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Couch to 5K
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Why am I struggling since graduation?

Hi. I graduated 2 weeks ago and although I wouldn't say I found it easy, I managed to complete every run without repeating. However I am now really struggling with the consolidation runs. I have been trying to do the week 9 runs again and out of 4 attempts so far have only managed to run for 30 mins once. This morning was disastrous. I started walking after 5, ran for another 10 before stopping again, ran another 4 before giving up and walking home. Feeling so annoyed with myself and demoralised. I haven't tried to go any faster although I have switched from running on a field to the pavement due to dark mornings. I am thinking about trying again tomorrow morning. Any advice, sympathy, words of encouragement gratefully accepted.

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I get like that, take a couple of days off and go again. Nice and slow too.

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What are your aims for your running?

Without some kind of targets your running will be, literally, aimless, which is why I suggest creation of ever evolving short, medium and long term targets in the guide to post C25K running healthunlocked.com/couchto5...…….what-next

Your situation is very common amongst new graduates, so don't be disheartened, just make some plans and move on.

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Thank you for the advice. Yes, my first goal is to run for 30 minutes 3 times a week on a regular basis. I will then look at increasing my speed and/or distance. I need to get into a routine but work, weather and adjusting to dark mornings have thrown me a bit.

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Congratulations on graduating! Maybe the motivation has gone a bit now that you don't "have to" run 30 minutes with Laura (or your coach on the app) urging you on. Also, I think everyone has days when it seems a struggle - I do, anyway. My only target is to run 3 times a week for 30 minutes, or sometimes for 5k (which takes me more than 30 minutes), but without trying to I have increased my speed so that is motivating in itself. So maybe setting yourself a target of running a bit faster/further would help; but mostly, just enjoy it and if some days you don't manage the full 30 minutes, don't worry - anything is better than nothing. Happy running!

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Thanks. Like you, to start with I will be happy running regularly for 30 minutes 3 times a week, so that is my first goal. I then will look at increasing my speed and/or distance. On the plus side at least I was up and out for 35 minutes this morning either running or mainly briskly walking. And tomorrow is another day....

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The change of surface will definitely affect things... takes a few runs to get used to.

Having a target helps, and maybe use an app with running plans to get you there... then you have a schedule to stick to.

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Thanks, yes I seem to be picking up a few more aches and pains on the pavement.

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Your amazing! Remember you're doing and have done something that millions of people can't do so remember that to start with. Take a week off. Many running programmes recommend that every few weeks to reset your body and mind, you'll come back stronger. A new programme is a great idea, to introduce variation. So to run 5k faster for example, some days you'll run less than 30 mins, sometimes more. Same if you aim for 10k. Loads of good programmes out there. So set a new target and get a new programme and you'll be off again!!

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Thanks and you are right, a couple of months ago I wouldn't have even run for the bus! My first goal is to regularly run for 30 mins 3 times a week, and then I will look at speed and/or distance.

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Have you tried parkrun? I don’t know if your circumstances allow you to commit regularly at that time on a Saturday but if you can, it will put some structure in your running week, guarantee you a 30 minute run in daylight and provide you with a supportive environment. Don’t worry if you can’t run the whole 5k yet - you don’t have to. You can walk fast for the first five minutes which not only warms you up but gets you out of the crowded start, then run for 30 minutes or whatever you’ve decided beforehand and then choose whether to walk or run the rest depending on how you feel at the time. I did two of my week 8 runs at parkrun that way (walking 5 mins running for 28 mins and walking the rest).

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I have thought about a park run but am just plucking up the courage to go for it!

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Go for it. The courage will be waiting for you when you get there.

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If you are struggling with darker mornings (which are only going to get darker for a few months), can you try running in the evenings? Or is that a non-starter for you? In my case, I couldn't possibly get up earlier to run before work - the thought horrifies me! 😮

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I definitely find the mornings better. I am just too exhausted in the evening, plus soon it will be dark when I get home too. Have thought about trying the gym but it doesn't really appeal. Will persevere and see how I get on.

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I felt the same as you. I've graduated......I'm amazing!!!!! What do I do now???? Just keep running. Don't put pressure on yourself. Try 3 20 minute runs a week. Try a 15 minute run a 20 minute run and a 30 minute run. Try running without a distance/time in mind. You might surprise yourself and run for 40 minutes. Whatever you do don't give up and keep going. I'm still not convinced I enjoy this running lark but I sure feel better when I've completed a run. Good luck and try not to get too down about it all.

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Thanks. Yes I love the feeling once I've completed a run but can't say that I enjoy the actual running. Keep hoping that will come in time. I will persevere and try again tomorrow.

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I had a wobbly few weeks after graduating; I needed the structure of a plan. I decided to first concentrate on building up to 5k (I was way short of that in a half hour run) and now I have started on Ju Ju's 5 to 10k plan. I am only in week two, but I have found that the short run followed by a 5k then a longer run over a period of a week works really well. Today I knocked a minute off my best 5k time without thinking about it and I feel much fitter than when I graduated. I think it just takes a bit of time after the end of the couch to 5k for fitness to build up. I think that it will all feel much better in a couple of weeks or....just try to avoid beating yourself up in the meantime! You are a success!!

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Thank you! I fully intend to stick with it and will give it another go tomorrow.

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Hey you’ve done so well don’t beat yourself up. I think what others have said about structure is right, you need something to aim for. Have you done a park run? That might give you a target and running with other people might spur you on?

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Yes a couple of friends who graduated about a year ago keep asking me to join them on our local park run. I just need to pluck up the courage - I've got too used to running on my own and to be honest I quite like the 'me time!!

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Yes I know what you mean !

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