Really demoralised now: I've now tried to do a... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Really demoralised now


I've now tried to do a Week 4 run 5 times, and haven't once succeeded. In fact, I've just got worse each time, giving up sooner. Please don't just tell me to run more slowly -believe me, I have tried, and I have watched the Japanese video countless times. I drank gallons of water yesterday, so I was definitely hydrated. I left a few days' gap between my fourth and fifth attempts, but was not entirely idle as we went for a 6 mile kayak trip and a 6 mile country walk during that period. About the only positive thing I can say is that I managed the steep hill on our walk without stopping - a route I've done many times before, but always with a rest on the hill. Has anyone else reached such a wall in week 4? Would it be better to repeat week 3?

37 Replies

You don't say why you didn't complete it ?

Was it pain , muscle problem, breathing problems ?


Instructor57Graduate in reply to Rising60

You really need to be a bit more specific if you are looking for help ,

Can you breathe ok ,

I noticed from previous posts that IannodaTruffe asked you if you could speak full sentences while running without gasping by for breath , but you didn't answer ?

I very much doubt that I could speak, but I haven't tried.

nowsterGraduate in reply to Rising60

If you can't speak, you're probably trying to run too fast.

Instructor57Graduate in reply to Rising60

Then although you said you don't want to be told to slow down then that will be the answer I'm afraid, it what's known as the conversational pace which will put you somewhere near 75% if your maximum heart rate , if you keep it much higher than this then you will struggle to maintain it .

It's one of the things nearly everyone struggles with and often fail to accept, but believe me, it will make a huge difference,

Nearly all of us have been there !

Try it !

Try talking too yourself!

I still do it now if I'm trying to run a fair distance.


Are you running too hilly a route?

Rising60 in reply to nowster

No, sadly it's almost flat (30 feet elevation in total over 2.2 miles, and most of that is in the walk).

Don't give up, it's in your head that you can't do it now so it's making it tough. If you feel dropping back a week will help you could but I'm sure the thought of returning to this week will still be on your mind... Anywhere you could run that's a little flatter maybe avoiding any slopes will make it a bit more manageable? Ive just completed week 4 and it got easier each run. I'd say have a weekend off, don't think about it one bit and then smash it Monday!

You CAN do it


Some questions for you Rising60 - and please be specific with your answers - they will help us to help you.

(1) At point in your Week 4 run are you stopping? How far (time-wise) are you getting? The run is 3, 5, 3, 5 minutes...

(2) at the moment you stop, what *exactly* are you feeling physically? You say exhaustion but in what way? What is your breathing like, your breathing rate? How are your lungs? What are you legs feeling like? How big or small is your stride length? Are you making an effort to keep your strides small.

(3) You say you've watched the Japanese Slow Jogging method 'countless' times. Do you realise just how slow they are actually going - it's slower than most people's walking pace.

(4) do you think you are 'jogging' or 'running' ? (important!)

(5) What do *you* think the problem is?

On your 6 mile hike, going up that steep hill, could you talk with your companions?

Rising60 in reply to John_W

1) Today I only made it to half way through the first 5 min segment. I tried to do a bit more running later on but gave up after a minute or two each time.

2) Trouble breathing and tired legs. I am trying really hard to take small strides, and have definitely shortened them.

3) I do understand they are going really slowly, but I think my stumbling block is trying to translate that into my own jogging. I just can't seem to get how to go even more slowly.

4) Jogging, not running

5) I could talk most of the way up, but had pulled ahead so had no one to talk to by the time I reached the top.

John_WAmbassador in reply to Rising60

1) that really is quite something. How did you feeling physically that morning? Were you tired from your 12 (TWELVE) miles (20 kilometres) of kayaking and walking ? You say you gave up after a minute or 2... do you think you're expecting it to feel super easy, like your kayaking and walking? You seem to kayak and walk VERY quickly (see below).

2) Trouble breathing and tired legs... The former suggests you're still going too quick (sorry!) and the latter suggests tiredness from other activities. But to be feeling those after only 3 + 2 (5) minutes of JOGGING really suggests something extreme is going on. Again, you're either already physically and/or mentally exhausted BEFORE you start OR... you have a medical condition that you either haven't disclosed or you don't know about yet .

