One Step forward Two Steps Back: Optimist... - Couch to 5K

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One Step forward Two Steps Back


Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward

after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's a cha-cha.”

I rather love that quote. I am far away from running our hills in Northumberland. This picture is in Wimbledon, London. I have smiled at the runners running past me as I have walked backwards and forwards through this green area. Last week I had just finished week 8 and was looking forward to running into my graduation week. For the second time in the last 9 weeks I have lost someone close to me, thats why I am here in London with family. During week 5 you picked me up following the loss of my best friend and now at would have been week 9 we lost a family member, again far too soon.

It has been an emotional last 9 weeks, life is rather like running, one minute up and next we are down. I haven't been running for long but it has taught me never to give up. Im travelling home now and I will start running again but I won't start at end of week 8 where I left off, I think I need to take a step or two back. I have smiled and laughed at all of our posts through our 9 week journey to graduation and it keeps me going. I am not destined to take the smooth 9 week path to graduation, mine will be longer, bumpier but I won't give up. Right now I am debating with myself do I take one step back and start at Week 7 or 2 steps back and start at week 6? Any advice from people taking the bumpy long route would be very helpful.

84 Replies

I am sorry you have had so many bereavements in such a short time. A lot to deal with and process. My thoughts are with you.

JullalyGraduate in reply to jubyduby

Thank you, its been a tricky few weeks but I'm determined to keep running through it!


Sorry to hear your loss. I'm sure that whatever you decide to do you will finish week 9 ! You need to do what you think is right...its not a race to get there, it's an achievement that you will be proud of.

JullalyGraduate in reply to Dawnie16

I am determined to finish week 9 and I will get back to it. Im going to walk my normal running route when I get home late day just to feel comfortable again. Im worried about going straight out running.

Great to hear from you but sending hugs for what you’re going through. You are such a tough lady - despite all that this world has thrown at you - you’ve kept going and seem strong with it. I’m sure you’ve cried your tears of grief and will continue to. Your determinations spurs me on!!

As for going back I’d say week 7. Not sure you need to go too far back. See how that feels and if you can’t do it try 6/2 the last interval ‘run’. I admire your hill running so sure you have enough in the tank to not take too many steps back. I will wait in anticipation on your next run. Safe journey back. Alka x

JullalyGraduate in reply to Ripcurlrana71

Thank you and I have loved your journey to graduation. I will get back into it. Perhaps that is an idea to do the last interval run again and start from there. I was going out tonight to walk my normal route but I might just try my running shoes out on that wk6r2 x

Thank you. You have got it in you to just pick up and continue. Still hovering at the podium for you. This champagne will be nicely chilled for your graduation. 😊 x


Whatever week you choose we will all be with you. It’s not a race it’s a programme. I’m sure you will complete when you are ready and then go on with your running journey.. and we will all be running alongside you ( well VIRTUALLY alongside you most of us ... but you know what I mean).

JullalyGraduate in reply to limberlou

Im still smiling to see your graduation badge. I will get running again and I will love your virtual company, thank you

limberlouGraduate in reply to Jullaly

Personally, depending on how you feel, I might be inclined to do a week 8 run to see how it goes and if it’s going well carry on those extra 2 mins and if not so well just do the 28 mins slowly and go to week 9 in a couple more days. You won’t have lost that much fitness in a few days

I have faith in you. Us old ladies have to back each other

JullalyGraduate in reply to limberlou

we certainly do need to back each other, thank you

Oh I am so sorry to hear that you have lost someone else close to you. I am not sure where you should start again but, as we know, and others have said .. .it's a programme to get us off the couch and make us feel better. I truly hope you will feel better when you get out running again whenever that is and whatever week you start back on. Take care

JullalyGraduate in reply to Nat26

I will its a strange journey this one, we all get things thrown at us from different directions as we run through the programme. Thank you


So sorry to hear about your bereavement. No advice to offer about where you should go back to but I'm sure whatever you decide to do you will complete the programme and continue to enjoy the benefits of running beyond it x

JullalyGraduate in reply to pianoteacher

I certainly will get back to it, i know I will feel better for it thank you


My thoughts are with you - I had foolishly assumed you were away for half term or something.

