How can I stop myself from going too fast? - Couch to 5K

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How can I stop myself from going too fast?

Hannah337 profile image
19 Replies

I've got through the program to week 9, but now the wheels seem to be falling off. I've attempted week 9 run 1 twice now, and not been able to get through more than half of it before I'm just too exhausted to go any further. Which then leaves me feeling useless, because I did week 7 and 8 runs with no problems. This is a new week 9 problem for me.

I know I'm setting off too fast, but even telling myself that at about 5 seconds into tonights run didn't seem to make any difference at all. I needed to slow down, thought I had, then after 11 minutes (which felt like 40) I just had to stop. I'm not sure how to fix the problem though. I know I'm going too fast even when I'm running, and yet I still do it. Very disheartening, and I'm not even sure I'm going to make it to the end which is such a shame at this point. 10-15 minutes running isn't what I was managing last week, and now it feels like it's all I'm capable of. Feeling very sorry for myself!

19 Replies
Tbae profile image

Try running on the spot, stationary, at a conversational pace, light,quick,short steps, stand tall , chest out, shoulders down and relaxed, head up and chin not protruding forward, breathe normally,arms by your side pumping your legs forward, do not clench your fists.

Now count the number of times your right foot kisses the ground in one minute, double it and that is your bpm or cadence.

Now run with that bpm and do not overstride.

When you get through your toxic ten and if you are not comfortable , slow down more and when you are comfortable count again.That is your happy sustainable pace at present.

Hope this helps.

Do not stress you have got this.


Hannah337 profile image
Hannah337Graduate in reply to Tbae

Thank you for your advice!

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Tbae

I like the fact that you still remember my advice of kissing the ground with your feet :)

Tbae profile image
Tbae in reply to Oldfloss

Etched forever and more of your advice.

Hope you are recovering well.

Maybe take a couple of days to rest and then run very slowly. There is a point in the programme when the lovely Laura told me (something like) 'if you are finding it hard, you are making real progress with your stamina' and this became my mantra for a while- if this is tough it must be doing me good!

I think that when the possibility of stopping becomes an option, it is hard to resist. So don't let it be. When you get tired slow down even more- as long as you have a running motion, that's fine. Also remember that just because it is tough at say minute 14, that doesn't mean that it will still be tough at minute 28. So if you can get yourself over the bump, you may well be fine.

Also, the things that are worth having are worth fighting for. In our modern lives, many of us have forgotten how it feels to be physically challenged.

Don't be downhearted. You can do this.

I am editing as I realised I didn't answer your question. Doh. I like Tbae 's suggestions above. Maybe listen to a podcast or a story, which are less likely to make you bounce to the beat, or find running music set to a nice slow bpm- Spotify have lots of different suggestions :)

Hannah337 profile image
Hannah337Graduate in reply to

I think that might be my problem in a weird backwards kind of way. I'm not finding it tough in the first five minutes, so I feel like I'm not working hard enough so I speed up, because this shouldn't be easy. Because I agree, if it's not feeling difficult, it's not doing you any good. But there's difficult and then impossible and I'm really struggling right now.

Thanks for your kind words though!

in reply to Hannah337

Ah, an over achiever! :) In that case relax; this is supposed to be fun! Running is a long game and you can only achieve your goals by putting in the hours/miles. You will not get this overnight. So put on the music that you love or run 'naked' in lovely scenery and smell the flowers. Distract yourself from the need to run faster/better/further. Run on the spot or round in circles for a while; maybe backwards. Don't listen to the app, just set an alarm on your phone.

Why don't you have a week off to recharge? I'm sure IannodaTruffe said something similar lately, for when all else has failed. Perhaps then re-enter with a 20 run and then onto W9. Gotta be worth a try and a week shouldn't cause a loss of fitness, quite the opposite with hopefully a re-energised you. You could even think of a power-walk for 30 mins mid-week if you just don't want to rest completely.

I also find W9 tough. One run I just repeatedly told myself that this was too hard, I'd never reach the end, but I did. Basically because I'm too stubborn not to.

My thought is that the build up of all those weeks culminates in a fatigue that you just need to fight through, or rest and keep coming at it.

On the first 20 run I set off so, so slowly to give myself the best chance of getting through it, perhaps when you do try again you aim to go as slow as humanly possible.

It's more of a mental challenge at this stage than a physical one as you've done the training.

I am rooting for you, good luck!

Hannah337 profile image
Hannah337Graduate in reply to

Thanks! It just sucks to have two bad runs back to back. I have no idea how I completed week 8 (and 7) so well, because right now it feels alien to me. This has been the first week that I've really mentally been ready and thinking before a run that "you can do it. It's only two minutes more. You're really up for this." I've been so positive before a run that to fail just seems to be completely deflating. I think I'm better if I think beforehand "this is impossible and I'll never do it" because then I like to prove myself wrong.

I feel if I take a week off, I won't get back to it. Thank you though!

IannodaTruffe profile image

Is there either a more experienced runner who can control their pace, or someone with a naturally slower pace than you, who can accompany you on a few runs to convince you that this is entirely achievable and in your hands.

The techy option is to use a run tracking app or running watch set to current, or at least, average pace, to show you how you are going.

In my opinion, learning to pace yourself and run slowly, is the hardest thing to get your head round. It is an essential skill for increasing distance.

You can do this.

Hannah337 profile image
Hannah337Graduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Thank you. I'll try and keep my pace down. Fingers crossed I can go slower next time!

Irish-John profile image

Next run, make a concious effort to run as SLOWLY as humanly possible. Forget distance and 'fast'.

Your goal is to run as slow as you can WITHOUT breaking into a walking step.

Sounds stupid easy, right?

Well - it isn't :)

You will learn a lot from it however - what "slow" is for you personally, what your body actually does and how it moves when you run, how much fun it can be to "just run" when the false pressure of being a "real runner means I must go fast" is absent etc :)

Sounds nuts I know, but it does work :) It will help you see where you are getting hung up for your regular runs and it's fun - win/win outing ☺

Wishing you many happy miles in your future ☺

Hannah337 profile image
Hannah337Graduate in reply to Irish-John

Thanks. I'll try to crawl around next time!

Irish-John profile image
Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Hannah337

The interesting part will be when you compare distances between your "fast" and this "super-slow" :) Slow is hard to sustain ;)

Do report back on how it goes for you :)

Oldfloss profile image

Lots of great advice given already..... my advice.. find a really long hill :) Other than that, imagine me hanging onto your shoe laces whispering, steady and slow:)

You will do this... all you need to do is believe it:)

Hannah337 profile image
Hannah337Graduate in reply to Oldfloss

Thanks oldfloss! I'll do my best!

runswithdogs profile image

Start off slow. Comically slow even. And every time you think about your speed, or effort, slow right back down again. I tend to run too fast as well, and my first couple minutes of running sets the whole tone. Another trick is to start on an uphill. That'll slow you down with the effort. Even better if you can end your run on the flat or a downhill.

Jell6 profile image

I don't struggle with the first 5 minutes, but then I do for the next 10, or sometimes 15, they are my giving up times ( when I am not on the IC), but after that, it gets better, after 20 I know I will complete, slow it down, listen to some good music, or maybe take a different route, compose your "I did it" speech, because you will do it.

Good luck 😊

oldwheezer69 profile image

I've posted already about an app called Rock My Run. You can stream long running playlists and see the speed, so for example my early runs were all at 150 beats per minute (BPM) then I gradually increased to 165 at graduation. Have a go, see if it helps. If you find it tricky to run in time with music (some people do) then find the Boot Camp drill on that app... I absolutely guarantee it will keep you at a steady running pace 😀

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