W5R1 - Running on fumes and frustration - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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W5R1 - Running on fumes and frustration


I was all ready to go, fuelled up on a banana, some nuts and a cereal bar eaten two hours earlier. I was even sort of well-rested having collapsed on the bed after the morning school run for a delayed lie in, due to a severe lack of sleep the nights before. I can do that now, I have no idea how I’ll cope when my paternity leave ends. Unemployment sounds pretty good right now.

So I was all fired up to run at 6pm. What could go wrong?

The boy.

The four year old boy, his homework and his unwillingness to do it.

It should have taken five minutes. All he had to do was copy some letters that had already been written out for him, a and s, lower case. All he had to do was write the damn letters. It didn’t even need to look good, all he had to do was attempt it. Two letters, copied a few times, it should take minutes and that’s working slowly.

Three hours.

It took more than three hours, lots of arguing, screaming, tantrums and constant cries of “I don’t want to”, “why?” and “I don’t know how to” (after he’d already written one and clearly knew how to) before he had anything resembling attempts at it, along with a whole page of lines and scribbles. Oh, and at some point a pencil got snapped in half. Hey, it was frustrating.


and tomorrow we get to do it aaaall over again.

Parenting, the best, most infuriating decision I’ve ever made. I think this evening took ten years off my life. I hope he spells my name right on my gravestone.

What do you do? Drop it and let him off? I wish there was a clear rule book that covered every single possible aspect of parenting that we could all follow and agree on. All we wanted to do was leave it and put him to bed but I don’t know if that’s the Right Thing or not. Ugh, this whole thing is a minefield.

So I got him to bed, changed the baby’s nappy, changed it again because he pooed immediately after and finally got out for a run just after 9.30. By this point I’d already burned off the energy gained from my pre-run snacks but I also couldn’t eat again right before running so I’d have to just get on with it.

Fortunately the run itself was great. By now I really needed that release so it was perfect for that. This run was the three blocks of five minutes which might be my favourite so far and I’m tempted to just keep repeating this one for the time being until I manage to create a more structured routine again. After an evening like this I don’t think I could do 20 minutes.

There really isn’t much to report about the run itself. I didn’t even check the breakdown beforehand, I just got out and did it. Each five minute block passed by petty quickly and, even though I really needed to rest and didn’t have it in me to run any further, I was a little disappointed to see it end.

I kept it local again, especially since it was dark so it was nice and quiet and uneventful. I passed two dog walkers, which is not good for my social anxiety but it was made bearable by the fact that I could disappear around a corner shortly after they witnessed me.

However there was a third one on a long stretch of pavement and that was too long to let someone watch me run towards them so I had to cross over. A perfectly timed car forced me to stop for a few seconds mid-run, which did irritate me but I powered on. I really am my anxiety’s bitch sometimes.

I did scare a cat at one point. It jumped out of the bushes, saw me running towards it and freaked out. So it ran away, or at least tried to but it ran in the same direction I did to avoid it so it panicked even more but managed to get out of the way in time. Sorry cat, you caught me at an awkward moment but I can assure you I’m an ally and I like you more than people.

So that’s my evening. I ran eventually and loved it. I parented and, um, yeah. I welcome all running tips, parenting tips, hell, I’ll welcome parenting criticisms at this point. I hope tomorrow’s homework attempt goes a bit more successfully and I really hope Wednesday’s run happens, you know, at all.

23 Replies

If they came with manuals,they might be as big as War & Peace and you would never have time to read it!

Don't worry... You'll suss it out 😸

I hope we do, we can’t live like this. Thing is he’s the youngest in his year, born right at the end of August. I wonder if we started him at school too early...

KatnapGraduate in reply to Preserved_Moose

Our two are both summer babies. They catch up.

Give them lots to read.

Always have subtitles on when you watch TV.

Get them jogging.

Healthy body healthy mind and all that 😸


How you do this is beyond me... if you could write a book on how not to prepare for a run that would be it. Good strong parenting again, and when most people would be thinking screw the run or it’ll wait til tomorrow, off you go into the darkness and nail it! Whatever you’re drinking I want some!!! Keep it going, you got this.

I have no idea, we just somehow do it. It’s going to be a lot harder when I’m back at work.

I hope it’s good parenting, I do question myself a lot because I really don’t know if I’m handling this well or not. I had to run though, I really needed it and I wasn’t going to let this stop me. I’ve mainly been drinking Pepsi Max, more often than can possibly be healthy, but I think tonight I might need to add a little something to it...

UnfitNoMoreGraduate in reply to Preserved_Moose

Trust me, you’re doing great in all ways. As for this and work... well, the hardest job I ever had was being a parent... you’ll make it work.

I can’t drink much carbonated stuff... but I do like the things that can be added to it😂. Keep rocking it

Oh my word PM, that brought it all flooding back! Homework! Arggghhh!!!

You’ll look back in years to come and chuckle. I can even look back at our time having 3 teenagers at the same time (2 being female - 😱😱😱) and laugh now. Took 10 years, but I’m there!

So good for you for getting out and smashing your well deserved run! Go you! 👏🏃👏💪

Thanks I’m sure his teenage years will be interesting ones but I bet they fly by

cheekychipmunksGraduate in reply to Preserved_Moose

They do, then they’re lovely all over again. 😀

Aww, I feel your pain! When mine were younger I used to break it down into chunks over a couple of days and use when/then. So for example on one evening just copy one of the sounds along with “when you’ve done this then we can read a book/play a game/drink the gin etc etc” then repeat the following evening with the other sound.

