Completely destroyed: So I can't even do run... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Completely destroyed

No_Saint profile image

So I can't even do run 1 of week 1, I get half way through it and my lungs just seem to stop working. I started getting stitch after the 2nd interval and then it gets worse and worse and it feels like my lungs were getting smaller - I couldnt take a deep breath and to be honest I had all on keeping myself on my feet.

I feel like a total failure, advice?

37 Replies
GoGo_JoJo profile image

Don't panic! You've made the common mistake of pushing too hard from the get go is all.

You need to slow down. Running doesn't have to be fast. Just a gentle plod. So slow you can still talk.

Slow right down and you'll be ok. I'll add the faq post to the end of this as its really useful.

Don't worry! You CAN do it 👍

Ang33333 profile image

Oh please dont feel bad and please don't give up! Next time you try it just go as slow as you possibly can. Really really slow. If you go off too fast you will struggle. Slow and steady will get you through the programme. And don't run in the heat!! Good luck!! 😎

Bandit14 profile image

Yes definitely go slower. Just light jog - if you go off too fast it's easy to overdo it. Don't be downhearted - you tried and you can again. Good luck x

Tkaye profile image

There will be a lot of slow down comments heading your way, believe everyone of them, well done for making the start, and for adding the post. Oh and next time out....slow down!

I'm going to try again tonight, but I don't think I was going at more than a jog the other night :(

JacquiAM profile image
JacquiAMGraduate in reply to No_Saint

Can only echo the others ... slowly does it. When I first attempted to run I felt exactly like you (you describe how I felt perfectly!) Then I joined this programme and realised I was trying to go too fast. I now ‘run’ slower than I can walk most of the time, but I have got to Week 8! Never thought it would be possible 😀. It is not about speed or sprinting, it’s about building stamina so we can eventually run for 30 minutes (forget the 5k ... very few manage that in 30 minutes!). Believe in the programme, it works but most of all believe in yourself ... you can do this 😀x

Dizzysmum17 profile image

Everyone else has told you what I will tell you! Snail pace and then slow down again! But most importantly well done for starting and well done for trying again tonight - you will be great - just make sure you are well hydrated. 🐌 🐌 and go really slow! 😉 🍀 🏃‍♂️

If you still struggle a little tonight, it might be worth trying what I did to start off. I'd been ill for a while and been pretty much housebound, so was worried about trying to run straight off, when even a normal pace walk was a problem at times. So I bought one of those exercise steps, the cheap plastic things they have at gyms that you just plod on and off. And I used that for a few weeks, walking round the house/garden(depending on weather!) and using the step for the 'running' bits on the audio. This helped me get going, and build up a bit of strength and confidence. It also helped take away the nagging voices about looking a bit daft in public. Anyhow, it meant I could get my pulse and breathing rate up to get used to the exercise again, before going on to the real thing. I don't know if you think this is a good idea or not, but it did help me, so I just thought I'd throw it in. Good luck, I'm sure you'll be whizzing along in no time.

KayBee1000 profile image

I shall echo what everyone else has said - if your lungs are burning and you’re struggling to breathe during the first run, you’re trying to go too fast.

Seriously, most of us go not much faster than a brisk walking pace; not sprinting, not running, barely faster than walking.

Also, I don’t know if you’re stretching before you start, but that can help with the stitch - don’t stretch too much (you don’t want to injure yourself!), but a light side stretch then bending over to stretch your back can make all the difference.

Have another go, and let us know how you get on?

Flaraflarkin profile image

I have vivid memories of when I started the programme, my lung capacity was on the floor, I was embarrassed at how much I struggled - as everyone says you have to slow it right down to the point where I didn't even consider I was "running" - this way you will build stamina, your lung capacity will increase and your breathing will regulate. Go slow, no reason why you can't do this 😊 You will crack this first run tonight 🙌👊🙌

Carolinemcd profile image

Oh I bet you are disappointed but don’t be. You got up and tried. Of course I will echo the slow down advise and also drink plenty water the day before and day of your run. Dehydration can cause a stitch. Before I started the program I walked 2miles’ish every second day and did at least 10 minutes active/fast walking the other days. I did this for a couple of weeks just to get my fitness up a tiny bit.

You can do this!

