Crisis of confidence: I have been plodding on... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Crisis of confidence


I have been plodding on with 30 min runs 3 times a week after graduating but I am having problems in that I am not enjoying it in the slightest, I am not getting any faster (still takes around 40 mins to complete 5k) my stamina is not increasing - still feel like I am dragging my sad old carcass around the route and I don't seem to be getting any trimmer.

On top of this I have started to get numbness in my right foot after about 10 mins.

I have an under active thyroid so I know that my energy doesn't replenish in the same way as everyone else but the fact that I am not progressing in any way is disheartening.

I know this sounds a little like a pity party but I am interested in whether any others who have been in the same situation had any tips they could share to start enjoying running at all?

I tell myself that I have come so far in 6 months but...... :(

24 Replies

Hi Jellyjac, well done for continuing to run even if you don't enjoy it.( For the record, I am about the same speed as you).

Sounds like your motivation might have gone, do you have any goals, eg run further or increase your speed? What was your original motivation when you started?

Have you tried ParkRuns, or podcasts, or a change of music?

I still struggle with 5km, so have decided to do "wait and see" runs; once I am out, see how I feel.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes,

JellyJacGraduate in reply to bananahead

Thanks BH. I carried on up to now because I did Race for life yesterday with my lovely supportive girlfriends and family but I felt like I was dying around half way and my lovely niece had to almost physically push me up a particularly steep bit lol. She also helped me by re-iterating that I may not be progressing but I'm not on the couch - which kept me plodding forward. I have tried podcasts which I prefer to music.

My initial goal was to get fit following some health issues.

I volunteer at Parkrun because our particular course is on the beach and back over sand dunes/ uneven ground (which will ruin my confidence all over haha). On Saturday I was Tail walker.

I just seem to be going backwards and my husband who is so supportive is saying if I don't enjoy it find something else to do. I also cycle and yoga on my rest days.

I will give your "Wait and See" runs a go as the only run I enjoyed thoroughly was the first one post graduation where the pressure was off and I wasn't timing my distance. Thanks for your advice - I will report back :)


Reading your reply to BananaHead, sounds like mixing things up a bit more might be a help. I was feeling a bit like you, especially after a gardening strain meant I had to recover fitness after a 6 week layoff. It was all a bit drudge. Then some family came to stay for June, and they are all runners. Eek. But it was good. 😊 I had to fit things round other things & just trotted out for however long I had. Sometimes a gazelle power walked with me part way while I jogged, and then they streaked away while I jogged home. And sometimes I just did 20 minutes somewhere new. Or whatever.

And now they’ve gone, I went back out & found I could run for 50 minutes slowly. Or - amazingly - I could trundle along quite a bit faster for 20 minutes! 😄🎉

The secret seems to have been not worrying about it, and trying new places & times. So maybe give that a try? It really does seem to take a long time to build up one’s strength, but it doesn’t have to be 30 minute slogs all the time. Hope something works for you. 💕

JellyJacGraduate in reply to Granspeed

Sounds like a plan granspeed. Hopefully by stressing less my speed will naturally increase.

GranspeedGraduate in reply to JellyJac

Yay. 🎉 And do try the Japanese slow running as recommended by DiscoRunner below, if you haven’t tried it. It’s what I use too, and it changed my whole outlook. Validates the tortoise/snail approach over the long term, which I needed to feel was ok. 🐢🎉👏🏼

JellyJacGraduate in reply to Granspeed

I may need to watch the video before heading out as I do feel that I am already going at a snail's pace.

GranspeedGraduate in reply to JellyJac

It’s a slightly different style as well as slow, so have a look. 😊


I found the the first few weeks of consolidation quite hard. Took me 6 weeks for it to feel at all comfortable. I run really slowly and it takes me about 50 minutes to do 5k! I run using the Japanese slow jogging technique - and now absolutely love it. It’s slow, low impact, and I can now happily plod away for over an hour. Slowly the inches have come off (5 from my waist) but it’s not been fast, but then neither is my running! But I can get lost in a podcast or audio book and the time just slips away. This slow style (it is worth the short film a few times to get it all right) and this has turned the running from a slog to a pleasure in the moment. I don’t know about the thyroid issue, but maybe this gentle style would suit you too?