I’m also a TA in Year 1 and definitely find short and sweet is better with younger children as it holds their interest more along with their small attention span! Another idea might to play a game while he’s doing it... he has to think of a word that starts with that sound and then write the sound down. He’ll love it if you turn it into a competition by taking turns (you will have to appear to be struggling and getting it wrong so he’s right and winning) as children love getting the better of adults! Bonus points from his teacher too for practising phonics as well as writing!!! Good luck! 👍🏻💪🏻

As a mum to 4 girls & Nainy (welsh for grandma) to 7 grandchildren, l feel your pain. Your doing fab!! I thought that my parenting days were over but no, l look after 4 of them. Thankfully 2 are in full time school(the other 3 live in Oz ☹️)Tantrums are a regular occurrence As for homework, it’s a minefield. It’s either full on or, “l don’t want to do it” followed usually by a tantrum. It’s hard after coming in from school at such a young age & be expected to do homework. What ever you do for your family, it’s the right thing. Don’t doubt yourself. I’m just pleased your doing C25K, you need “me time” Hats off to you mummy 👍🏻


There's nothing wrong with you (full stop), there's nothing wrong with your boy (on this evidence)

There may be a lot wrong with the school (on this evidence and in my not-inexpert view)

Have a word with them though about what happened and bravo on the run.


I'm a teacher. Talk to his school. Three hours of stress isn't right. 🤪🤪


Parenting is a learning curve ... I found the first 42 years are the worst .... no I’m not joking!!!! I still worry about them all and any foolish decisions they make. I try to listen, be there, help if I can and keep my nose out if I think I ought but it it is difficult as they are still MY kids and I want everything to go smoothly for them all.

The main thing is you spend time with them whatever you do. They value that more than “stuff”.

I worried about my boys as we were on our own for 4 years and then didn’t have much money when I remarried later and had my daughter. All the other kids seemed to be going on holidays abroad and we couldn’t afford it. But my husband worked shifts and My job allowed me to work round him in school holidays and we spent lots of time together ( and with my friend in the same boat with her two girls) and when we chat now they say how they remember having fun with me.... climbing trees picking elderberries to make homemade wine, wandering for miles and picking mushrooms and blackberries. And when they were small nature rambling, learning names of plants and insects and making pictures from nice leaves and painting fircones etc silver for Xmas decs. We used to bake together too.

They aren’t bothered that we didn’t go to Spain etc

So what I am rambling on about is YOU are spending time trying to help your child which is brilliant and they WILL appreciate it one day but I do think a 4 year old is a bit young for written homework. Mine used to come home with a couple of words, in a little tin, to learn (but as they could all read by then it seemed a bit pointless to me)

Keep it up though ... it will be worth it

Well done for perseverance and still having the motivation to run! I feel your pain - still there with a 7-year-old. I tell him if he doesn’t want to do it that’s fine, but he can explain why to his teacher the following day 😉Doesn’t stop him being grumpy but gets it done! Keep running 🙂

PM. All your children's teachers will reassure you that you can ditch the homework at this stage. In mainland Europe your little one wouldn't even be at school (we send them FAR too early in the UK). My boy is just 4 too and I kept him in nursery a extra year. I have an older summer born too (now 21!) and it actually impacts them through their whole schooling so I decided to defer school start for this one. No teacher would encourage you to spend 3 hours fighting with your 4 year old child to do homework (they wouldn't with their child). He's got YEARS of homework ahead. Home should be relaxed. Please be reassured you never have to do that again. Just give him a kiss, a hug and let him play. He'll thank you for the love! And then crack on and enjoy your run! Good luck with both.

GoogleMeGraduate in reply to Purpleandpink

Bit of a myth about the no-school in continental Europe for little ones... It's just given a different name. The formal teaching of reading and writing though is another matter.

PurpleandpinkGraduate in reply to GoogleMe

Nope it's not a myth. Yes they are in kindergarten from 3 but it's nothing like our school education at 4,5 & 6. I trained as a teacher abroad.

PurpleandpinkGraduate in reply to Purpleandpink

Oh and I also trained and worked as a teacher here in the U.K. too so am able to compare.

GoogleMeGraduate in reply to Purpleandpink

Me too (well, I didn't train overseas but I have visited provision for this age group and have friends teaching in their native countries who have been at pains to tell me it's a myth)... perhaps it varies from country to country... and school to school...


I'm sure I've got plenty wrong but mine have somehow survived to secondary school. I'd probably at your stage have done exactly the same - if I had my time over I'd have given it half an hour and given up. Interestingly in secondary school we have been told repeatedly that they give a guideline on the time homework should take and if we see our kids struggling with it well over that, to actively stop it and speak to the teachers. I'd also agree with the comment above - "That's fine, you can explain to your teacher why its not done" has a powerful effect - but use it wisely. Another piece of advice we were given when ours started primary school was that they spend all day trying very hard to behave for their now "godlike " teachers so its almost inevitable that you get a bit of a rebound when they come home and are in their comfort zone. They argue with us as parents because they feel safe to do so!

Oh dear... what an evening for you!

I'm glad you went out despite your delay and frustration though!! Well done.

What tip can one give when you have.a.baby and.a 4.yr.old.? Hang in there and bear in mind that EVERYTHING passes. I think they start resembling humans who communicate at 6. As far as homework and pressure goes, i (with daughters aged 17 and 14) believe it's too soon to take stuff very seriously. I reached a point later in their school years where i realized that.

Oh and i would not repeat runs. You are ready to move on. Trust the programme and allow for progress. It will make you feel better about everything else!


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