Couch to 5K
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What happened?!

Really demoralised and want to know what went wrong. I really can't understand it.

I went out to do Week 8 run 1. I was really excited because i was going to do it in Oxford, on mainly flat going, and wanted to see if my pace was better without the hills. I could barely run for a minute or two. Legs like lead, out of breath. I had to walk/run, and gave up after less than 15 minutes. Was it the time of day? I've had that happen before running in the middle of the day. Was it because I had a cup of hot chocolate an hour before running (that's happened before too, eating and not being able to run)? Was it disturbed sleep over the last few days? Honestly, I simply had nothing in the tank. I feel as if my body has totally let me down and that I have no idea why.

The only good thing is that my pace when I did run was around 5.45min/km, which is a lot faster than when I run at home and am constantly slogging uphill. I wasn't trying to run fast, just going at an easy pace.

Maybe I should stick to running early morning or early evening.

Any ideas or advice really welcomed as I can't work it out.

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Not very helpful but it could have been any one of your list, a combination of, or none 😐. Chalk it up to experience, don't dwell on it, and the next one will probably be all you want it to be.

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thanks. In fact last time i had a run like that, it was in fact better the next run. i want to understand why so i can avoid it happeing if possible

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Unless there is a specific medical problem, or there is an exact same chain of events before each "disappointing" run I doubt it is possible to pinpoint what went wrong. We are not professionals with an army to back us up and sort us out and analyse every part of our lives, we just do the best we can with what we've got 😀 And bad runs are apart of that. Look on it as experience and they make the good runs even more precious.

For what it's worth, my running is in a hilly area and the first time I did a flat run I hated it!

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Probably just old age 😉

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Sometimes it’s just like that 😁. Just go out and see what the next Run brings.

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I suspect your quick pace had alot to do with your endurance. In looking at one of your earlier posts your pace was around 8 something across 3 km. To speed up to 5:45 it makes sense you would hit the wall much faster. Thats a big jump. I had the same problem over and over and had to learn to run slower for longer distances. Your pace does improve once you get the legs used to longer distances.

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My slower pace is because Im running uphill a lot normally. I have qn elvation gain of well over 50 metres regularly, whereas today it was 2m. When I do run on flatter bits at home, my pace is a lot faster. Also those earlier runs included the walking bits. Lately ive only recorded the runs as there is no in between walking, and even with hills im in the 7s, so I really dont think it was going faster. I was running at an easy pace, but didnt have to run up and downhill.

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Ah ok. Well in that case its hard to say what the reason might be. Im sure one of the seasoned runners may have an answer. 5:45 is still quite fast - a sub 30 5k. Maybe try a slightly easier pace and see if it makes any difference?

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Yes, back to my slower hilly pace next time. It’s hard to get the balance between a steady pace and not being on my bad leg long enough in a stride to cause pain and swelling. I really thought I was going slowly. And TBH the sense of not being able to run happened immediately. Anyway, thanks for your help x

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No worries and I hope its better next time out Flick

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That's good advice there Decker. I keep on about my pace, I must admit that it does concern me, but when I run slower and for longer, I feel better. Hope you're doing okay Decker 😊

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Hi QB. I only mention it because I had the pace issue come up a few times. Especially trying to go from 5k to longer distances after graduation. Wise voices here helped me realize far longer distance with a slower pace. 🙂

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As others have said - could be any number of factors known and unknown. Take from it that you ran for nearly 15 minutes (at least 10? If you said you stopped before 15) anyway - with 'nothing' in the tank ;) , which as the chorus goes is "further than you did on the couch"! Happier running next time!

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Ah sorry to read that. Wish I had some sage advice but unfortunately I don't! Sometimes its just too much like hard work! Mind you, you were cracking on a bit which might have had something to do with it!

Next one should be better I hope

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Thanks john😊 as I explained in response to Decker, the pace only seems faster because I wasnt having to run up my usual steep slopes. I dont try to go fast, I try to go slowly and felt I was going at an easy pace. The old injuries to my femur and knee mean that slower causes pain and swelling, I actually do better the shorter time my weight is on my leg...but, honestly, I wasnt trying to run fast or aware of doing so.

