Week 5 Run 3 - apprehensive: Hi! I have been... - Couch to 5K

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Week 5 Run 3 - apprehensive


Hi! I have been lurking a good while, and have been amazed and warmed by how supportive and informative this group is.

I have been intending on starting for ages, then finally started Couch to 5k properly 5 weeks ago!

After a few false starts with the wrong trainers and sore calves, I have found the runs relatively achievable and been extremely surprised and pleased. Some of my runs have been outside, which I find harder, and due to having M.E I have to be gentle, so most of my runs are on a machine. I have been stunned that whilst I get hot and sweaty and sore, I don't get overly out of breath or tight lungs, which is what used to put me off running when I tried in the past.

Yesterday evening, I did run two of week five, which was two eight-minute sets of running with a five-minute walk in between, and the usual five-minute starting and finishing walk. Those eight-minute runs were a real stretch. My calves complained lots. I was delighted to get through, purely on will power! But it was tough.

Tomorrow evening's run is a twenty minute run!! This seems a huge jump from two eights with a recovery in between. Twenty straight minutes!!!

I am feeling quite overwhelmed about it, and worried I won't be able to achieve it. I think my calves will say no, and my will power will give out.

I would much rather have the next step be two ten-minute runs divided by a three-minute recovery walk perhaps. And then perhaps the next time attempt fifteen minutes, a two-minute recovery and then five-minute run, so I have more experience of running twenty minutes over two sets rather than going straight into twenty. It does seem like a bizarrely huge jump.

So I guess I'm wondering, those who have got past this stage and had worried like I am now, do you have any tips or advice? Is it magically achievable? Or are there alternative sets that can be done to build up incrementally to the twenty minutes set?

I would be so grateful for any advice.

Very best wishes.


29 Replies

Well done for getting this far

The twenty minute run is really exciting but if you need to walk a bit in the middle that’s fine and you can repeat it as many times as you like

When we did it we kept saying we would start really slow so we had the energy to run it all and found that we could, mind you we are a pair of snails 🐌

Good luck and enjoy whatever you do

in reply to WillowandSola

Snails rock.. they get where they want to be...if you take the runs steadily and slowly, you will finish every single one enjoyably :)


I frightened myself reading too far ahead and telling myself before I got to week 5 that I wasn’t going to be able to run for 20 minutes. But did you imagine when you set out you could run for five minutes or eight? You’re doing amazingly! So trust the programme and go as slowly as you need to - you’re not racing against anyone, just completing this in your time and at your pace. You’re going to surprise yourself 🙂. All the best and happy running!


The important thing is not to get all stressed about it, because that will tense up your muscles and bother your breathing. It doesn’t matter if it takes more than one go: everyone is different and that’s why the programme has a repeat function. You are ready, so go out relaxed and curious to see what you can do. Take it slow and steady, and if it hurts, slow down. If it still hurts, slow down more ! If you don’t quite make it, note what you did, walk the rest and aim to beat that the following time, and so on till you’ve done your 20. It sounds scary but it really is possible: I took 9 weeks of repeats to conquer week 1 but managed 5:3 first time out. And for me it was the highest point of the programme. Many people find it very emotional - take a hanky, and have fun ! We’re all right here cheering you on x



Read this and just stop worrying....( my teacher voice:) you are ready for the run, you will complete it and you will not need to repeat it:)

Hundreds and hundreds of folk have worried abut this and are still running. The run is different, it has to be, next week is different it has to be...but you are ready for each and every single run.

Runs get a bad reputation that they do not deserve,,, historic scary posts, that make me very cross:) .... they are all structured and they are all runnable.

You will do this... all you have to do is take it steady and slow and KNOW you will be fine:)

You just need to take it really slow - it may be slower than your brisk walk! You can do this - keep going it will feel great when you do it. Let us know how you get on!


I think a lot of us have worried about the jump to r3 and then people do it and are so amazed that they have did it. All the runs you've done up until now have prepared you for it. Good luck 😊


I can remember writing a similar post at that point. But the plan really does work and if you have done the runs up to that point, you really can do it. As others have said slow is the name of the game. And the feeling after you have made it is wonderful. Good luck - you can do it!!!


Brilliant post! Massive congrats on your progress so far! 😎🥳🏆

That 20 min jump can seem like a lot but take it steady and believe in yourself.

If you have to walk a little so be it. You will still have completed it! Pretty much every one has that "oh no" moment when they see 20mins!

You can do it! Keep us all posted on your amazing progress!! 😎😎😎😎

Yep, I never thought I would be able to make it - and then I just did! The program knows what it is doing :)

I am doing the program again now, due to having slacked off a lot, but this time I am aiming to go faster, which I happily have naturally been doing anyway - but now like you I am up to W5R3 and it is daunting. But I know Ive done it before so I can do it again!

Good luck! I'm sure youll surprise yourself!

Trust the program.


The programme works, I would do this one outside, I imagine its easier to adjust your pace, plus there are more distractions (says me, who's been out in strong winds and pouring rain this morning, very distracting!😂😂)

Honestly the continuous runs are easier than the intervals, good luck, slow it right down, enjoy it. 🤗


As the post linked to by Oldfloss states, there is no huge jump.......you have already done five longer workouts.

