W4R2 Struggling: I don’t want to write a less... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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W4R2 Struggling


I don’t want to write a less than positive post because everyone on here seems so upbeat, but i have to confess i am struggling to find the motivation to keep going. Finished W4R2 this morning but felt as though i was about to explode. I can’t see how the type of jogging i am doing is having any more benefit than a brisk walk. I keep telling myself it’s only 90 mins a week and plenty of others have breezed through...but honestly?.... it feels like torture!

41 Replies

Could it just be not such a good day for you ..I totally had a melt down during my last run wk 4 R3 and I was less than positive on my post but everyone picked me up and dusted me off and I am ready to face wk 5 tomorrow. Good luck

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Jullaly

Well i have other stuff happening which is all quite stressful so positivity levels are not particularly high generally. I had hoped the couch to 5k programme would help with that...thanks for good luck wishes, and...rightbackatcha!

OldflossAdministrator in reply to Pippayoungart

C25K will help with it, I feel sure. It has for so, so many of us...my past posts reflect this... and I like many of us have a Black Dog, who follows me occasionally... but fortunately he loathes running:)


Stay with it and us and just relax into the runs..:)


My very first post here nearly two years ago was in the form of a question.

"Is it possible to run slower than you walk?"

I was feeling very bewildered and frustrated because my times were so "slow". I was on week 5 afair.

But, I graduated, went on to do 10k, hoping to make 10 miles this year, half marathon next year and full for my 60th the next.

And I improved my times without really "working" at it. I just kept running, increase the distances, threw in some hills and I got fitter in increments.

My personal record for 5k is 33 and Abit minutes, 10k is 1:20.

I'm not fast, there are definitely exercises/regimes that would be far more efficient for me - but I love this running lark :)

I wouldn't keep it up if I didn't keep it fun though. I try to not compare myself to anyone else when it comes to "fast" or "time" and that's kind of hard sometimes but if I make it too competitive it gets less fun.

My dream would be to do the Marathon in 4:59 or less. Probably not at all possible for me - but it's fun to think about and aim for. And if it happens - what a wonderful surprise it would be :)

And that's what I love about running - nothing I have ever done has been so constantly full of occasions of fun events, incidents and opportunities that put a smile on my face.

(And I get fit, maybe not as quickly as possible - but a lot faster than sitting on the sofa 😂)

Wishing you many happy miles in your future.


Oops - forgot the MOST important part 🙂

When you say "breezed through" - we did a survey among Graduates here last year.

Less than ten percent graduated in nine weeks and/or with 5k.

The programme really is for those us who thought "I can't run".

So - you definitely should not feel like you don't belong here ☺ Read the early posts of grads - we struggled, believe me, but the programme and this forum definitely made it doable - and fun ☺

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Irish-John

Thank you for that - maybe i’m just being impatient and should allow myself more time, repeating runs until i feel confident to move on. Interesting about the survey though - because many posts are so upbeat, it does feel like others are finding it easier - and that i must be a solo lo-achiever!

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Pippayoungart

I think we all enjoy it so much we tend to laugh at the effort it feels like :)

Most people give up in week one, week five is a psychological hurdle (but eminently doable) and I see a lot of striving for "perfection" in early stages.

Basically my belief is that if we thought we COULD run - we would have done it years ago. We started here because we thought we could not, and as our trust in the programme and forum increased, so did our trust in ourselves :)

I was so out of shape and also a few physical drawbacks that day one almost had a passerby phoning the paramedics when she saw me doubled over, gasping for breath and 'a blue tinge around the eyes'. Seriously - that's what I started with.

Slow....slow....slow....slow. The paradox of the programme. You build a foundation, you complete a stage yo move on to the next, you will statistically have "practice" runs but those "success" runs happen also. Forget finishing in 9 weeks - you will graduate though if you just do the hardest bit of all -those first few yards that get you out the door. The run - practice or success - will then take care of itself ☺

And I did mention forget "perfection"yes? 😀

It's all one run at a time - not " fast effortlessly 5k every time's 😊

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Irish-John

Thank you for that - i’m envious of your reserves of strength and determination...