On the running, what do you want? If it’s some tough interval work, W6 is your choice. If it’s “back off the time but keep doing long runs”, W7.

Whichever you choose doesn’t matter - you could keep going with such a short break, so it’s just down to your preference.

Be gentle and kind to yourself - losing people is tough in deep ways and it will literally knock you off your stride.

We’ll all be here ready with the applause when you do the graduation lap, however long you decide to take x

JullalyGraduate in reply to Jay66UK

Thank you Jay66UK Graduate.. still loving seeing that badge on you. Good thoughts there, I think I will try a week 7 long run then drop back to wk 6 r2 if it doesn't go so well. Im usually pretty determined but I have to admit I'm feeling quite shattered and drained so I think I will get out there later today and see where my running shoes lead me!

Jay66UKGraduate in reply to Jullaly

Perhaps do a 20 minute run the first go, allowing for the stress? Then next one a 25??

JullalyGraduate in reply to Jay66UK

thank you, no doubt i will be on here letting you all know how it goes lol


So sorry for your loss. Take care. Look after yourself.

I’m sure you will find what is right for you in your running and hope that in some small way it helps you get through this difficult time for you.

JullalyGraduate in reply to _SimonT_

Thank you, Im determined to get back on track


I'm so sorry. I wondered where you were. Life is cruel sometimes.

I'd go with your gut feeling. Maybe just try 25 mins really slowly? See how it goes? The start of week 6 is horrid.

Look after yourself and your family x

JullalyGraduate in reply to Ang33333

Im back at last, life does throw curve balls from time to time but I'm determined to get back to the running, I miss it and even though I curse it, it makes me feel so much better

Sorry to here about your loss. You seemed to had a hard journey in your early running life. What’s the reason you are thinking of stepping back a week. Since I’ve graduated I hit a couple of 10k runs but still have bad 🏃‍♂️. I just take each day as it comes if I don’t feel like going to far I don’t The other day I was planning to run a 5k I set of to fast got halfway then had to walk home and to top it of it started raining so not only did I feel knackered but I was soaking wet. So my advice would be start wk9 but take it nice and steady tell yourself you are doing wk7 that last 5 minutes will fly by. I might seem hard but you will be so proud that you can do it

JullalyGraduate in reply to Notsobigdoug

thank you, life has been tough these past few weeks but I believe we all get tough times in our life ..but thats when the tough get going. Im determined to put my running shoes on and see where I get to later today.


Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that, but I admire your resolve! I wondered why you’d gone quiet around graduation point. All the best and I have a feeling if you get back to running through the fields full cows you’ll only be a few enjoyable runs away from the podium

JullalyGraduate in reply to Updcreative

Thank you, I will get back to it. Im going running later today when home and just see how far I get.


Oh my goodness I am so sorry for your loss, It must be so hard, especially after such a short time since you lost your friend. You just climb back in on whatever run you’re comfortable with, whenever you feel able, just know that everyone who follows you and reads your posts, enjoys your photos, loves you and is thinking about you, you’re in our hearts. Big hugs from across the ditch xxx

JullalyGraduate in reply to lexi6

Thank you so much, I knew half an hour on here would lift my spirits and it really has. Everyone is so kind. Just when you doubt yourself to get back in those running shoes everyone encourages each other so well

lexi6Graduate in reply to Jullaly

I don’t think I could have survived or persevered running without this c25 family on here. I know we have all real families, but the comradeship on here is so very special and our feelings for each other genuine. Now then Aussie oi oi oi. Bigger hugs now xxx


Really sad to hear your news. I’ve replied in another post but whatever you decide to do, keep the running 🏃‍♀️ up!! I still think you can probably start where you left off after only 1 week, but I’m no expert. Try that and if you find it too difficult you can always cut the run short and walk the return. Don’t forget the “Slow and Steady “.

