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Couch to 5K
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How am I so unfit?

So I have decided to take up running. I’m a healthy weight and I exercise regularly, however I am doing it in the belief it will help my mental health. I want 2018 to be the year I really make some changes and start helping myself get better instead of wondering why everyone else’s cures aren’t working.

I have just completed the first C25K run and I am honestly shocked, I only managed 4/7 of the 60 second runs and I’m unsure why. I am relatively fit, can use an elliptical trainer for 15-30 minutes without breaking a sweat, I eat well, though recently I’ve been indulging in too much alcohol (another thing I am choosing to change in 2018)

So why am I experiencing chest pains by the 3rd run and feeling physically incapable by the end of the 4th?

When does it get easier? I wasn’t expecting this to be easy but I’m still just a little shocked.

Sorry for the long post.

9 Replies

Welcome to c25k & the forum. Its a great program that works, honest, maybe what happened was you ran too fast to start with slow & steady the answer😊. It takes a wee while to get used to running & for your legs to strengthen to running longer periods. Always remember to take your rest days & you can repeat a run if you didn’t feel happy with it. Don’t be so hard on yourself you made the first step out the door & i bet next time if you go slower you will manage the whole run. You are so right running really lifts your spirits physically & mentally. I suffer a lot from stress & a run really helps . Keep us updated & im sure next run will be great😊. A lot of experienced people here who will keep you right! Good luck & wishing you a happy Running, healthy 2018😊

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Morning kiddo, well for 1 with the running you're using a different set off muscles and I suspect you're running way to fast.

Slow it right down, hit snails pace and then knock it back a gear or two, this is all about running for the times required and not how fast you can do it or really how far you run, all that will come later.

Mentally well I think it's fair to say that many (me included) have been surprised how much better they feel.


I was a bit like you very active go to the gym play netball I found week 1 the hardest . I have recently graduated and now have four 5k runs complete !

Just take it steady it gets easier trust me . Good luck, you can do it

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Welcome to this fantastic programme. Take it from this 56 year old who has never done any exercise more than walking the dog that C25k works.

I started in September, listened to all the advice on this forum, took it slow and steady and stuck to non run days.

You will do it 😊

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That first week zaps everyone. Im fit too, lots of walking up and downhill, but I thought I was going to die in week one. There are people on here who play football or go to the gym, and most of them have found the first week a challenge. It does get better. Before you know it, you will be running 30 minutes without a break. Seems impossible, but the programis so brilliantly worked out that we all manage it.


Well... many folk felt amazingly unfit during those first weeks.. and yet.. we are still here:)

It is not necessarily easy. but you get stronger, with each and every run.

Take it very, very slowly and steadily...land lightly and relax as you go. Your chest pains (if you do not experience them at other times) ? could be tension. We do have a tendency to hold ourselves tensely and thump down a tad!

Relax, look around and enjoy the journey.


This guide healthunlocked.com/couchto5... should answer most of your questions.

The biggest surprise for me when I did C25K was the mental benefits of running, which moves into all areas of your life. That old cliche used to persuade people to exercise, " look better and feel better" is an absolute fact. I grinned for months when I first started.

Stick with the programme and you will not regret it.

Keep running, keep smiling.


Agree with others -- very likely you started too fast. I think the first weeks I ran slower than I walked, or at least it was a very close contest! Anyway, slow down until you can do all 8 runs, and then just take it from there.

Also, very few graduate at a 6k/min pace (needed to do 5k in 30 mins). Couch to 30 mins doesn't sound as snappy though...


When I started off, I had to go to the doctor's and then was referred to the hospital for tests because of chest pains. I discovered myself that - I was going too fast - simple as that, I slowed down and ......... problem solved


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