I came in from my first run and MrRc was all up for calling an ambulance I looked such a mess. Listen to all the great advice on here, it is coming from a complete understanding and then go and read them all again and realise how many of us telling you we did the same thing now Have graduate badges after our names. You have done the most difficult run of your entire running journey and that is the one that takes the first steps out the door. Keep going repeat repeat repeat if necessary. I myself took a lot longer than 9 weeks to finish and my favourite distance now is a half marathon. Take care Rfc x.

My very first run of c25k was in my kitchen jogging on the spot. I stuck with the programme and some weeks were really hard. I’ve been ‘running’ since February now and can do 5k but I’m slow, I get puffed out, sometimes I walk a bit but above all I’m doing it. So can you. Don’t be put off by being tired, or , breathless, just persevere and you’ll eventually be amazed at yourself. Good luck 😉

Anna1000 profile image

My son made me a music list which had really really slow music on it. I tried to run to that and it really helped. I have asthma and am just starting out only on week 3 at the moment, but I will keep using the tape...

Tasha99 profile image
Tasha99Graduate in reply to Anna1000

I had mild asthma but haven’t had a wheeze since about week 4 which was March time.

Tasha99 profile image

Slow down and slow down again! And drink plenty of water the day before 👌🏽

AndyD profile image

Are you coming to C25K from 100% couch life?? If so, why not try W1R1 as a power walk (not a stroll) ?? Get your heart rate up and get your body used to some exercise. When you come to actually running W1R1 you may actually be going slower than a power walk... which sounds about the right pace to start with!! :-)

No_Saint profile image
No_Saint in reply to AndyD

I'm very much 100% couch, as my cardio fitness has been on the floor since I was a 10 year old I never really got out there. I've managed my weight ok until recently but it bothers me that I never managed to join in what everyone else does - and my colleagues at work are now doing charity runs every few months and they're being very pushy getting me to join in. I'm probably starting from far back as I was still the worst in PE as a kid even when I was doing lots of exercise... so mission accepted....

ancientrunner profile image
ancientrunnerGraduate in reply to No_Saint

So that is an extra pressure for you, that you need to try and ignore. They've probably been at it for years so don't get drawn to go at it too fast to catch up. You get there in the end anyway. Recent run I was barged out the way by a group of men going at great speed, shortly after came across one of them doubled over, he'd just gone way beyond what he could manage to try and join in with his mates who were big time runners. Lots of brilliant advice already been handed out- and well done for starting. I rarely even showed up for PE and I can do this now so there is hope for us all.

Matilda2903 profile image

I'm with everyone else, slow and steady! I walk faster than I run and I, too, am proud to plod along, it's better than sitting on the sofa picking your feet! I also remember feeling very close to death when I did the first run, just remember that it does get easier each and every time you try, so keep going. You will get there in the end 😁

Equi-geek profile image

When we say slow we mean slow.... watch this before you go... 😁 and don’t worry, I got some miles on my legs doing this and now I’m doing Parkruns and on a 10K programme. This technique served me well right through niggly knees and sore thighs. 🤞🏻👍

No_Saint profile image
No_Saint in reply to Equi-geek

That's brilliant, I will have to practice that at home before I make a fool of myself in public though! And even then I'm hoping someone I know doesn't witness me "jogging" at 2mph!

Equi-geek profile image
Equi-geekGraduate in reply to No_Saint

Have a practice - I have this as an ‘I can keep going, no matter what!’ pace. I can catch my breath, protect my legs and not stop 😁 And you’re going faster than anyone on the couch, or sat in their car. If you feel it’s too slow, then speed up 😂 it’s your run. The most important thing is to enjoy it.

Tasha99 profile image

Slow down and slow down again! Don’t give in - lots of us have been there and got through it. Slooooowww down. Also whenever I’ve had a stitch, o know it’s because I haven’t drunk enough water the day before. Water is your friend - drink loads!

thanks for all the amazing feedback. I was a bit peeved after the first run as I'd expected too much from the app (it certainly sells itself as if it's more tailored, with the voice "coaching"), but the community support is great. I'm at least giving it a 2nd go... it's a shame that I won't be able to follow the plan in the app as that was very motivational but it works both ways when you can't keep up...

