Couch to 5K
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Slightly confused with my running

I started the C25k at week 3 because I have some running experience and want to improve my stamina. After my run today I felt like I hadn’t been pushed enough / I could have done it again - does this mean it’s too easy for me? I didn’t really feel like I had been out long enough. I don’t have the stamina to keep going and before Christmas if I went by myself I jog/ run until I need a break then walk for a minute and then start again - should I keep going with week 3? I feel confused and hope someone knows how to advise me!! Thanks!

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You say that you want to improve your "stamina" - but what exactly do YOU mean by that word. There are many words that are used in the running world which have different meanings for different people - eg endurance, stamina, speed, intervals, etc. So - what is it that YOU want to do?. C25K is a good for most people regardless of their running experience. The prime objective of each days workout is to finish what is required. Hence the pace of any day will be different for all people depending on their level of fitness and running experience. if you are feeling that a day is too "easy" for you , then increase your pace - run faster and maybe jog between running parts instead of walking. But, precisely because you do have some running experience, you must be especially aware of overdoing it.

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Thanks! By ‘stamina’ I mean I can’t keep going, I have to stop. So maybe by increasing my pace / going faster and still having the breaks as the voice tells me, it will help! I just want to be able to jog/ run and enjoy it whist not needing to stop - if that makes sense!

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What you are seeking is I think greater endurance - stamina is something else. Endurance is the ability to do a distance - stamina is the ability to do it at a specified pace. It sounds a bit pedantic - but there is a big difference. Endurance comes from long slow running - stamina comes from running at faster pace in different types of workout. Whether you run/walk or run continuously, the only way to increase endurance is to slowly increase the distance of the daily runs that you are doing and the weekly volume of running (hours/miles per week) at a slowish pace where you are not running out of puff/air. The limit of your endurance should show up in your legs muscles and and the limit of your stamina shows up in your lungs :)

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Wow. That’s really helpful. I never understood the difference and thought the two words were interchangeable.

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Thanks for this great explanation Bazza1234 . It got me thinking about my current training and what my goals are for this year 😁:

I'm working on my endurance while I build up my distance to a HM in the spring and then plan to work on my stamina in preparation for a fall 10k trail race where I'm hoping to improve my time 👍

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I'm confused! Can you run for 30 minutes without stopping? If so, C25K isn't for you because you can already do this. It's designed to get you running for 30 minutes. If you can't, then follow the programme! :)

Bazza1234 makes a good distinction between stamina and endurance, but I have a much simpler mind. You say you need to stop for a walk - at what point do you currently need to do this, and at what pace are you currently running?

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I was in a similar situation. For years I had jogged sporadically and I could run for half an hour or even 5k at any given time. But there was no way I could have repeated this feat two days later or 3x a week. I did the programme as stated. The first weeks were reasonably easy (sorry to anyone struggling!). But it was a great way of building up stamina / consistency and discipline.

And it helped me crack this running lark. After the 9 weeks (a bit shorter actually as I really did run every other day) I could run for half an hour 3 or 4 times a week consistently. And I have continued, which is great! Nearly 2 years now.

So I would recommend just doing the programme. If you’re not challenged now you will be later when the runs get longer. And the shorter runs get you used to getting out there and strengthen all the bits that haven’t been used regularly!

Good luck!

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Do the programme... it will slowly and steadily build up the bits that need to be built up...stamina, strength, running muscles take time... do this, follow the programme...put other exercise in on rest days, core strength and stamina...all contributing to the outcome.

Check out these posts... the information is invaluable..

healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

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The programme sets up the running habit. If you follow C25K you will be running 3 times a week and running for 30 minutes a time by the end of 9 weeks. Keep going after that and you will be setting up a pattern of exercise that is sustainable in the long term. It's not just about what you can do physically but the mental challenges too. So, yes, follow the programme :)

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You have hit upon probably the most important aspect of C25k - it establishes a habit, a new practice of life.

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I would go back to week one and follow the full programme. It will give you the best chance of being able to sustain 30 mins of non stop running.

Enjoy each run!

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I would agree about doing the full programme (starting right back to the beginning if you can face doing that), adding other forms of exercise to your weekly routine for interest and challenge. I think that the mental side, that of building up the running habit, is at least as important as the physical side, and doing the full programme will help you "know" yourself better as a runner and identify better your own needs.

I found the earlier parts easy too as I was not starting "from the couch", but I realised fairly soon that although my overall level of fitness was ok, I was still a novice runner and did not have runner's legs. So, to return to Bazza's excellent distinction between endurance and stamina, I thought I had both but in reality I had the lungs but not the legs, and it took a knee problem in week 7 to show me that. I was always pushing that bit further or going that bit faster, and it wasn't the right thing to do (and I still make the same mistake now if I am not careful, as old habits die hard).

I understand your frustration if you feel you aren't pushing yourself and are chomping at the bit, but nine weeks is nothing in the greater scheme of things and will help you arrive where you want to be without injury. Trusting in the plan takes away the anxiety of "Am I doing too little/too much?".

Good luck!

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I found the first week very easy and undemanding, but when I looked at the structure I realised that it was safer to follow a tried and tested programme than go on my own, so I did the whole plan.

Read this guide healthunlocked.com/couchto5... which, if you follow the links, may help.

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It really is remarkable how often it is those with some existing fitness who struggle to do the programme. Whilst it certainly isn't 'necessary' (lots of ways into running, lots of ways into fitness), how can it be 'too easy'... so 'too easy' that you give up? Not that easy! As others have said, the mental aspects of developing a sustainable pace and habit are significant... lots of people have this 'if it ain't hurting, it ain't working' sort of attitude. And lots of us really don't like doing as we are told (me included) but sometimes it is jolly good discipline and pays dividends in the end.

It's true that some of us 'need' to feel challenged and others of us need confidence.

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I did a 5 mile run last week and at the end I felt I could have run on. Today I did the same run and feel absolutely wiped out.

You will have good runs and bad runs. For you today was a good one. Rejoice, you will feel like you are floating on air; but don't fall into the trap of having one good run and thinking you can take on the world. Lets see how you fair over the next two runs (when you have got up and done it repeatedly over a few days) first.

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There will be days where you feel like you can keep going. But C25K is designed to get you up to 30 minutes without injury. Trust the programme. It's only 9 weeks anyway so if the whole thing is too easy, at least it hasn't taken up too much of your time!

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It is exactly the purpose of C25K to help you develop the stamina to run without walk breaks for 30 minutes straight. Carry on with the programme and you will find you can run further each week. Many people find it a bit easy at first, but it is worth going through it steadily, not least because you can share the experiences of others on this forum, but also because it is a proper training regime that works on your running technique (although missing the first few weeks as you have done doesn't do any harm if you're already pretty fit). As you continue on to week 4 and beyond you will find that the running times increase pretty quickly, so you will be challenging yourself soon enough! :)

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