Why can’t I run?: So I started running, not with... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
108,062 members139,162 posts

Why can’t I run?


So I started running, not with this particular app but with the 5k in mind and alternating running and walking. I developed shin splints in week 3 and had to stop for a week, but then I went out power walking instead.

So I’ve done this since October and my walking pace is now an average of 4.6 mph, so I can cover 3.3 miles in 43 mins but when I try to run , I seem to lose all my rhythm and breathing and not manage more than a minute or so.

Anyone else have this...or do I just need to “do” the app 😊

27 Replies

Hi Mizzog, so you haven’t done this app?? Yes I’d give it a shot I’ve gone from being someone who didn’t/ couldn’t run to someone who runs 3 times a week and actually enjoys it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised I know I was 😁

Hidden in reply to Jacca

Thanks for the reply, I have downloaded ready for when I get back off holiday. I perhaps just need some structure. I’m enjoying what I’m doing but I’d like to run 😊

JaccaGraduate in reply to Hidden

Don’t forget to post updates 😁

Hidden in reply to Jacca

I absolutely will!


You should 'do the app as you put it.

C25k has got thousands of people running.

Just go slow and slower again if needed and remember to drink lots of water per day and not just on run days about 2-3 litres it really helps.

C25k is an amazing plan and really does work you'll get lots of encouragement and support on here good luck 😊

Hidden in reply to Buddy34

Thanks buddy, I drink 2l a day minimum anyway, and always have 500ml on return from “walk”. I appreciate the reply and I’ll just do it after I get back from hols I think. I think I’m perhaps going out too hard at it and not even contemplating slowing down.

Astra5Graduate in reply to Buddy34

What Buddy34 said 150% - good luck 😎


Hi Mizzog, running requires a completely different movement so it's normal that you feel different when you run. I'm not sure what version of walking/running you used in the past, maybe your problems were because you were running too much? The other option is usually too fast... When I started running, I could walk faster than I was running (ok, it was hard to keep the pace, but I could do it), I'm in no way fast, but now I can definitely run faster than I walk! I completely recommend the version of the program in the NHS app, there are several variations in other apps, I haven't tried so they might be as good or better, but I couldn't run for 1 min in May and now I can run 10k

Hidden in reply to 2718281

Exactly my issue, I can walk faster 🙈 your progress is inspiring and I will get straight on it after hols on 29th. You are right too hard and too fast I think 🤔. Thanks for the feedback

2718281Graduate in reply to Hidden

Good luck!!

addicted2cycling in reply to Hidden

I suggest you research Danny Dreyer's Chi Walking. POWER WALKING is not an efficient use of muscles. Not every body is physically able to run without injury. I tried and found myself MUCH FASTER and injury free employing Chi Walking.

My best sprint walking mile was 8:36. Best walking marathon was my first at age 60.5 at the 2011 Disney World Marathon with a time of 4:56:28 after having walked the 5K on Friday and the half marathon on Saturday.

Hidden in reply to addicted2cycling

😮 wow! 8:36 a mile is awesome. I will take a look


addicted2cycling in reply to Hidden

Truth be told I WANTED TO RUN but it was not in the cards. I tried Chi Running but the actual required movement did not feel smooth enough. Transitioning into the Chi Walking posture is not for everyone but once accomplished it is remarkable.


Check out Japanese slow running on YouTube. I think it's the best way to approach c25k for injury-free progress. Also, leave two days rest, rather than one, between runs and make sure you do cool down stretches. I've found yoga stretches useful on rest days.

I would follow the programme to the letter. It is designed to condition and prepare your body for longer and longer runs. Be prepared to repeat weeks if necessary - we've all done it.

Good luck.


Hi Mizzog I did the very same thing apart from the power walking . I decided one day to get up and out and start to run! However although a runner in the army a few years ago now ,the 80s I had not ran since. I found it really difficult . I always started too fast, lost my momentum got out of breath very quick etc!

So I decided to do C25K and didn’t look back . This app gives you structure, and a voice to guide you through. Once you use it you’ll wonder why you waited so long! And before long you’ll be a runner!🤗🤗

So go on give it a go it’s well worth it. Plus the fact you’ve got all the lovely people here to support you .