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Ok, thanks folks. There might have been a reason those more xperience than myself could have pinpointed. Never mind. Let’s see what happens nxt time.

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Yes its strange, we have good days and baad days running. Some days i can feel fine and others i struggle terribly with breathing and heavy legs.

But i always have to run on an empty stomach, only a piece f fruit about 2 even 3 hours before i go running otherwise i struggle badly.

Im sure next time you try you will be back to your normal self.

Good luck

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Thank you! I think youve pinpointed the problem. The same thing happened last time I had had something in my stomach. I really thought hot chocolate would have been ok as it’s liquid, but apparently not!

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I am the same , all i can have is a couple of mouthfulls of weather otherwise im done for ! It does demoralize your feelings but just get straight to it again after your rest day and youll be fine im sure

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I had the same thing on Week 7 Run 2, really struggled, had to walk a lot and just couldn’t understand it! I was really disappointed but decided to just put it down in the “bad run” category and move on.

Hopefully when you go out again, it’ll be much better and you’ll forget all about it! Don’t beat yourself up 😊

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Thanks 😊 not so much beating myself up as wanting to understand, since it happened once before. Same time of day and having had something to eat to close to the run I think. It might have been week 6. Im disappointed because I was really looking forward to running on the flat for once...ah, well...

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Perhaps you are a morning runner! My Mum came to the conclusion that she prefers running in the morning and seems to perform better at that time. Well done for all of your hill running though, I still dread any sort of incline and feel like I’m in slow motion going up a hill 🤣

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Im best in the evrenings, second best early morning.i think I need to steer clear of the middle of the day. I have no choice but to hill run here, but soemtimes I long to run on the flat. Every run is a slog for me because the inclines are either gradual and go on forever, or very steep. I live on top of a hill in the Cotswolds. Strangely, my pace doesnt seem much different uphill bow, so it must be doing me some good.

Do you run with your Mum? My daughter is doing c25k, nearly finished, but sh lives just too far away for us to go out togethr.

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Oh blimey I feel for you with all those hills!

Yes I run with my Mum sometimes, although she is following a plan for her 3rd marathon so coming with me is like a walk in the park for her 😅 shame that you can’t run with your daughter! But at least you are both doing it at the same time and can compare notes 😊

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Crumbs, just seen how many typos in myresponse to you!

Her 3rd marathon?! Respect. Cant imagine ever doing that!

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Ah OK. My mistake. I agree pace is deceptive, sometimes it just feels like your plodding along and then the tech tells you that you were quite quick. Other times the reverse is the case. Am steadily learning that while the tech is helpful at other times its a nuisance and for max enjoyment just running along is the reward in itself. Good luck with your next run. BTW I was in the US a couple of weeks ago and went for a run in Cleveland. It was so b cold I had to run fast despite the tech advice. So weather is another factor too!

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Ah thanks😊 yes, I agree the tech can be a pain, but Im such a geek ☹️ In my teens, before my accident put paid to running for many years, I used to run in tennis shoes, baseball boots or bare feet, along country roads and across fields. i had never heard of running shoes and mono skin socks, compression tights or Garmin. Oh happy days of freedom and innocence!

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Try not to worry too much!!!it could beca mixture of several things!!!just put it in the bin & try again another day xx

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Thanks Claire. I really hope you are back on the road soon. Makes my complaints sound very trivial x

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For what it’s worth. I am normally faster on the hilly bits because I am having to push a bit more.

Good luck with the next one.

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Yes, I remember you saying. I find the hills a slog because they are never ending. In a 25 minute run, I am constantly running either up or down a considerable gradient. I do see young men powering up them, barely changing pace, so Im sure there is hope for me yet 😉

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Blimey.. that pace is blinking fast!!

Many of our really experienced runners are running at that pace... now if you feel fine, that is great, but maybe it was literally a bit of a step too far :) ( Mind, if I ever get a bit of flatness I go bananas )!!! Over excitement and the legs go loopy!

Some runs are just like that.. could be a million reasons why.. under-par..not enough sleep.. hydration levels.. anything.