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Pippayoungart

Gosh - please don't be! I am on the record here for starting this programme out of sheer desperation with being bored after being beached from my erstwhile career. That first day - It was probably a Death Wish LOL. :) I was not kidding in the earlier comment when Is aid a passerby was fumbling on their cellphone trying to call 911 thinking I was going to keel over with a massive heart attack :)

Nobody is more amazed than I still when the 5K marker comes up on me :) It's not strength or determination - its getting into the habit of recapturing the joy of each run. Seriously - the hardest part still is simply going out to run, I procrastinate, groan, think of all the things I 'should' attend to, have the 'but it's HAAAARDDDDD!!!!' whiney gremlin in my head, Netflix seems to put on JUST the greatest film when I am in a 'wavery week' etc etc etc :)

And have to say - it's nice when you look down and see more of the floor than you have in years ;)

JaneE71 in reply to Irish-John

Very wise and reassuring words to us all, thank you 🌟

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to JaneE71

We might run on our own, but 'round this way we never run alone :)

Nollie26Graduate in reply to Irish-John

Wow John that was truly an insight and quite inspirational. I too have struggled at times and certainly not done it in 9 weeks and I too have found it a challenge. But if I don’t achieve the run. I just use it as a practice and try again the next run. Always with a positive result.

Pippayoungart - take “art” you can do this You may find your dehydrated I find my worst runs are for that reason. 🤔

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Nollie26

There are so many of us 'unlikely Runners' here :)

We have found Our People!! LOL :)


Hi Pippa, I’m almost 65 and started this in mid January, I’ve taken my time doing it and at times it has been the pits! I couldn’t get the breathing right either and now Just breathe to my own rhythm. I turn the music up, so I can’t hear myself. I also slowed right down. I’ve heard people on this forum call it the c25 shuffle. My aim one day is to be able to run faster than I can walk. Maybe you could have two rest days in between? Good luck.

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to lexi6

Thank you! Shuffle is a good description! I probably need to relax about it all - i think i rush to tick off each run and move on to the 5k goal. It was encouraging to hear from Irish-John that less than 10percent do it in 9 weeks...

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to lexi6

After almost two years I have just reached the breathing stage where I can add "Thank you" to my "coming through please" when the path is obstructed by walkers.

'Be able to hold a conversation while running" is well meant advice that annoys the heck out of me. I have two forms of asthma for starters, I also am an ex heavy smoker, I am also in.my late 50s and damn all aerobic exercise for most of them. Talk while running? LOL 😂 I'm just darn glad I'm not hauling an oxygen tank around while feebly walking?😀

I adjust my pace to my breathing. Healthier people can breathe more technically but for me it's just a gaspy wheezy air-gulpy shambly shuffly run every time....and I love it 😁

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Irish-John

Oooooh....forgot to mention the "Toxic Twelve"!

No kidding, the first twelve minutes for me are "No way can I keep running" "No way can I get enough air into my lungs fast enough for more than another five seconds" "No way will my legs hold up" etc etc. Then - while it is still "work" it somehow becomes fun work ☺

Most call it the "Toxic Ten" but I can almost set my watch at twelve minutes when everything settles down. But man -im actually heading out for my run in a while and that first twelve minutes is a Gremlin 😂

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Irish-John

I’ve been finding that the first half is just about tolerable- the last 5mins i start by gritting my teeth, but when laura comes in after what seems like an eternity and says you’re only halfway through - that’s when i either start to cry or copiously swear. So far, luckily no one has been near at this point...

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Pippayoungart

When I started getting near the 10K mark, if I had a set distance in mind - I would strive mightly to make that distance. So - started thinking about how my runs ended - no gas left in the tank, that did not seem good nor right.

