like I have a lot of mental hang ups. I could be wrong though! I probably don't drink enough water for the same reason I don't eat enough - I'm just not thirsty/hungry that often. I try to drink more but it's not easy when you aren't thirsty.

A big issue is I'm between two places - a friend's place during the week near my work and my own apartment during the weekend. Both are pretty hilly. I'm considering joining a gym though that's annoying given having to be between two places each week.

I find my legs continue to get sore during the warm up walks. I figured by now it wouldn't be so bad. Also I have no way of gauging my speed to know if I'm jogging to fast.

I appreciate all the advice thus far!


I get massive shin splints if I walk too fast. So if you're noticing that your legs are aching during the walking, try and slow those sections down a little.


Midwest also. With the hot and humid summer we've had on top of hills, you've done well to get this far.

Only advice I can offer is maybe you might consider trying what I call an "ambling run"

That's where you just run to find out what your body actually does when running. By focusing on that instead of speed/time/distance you can discover a lot about how you may unconsciously tense up, over flex , breath hold etc. All the things that wear us out without realizing it. (Nice to be able to use American spelling for a change here btw :) )

Hope this helps and wishing you many happy miles in your future. :)


So I decided to borrow the local schools track and managed the 20 minutes. Oddly enough my breathing was never too hard but my legs huuuurt. Going to repeat the run another week to cement the results. However, yaaaaay!

1 like

Well done! Getting past week 5 run 3 is a toughie.

I lived in the US for 15 years, in Texas, Delaware and Arizona, and remember exercise classes going on at 5:30am to avoid the heat and humidity :) I'm in Wales now, and it's much easier to run at any time of the day. Now it's all about trying to avoid the rain....


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