JellyJacGraduate in reply to DiscoRunner

Thanks disco. I think you may be right.. not stressing about timings and distance may be the key... I just want to enjoy it so willing to give anything a go

DiscoRunnerGraduate in reply to JellyJac

This style of running makes it immediately hugely more enjoyable! Even if you think you’re already running slowly there are a few aspects to this - foot placement & landing, stride length, & what to do with back, arms & head.

Love to hear how you get on!


It takes a long long time to build running legs. A long time. I’m running 2 years now, and I still don’t have running legs. However I can now go out whenever I want and comfortably run for an hour. I can run sub 30 min 5k and sub 1 hour 10K. But it was not always that way. It took a long time. My first Parkrun took me 39 minutes to get around. I worked at it and got down to 32 mins. But couldn’t get any faster. In January I started doing interval training and my running improved as did my pace. You just have to keep at it and keep plugging away.

My feet too were getting a numb pins and needles feeling after about 10 mins running. I got a gait analysis and bought runners which suited my gait. Ever since I’ve had no problem.

I find Parkrun a great motivation and I train twice during the week and Parkrun on Saturdays. Are there any other Parkruns close to you. You could do some Parkrun tourism.


JellyJacGraduate in reply to damienair

Thanks Damian. I had my gait analysis done and bought the reccomended trainers. Luckily I am a stubborn girl so I will keep at it..

I’m hypothyroid too, so I know how that feels at times. I would say shake up your route a bit, have some fun runs, ie do whatever takes your fancy for an allotted time, run, walk sprint shake it all up and see if anything feels any better. It is easy to get bogged down with a familiar route especially if you are not feeling it at all. Also have you had your ferritin and vit d checked recently. When I was struggling with running I found both of them were out as it can be quite common with hypothyroid and that will make things even harder. Well done with sticking at it. Take care. Rfc x

JellyJacGraduate in reply to Realfoodieclub

Yeah I think "fun runs" may be the way to go for me.. regarding UAT no I haven't had my levels checked, my gp only checks tsh so getting anything more is a battle. Nursing a sore back and hips tonight so hopefully be able to have an enjoyable run tomorrow. Thanks so much for all your tips and advice..


Do you parkrun?

You won’t progress doing the same runs each week. You’ll progress by running further 👍🏽 Or doing hills or speed training. Increasing distance and hills is my preference.

JellyJacGraduate in reply to Tasha99

I volunteer at parkrun as a tail walker.. our course is hilly and sandy and rugged so think that will have to wait until I get my confidence back..

Wow! I am in a similar position to you. I have to take Thyroxine, and graduated last week. I have just posted about today’s run. Do read it! 😁

JellyJacGraduate in reply to MuddledGardener

Well done MD!! I will go have a look.

MuddledGardenerGraduate in reply to JellyJac

I hope it helps. Xx


How about trying an audiobook to listen to? I’m like you and don’t like to run to music but give me a good audiobook and I really look forward to the runs especially if you have the self discipline to only listen to it on a run 😂

JellyJacGraduate in reply to Tiggercnk

Hi Tigger, I belong to a book club and have an audible free trial so maybe I will buy the audible version next time and try that - it will save time too..


I feel for you, I really do. I also wonder whether you are expecting too much of yourself - your speed isn't at all relevant in an absolute sense. There will always be people who are faster (and, probably, slower). All that matters is whether you are out there and feeling fitter.

In terms of the numbness, I don't think anyone has mentioned how important your shoe-lacing is. Have you experimented with not trying them as tight? I know it sounds obvious, but....

JellyJacGraduate in reply to Pianism

Thanks Pianism. Yeah, I have tried different lacings. I have found that it eases a little when I don't wear running socks (but the blisters love that) :)


Just seen your post so apologies for being late to the party.

I completely understand as I’m 49 graduated and running 3 x times a week (5K) although currently I’m doing Ju-Ju’s plan.

My 5K is 37 minutes and do you know what I don’t worry if it takes me longer or quicker, it’s the getting out of the door and getting those lungs and heart working that matters the most. I don’t enjoy it and have to push myself to get out there but the feeling of achievement afterwards is what I cling on to.

Maybe change your routes, mix your distances (who says we have to run 3 x 5k every week)

Do a short run, 5K and if you fancy slighter longer one.

Park runs, Race Your Pace, Charity runs - try to make it fun and grab those good tunes and do it for you.

If you still feel that it’s not for you then there are plenty of other exercises out there.

Good luck - your not alone !!! 🏃‍♀️

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