Week 4 heavy legs not getting easier - Couch to 5K

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Week 4 heavy legs not getting easier


Hi I'm hoping someone can inspire me... I've just done the 2nd run of week 4 and found it harder than the 1st time. It is quite windy here as I'm on holiday on the West Coast of Ireland. I'm dreading next week as I cannot imagine running more than 5 minutes and just looked at the schedule - 20 mins by the end of week 5??! Just wondering when you should repeat a run - is it only if you don't manage it? I'm thinking I'll be repeating before I manage 20 mins. My legs feel So heavy with every step. I'm about 3 stone overweight and 47 years old, but have heard of many others who are more overweight and seem to manage better than me. Any tips?

23 Replies

Are you drinking lots of water? I think that helped my heavy feeling.

I don't tbh I just drink tea. I shall try that.

You can buy drinks bottles with measurements on that ensure you get at least 2 litres a day.


Hi Anita, first of all, don’t look ahead and make yourself feel daunted. I did that to begin with and then decided not to do it any more because it was so offputting. I just went out with the podcast one run at a time. The program builds you up run by run and your legs will be all ready - you just need to convince your brain! I have seen a post saying that heavy legs can be a sign of dehydration - have plenty of water to drink on every day, not just running days. Only repeat a run if you don’t manage to finish it, otherwise move onto the next run. Relax & go gently- all will be well. 😃

AnitacstrongGraduate in reply to Elfe5

Thanks for the tips. Yes I suppose I am feeling daunted. I'll take your advice and stop peeping at what's to come 😁


Slow down.

Don't assume if you have a difficult run the next will be just as hard. Often you get a good run after a bad one.

Don't worry about what's coming. Trust the programme. When it comes you'll be ready for it.

Slow down.

Some people repeat runs to gain confidence. Personally I think if you complete a run you should just keep up the momentum and move on to the next. But do whatever works for you.

You've done great to get to week 4. The first few weeks, before you start to feel the benefits, are tough. The best is yet to come.

Slow down.

Happy running!

I did week 4 last week and found it hard going- If that’s any help. You’re not alone!

Just slow right down during each run segment. Remind yourself while running to slow down. Plus, you’re running against the wind! That’s doubly difficult!

We’re at the levels now, that start to test us physically and mentally during each run, I find.

During each week 4 run, I kept refocusing on the fact I could do it, as I found I had negative thoughts that I couldn’t do it, just kept creeping in. In fact, I’ve got that with every run.

I was repeating runs during weeks 1 and 2, and am prepared to do that now too. I think it’s okay to do that. Just don’t loose heart.

Yeah, those week 5 runs look daunting, but I’ll just see how I get on and not worry if I need to do them again.

My legs are embarrassing me as they’re like jelly when I run.

See you around fellow runner!

AnitacstrongGraduate in reply to pampam

Thanks for the inspiration. 😉 When you walk in between runs can it be slow as I thought it had to be brisk?

Millsie-JGraduate in reply to Anitacstrong

You need to walk at a speed that allows recovery. If you are power walking you will expand as much energy as running so there will be no recovery. Remember, you know how to walk, save yourself for the runs.

pampam in reply to Anitacstrong

I definitely walk briskly in between runs, as my coach Sarah Milligan suggests. I sometimes despair initially that I’ve to walk briskly, but by doing that, I keep my legs prepared for the next section of running. Otherwise it’s much harder to keep going. I’ve tried walking slower and it’s hard to then run. Keep the momentum up, to make it overall better.

I rest in between days from exercise as they advise and don’t beat myself up, if I have to miss a day. I also do some stretching before and after each run now- just a tiny bit to help.

I’m ‘thinking’ of doing the stretch and flex program- note the ‘thinking’ part!...

No expert here- just a goose!

pampam in reply to pampam

By briskly walking, I mean as though I have a friend next to me and I’m walking fast but still able to chat to him/her, so no power walking just not sluggish walking.

Millsie-JGraduate in reply to pampam

If you are finishing each run you are doing as required👍🏼

Remember you are building running legs and stamina so any strength training will help.

OldflossAdministrator in reply to Millsie-J

So true.. I do more on my rest days sometimes than on my run days:)

OldflossAdministrator in reply to pampam

Rest day exercise is important.. walking cycling or swimming, Yoga or Pilates.. even a day in the garden... just running is not enough.. you need the stamina and strength for the longer runs:)

Strength and Flex is very helpful.

pampam in reply to Oldfloss

Ahh! I better stop ‘thinking’ and start moving more on rest days.

OldflossAdministrator in reply to pampam

I think so... :)


Hiya, I can relate to your heavy legs feeling.. I often describe mine as feeling like lead! I'm also the same age, & probably shape, as you too, & although I still feel like I barely manage to lift my feet off the pavement when I run, yesterday I managed my final 30 mins run! Believe me, if I can do it, you absolutely can too... What I have noticed, from the onset of the longer runs, is that the heavy leg feeling is worse at the beginning of my runs, and usually towards the end of my runs my legs feel a lot better...almost like they could keep on going when my mind has given up! The hydration advice sounds good...I do drink a lot of water each day, but am also partial to a glass or 2 of wine of an evening...I may have to keep an eye on my consumption and see if that ties in with my leaden legs! Anyway..whether you repeat runs or not (it has taken me 12 weeks with a few repeats!) keep on running...you are doing great! xx

AnitacstrongGraduate in reply to monzie13

Yes my legs are worse at the start and I feel better usually at the end (although not today). I don't drink alcohol hardly but probably overdo the tea and coffee. I'll definitely try to drink more water. Think it's probably a lot to do with being overweight too. Thanks for the advice and we'll done on completing the course! I will be so chuffed if I get to run for 30 mins non stop.


Repeat if incomplete... otherwise just slow down.. right down:)

Stamina and strength exercises are so important too on rest days...Strength and Flex is n many. many used alongside the C25K it is useful:)

Look ahead if you must..but just know you will do it:)

AnitacstrongGraduate in reply to Oldfloss

Is that also an app?

OldflossAdministrator in reply to Anitacstrong



I completed C25K two weeks ago and if it’s any consolation I thought week 4 was one of the toughest weeks of the program.

AnitacstrongGraduate in reply to Hidden

Well done for completing and thanks for the motivation 😉

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