3) suggests that you still don't yet know how to properly JOG. Do you have access to a treadmill?

4) I disagree. I think you are properly running but by your own quick-quick-quick standards (with reference to your kayak paddling and walking uphill speed), you judge your running pace to be very slow, but it's clearly FAR too quick for what you're trying to achieve.

5) see your reply from your previous post below re: your kayaking - you husband and son complain about quick paddling . You walk quickly, even uphill and pull ahead of others. This suggests a certain impatience and a willingness to get things done ASAP. You're not going to wait for anyone!

"I probably am going too fast, but I have really tried to slow down and find it very difficult to achieve. "

>> This is a technical and mental problem. It can be solved *quite easily* using a treadmill.

"Although I'm not particularly fit, I think my natural cadence is too high - if I kayak in a double kayak with my husband or son they always complain that I'm paddling too fast, but my daughter is fine with my rhythm."

>> Your daughter takes after you and not your husband. Does she walk and move generally at your quick pace?

Finally... this is perfectly do-able . Many thousands (millions?) of people around the world have done it. You're fit enough to kayak 6 miles and walk 6 miles in a short space of time and even power uphill ahead of others. You're more than fit enough. Unless you have some sort of limiting physical condition, then you are PERFECTLY capable of doing this. You just need to find *that* pace at which you sustain a nice and relaxed jog. It's a pace at which, eventually, you could sustain for 1 hour and more if you had to. Trust me, it's possible.


Learning to run efficiently is largely about finding a sustainable pace, one at which you don't collapse or suffer undue aches and pains. This pace is one at which your body can supply adequate oxygen to the muscles to permit them to undertake the demands of your workout for the full session. The easiest way to identify that pace is to try talking out loud to yourself as you run (not just mutter under your breath).

Say this sentence out loud to yourself "Am I going slow enough to enable me to speak this sentence in one out breath?" If you cannot, you are going too fast for your current fitness level.

This easy conversational pace equates to approximately 75% of your maximum heart rate, which is the perfect zone to build the solid aerobic base required to run faster and further, which is why it is the pace at which elite athletes spend up to 80% of their training time.

A 5000m runner does not run at the same pace as a 100m need to pace yourself. You may feel impossibly slow and you may in fact be able to walk faster, but that will improve as you build your fitness and endurance.

Slowing down to the recommended easy conversational pace makes it more achievable and for most, more enjoyable.

The workout you need to crack is W4, so although going back to W3 will continue to build your stamina it will not get you past W4. Have you read this post about mental approach So much of this is in our heads.


Oh no it's so awful when you feel like you cant do anymore and it's still a battle.

I realise you will think its easy for me to say "keep at it" " you can do it" "dont give up" when you probably wont to cry and shout

I would imagine some of it is now psychological so repeating weeks probably wont benefit you as you'll get to week 4 again and feel the same.

I'm no expert (very slow, very overweight) but all I can say is post more on here, someone will always give advice and support who has more knowledge and experience

The support from strangers I find truly amazing and has without doubt given me the confidence to continue with this program

I really hope you find the strength physically and mentally to continue.

I really do wish you the best of luck 🥰


I think sometimes there is a problem with all the terminology and our expectations...’s *not* about 5K, it’s about getting you fit enough to be able to run non stop for 30 minutes.

The whole use of the phrase *running*...especially when you’re out there and you see other people going faster than you, plus the elite athletes you see on the TV.

I’ve just completed Week 6. The app has told me that I’m a way! I’ve moved continuously for 25 minutes without stopping...yes. My brisk walking pace is faster than my jogging. The phrase *slogging*...for SLOW jogging has been used on this forum! 😊 it’s NOT about running, and it’s certainly NOT about running 5K like an athlete. IS about getting fit, and building up endurance and stamina so you can jog slowly for 30 minutes without feeling knackered. Honest. If you spend any amount of time on this forum, you will see this by reading other posts.

Sorry this is long...but to finish on some positive thoughts:

1) any day you didn’t complete is a *training* day...and that includes your head!

2) you have built up enough fitness already to complete that hill walk now without stopping...

Go you!

