W1R1 failure: OK, so I have a very sedentary job... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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W1R1 failure


OK, so I have a very sedentary job, am about 3 stone overweight and am a just turned 47 year old very unfit female. By unfit, I mean really, really unfit - and I am asthmatic. However, I am determined to reverse this and be alot fitter by the time I reach 48

Running to 5K seems like such a huge mountain but I decided to start this morning as I am now able to work from home a bit more and can use a bit of otherwise commuting time to do something useful towards improving my health.

I managed to do 3 of the 60 second runs and then (despite taking some puffer) was really struggling, so I walked home. In total I was out for about 20 mins on a mixture of gradients and I felt a bit embarrassed when I got back and saw my (very fit and much younger) neighbour leaving for work.

Is this a common start? I'm planning to try again tomorrow, and I know I need to walk a bit more as well. How many have not managed W1R1 more than once before completing it?

On the plus side, I was feeling very "up" and a whilst wobbly, I was also energised when I got home that I had managed to motivate myself out of the door. I think tomorrow a short drive to the local Country Park to try again on a flatter path.

18 Replies

Well done. You did it. You faced your anxieties (and your neighbour) and went out and did it. That is so much more than most people would do. You called it a failure but it wasn’t, it was a practice. An important thing to remember is to go slow and if that is uncomfortable go slower still. Have a rest and in a day or two try run 1 again.


Well done you for getting out there! Next time I’m sure you’ll be able to do more of runs. Baby steps but they’re steps in the right direction. Enjoy!


Have a rest day, they are important, them I promise you will do it X make sure you are very very slow too X

Hi there firstly for you own benefit try not to use words like failure it makes you feel really bad. What happened today was not a failure it was a triumph, you got out that door, that is the hardest part of this program, the first step, and today you did it. My husband wanted to know if I needed an ambulance when I came back from my first run I was out of puff and very very beetroot faced. It really dosent matter how long this journey takes, just keep going and repeat until it feels right then move on. I promise you a few years down the line this will be one of your best memories as you remember the first day you started to run, probably as you are setting off for an easy 5km 😀.

Welcome, this is your first post.

The facilitators will be along shortly.

The best decision you have made in your life for your health and fitness.

Life changing on the C25k programme and all other supporting communities you may need.

Stay here for your journey and with this forum, keep posting and reading all the FAQ Posts and everything here.

The gems are here for your journey.🌟👏👏

You have done the hardest bit getting started.🌟👏👏


Really really well done for “getting off the couch”. I think people sometimes underestimate what a huge step that actually is. I think week 1 is always going to cause issues, as it’s such a steep learning curve, and you need to adapt to what works for your body.

The other thing is, you are most likely running too fast. It’s much better to run at a speed you can sustain. It doesn’t matter if your slow jog is not any more than a walking pace.

Seriously, you can do this, you really can

All the best, Neil

P.s. You are NOT a failure, ok?

thank you - I'm liking the word "practice" - I'll keep practicing until I manage to complete it ! Thanks for the tips on going slower first up, I'll try that as well.

VictoriaRunsGraduate in reply to FatJanet

Please don't be disheartened, you described 5K as a mountain, and I assure you, that is how we all felt before achieving it. In fact, some days, it still feels like that, because it's a great achievement, but you will get there and be stood atop that mountain and it will be all worth while. As others have said, pace yourself, but also be kind to yourself. It's great to be starting out, you are so much further ahead than you were last week just for getting out there


Well done on starting C25K and getting out there 👍 I can completely echo so much what you have said. I’m 47, mild asthmatic, I had lost 1stone but still another 3 to go, did a little bit of exercise but tired soooo easily. I’m now at Wk8 of C25K, running 3 times a week, hardly having to use my inhalers, just over 2 stone lighter now (still 2 more to go 😉) and absolutely love running now 😁

I’m really excited for you and we are all here to support you along the way. You’ve already taken the biggest step by getting out there...fantastic!! A few weeks into C25K you will look back on Wk1 and think what was I worried about 😁

Good luck and enjoy it!


