Advice - Stressful days at work : Hi guys, I... - Couch to 5K

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Advice - Stressful days at work


Hi guys,

I wanted bit of advice. I started this program and trying to eat heathy around 10th Sept.

I was doing really well in terms of making sure I ran every other day and ate healthy.

But I had stressful 3 days at work (which I hope has now passed) and that meant I didn’t exercise and ate things I’ve been avoiding.

I’m actually feeling bit guilty for missing 2 runs I had planned.

I’m going to do my run tonight and I will make sure my food is healthy from tonight.

I would like some advice in how to deal with stress without taking a step back from this path? Work/life stress will come and I need to find way of coping without doing this to myself then feeling guilty.

I guess on the plus side, I wouldn’t have cared about the food I ate and lack of exercise a month so feeling guilty must at least mean I’m heading in the right direction.

Any advice in deal with stress would be much appreciated

11 Replies

Your already proactive in helping yourself by doing C25K SamSam. Good luck on your journey 👍🏻

The NHS are beginning to advise programmes like this for both mental and physical health issues so trying to fit in a run on days when stress is high may help. Things like Tai Chi/Yoga can also be helpful. Your GP surgery would have details of local wellbeing services, or you can google for your area. They are nearly all self referral services now so you don't have to see your doctor first. They can help with longer term coping mechanisms.

Good luck, don't beat yourself up you are obviously moving in the right direction.

SamSam17 - it sounds like in stress you went back to what you've used as a coping mechanism in the past - food. Recognizing that during this stressful time you used food for coping is HUGE... and it's also the easy part. Changing coping mechanisms is difficult, because by definition, they're used in moments of high stress or emotion, when we make quick decisions and don't devote a lot of mental energy to them. Don't expect that the next time you experience stress, or the time after that, that you're going to respond in some new healthy way, give yourself a break and recognize that it may be a long road, and try to note any positive changes you make along the way, like stopping after fewer days or fewer servings or getting some physical activity in. You may want to keep a journal, which can be really helpful in identifying patterns and hashing things out when you're stressed, especially if you're able to be super honest with yourself and include what you ate and how it made you feel. On the practical side if you're able to keep the foods that you find you're most drawn to during stress (for me it's different foods than I normally like to eat) out of the house, that can help too.

The best way forward is to try to replace eating for comfort with another coping mechanism. Running is a great one, but so is walking, meditation and maybe you can think of some other ones that might suit you as well. If you're able to try them out in times of minor stress, you'll be more likely to use them in times of more significant stress. A lot of how we handle stress is plain old habit. Maybe you could keep a list handy of things to try when you're stressed and see which ones do the best job of helping you cope. You may want to speak to a therapist if you find you have a hard time moving away from using food as a coping mechanism, there are some that specialize in this sort of thing.

Be kind to yourself. What's done is done, all you can do is learn from your experiences and move forward. There is no need for guilt, none of us is perfect and a few days "off the wagon" isn't going to ruin what you've achieved so far. If you are able to learn something from the experience that helps you in the future, it's a positive, not a negative. :)


First off SamSam17 forgive yourself!

You are trying to change two major habits at the same time, there are bound to be hiccups 😊

I have 1.5 weeks every month where I work silly hours. I find the best tactic is to prepare my food in advance. That way I'm less likely to be sucked into bad choices. Batch cooking and/or a supply of ready meals in the fridge helps. I also take them to work for lunch during that time.

I also find I naturally eat better when I'm exercising.

But here's the thing. Changing our habits is tough so kudos for heading down that road. Accept that mistakes will be made but that does not mean you have failed, just you haven't found what works for you.

Stress reduction is also a personal thing. I find doing suduko helps my brain sort itself out. A friend does jigsaw puzzles as her de stress. There are several forum members that use a headspace app.

If you are finding the stress overwhelmingly then do seek professional help x

Keep at it. You have made the hardest decision by getting off the couch 👍👍👍

Good luck and happy running 💪🏃‍♀️

You’re already taking fabulous steps forward Sam. Understanding you didn’t eat as you intended and missed a couple of runs is something you possibly wouldn’t have worried about before you began this programme, so well done! 👍

I have no constructive advice about stress - I’m sure others will. But this programme instills a great sense of wellbeing the further into it you get. Running is magic. Carry on where you left off and enjoy. 😀😀


For me this programme works wonders if I’ve had a hectic time at work. I get home and then go straight out for a run - it’s a great way of switching off and focusing on something else.

You have made a fantastic choice in following this programme. Good luck. You are doing really well 👏👏


When do you run? I find running gets rid of the stresses of the day, so I run in the evenings.


Lots of great advice here SamSam17, keep with the program and don’t beat yourself up!

Tough day, lack of sleep, worries at work, we all have our pressures that prompt us to fall into habits we are trying to break, I found that around 5 weeks in the program I actually felt I “needed” a run when feeling stressed and the further you are in the program the better (in my humble opinion) as you get more solid running time where you can lose yourself so to speak.

I hope you can find this place, never felt worse for a run yet!



I also have a stressful job. I find when I’ve had a particularly stressful day I want to get home & go out for a run.

I feel it helps me to relax and focus on something else. Hope this is helpful.


Thank you all for the response. I’ll take it all on board and try to make sure I run on those stressful days

I managed to get W4R3 done last night so felt so much better than I had been all week.


You can do this and will find what’s best for you.

Stop & take a breath. You have your answer on what’s right for you.

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