Again - so much of this is psychological. I started making my 'end point' further than I reckoned it 'ought to be' (remember - incremental distances/time/fitness :) ) and would arrive at the 'real' end point feeling rather good. Subconsciously or something I was putting far too much effort into 'just gotta make this last few tenths of a mile..." and tensing up, feeling like I would 'fail' if I did not make it etc. By fooling my psyche into thinking there was still more to run and we were kind of stopping short - i had a much easier time of it.

Of course then the problem became stopping instead of carrying on LOL Very tempting to keep running when you DO feel you have a bit left in the tank :)

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Irish-John

That tensing up to get through the final bit is something i recognise...and fear of failure is ever present. I’ll have to experiment with a bit of self- delusion...!

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Pippayoungart

Even better - try doing one run as SLOWLY as humanly possible. It's darn difficult, it's fun and you will notice a lot of things about how your body operates. And - you will probably be surprised how fast you actually go 😀

I’m a lapsed runner, I keep having long breaks in my running for various reasons. Every time I start back running, it feels like my body is screaming at me to STOP. Thankfully I also know from past experience that there comes to a stage (week 5 for me in couch to 5k) when it stops screaming at you and it actually seems ok. Fast forward a few more weeks and you start getting a buzz out of it. A few months down the line you start getting hooked on the runner’s buzz that you will never get from a brief walk. You will find yourself toning up, feeling in a great mood and feeling more confident about yourself. So please do try and keep at it for a bit longer. I bet you won’t regret it. Also if you feel like an uplifting read, read ‘running like a girl’ by Alexandra heminsley or even better listen to it while you are running. It will make you laugh and motivate you at the same time. X

My mother used to tell me that the most rewarding achievements are the ones we have to fight for. For me, the early weeks of the C25k were a roller coaster. Some good runs and some really tricky ones. I often didn’t get out 3 times a week due to other commitments.

The turning point for me was week six, when everything started to fit into place and the thought occurred ‘I think I’m going to do this’.....

I started about a year ago and now run 5ks regularly (time improved but I still run slowly) and have sometimes done 10k. I am now 56 and happy with the progress I have made. I still have difficult runs but I also experience great ones. I love being able to run and I am sure you will too.

Yes people are positive here but I think you are perhaps noticing the positives because of how you are feeling....there are plenty people looking for support and encouragement too.

My advice would be to relax, be kind to yourself and see this as a lifestyle change rather than a race to the finish. You are in this for the long haul!

Also, running is as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Think positive and you will feel positive 👍🏃🏾‍♀️🏃‍♂️😊

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to helenwheels

Thank you for that inspiring pep talk! I started this as a challenge to achieve before my 60th birthday this summer and i probably have been approaching it, as you say, as a race to the finish. It is the other benefits that come about through lifestyle change that i should focus on, perhaps think of the birthday as less of a deadline and more of a catalyst for change....

Nollie26Graduate in reply to Pippayoungart

We’re the same age Pippa - I think I started by accident I had no idea I could run and didn’t believe I could. So as each week was achieved (by the way been doing since January so not been doing it every other day)

It’s only since i was able to run 20 mins that I thought maybe I can achieve this after all. 🤪

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Nollie26

When i started, i imagined everyone else here would be much younger - it is really encouraging to find so many people of a similar age!


Slow is good.. slow gets us to where we want to be... You do this your way... and if you are struggling slow down more...

Look around, take in what you see... yes the runs are important, but do not let them be the sole focus... relax into the runs.... let your mind and your body carry you... and never, evr compare yourself to anyone.

You are you and you are all that matters...Some of us are snails... others are gazelles.... gazelles get eaten by lions... snails...get there:)

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Oldfloss

That is a very philosophical approach -thank you. I run in a beautiful place - i will try to appreciate the view more.


Everyone goes through stages like this; pretty normal. You have done so so well to get this far, think of how far you have come. Sometimes the journey feels hard and you start to wonder whether it’s actually worth it. It will be worth it and you will succeed. Stay positive, I am sure everyone who reads your post will be proud of your achievements thus far.

