Finished week 4, need a pep talk please! - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Finished week 4, need a pep talk please!

Vogueskater profile image

I am feeling like week 5 is a mountain I can't climb at the moment. 4/2 and 4/3 one of the 5minute runs in both I could barely complete as my legs were burning so much, I was slow jogging as slowly as possible and my breathing was good. This has been the issue every time I've tried to get into running. I can walk 15 miles almost power walking, slam a spin class etc, my CV fitness isn't the issue. My leg muscles just can't seem to adapt to the running motion without so much lactic acid they literally start to seize up.

5/3 looks like a joe right now. Wondering if I should loop week 4 again until the 5min runs get at least do-able!

21 Replies

I feel exactly the same as you... my legs really start to burn and feel tight in the last 5 minutes and I’m really worried about week 5 ...

Rennur profile image
RennurGraduate

I'm repeating week 4.

On the second attempt at run 1 I did it all without pausing the app. Some of it is definitely mental.

Just carry on past the hurt.

I feel if I can do the next one then it is just one to go. If I can't I only have to repeat that run, not the whole week. But I will do it this time.

There are many people on this site who have hit blocks and got over them by repeating runs or whole weeks - many times.

I am sure we'll both do it!

Rennur profile image
RennurGraduate in reply to Rennur

Of course when I say carry on through the hurt I dont mean injure yourself.

Tell yourself you can do this.

davelinks profile image
davelinksGraduate

A lot of it is probably mind, just try not worry about 5/3, a lot worry too much about it, and it's really not worth it, believe me! you've got to where you are without many problems, just go for it! Slowly, and when the going gets tougher just slow down.. 😊

Welcome to the forum and well done

on your progress.

Stretching immediately after every run,while muscles are still warm and supple, pulls out contractions, avoiding carrying tensions into the next run and also improves recovery by improving blood flow, as recommended in the guide to the plan.

Many people do not hold their stretches for long enough or put enough effort in. Hold post run stretches for 30 seconds and make sure the pull is strong enough to be on the verge of discomfort.

Can you speak aloud, clear, ungasping sentences as you run?.........if not, you are going too fast.

This guide to the plan is essential reading healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

and includes advice on minimising impact, stretching after every run, hydration and strengthening exercises, all of which will help.

This post about W5 may allay any fears healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

Enjoy your journey.

Couchpotat0 profile image
Couchpotat0Graduate

I have just finished repeating week 4 and I can tell you it's the best thing I've done! I felt exactly the same as you last week - I managed to get through the runs but only just, and I felt like week 5 was going to be impossible. It was the first time in this programme that I felt like giving up.

Having repeated week 4 this week, I managed to complete the 5 minute runs much easier each time and now I feel physically and mentally much better prepared for week 5!

Also when my legs start to ache a lot I actually find shortening my stride helps. Whenever I just slow down, my stride gets longer and my legs seem to burn more, but if I run using short, quick strides, it feels easier.

You can do this! Just remember to go at your own pace and do what feels right for you.

Delly-dot profile image
Delly-dotGraduate

Welcome to the forum Vogueskater and well done on reaching w5.

From reading your post it certainly sounds that you are physically fit enough to be making good progress through the weeks of C25k. The issue with your legs could be caused by low hydration levels as this can really affect your muscles and cause heavy feeling legs during a run if you are not hydrated enough. Ideally you need to be drinking between 2-3 litres of fluids each day, even on rest days, and though this may sound a lot, it can make a noticible difference if you can increase your intake.

Make sure you stretch well after each run, and hold the stretches for at least 30 seconds. Good post run stretches can be found on the NHS website if you Google "post-run stretches".

Good luck.

nowster profile image
nowsterGraduate

Do not fear week 5. You've already done the hard work in completing week 4.

The first two runs of Week 5 have almost the same running in them as week 4. (The first in week 5 has less.)

The third run of week 5 has a minute and a half less overall activity than anything in week 4.

Ignore the numbers and trust the programme.

Definitely hydrate more. I found the first 2-3 wks my legs increasingly felt like heavy lead and after run 2wk3 they shook uncontrollably at the end of the run. I followed the advice on this forum re drinking lots of water between runs and the heaviness disappeared. I’m now going into wk 8 and so am on the home straight and amazed as do many are that I can run albeit very slowly for 25+ minutes without stopping. Keep going and drink water. .

A lot of this is about the mind. You can do week 5, just go at your own pace and remember why you're doing this. It's mind over matter!