Good luck and merry Xmas !👍🤗🎅🏻🎄⛄️

Hidden in reply to Hidden

Thank you for the reply! I am definitely on it after 29th. So many inspiring stories on here

Keep going. I really struggled first few weeks but powered through. I suggest following the app, it really does work. I've started week 8 so have 5 runs left and it does get easier.

I got shin splints at the beginning too, everyone here is right though. Slow it right down make sure you stretch and potentially consider 2 rest days.

I still run slowly but I'm currently working my way up to a half marathon and I haven't had shin splints for a really long time. (Although I was warned I might get them again when I change shoes as I wear them in just fyi)

Good luck!

I would certainly say try the app. I’ve been doing it for 7 weeks now and I found it very difficult as I’m over weight and haven’t run in 20+ years. I’ve only just progressed to week 2 of the training yesterday morning but I feel confident I can do it with the help of the app even if it takes me forever.

Hidden in reply to SamNotSammy

Thanks for sharing 😊 I think I’m naturally impatient and expect that if I decide I’m a runner then I should be Paula Ratcliffe within a week 🤦‍♀️ It sounds like you have your rhythm ..well done 👏🏻


You are probably attempting to run at a considerably faster pace than your walking.......slow down.

You need to be able to speak clear ungasping sentences as you run, as explained in the guide to the plan healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

Enjoy your journey.


Hi Mizzog. It's already been said, but have a look a the u-tube japanese slow running. It has worked for so many of us. Your stride is shorter so it's better for shins too. You can speed up after the course. Always stretch afterwards and always give yourself at least one day of rest in between. It works! Good luck!

Hi Mizzog, I felt I couldn't run right up to wk 7 of the app. I spent a year previous to trying the NHS podcasts doing power walking and running for up to 3 minutes towards the end of the year. And like you I felt I couldn't breathe correctly and wasn't really running. I covered the ground - doing 5.3km each time. When I started using the podcasts I used the same route and even had to shorten it slightly for the first few weeks. As I said up to wk7 I felt I wasn't getting it right but the programme led me on and now I've just completed wk9 and have graduated! The first 6 to 7 minutes of running is still hard but then the body gets used to it and as I relax more into my stride I find the breathing isn't as difficult. The podcasts give you lots of advice as your running along. Try the podcasts - Laura is fantastically calm and encouraging. Please give it a go.

Hidden in reply to Pensionedjogger

Thank you for your feedback and advice!


Lots of good tips already, like the others say, slow down, really take your time and try to enjoy the sensation of movement.

I try not to think about speed or distance when I'm running, for me, that's the real benefit of the app - it tells me when to go & when to stop, I can leave my watch at home and not stress about the data!

My other big tip is to make sure you have 1 or 2 proper rest days in between runs.

I strongly recommend the C25K app and this forum.

Good luck, remember to post how you get on.


Thank you, I can’t believe how many people have taken time to reply and help me x will definitely post back after my Holiday, I am away for Xmas but will be starting with the app after that

Hi Mizzog, you mentioned shin splints, so I thought I’d give my shin splint story as it might help anyone with this painful problem. In fact, I’ve heard quite a few people say they can’t run at all and had to give up because of shin splints, which is a shame as with a bit of help, they can be greatly reduced (in my experience, I’m not a physio or a doc).

I started treadmill running as part of a weight loss program. I was only running 1 or 2Km three times a week, but I started getting nasty shin splints. They are painful, and you really feel like something’s broken. You can develop stress fractures, so I had to see a physio to check it wasn’t anything serious.

The problem was my feet are “flat”. My arches are non-existent when I stand. This was never a problem when walking, but when running the feet rolled inwards on every landing putting strain on various tendons in my calves.

The answer was to see a podiatrist. He took some measurements and made up some insoles to raise my arches and stop the tendon strain. I’d been struggling to finish my 1 or 2K and was taking more and more breaks from running, but within days of getting my insoles I’d increased to 3K and more.

So shin splints might be normal for new runners, but don’t suffer needlessly if they go on for a long time. Maybe new footwear is needed or some insoles. Physios aren’t cheap, but the stuff they can do is pretty miraculous.

You may also like...