Stay well stay fit

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Kp5k

Thanks. I’m probably just feeling sorry for myself because it isn’t easy! I’ll hold on to the thought that it will be worth it in the end...

Kp5k in reply to Pippayoungart

It will. I think in my humble opinion that running is not for everyone...once you complete this it will give you a amazing sense of achievement and boost your confidence. Then maybe you can reduce your running but find a sport you relay like and do that?


Have you got a music playlist to listen to?

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Tasha99

I do have a playlist but i need to add to it because i’ve heard too many repeats! Any suggestions or favourites?

Tasha99Graduate in reply to Pippayoungart

I’ve got 4 playlists to rotate between as one got boring! Not sure you’d like my taste: nirvana, green day, kaiser chiefs etc! My friend downloads pod casts to listen to. Or how about just listening to the radio?


Please keep going and know that there are so many people routing for you. I have only just completed this programme and my first post on here was when I'd just finished my last run. Believe me if I'd chosen to post anything before it wouldn't have been upbeat and positive! Does it help to know that I 'run' (read 'shuffle' 😋) better between minutes 10 and 25? Well at the moment you're probably thinking that's an unachievable length of running time but you're only a couple of weeks away from doing that so please keep going! Good luck.

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to rollyrol

You are right - beyond 5 minutes does sound unachievable right now! Thank you for the motivational message though!


I'm probably going to get shot down in flames for saying this but I have to say it - running isn't for everyone. If you don't enjoy something then I think you are less likely to do it. I don't enjoy running outside as much as I do in the Gym. I'm just not motivated to do it. You have to find something you enjoy and then it doesn't feel like exercise. Give yourself a break and don't feel guilty for admitting that you are struggling. Whatever you decide to do good luck 😉

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Hidden

I don't think anyone will shoot you we ☺ I understand what you are saying - I'm a damn good swimmer for instance but I hate all the time and effort of going to a pool and it has to be darn warm for me to go in the Briney so last time I swam was in Honduras a couple of years ago.

However, I think the op was saying they'd like to continue running but was not at all confident they could because of our not mentioning we Graduates struggle - darn few natural born gazelles around here lol 😂

And it's a good point! We probably do gets bit starry eyed and forget the "agony" that led to the "Ecstasy" :)

What I like about this forum is that in the almost two years I've been a member I have only seen one genuinely obnoxious post, only had one member REALLY not like a post I made and only one member "disapprove" of another post I put here. So - if anyone tries to shoot you down I will be very surprised on more than one level - it's a nice bunch here AND your post is not out of line Imho ☺

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Hidden

Thanks - i think at the moment fear of giving up too soon is just tipping the balance over lack of enjoyment. It’s close though!

Hidden in reply to Pippayoungart

Yes - I understand that completely & like everyone says - do it at your pace. I have exercised all my life - had to give up last year for medical reasons & have just come back. I'm certainly not finding it easy! I'm hoping to complete week 2 today but I'm shocked at how unfit I've got in a year. I'm lucky in that I love running - albeit on a treadmill in an air conditioned gym! Hope you find your mojo & well done for getting this far!

Hi Pippa, you have had lots of great replies, and hopefully can see that all of us found the program a challenge when we started. A challenge though not impossible... 😆

Just wanted to confirm what Irish John said about not feeling pressure to rush through the program, do it at your pace. Once I got to Week 4 and was doing that 3,5,3,5 combination I was so proud of myself.... I could run for 5 minutes! and felt that even if that was all I ever managed I would be happy with that. I enjoyed that sequence so much I repeated that week for a while quite happily. Then moved up when I was ready for the next challenge... After that came Week 5 which was fun, then I had two weeks on holiday before starting Week 6... I think the program took me seven months to complete but I loved doing it.. and of course now had the running habit firmly in place. Being able to run for 30 minutes is an amazing thing I think, and this program will get you there too!

Nice slow, steady running, you are doing brilliantly and will start to feel the difference very soon.😊xx

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