Couch to 5K
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Advice for a post grad please

Although I've completed the programme and graduated, I don't feel I'm anywhere near 5K. I've completed 3 post grad 30 min runs now but I'm not any quicker and certainly can't run for more than 30 mins! When I run on the treadmill at the gym it shows I'm doing approx 3K 😞 To be honest, 3 months ago I never thought I'd be able to run so any running is a bonus. Just disappointed I'm not improving. Today was tough and I felt tired with heavy legs before I set off but it's all to easy to find excuses. I'm also still over weight. Went to docs yesterday for HRT review and of course I had to be weighed - my blood pressure always shoots up too! I follow slimming world, run 3 times a week and do the 7 minute workout. I've never fit BMI scales as I'm solid and always have been. I'm only 5ft 1 but have size 6 feet and I've always been broad. I know for me an ideal weight is 10 stone but I'm currently 11. I know age and menopause are big factors but I feel I'm doing all I can without becoming completely obsessive and not enjoying the odd meal out or glass of wine. Any thoughts on both issues?

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I’m at a similar point and probably a similar age to you. I’m trying to focus on my 3 weeks consolidation and not focus too much on distance or speed. Every run I think I’ll push it to 4K which would probably only be about 3 minutes more, but I just can’t do it. I have a bit of a 30 min barrier, that my head and body don’t want to push through. Yet. So I’m just trying to be kind to myself, as like you not in a million years did I think I could do this. I run outside which for me makes a difference. I like different routes, even the same route there’s different stuff going on. I also like the buzz of running in fresh air. Menopause is rubbish. Treat yourself to chocolate and wine occasionally. We deserve it. 🏃🏻‍♀️🍷🍫

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Firstly Well done for everything you have achieved, you have some great things in place to keep you fit and healthy. I so sympathise with you on the menopause front. It my opinion it is the pits and it gets to your joints and your energy. When the symptoms are really bad I go to timed runs rather than distance so I don’t over exert my body. I will do 20 Min fast runs or 30 min moderate runs. Both are enough to lift my mood. I cross train as well so I go swimming and hiking and my weekly core stability class. I am Finding the heat and hot flushes are making things hard and the lack of sleep compounds that as well.

I would say hang in there and keep going. 30 min runs are nothing to be sniffed at and will give you so much back in return. It doesn’t really matter about the distance you have specific reasons for doing this and that 30 min run will help you get to the goals you want. As time goes on you will find one day you will just think

Oh I can do a bit more today and you will, it will all happen on your time scale so don’t worry.

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Thanks for your support. I run outside twice a week and one in the gym. Then I can go down to the spa after for some R and R! Yes, menopause is rubbish. For now I’ll keep plodding with 30 min runs and battle with the slim person I think I am in my head 🙈

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Hi GG I’m with you there on menopause and being overweight. (I’m 5ft 2) Don’t be so hard on yourself, how amazing is it that you can run for 30 minutes and I bet you have lost inches and toned up. When I graduated I got hung up on times and distance and my runs stopped being fun, so now I run when I can (winter over here in NZ) your legs are strengthening all the time a few more consolidation runs and you’ll know when you’re ready to increase distance and the weight will start to shift. Enjoy your success at this amazing programme. Ya done good! 👍

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Well done! as RFC, just keep out there doing it and it will come, the 30 minute runs are so beneficial anyway, eventually you'll want to go a tad further maybe bring in hill work if not already doing hill's which are excellent for stamina, but there's no rush, so all in good time..

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First off, well done for completing the C25k. Like you said, 3 months ago you never thought you could do this!

I was nowhere near running 5k by the end of the course, I repeated the week 9 runs for a week or 2 but didn’t see any improvement in speed at all. Instead I tried to add a few minutes more to each of my runs, telling myself “well it’s only a couple more minutes, can’t be that hard” (though sometimes it was). My goal was to reach 5k no matter how long it took and sometimes I ran slower than I had in week 9. But I pressed on until it was 6k then 7. My speed has only marginally improved but just getting out and doing something is an achievement. Still overweight, but even that is slowly improving. Having something to listen to definitely helps and for me it’s been the guided runs in the Nike Running Club app along with the Headspace runs both in the NRC app (free) and the Headspace app (small monthly subscription). However you proceed don’t beat yourself up for an occasional glass of wine or whatever, just keep turning up and doing your run 30 mins or 40mins, 3 1/2k or 5k it’s all good. Mentally coach yourself the way you’d coach a friend! Supportive and positive.