Just tuck it away and forget it... you may never know why and you will get runs like this again.. that is the fun of it.. some are amazing, some make you feel that you will never run properly again:)

Pull back..get back to your routine and see what evolves:)

I have to say the hot chocolate an hour before, sounds a bit iffy.. I run on a virtually empty tum...but I don't like chocolate anyway.. so...

You are going to be fine:) Betcha!

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I didnt think I was running particularly fast at the time 😳 i didnt realise till I checked Garmin Connect after. I seem to have naturally speeded up lately, despite trying to go slowly. I have to say faster is less stress on my bad leg. Ive been doing 7s and 8s with hills involved. I will do my best to slow down, but honestly, while Im doing it, it seems as if Im going at snail’s pace.

I think you are right and the hot chocolate is at fault. I thought it would be ok, being liquid, but I make it with a mixture of soya milk and soya cream. Im not fond of chocolate either, but hot chocolate has connotations 😊

You hit the nail on the head, it made me feel as if I would never run properly again. Thank you for understanding that. Luckily Im a glass full person, so, having bleated, moaned and dumped on you all again, Im now looking forward to my next run!

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Look forward to your post :)

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Ha! We shall see x

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5:45m/k, for any sustained distance, is one helluva pace for a lady in her 70s.

What is your usual pace?

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Ive been gradually speeding up. My last few since I began the longer runs and have recorded only the runs, not the warm up walk, have been about 8.38m/k, but bear in mind that’s with an elevation gain of between 20 and 60m, depending on route, whereas today’s was only 2m.

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That is still one big jump in pace. I am not surprised you could not maintain it.

Slowing down will make it much easier.

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I honestly didnt think I was running fast. It felt like an easy pace. but anyway, the exhaustion and lead legs were from the first few steps. I began running and my body just said: I dont want to do this. As for the pace, Im so used to only ever running up and down hill, that I cant judge my pace on the flat. There are literally NO flat stretches here. Any tips on how to slow down? I really thought I was running slowly. I was never a fast runner, always last in running heats for sports day at school...by miles...

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Breathing is your best guide to your easy pace. You need to be able talk in a normal conversational manner, without any faltering or gasping. If you can't do that, you are going too fast. This indicator is the same for all runners, regardless of pace.

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I never get out of breath on the treadmill. I get out of breath running outside at home because every 30 seconds I'm running up a slope that most people puff on when walking. I remember running up one on week three and being overtaken by a man with a walking stick and an obese Jack Russell.

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PS: I have long legs!

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It is practically the law for C25Kers to have a rubbish run somewhere in Weeks 7-9. So now you've got yours out of the way. Enjoy the rest of the programme!

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Phew, I'm glad you said that! :) x

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We all have bad runs and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason, but we often learn more from those than the good ones which makes us better runners :)

From what you have said i think your body sounds tired. I used to underestimate the impact being emotionally tired out had on me, until it was so obvious thats what was causing the difficult run that I always go easy/ allow slack etc if I am emotionally low. Christmas is emotionally draining, dont underestimate the impact this may have on you. The next run will be better :)

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Thank you so much for this. I do think it was partly lack of sleep, but I think it was indeed mostly tiredness. I was so exhausted when we got home that I could barely stay upright, and it wasnt exertion tiredness. Your answer makes the most sense overall.

My next run will probably be on the treadmill as we are snowed in again. The treadmill is always easier for me as no hills involved, so my heart rate stays low and I dont get out of breath, so a nice easy start to week 8.

Thank you again lovely x

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good plan and I am glad that made sense XX

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Hey there lovely 😊

I don't really know what it could have been, but your pace is ace haha. I'm still in the teens, many on here seem faster than I am. I don't know if the factors you've mentioned are contributing factors or not, it's a tough one to know. You did a run and that's the main thing x

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Aw thanks. I really wasnt trying to speed, honest 😳 i think it runs in the family as my daughter, who is on week 9, just did 5k with an average pace of 6ish. Anyway,it’s the treadmill today as we are yet again snowed in and the pavements are treacherous. X

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