Trust the plan, believe in yourself and slow down.

It is yours for the taking.


I think it's the best run in the program. Once you have done it, and you will, then the rest holds no fears.

When I have been injured, this is the run I go back to, to recover my mojo.

I've done C25K twice and BOTH times I was bricking it before w5r3 and BOTH times got through it and felt like punching the air afterwards.

Think of it this way. In W5R2 you run 8 walk for 5 and run 8, so you're done after 21 minutes. In R3 you're done after only 20 mins.

I'm wondering if you felt you needed the full 5 minutes in the middle to recover. I felt ready to resume after 3 mins. That's because the course has prepared you and improved your fitness.

If your calves are protesting, my suggestion would be to relax and slow down. If on a machine, you can adjust the pace. I can just about sustain 7:30 per km, but you can adjust it to 8 or 8:30 or even 9 to take the pressure off. The pace doesn't matter at this stage - just try and keep running, however slow.

If you CAN get out - try running on grass - it's much kinder than the pavement!

I have felt exactly what you have been feeling on every single new week. Convinced myself that I could never increase from 60 second runs to 90 second runs! The main thing you have to remember is that you are in control. Do what you like and don't pile a load of guilt on yourself, but take a moment to congratulate yourself after every new achievement. I've repeated runs when I've felt like it, rather than steaming through them all as quickly as I can.

I never, ever for a minute thought I'd be running for a full 20 minutes, but if you pace yourself and you've been following the programme you'll realise it's all in your mind, rather than in your body.


W5R3 is an important transition. Up til now there have been walking breaks. Most beginners see these walks as a 'rest' or a 'break'. The purpose of the walking breaks is to allow your heart-rate to recover from the exertion of running. Folks get terrified when they see their first 20 minute run. Your body is ready for it, but now you will have to manage your heart-rate whilst you are running.. And that is really easy. Just run slower. Start off slower than normal, and if you start to tire whilst running, simply slow down a bit (but keep running).

This ability to manage your heart-rate is a top skill for the rest of your running career. And W5r3 is where you start.

Listen to Oldfloss! You have a single aim; to keep running for 20 minutes. Forget anything else. Go really really slowly...and then slow down again ... and you will be fine. No ifs, no buts. 👍😊

Thank you so much everybody! So much good advice for me to assimilate and apply tonight. I'm so grateful to everyone for taking time to encourage and advise me. Thank you!! I will keep you posted with how I get on this evening. 😅


You would have seen in the past posts and everyone's comments that r3 of week 5 scares pretty much everyone. I, myself, was horrified that I was expected to run for 20 minutes! But decided give it a go and see what happens. And it did happen, just like all the others I run for 20 minutes and practically cried with joy. It's the best feeling ever... But , if you struggle and start walking, it's not the end of the world. There's always another run. You've been running for 5 weeks, you're amazing!

Enjoy your ! 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️💪

Roads were too perilous to drive to gym last night. So I'm going in now!!! Fingers crossed!!!


Good luck WellbeingMyself! You CAN do it!💪🏼

I have just done it this morning, having felt exactly the same as you!

Fantastic advice on here to you and support, as always. I completely agree with the advice to just slow down where you need to and to trust that the program has built you up to this stage.

Let us know how you get on, rooting for you!👍🏼

Oh wow! Well done on completing W5R3 today too! It's wonderful knowing someone else is at the same stage and feeling the same way! Thank you! Well done on doing it!!! Wow! How amazing are we to have got this far! And how far can we go!!

in reply to WellbeingMyself

Wow! Well done!👏🏼🎉Knew you would!👍🏼 It’s a real buzz finishing isn’t it? Roll on Week 6 - we can do this!💪🏼💪🏼

Wow! I did it!! I actually actually did it!!! As everyone has said, trust the plan! It's more mind than body isn't it!! I found myself running through prayers, lyrics, numbers etc in my head, to get through!! And I was a bit disappointed when Laura said it was time to stop! I was ready for more by that point!

I have no idea how I have got here, but I'm so proud I have! It's made me realise so much is possible!!! I honestly think if I can do it, more or less anyone here can! Having M.E it's all about pacing for me. But with incremental steps I know I can stretch and stretch my capacity. I can't wait for week 6!! Eeeeek!!

Thank you so much for all your excellent advice and motivating talk and giving me faith in the programme. Exactly what I needed for some self belief! This place is amazing!! 💜🤗

in reply to WellbeingMyself

Seriously well done!! It's an amazing sense of relief when you realize you actually did it, and no longer have to dread it. I think it's at this point, and certainly by the end of week 6 that you become certain you can finish the course.

I am slightly ahead of you - week 7- and not so long ago I faced your fears and thought I could not do this..... And then I did ! (I am 51, overweight and unfit). Taking it slow and steady this was more mental than a physical test. Go for it and do not be hard on yourself And if you feel you can’t do it then perhaps the next time you can


Seriously you’ll be surprised how “easy” it is and think back to where you were 5 weeks ago....I struggled to do a full minute at the start and I’m into W9 tomorrow! Have faith in yourself and the miracle that is C25K!

Thank you! As you say I amazed myself today (comment a few up) by doing it!

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