FeltipGraduate in reply to LottieMW

Love everything you've said here, yes training days, that's been said to me too

And absolutely you should recognize that you have seen an improvement in your hill walk

Take care of yourself Rising60

John_WAmbassador in reply to LottieMW

well said! Especially the stuff about 'running' ...

Hi Rising60, sorry to hear you’re feeling demoralised. There’s some cracking advice above but if your physiological ‘wall’ is too high I think it would be a great idea to repeat W3. It will help build your confidence back up.

I used to run many years ago to the point where I’d be exhausted from pushing myself too hard. I got very little enjoyment from the activity as I’d feel like I was failing at it most of the time. Funnily enough, I quit it.

We all have good and not-so-good runs but you shouldn’t be feeling so downcast that you never want to lace up your trainers again.

You could even repeat W3 until you feel like you’re smashing it out the park and you’re raring to take on W4! The programme doesn’t have a time scale so no pressure - take your time and speak kindly to yourself. Exercise is exercise 👌🏼

You are clearly no couch potato. Have faith in yourself, you CAN totally do this and your crew have your back.

Let us know how you get on 😊

FeltipGraduate in reply to acountrycabbage

I've said it sooooo many times I'm probably becoming predictable but the kindness of strangers, ie people you've never met, unlikely to ever meet and have absolutely no obligation to say anything nice, never ever fails to overwhelm me. I love this place 🥰

People say nice supportive things here just because they want to support, uplift, pass on wisdom because they generally want people to succeed 💕

Now I'm getting emotional so will leave it for now 🤣

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to Feltip

Totally, and you know why?? Because we’ve been in their shoes too.

Stop it FT, you’ll get me crying over here!! 😉🥰🤗😘

FeltipGraduate in reply to acountrycabbage


Maxi80 in reply to Feltip

Group hug 😂

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to Maxi80

Ha ha ha!

FeltipGraduate in reply to Maxi80



PS do you have access to a heart rate monitor ?

Rising60 in reply to John_W

No I don't. I would worry about becoming too fixated on numbers, but if it would teach me how to slow down perhaps I should get one. What do people recommend?

John_WAmbassador in reply to Rising60

Right now, you'd be better off with a treadmill. Do you have access to one?

Rising60 in reply to John_W

No, no treadmill either.

John_WAmbassador in reply to Rising60

but could you access one at a nearby gym or does a friend or family member have one?


Rising60 so... thoughts ?


Good morning Rising60 ,

How was your weekend?

I was thinking more about your issues and I had thoughts ...

- is there anyway your daughter, son or husband could join you for a jog ? Maybe if they are slower you could force yourself to go at their pace?

- is there anyway one of them could video you jogging and you could post it here? That way, I/we could see for ourselves what your struggle with 8 minutes of jogging looks like and how could fix it.

What do you think?

Rising60 in reply to John_W

Thank you. I tried one run, and got a bit further through it. My phone's app showed my first 3 min run at a pace of 6mph, but for the later runs the pace crept up a bit, so I suspect that I have to try even harder to go slowly. Our kids have left home and my husband certainly wouldn't run slowly as he was a sprinter as a boy and can't contemplate running slowly, if indeed he were prepared to run at all!

nowsterGraduate in reply to Rising60

6mph is 6.2min/km. That's pretty fast for a beginner.

John_WAmbassador in reply to Rising60

Yes, you will have to try MUCH harder to reduce that pace, cos that, lady, is WAAYYY too quick for a beginner. For you, I suggest you target a speed of around 5.0 mph (8km/h, or 12 min/mile, 7:30 min/km).

If you can access a treadmill - pay-as-you-go at a local gym? - this will be easier. Otherwise, set a speed or pace alert on your phone app.


Hi Rising60. Someone may have addressed this but have you thought about changing the time of day you run? I usually run in the evening and with darker nights coming on I thought I would try to run mornings. I tried three times last week but couldn’t finish 30 mins, 3rd time only managed 20 mins so I’m going back to evenings.

Rising60 in reply to Meowriel

I usually run in the mornings, but the one time I tried in the afternoon was horrible! I think I'll stick to mornings.


Sounds like all the walking and kayaking has knackered you. I sometimes have 2 or 3 days rest b4 I attempt a run. Good luck xx

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