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Thanks everyone. Guess I’m expecting too much too soon. Always have music on, I’d be lost without it and runs would be very boring. Just hope I can build up to longer runs at a steady pace or run further and therefore faster in 30 mins. My ideal would be a mixture of both

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I graduated about a month ago. I’m slightly taller, a lot heavier than you. I can run for 35 minutes but I’ve been concentrating on getting quicker so I’m running for less time and doing more intervals. My priority is keeping it up so I go out three times a week even if I only run for 20 minutes out of the 30.

I am slowly improving. My friend who started with hadn't been out with me for weeks and we went out this week and I was quicker than her: she’s taller than me and for all c25k was ahead of me. I manage about 45-48 min 5k depending on weather. Best has been 40 mins but that was on the treadmill and after a few days rest. I do strength training 1 or 2 times a week now too.

In terms of weight I’m on WW but my priority is my fitness so weight loss is very slow as I’m making sure I’m fuelling my runs.

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Congratulations on getting as far as you have, it's a great achievement. Keep up that spirit and don't get disheartened. You have started a long journey of fitness. Weight loss achieved quickly will be regained quickly if you stop for any reason, so my advice is don't focus on weight.

As a previously lapsed runner, I am a slightly overweight 52 year old, but I am more interested in my belt size than weight. While my weight has actually gone up, I have dropped a belt notch and recognise it's easier to put my socks on than 10 weeks ago :). So celebrate the improvements you see in yourself!

If you find you are tired and struggling, think about the specific foods you are eating from a fitness perspective - it will be different from a "slimming diet" perspective. Protein after running will help to repair muscles. Don't be afraid of carbohydrate before a run, you will need it to fuel your body and will tire without it.

When you were at week 1 and you didn't think you could run for 90 seconds, let alone 30 minutes, what did you do? Now you're at 30 minutes and don't feel you can run anymore, try just an extra 15 seconds, then another, until you're doing 31 minutes.

But most of all, enjoy the 30 minutes and start to look around and maybe appreciate the scenery. You're a runner now - congratulations!

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I can't add anything other than sympathise with you re menopause, as for running a bit further or faster, when I was doing most of my running on a treadmill I increased the speed marginally each time I ran, literally only 0.1kmh or mph depending on the machine and its settings, the change is only slight but over time helps to get to where you want to be, stick with it, I am sure you will achieve what you want

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Hi there - just stumbled across your message - one thing no-one has mentioned is hydration. I find if I haven’t drunk enough water in my rest day then I really struggle on my run day with heavy legs and lack of energy. Don’t know if this helps but thought I’d mention it. I’ve never been good at drinking enough water (strangely I’m really good at drinking chilled white wine) so I have to set myself reminders. You’re doing brilliantly - I’ve found that progress is so slow with running but I started using Strava when I finished C25k and I find that helps with comparing progress over, say a month, when its much more obvious that I’m improving. I’m also a graduate of SW and lost four stone - as Dory says, “just keep going just keep going.” Xx

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I graduated a number of years ago and whilst I still read of a lot of the posts, I don't contribute as much these... But your post and others made me want to reply.

Most of us (me included) worked hard to complete the program and complete those week 9 30min runs. Whilst its good to spend some time consolidating these runs I read quiet often that people struggle to perhaps run for longer, further or faster or whatever makes them happy afterwards.

Whilst the program builds up the amount of time running by reducing the walking breaks... NO one saying that you need to continue running non-stop as your distance or running time increases post graduation. Virtually all of my runs will incorporate walk breaks whether they be scheduled (every few minutes) or because I'm facing a huge hill!! There is so much out there on the internet about "run/walking" and many people incorporate this in their daily running. I have completed many events up to Ultra Marathon distances incorporating run/walks which I otherwise would not have been able to complete and I don't think of myself as less of runner than those people who have the ability to run non-stop.

So... you are doing great.. don't stress... change does take some time and if you're out on your run and want to walk to admire the view then do it, have a breather and then carry on !! Most of all, enjoy each and every run :-)

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Thanks for that, Andy. I'm in a similar position to GG63 and I hadn't thought of walk/running! I just assumed I had to keep running! This nugget may have unlocked a door for me...

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Brilliant advice Andy, thanks. And you know what? That’s what I’m doing, I’m having one walk break of a couple of minutes when faced with a hill on my route. Or like this morning I avoided that hill altogether 😊 I’m just going to aim to run for 30 minutes but will aim to be out for longer with run/walk!

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