advice about trainers/breathing techniques for... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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advice about trainers/breathing techniques for new graduate !


Hi there. I have never posted on a forum before but having seen the amount of advice and encouragement here I thought I would give it a go. So, I am in my early 50's and haven't done any exercise to speak of since my school days ( and even then it wasn't much to talk about)! I'm not sedentary being an infants' teacher and having a big dog that needs walking. I started the C25K about 4 months ago and nearly gave up before I'd even completed week 1- it was SO hard! I persevered.... and somehow managed to graduate about 4 weeks ago. ASTOUNDED- as were my friends and family knowing how much I hate running!

I have now done 7 or 8 half hour runs. I'm very slow- only covering about 3.5K. But, it isn't getting any easier and I'm in danger of quitting. I run outside,mainly flat, a mixture of road, grass and a small woodland section. Should it be starting to feel easier by now or am I expecting too much too soon? I only have some fairly inexpensive trainers so I'm thinking of splashing out and getting some running shoes- will that make a difference? I also struggle to focus on my breathing for any length of time and quickly find I'm all over the place !

Any advice would be gratefully received. Thanks in advance - well done to those that have graduated- and to those who are at the early stages and think they'll never make it- go for it- you will run for half an hour- I'm proof!

24 Replies

Ok. Well done on graduating, that’s a big deal.

Shoes will help, most road runners swear by gait analysis for this. More comfortable feet lead to more comfortable runs. If you are exclusively trail running you can just go try trail shoes, but they’re the same prices as road shoes in the main.

Try not to focus on your breathing, relax.

There’s different ways of going faster, some gain speed naturally as they extend the distance, others need tempo or speed work over shorter distances. Either way you are almost certainly capable of continuing past 30 minutes to get to 5k now.

misspellingGraduate in reply to UnfitNoMore

Thanks for your advice- great name too..... maybe one day I may be able to use that too!

UnfitNoMoreGraduate in reply to misspelling

It’s my motivator... I’m not there yet, but running, headspace, Nike Training club and boxx are whipping me into shape quite quickly!


Hi, extending distance was the thing that made running easier and faster for me. After 30 minutes I edged gradually up to 35, and eventually I could run 5k in just over 40 minutes. I carried on with this up to 6k, and suddenly running 30 minutes wasn’t a big deal any more. But take it slowly, just a little at a time. Good luck!

misspellingGraduate in reply to telford_mike

Thanks for your encouragement- well done for your achievements too!


Well done on completing the programme and graduating! I would definitely say invest in some good quality running shoes - I had my gait analysed and new shoes as a result - the different they have made is amazing! No more pains in shins and knees which almost had me giving up. With regards to the breathing - I find if I try and forget about it, it seems to come more naturally - as soon as I try to think about my breathing, I tend to breathe too quick and then am all over the place! I also wouldn't worry about how slow you are - the fact is you are running for 30 minutes at a time - that is truly amazing! I have done a couple of runs since graduating last week and this morning ran for 39 minutes - I actually forgot the time and was enjoying the run and determined to get to 5k, no matter how long it took! Let us know how you get on.

misspellingGraduate in reply to JacquiAM

Well done for your 39 minutes. Having gait analysis done and hopefully new shoes tomorrow- onwards and upwards. Thanks for your advice.


🤔🤔🤔 I think perhaps you might have high expectations. Maybe you need to refocus on what to look to acheive or get from a run. Just the fresh air is always good, the scenery, wildlife, people we meet on the way.

Try to enjoy it for just getting out there. If you want to cover more distance then stay out for 10 more mins. If you want to go faster then first you must run faster... but if you're happy where you're at just enjoy the half hour for what it is... a small time where you and your body work together to get round your route that does you good, physically and mentally. 👍

If you need a goal, create one and work towards it 😉

misspellingGraduate in reply to GoGo_JoJo

Thanks for your advice...literally one step at a time !

GoGo_JoJoModerator in reply to misspelling

Yep. Just like you learned. Little by little 😉👍


Firstly, very well done for graduating C25k in all that heat! 👏👏👍👍

Try a Headspace run using the Nike+ app, or have a listen to this podcast (link below), it might really help you feel better and enjoy the experience- you are doing brilliantly, just relax and do your own thing, it’ll come in time.

misspellingGraduate in reply to Equi-geek

Thank you- I now have the app ready for my next run !