Bravo... you did exactly the right thing in walking the rest of the session as you now have a clear marker for success next time (**NOT TOMORROW**) - even if you don't manage all 8 of the runs, if you manage 4 you'll feel brilliant.

Week 1 was a bit of a monster for me - I lost count of how many times it was before I first completed it in full but it was something between 12 and 18... but never had to do another 'extra' run after that, so it is really not linear. I was using the podcast version and I'd just walk the rest of the session still listening (reckon there's a bit of hypnosis going on with the podcast...) I never lost heart because I always had those clear markers to show me that I wasn't going backwards. And even more to the point, it's now almost six years since I graduated from the programme and I am still running, but (with some other efforts besides) 20kgs lighter...

I'd suggest, as others will, slowing down that run and even slowing down that walk. For our purposes, running and walking are simply different movements not different speeds. It's the sustaining that matters, not the pace.

You went out running. That is not a failure. The hardest part is often getting out the door.

Anything faster than running on the spot is fast enough. Lots of people really struggle with running slow enough. It's harder than it sounds.

Royal Marine Commandos never carry more than 14 Kg on their long yomps and are generally half your age. You're carrying an extra 19 Kg. You've just been training harder than a Royal Marine!


This is totally possible, I'm proof! I've just completed run 1 of week 7 that's 25mins running and 10 walking! Now bearing in mind I'm 44 (in 6 weeks) 18st and suffering from chronic migraine and gallstones (on the emergency list for removal) I can defiantly tell you you can do this.

Now tips I can give are:

Don't go too fast.

Good shoes help.


And finally music! It will get you through to the end and a bit more sometimes.

Keep going you'll do it 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️


Echoing the others Well done for getting out there , the first time I did this so did my sister , both of us completely different and whilst I found the short runs easy she struggled and would run one and walk the next run , keep going small steps until you feel you can do more 😊


First up, well done for getting started. I think your drive to the country park is a good idea. It worked for me. I did the entire programme out of the way on the CP

It’s a brill programme, and what’s so fab about it is that you really do need to take your time and go very slowly. The only job is to complete each session.

Enjoy yourself and the freedom you get from just being out there putting one foot in front of the other.

Quite a few here run with asthma so you will be able to get first-hand advice

Being more mobile by walking more is a great start. Jogging as well is a great thing to learn. It should help you lose weight if you do it alongside a healthy eating regime. You won’t need any extra food though unless it’s a banana 🍌🙂👍


Welcome, and what a great start! You took the hardest step of all, which is running the first time.

Sometimes we have practice runs, when we don't quite hit the target we have set ourselves but have been out there running anyway. They are all kms in the bank that go towards building up your stamina and endurance (and your body doesn't know the difference between "finishing" the run or not).

Do make sure you leave a rest day between one run and the other, even if you think you don't need it. That is when your body responds to the stress of the run by repairing itself and building up so it is stronger to withstand the next one.

If you are new to exercising you will probably find that you make rapid progress so let yourself be encouraged by that - do not be blind to your achievements just because they are gradual and incremental! But at the same time go steady, and listen to your body if you have any discomfort.

Definitely agree with the idea of going to the country park. If you find routes you enjoy, then you will get so much more out of the programme. It is a great opportunity to spend a little time immersed in nature, enjoying the peace and your own company.

Trust in the programme, repeat runs if you need to (no harm in a practice run!), and don't be too hung up on the idea of it taking 9 weeks - it's nine sections, each one consisting of three runs, and if you need to take longer to get through them all that's fine.

And let us know your progress! This forum is very motivating.


Well done.

You will not regret this decision.

The guide to the plan is essential reading healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

Enjoy your journey.


Not sure what I can add... it's all been said! Welcome to the best, most supportive community and to a fabulous programme that will, if you commit to it, take you places you never dreamed you could access.

Enjoy your journey 👍😁


Make sure you slow down - best advice given on here 👍🏽 Well done. You’ll improve quickly!

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