Graduated but not yet managed 5k: Hi. I was... - Couch to 5K

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Graduated but not yet managed 5k


Hi. I was amazed to graduate two weeks ago. I struggled with week 1 but kept going and completed the programme in about 10 weeks. I've never been a runner, I hate feeling out of breath and when I had tried running before I quickly found myself gasping for breath so I'd have to stop. I only managed to complete the programme by counting my breaths, doing 4 foot strikes to each in/out breath. It worked for me and I was gobsmacked to find myself running for longer than I ever had previously.

HOWEVER, I'm slow, so even though I can run 30 mins I only manage around 3.5k. I managed a 40 min run and that was only 4k. My worry is that if I go faster my old trouble of gasping for breath will reoccur and I'll end up stopping before I want to. Any suggestions please? I haven't run for two weeks as I was away but I'm hoping to start again tonight.

6 Replies

I’d say you have a 5k in you... you’re almost certainly capable of running until you do get it. Slow and steady is the answer as when you hit peak heart rate you are going anaerobic in the legs, and that’s when you gasp for breath the most. If you have a heart monitor you should see this on the read outs.

My advice would be to stay on 30 and 40 minute runs and just allow the fitness to make it easier and easier, then you should see increases in speed come naturally.

I’m the same Paula. I did just under 3.5k on W9R1 this morning, and I’m figuring that time will ‘speed’ me up. Maybe cooler weather too. Whatever, we will reach 5k! Good luck! 😀🏃‍♀️💪🏻


I'm the same! Seem to be really struggling with the weather, very short of breath far more than I was in my last couple of weeks of the programme. It's frustrating but I just keep trying - as long as I don't pack it all in I think I must be making progress!

It doesn’t matter - to graduate you “only” need to be able to run for 30 mins non-stop. When you are comfortable with it you can then work on speed or distance (not both at the same time).

Maybe practice some deep breathing so that you are taking in more air. I also read a tip to breathe out forcefully a couple of times as that help get rid of carbondioxide(?) in your body and helps get more oxygen in as well.

You’re doing great and with more practice/cooler weather you’ll go further and faster Immsure.

If you look in pinned posts there’s FAQs and I think there are links in it that will be useful.

Don’t forget to get your graduate too - that’s in pinned posts too.


I'd say maybe try for the 5k first before going faster? At my very best (on a treadmill in an aircon gym) I can manage a steady 8 min per km (5k in 40 minutes) but outdoors my best is about 9 mins per km. As your technique and fitness improves you should find you speed up.

Me too. About the same speed. Some days I can carry on running longer, usually when my mind switched off. I just go with the flow

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