Struggling with my running - anyone feel/felt ... - Couch to 5K

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Struggling with my running - anyone feel/felt the same?

I graduated C25K last October. I’ve run 2-3 times a week since, although over winter it was only once some weeks. I’ve completed 15 Parkruns, although I run very slowly and always walk some of the 5k - my time is usually 41-42 minutes. Recently I’ve become very disillusioned with my lack of progress, both in terms of the distance I can cover in a 30 minute run and my slowness. My confidence is suffering and I really struggle to get into my run at the beginning, puffing and blowing/heavy legs etc. To be honest, I think it’s all in my head (the dreaded ‘gremlins’) but I don’t know how to push through this phase. I really loved C25K and although it was hard some runs, I enjoyed it. I feel like I’m losing the love. I don’t want to stop running but wonder how much longer I can push through every run feeling as I do. Can anyone identify with what I’m experiencing? Any tips/encouragement would be greatly appreciated. TIA!

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It's easy to say that speed, time and distance don't matter, but they matter to each of us in our own way. There's nothing wrong with walking part of a parkrun (or any run), the important thing is that you are out there being active which is always better than doing nothing.

Maybe go back and revisit some of the runs from the programme just because you can and see if the old familiar structure helps cure your doldrums.

Any run is better than no run, so just try and find something that motivates you. Every run you do is progress because you're adding time and distance to what you've already achieved.

You're doing great, you just need to be reminded of that.

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Thanks for the words of wisdom, sTrongFuse. Good idea to go back to the programme - I’ll give it a try. Perhaps Jo Whiley’s calming voice is what I need!

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I could be reading my own post, I run exactly the same sort of time and after 12 months of not getting any better I often feel deflated. It doesn’t help that I went back to local running club to help out with Couch25K and at week 8 I find myself as always at the back unable to keep up. I went for a 5k run this morning and must have stopped 3 times as I was puffing and panting (nothing new there) but I do try to keep going, I am convinced a lot of it is in my head. I suppose I have to accept that I will always be the one that brings up the rear, as for progressing to longer runs , well I won’t hold my breath. I will not give up though because I do actually enjoy it , so I would say to you keep going and be proud that you can run .

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4945 Thank you! It's good to be reminded that just running is enough and to be proud of that. I ran my local Parkrun yesterday and it felt so different - no puffing, no panting, just a belief that I could do it. My time was ok but more importantly I enjoyed it!

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Are you building a rest week into your routine, about every 8-12 weeks? You’re probably getting tired. Go easy on yourself.

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Thanks for the tip MarkyD. I've been meaning to volunteer at ParkRun, so I'll do that and give myself a week off every once in a while.

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How about a new challenge ? I had trouble during consolidation because I felt aimless, even though I knew I had to do it. I joined the magic bridge to 10k and now I feel better. I always need a plan and an aim.

There are the stepping stone podcasts...have you tried those ? One of those is about speed and another about stamina. You could work on getting your speed up or pushing to 10k. I can't (yet) run just for running. I have enjoyed only 1 run from beginning to the end, but I think the difficult ones taught me more.

Also, staying around the forum, encouragement, hints, shoe porn, it all helps me stay motivated.

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Thanks backintime. I don't feel I'm quite ready to push on to 10k yet, but I can incorporate a new challenge into my running. Good idea! This forum is great. I attempted another Parkrun yesterday and really felt buoyed by up all the encouragement from you and everyone else. The run felt good and I got back a little of the joy in running that I'd lost.

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Having structure will help. Try the Magic 10 programme after re-graduating. Or use the 10% rule to extend your running time and build up to match your parkrun times.

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Thank you Katnap. I'll give the 10% a try :-)

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You are doing well! Think of how many people don’t do any exercise or v little - you’re doing much more than those, so, feel proud of yourself for what you’ve achieved, and don’t do my ‘thing’ and be too hard on yourself - even pros have bad runs/weeks 🤗 x

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Thank you Bluepup1! I was so proud when I completed C25K and I'd sort of lost sight of that feeling. So thanks for reminding me!

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YW! 🤗 x

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Whatabout parkrun tourism ? See how many parkruns you can do and give us the rundowns

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Great idea backintime! We're going away soon, so I'll look and see if there are any Parkruns nearby (flatter than my local one hopefully :-)

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Well now as others have said I could have written your post, I too slipped out of the habit for a while, I blame winter weather. I have decided that running is what I do between other things, thanks to couch to5k I can run but have no ambitions to run faster or further .

If it helps at all

Remind yourself of the reason why you started.... was it to get fit? Feel rather smug when you say you’ve been for a run (I know I do- none needs to know the details😁) or a reason of your own?

It has helped me to fit in my runs as part of other routines, I run home after my pilates class because I’m already out and geared up, I do park run just to get a run validated (I still run walk sometimes and rarely break the 40 min mark but who cares) if I fit in a third run it’s a bonus but I don’t beat myself up about it.

Sometimes I decide I’ll just do a 20 min run which of course turns into longer, it just codology for my brain.

So chin up, you are a runner, you have nothing to prove. I take my running shoes when I go away even for a weekend, I don’t always use them but I know I could and new places are great to explore.

I hope all these replies help you , reading them has helped me too so thank you .

,

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Thank you LookNannyruns! Good to read about your running 'journey'. I feel 100% better after everyone's encouragement and tips. I managed to really enjoy my Parkrun yesterday - the time was decent (for me that is), but more importantly I felt more relaxed and connected to my running. Ie it wasn't the effort that it's been over the last few weeks. So thumbs up to you and the rest of us that get out there and just do it!

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Yes I identify and as you can see I'm not the only one. Lots of good advice above already. What can I add? Well a wee fact check first. If you are doing parkrun in just over 40 minutes and you say that includes some walking and it's a hilly course - then your actual running pace on the flat is not, in fact, particularly slow. Slower than average maybe but not by much. Secondly, are you still doing three thirty minute runs a week? Try introducing a bit of variety. Make one longer (but slower) using the ten percent rule till you are actually running 5k and don't have to walk at parkrun. But also make another one shorter - but faster. Try some speed intervals, or some hill repeats, or maybe alternate with intervals one week and hills the next. This will help your speed but that's not the main reason for doing it: the main reason is that it is more fun when all your runs aren't the same. The first interval session I ever did was this: ten minutes very slow run, then (30 seconds FAST run followed by two minute WALK) six times, followed by another ten minute slow run. I built up from there as I was training for a race but even that first session, repeated fortnightly, will add variety and enjoyment. Thirdly - you may not be ready for this one yet but file it in your brain for later. One thing that really helped me focus on training for improvement rather than just doing the same runs all the time was to enter a race and treat it as what they call a 'GOAL EVENT' - I followed a particular training programme designed to build up to that particular event. In my case it was the EMF 5k and I followed the intermediate 5k programme on their website. In your case you will want to be sure you can run the whole 5k on a regular basis before you think about trying to get faster at it so that's not for now, but in a few months time it's worth a thought.

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My sister has been running for years and she says that the first ten minutes is, without exception, always crap... when you say you aren’t improving, do you need to? I finished yesterday and plan to do a park run soon, but want to stay fit without aiming for more/further/faster. I have friends who want to do 10k runs etc and that’s cool, but you are still running and that is great! I want to run two/three times a week, haven’t even got to 5k yet. You are doing it - I am doing it. You are a runner and that is what matters. Get a good playlist and turn your head around - it is all psychological. Good luck!

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