Let us know how you get on !! I’m sure others will have faced this dilemma at some stage during their running lives. The support from the administrators and everyone here is amazing ! Best wishes for the next run, whichever you decide. 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

JullalyGraduate in reply to F1ipperation

I know everyone is so supportive. It would be so easy just to give up but I want to do this because I found I love running even though I find it hard. Slow and steady ..good old, old floss ..that mantra goes with me everywhere now and not just in running

F1ipperationGraduate in reply to Jullaly

You can’t be going any slower than my 56 year old pins !! Believe me !! 😀

JullalyGraduate in reply to F1ipperation

im not sure about that, our pins have a grand total of 114 years crikey they've done a lot of work lol

F1ipperationGraduate in reply to Jullaly

..... They certainly have and yours have had a weeks rest/repair - I’m sure they’ll be fine after all the stamina you’ve built up over the previous 8 weeks 👍🤸‍♀️💪 Do whatever you can, even though this is a horrible period for you. We’ll be cheering you on through your next run 🏃‍♀️ 🏃‍♀️


Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear about this. It’s too much too soon. This really has been a strange old time for you. Running will happen when you’re is more important. Sending gin and hugs. Xxx

JullalyGraduate in reply to 18Windmill

Hello my gin buddy; thank you for your kind words, it really has been a very strange time couldn't have picked a worse time to challenge myself on the c25K but thats life. C25K has taught me never to give up though and I won't!

18WindmillGraduate in reply to Jullaly

Good for you. Running...and us all will be here when you’re ready.


Oh I'm so sorry. That's awful for you. I can't offer any advice on what to do as I'm still huffing & puffing my way through W7 but I guess whatever feels right for you. Sending hugs & a virtual shoulder to cry on if you need it x

JullalyGraduate in reply to Hidden

Thank you, its been a tough time but I will get there . I often whether this running thing gets better than huffing and puffing, if so I haven't found that out yet lol


You'll get back to it when you're ready and we'll all be here to cheer you on

Take care x

JullalyGraduate in reply to SendWine

Thats one thing I can rely on, everyone here are so supportive


I don’t think you should go backwards! Just start at week 8. IF you can’t do it, do a week 7 run, then back to 8.

Sorry to hear of all this. Running could be just the tonic you need at the moment.


JullalyGraduate in reply to Tasha99

and thank you so much for your support, it meant a lot x


So sorry to hear such sad news, thinking of you!

You are amazing wanting to get out there, brilliant, you will soon be back to where you left off, all behind you x

JullalyGraduate in reply to Debsy2008

im determined to get out there again, I realised it really helps body and soul, thank you

Debsy2008Graduate in reply to Jullaly

I do find running good thinking/ processing life time, I think it could help x

Sorry I've had bereavements too I sympathise good luck, I coped by pushing myself into it more but it's different for everyone, 💐

JullalyGraduate in reply to Clay-girl79

interesting you say that, when I lost my friend a few weeks ago I literally did that, threw myself into my running and it helped. I am going to venture out this evening and see what I can manage. Thank you

Clay-girl79 in reply to Jullaly

Good luck :) your hills will hopefully offer solace, mine did to me,

For me I used it as a focus, my dear mum who was a nurse said that the most important thing in any situation was to protect your health & by keeping things as normal as possible & continuing to do your normal routine helped to keep you safe, she was a very wise & incredibly strong lady who survived so much, it helped me I hope it helps you, thinking of you 💐


Life hits us hardest when it involves other people. I am sorry for your lost OLR. Running is one of the few things I have found which reaffirms that while just about everything else is really not in my control, I do get to decide and carry out a Run.

And having done so, it still can surprise me at what a weight it can lift off me, if only until the next run.

Lots of good wishes winging your way.

JullalyGraduate in reply to Irish-John

Thank you, that really makes sense. You are so right I can't control what going on around me but I can make decisions and choices for myself. I will get out there this evening when back from London and run.

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Jullaly


Very sorry for your loss. Hopefully you and your family have been able to support each other through this difficult time saying goodbye to a loved one.

You may be better able to run than you think when you come back to it. Perhaps try a week 8 run and see how it goes? If it's tough, and you've already slowed down, you could always stop short and see how long you were able to go for? You might just need one or two "get back to it" runs rather than a full week or two? :) Listen to your body and see how it goes.