CaptFrey profile image
CaptFreyGraduate

Hi, You will get there, perhaps slow it down a bit or repeat the sessions until you are ok. You will do this and the programme does work so stick with it. I repeated a fair bit when I started. It’s about your head as much as your legs. Stick with it 🤗

Rising60 profile image
Rising60Graduate

It's taken me almost 6 weeks to get through week 4. I've now done two of the runs without pausing/stopping early, and am confident about the third. I was very demoralised. Week 5 does sound difficult, but as others have said, the overall difference in run time is far less between week 5 and week 4, than between week 4 and week 3. Mentally, I'm now much happier about repeating a run or a week and have learned to accept that I'm achieving something, even if it's not quite what I hoped when I started c25k. Good luck!

Like you, my CV fitness is very good and I am hardly out of breath or sweating, the problem I have is my calves. A physio told me that I may need to take the programme slowly because I’m in my fifties and I have never run before and running motion is totally new to me (she said I have no “muscle memory”) and so I’ve been repeating weeks. I also seem to find I get on better with two (Or even three or four!) rest days instead of one. I do plenty of stretches and also other strengthening exercises on those days I’m not running. And progressing through like this has really helped as I am making progress albeit more slowly than others. But it doesn’t matter how quickly you do it. Each time you run, even if it’s a repeat run, you are strengthening your muscles. As long you stick at it, you will make progress and eventually get to be running 30 minutes.

Sybilw profile image
SybilwGraduate

I’m a firm believer that week 5 is when your brain training starts. Your legs and heart have started their journey but this week is when you need to embrace “ICAN do this!” It sounds as if you might benefit from a repeat of week 4 though to give you the confidence to move forward.

Jericho2332 profile image
Jericho2332Graduate

You CAN do it, week 5 run 3 is scary on paper but all the previous work prepares you for it. If you go in thinking you can't do it then you won't, your already setup to fail. Start knowing it will be tough but that you can do it and your not gonna stop! It's amazing how quickly it goes (I was soooo unfit and could barley run for 1 minute at start of this, running for 20 non stop seemed impossible!) just keep putting one foot in front of the other, believe that you will finish and don't give up. Also I recomend some banging 90s dance with a suitable BPM 👍🏻 it keeps you going 😁

I felt exactly the same. Its a mental issue as by W5R2 I was pleasantly surprised I could do the 8 minute runs although slowly and absolutely chuffed to bits about the 20 minute run. I wear tubigrip supports on my calfs as my legs suffer and I try to lightly stretch out b4 & after. Week 5 is a mental challenge imo - I was dreading it but after I got over myself I smashed it - believe in yourself, slow down if the legs hurt and try to focus on breathing rather than how the legs might feel (unless really bad of course). You are ready for this - the program works. Good luck!

There is a whole rang of great advice you’ve received and I can’t add anything really just to reiterate what’s been said:

1) if you want repeat any weeks or runs then do it, it’s not a race to W9, we all have our own pace The important thing is not to give up, keep running your legs will get stronger and you’ll be able to move on.

2) Stretch before and after you’re runs there’s some great apps to help you out there.

3) Make sure you hydrate ‘every’ day.

4) Finally trust the program, it does work. Everyone who has got through W5 is testament to that, a lot of in here are ageing, over weight and never done exercise before.

You can do this, trust me, the program and most of all trust in you and your abilities.

NB. Tell that little negative voice inside to do one!

Tom-cat profile image
Tom-catGraduate

An awful lot of your trepidation for the following week is self created between your own ears. I've been running again with 5 ladies of mixed ability. Some like me, are the steep side of 60, others haven't run since school days. They all eyed week 5, particularly r3, with trepidation. Having trodden this route previously I told them the anticipation was far worse than the execution. Once completed, all 5 agreed. This evening is r3 of week 6 and my little run group remains intact. I would add, group support whilst running works incredibly well.

Dance2020 profile image
Dance2020Graduate

Hi there, I repeated several weeks as I went through the programme and I found after week 5 my legs were much stronger and it actually became easier. Try two test days so there is more time for recovery and yes make sure you drink plenty. Stick with it. I took about 13 weeks to get through the program but I’m now running 5k three times a week at 57 and feeling all of the benefits!! You can do it!

Ive only completed 1 session of week 4 after repeating week 3. My problem is getting my breathing right Especially in the last 5 minute jog/run. I have watched endless videos re stance, posture etc but breathing I just cannot get it to click. I do not go fast. Suggestions anyone please. TIA

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