Tasha99 profile image
Tasha99Graduate in reply to No_Saint

If you still can’t do it, have a week or so doing 10k+ steps a day 👍🏽

JanB76 profile image
JanB76Graduate in reply to No_Saint

I ran week 1 for 3 whole weeks before moving on. This was after previously starting and giving up on this program twice before. It is achievable and remarkable what the body is capable of even when you think it isn’t, but the secret is as everyone has said, go slow.

Stick with us, you’ll get there xx

Go slow! Oldfloss told me to keep it slow and it will all come together I have been exactly where you are now. Keep posting as the support and advice here is fantastic and good luck this evening 😀

Sitherunner profile image

When I started this program i had never run in my life (asthma) (oh and a mum that smoked 70 fags a day!)

So when I started it was all brand new!

I’ve just finished week 8 and if anybody told me 8 weeks ago I’d be able to run for 28 mins I would have laughed.

You’ve taken the hardest step by starting.

The information on this site will help you no end Good luck YOU CAN DO IT!

Oh and slow down 😁

Fabulous450 profile image

No Saint you’re not a failure! You got off the couch and you went out there! You’ve started! That in fact is brilliant! 😁

You sound as though you have pushed yourself too hard. Remember this is a jog not a sprint. In fact if there’s anything you can think of that’s slower than a jog! It’s one of those! 🧐 We like to call it snails pace on the forum! 🐌 It’s slooooow! 🐌🐌 So slow you’re more likely to be wondering if you’re doing it right! Just to give you an idea, your walking interval pace is normally much faster than the run intervals. You’re building stamina No Saint and you don’t need it building overnight or want it for that matter. That’s how injuries occur.

Relax, have your rest day (drink plenty of water every day) and go out fresh again! Taking it slooooow!! 🐌 🐌 ! One run at a time! You can do it!! ❤️

Runip profile image

Just to add to what others have said...when I first found this forum and saw all the 'slow down' advice, I thought 'yeah, but they CAN'T mean as slow as I'm going.' And I was right, they didn't. They mean slower.

Take it easy, and we will all be here to cheer you on, every slow step of the way.

UnfitNoMore profile image

Failure? No, that’s not this you... that’s the you last week sat on the couch. Well done for coming to the start line, that’s a tough step.

Trying and “failing” isn’t all as bad as you think. Every step you took made you a little stronger.

When you find something impossible you have two choices. Quit, or work at it. It won’t be impossible for long. You have what it takes to work at it, or your wouldn’t be here.

The only way to failure is failing to try.

Have you considered walking 5k in an hour? That’s also not easy, but you can do it. Then break down the run... do 30 second intervals and recover... soon that will be easy, then hit the run on the app again.

Also, you may have gone too fast... slow it down.

Good luck

I found W1r1 terrible and couldn't believe how long 60seconds felt like. After waiting 5 days for my legs to recover and to walk normally again I gave run 2 a go, and much to my surprise, it was so much better. My pace, breathing and timing of my loop was better too. I was hot and sweaty, puffed and red faced, but it was more manageable. I'm repeating week 1, just so that I'm really comfortable with it... And now I can smile as I go round and my hubby told me I didn't look such a funny colour! Give it another go, it does get better - be a tortoise like me - at least you're moving and out there doing something!!!!

PaulaGullett profile image

The same as everyone else slow down and if you feel good you can finish your last minute on a high. Make sure you’re hydrated and you have had food during the day. Also you will have some tough runs and some where you feel full of energy... just like professional athletes sometimes don’t perform as well as expected. Don’t be hard on yourself and keep going!

Hi No_Saint I’m wondering how you’re getting on and if you tried that run again? 💪🏻

I did my first C25K run yesterday but took it very slowly. Then last night I met a friend of a friend who is super fit and runs marathons. She started off doing C25K and said she couldn't do the 60 second runs at first. This made me feel a million times better.

Good luck for your next run; slow and steady is definitely the way forward.

Not a failure at all. You've made a positive life decision to do this. That's brilliant.

Lots of us "practiced" the first run before we completed it! I spent 30 minutes on the floor after managing 6 of the 1 minute runs first attempt. Spent the next two weeks getting more "walk fit" then nailed it 2nd time around by going very slowly!

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