JullalyGraduate in reply to Amandana

Thank you and great advice. I will get out there tonight when I am back and just see what I can do and take it from there


I’m sorry to hear of your bereavement, it must feel v hard coming after another so soon. I’m sure just starting anywhere you feel comfortable with will feel like a step forwards, taking time for friends and family will be important for you xx wish you well 💕

JullalyGraduate in reply to Lydia-jg

Thank you Im sure I will get running again, I think the thunder storms have followed us up North today, hope I can get out later


Sorry to hear your news 😔 Just run or walk or whatever comes naturally and makes you feel better once you are out there. Take care of yourself x

JullalyGraduate in reply to Saartjie

Thank you I will get going again, I usually run like a snail but to be honest Im more like a slug right now! So I will walk or run or a bit of both to feel less sluggish.

Sounds like you’ve had a rough ride lately. Really sorry to hear it. Best wishes ...

JullalyGraduate in reply to Pippayoungart

Thanks for all your encouragement, seems I'm back on track


I can only echo for the commiserations you’ve already received on this forum. It will be nice to be home again to you familiar surroundings. I bet once you’ve got that running gear on and you start running you will be fine, but if not just enjoy a nice walk and redo your last run another day.

I’m sending virtual hugs to you and look forward to seeing you on that podium whenever it is right for you.

JullalyGraduate in reply to Dexy5

you were right once I crawled into my running gear my running brain switched on and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be

I’ve been absent here for a few days so was sorry to see your message today.

For what it’s worth I think you’ll be fine with a week 8 run; which may or may not turn into a week 9.

Look after yourself x

JullalyGraduate in reply to lagatachocolate

You were right, completely right, I did a week 8 run and I was fine, no dramatics, hope all ok with you noticed you've been a little awol

lagatachocolateGraduate in reply to Jullaly

Well done my lovely!

I’m good, thank you. You know how life has a tendency to get in the way sometimes 😊

JullalyGraduate in reply to lagatachocolate

I certainly do lol

Sorry to hear your news. Just take your time. Stepping back sounds a good plan. You're near enough to know you will finish and it will be good to complete the programme in your own time when you can appreciate it more Thoughts are with you. x

JullalyGraduate in reply to ancientrunner

Thank you, its been a very difficult time but I am back to it and I will get there. Thank goodness for all of you


Sorry to hear about both your losses. A big virtual hug to you. 🐥 (that is a hugging chicken, in case it’s not clear)

JullalyGraduate in reply to Rua8

Love your hugging chick. Its been a very difficult time but we all get those awful times in life, Ive learnt that running is giving me the space to think. Thank you

Rua8Graduate in reply to Jullaly

Indeed, and I agree, exercise can be helpful in the midst of crisis.


Hugs x

JullalyGraduate in reply to Kherif

Thanks x


So sorry to read of your losses. Running is great for many things..... thinking, calming, stress, anger and many more as I’m sure your going through most of them atm. Sending you love and hugs at this difficult time and a well deserved pat on the back to keeping running when sometimes you just want to give up.

JullalyGraduate in reply to Mansbird

Its been a very trying time and you couldn't have put it better, running has brought so much more to my life than straight forward fitness benefits, thank you


The strongest people in this world don't travel A to B in a straight line. Paths like yours separate the wheat from the chaff. You're a courageous woman still chasing down your goals while things crumble around you. Chin up, shoulders back and take all and any support offered. Wishing you a smoother journey from here xxx 🏃‍♀️💨

JullalyGraduate in reply to Hidden

Thank you always for your support. Its coming on here that makes you realise the world keeps turning and to just keep putting one foot in front of each other and you will find your goal


I have just found this post - I am so sorry to hear that you have had another bereavement, - that is really hard to deal with. Big cyber hug winging to you. Xx

JullalyGraduate in reply to Elfe5

Its been an incredible month and very difficult but thanks to all on here for bringing me back to some form of normality and to keep me going on my running journey


Loss is tough and having one after another tougher still.

When it seems too soon it's harder to put things in perspective in your mind.

The one thing loss keeps telling me is to never forget how short life can be and make the most of it while we can.

Running is tough at times but it tells me I'm alive and not giving up. 🌻

JullalyGraduate in reply to GoGo_JoJo

So true and very well said, run because we can and we are so lucky that we can. You are an inspiration and thank you

Glad to hear your run went well. How are you doing?

JullalyGraduate in reply to Amandana

we are doing ok thank you, just a rollercoaster of emotion

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