I'm with GoGo_JoJo on this. Run because you love running. Perhaps 3x 30 minutes is a bit too much for you just now? OK, you are a graduate of C25K and can run 30 minutes 3 times in a week, but there is not law that says you must run for 30 minutes every time. You could consider running for 20 minutes twice a week, and at the weekend (for example) when you have more time, run a little longer. I don't mean hours and hours, but try to aim for 30 minutes. If that starts to become second nature, then increase it gently, say to 33 minutes. But you must not feel under any pressure, otherwise you'll fall out of the habit of running.

Another approach is for the weekend run to be somewhere new: go somewhere different to run each weekend, just to see new scenery. Or if there is a long-distance footpath, or canal or something, split the path up into 30 minute sections and run each section over the course of a few months. Just do anything to add interest to the longer run.

I'm a big believer in Consolidation runs. After graduation, just get into the habit of running regularly in whatever way suits you. There really is no hurry to get faster, or try to break the magical 5km, or train for a 10km. You can run, so just run. As the habit gets ingrain, you'll know when the time is right to start on the next phase of your journey.

Incidentally (because it is on my mind) I never see any new graduates post on this forum that their next goal is to run more elegantly, or improve their posture, or concentrate on higher cadence, gentler foot-fall, or master the Art of Running (Malcolm Balk). It always seems to be about progressing further or faster. But now would be a good time to improve your technique before it becomes ingrained.

That's it from me. You're brilliant and you can run. Now go and just run for pleasure.

misspellingGraduate in reply to MarkyD

Thanks for your reply. I think you are right about consolidation runs. I don't need to go faster or for longer, I just want to be able to run for 30 minutes without willing the time away !

Mayanow in reply to MarkyD

I agree with you on the running style progress. I think that will be the next turning point after graduation: to FEEL like a runner! Smooth running. Posture, breathing, pace. And i'm sure distance and timing follow.


Thanks for taking the time to reply- good advice I think. I have proved to myself I can run for 30 mins, now as you say I need to work out what suits me so I can enjoy it too!


You can run for 30 minutes. That is huge.

I struggle with motivation so have set days which helps me focus. I also read this forum on my running ermm more like wobbling days for inspiration

I have a pair of running shoes as wobble along roads. But I love them


Good Morning. Gosh you sound like me! I haven’t graduated yet but I too really struggled with my breathing. I now manage to breathe in strongly through my mouth and nose at the same time and out through my mouth. When I focused on this I did a couple of runs with no music and focused all the way on breathing. It really worked so you might find this helps. New good trainers are essential. I went to a good running shop and they filmed me on a running machine. You could instantly see the way my ankles rolled in. The trainers I bought are fabulous and so supportive. I’m not fast but we are out getting fit so should be proud of ourselves. I’ve had great support from the forum and am going out for my next run feeling more positive. Let’s keep doing this 😊

misspellingGraduate in reply to Olney

Thanks. I'll try your breathing my new running shoes I bought today. There will be no stopping me tomorrow morning now !

I’m soaking in all the tips you’ve been given. Well done on getting to where you are. I’m only on week 1 and my third run is today sometime but earlier this week I ran in drizzle and it was a joy to breathe in the water that a friend told me turned to extra oxygen ??? Regardless I have a newfound respect for drizzling rain!! Xx


If it is still difficult, are you going too fast? Just a fraction slower makes all the difference!😁

First of all well done! I too was a non-runner (skived the cross country run for fags!) Till today, a breath from 50! And i am so impressed with myself and the programme's success!

Good trainers belong to ALL of us. Not just athletes. They are crucial for comfort and to avoid injuries.

I too cannot do the 4- step breathing laura said. So i am not totally organized there.

What made a difference (apart from lovely expensive trainers) was when i switched from the C25k podcast to comedy podcasts.

I cannot stress the difference enough! Honestly try it. And if it's not comedy it could be a subject that interests you and you never have time to sit down and listen to. Or an audiobook.

From the moment i started the podcast listening i dont think about running, breathing, pacing, distance, time left etc.

Now I feel confident about extending distance after graduation and minimising time.

All in due time! Whilst being entertained!

Don't give up!!! You have come so far! Us surprise achievers must stick together!!!

misspellingGraduate in reply to Mayanow

Thank you for the advice- I'll take it on board and see what happens!


It’ll only feel easier if you start running longer/hillier/faster so incorporate some different runs/intervals each week 👌🏽

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