Week 5 run 3 struggling!!: Who has done week... - Couch to 5K

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Week 5 run 3 struggling!!


Who has done week 5 run 3 more than once? I’m struggling- managed it this week with a 3 minute break in between 2 lots of 10 minutes! This is my third attempt- shall I start week 6 or try again to do 20 minutes non stop?

59 Replies

If you can't do 20 mins straight you're going to struggle doing Week 6. W6 is progressively harder.

You're just done a W6R2 run though!

Of course I have! Thanks for that. I need to get my head into gear and try again to run the full 20 minutes. I’ve been reading through this forum tonight and noticed that somebody had repeated week 1 nine times then managed week 5 run 3 the first time! That shows such determination that it inspires me to go out again tomorrow 😊

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to Prof1

Wow, that’s the definition of determination!👌🏼

Do you listen to music whilst you’re running, Prof?

Yes, I always have some sort of playlist to spur me on! Usually Kings of Leon or Arcade Fire! Love them both 💕

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to Prof1

🙌🏼 Niice! Arcade Fire are one of my fave bands, what excellent taste you have 😉👌🏼

Up until your stage in the game I was letting my tunes shuffle randomly. Once I learned what I was expected of me for W5R3, I decided to create a playlist that wouldn’t shuffle so I knew exactly what song would come next. (20mins worth is surprisingly few songs, depending on the length). I knew where I was start/middle/end of my run. It helped to make me feel in control.

Just thought I’d mention in case helpful. I’m nuts about my music and each session has to be just right 🙃

After W5R3 and through to W7 I think, I stuck with favourite soundtracks like Hamilton and Dirty Dancing which really distracted me because of their.. continuity? Hope that makes sense! It worked a treat for me anyway..! 😃

You’re totally capable of doing the solid twenty mins. It sounds like your break in the middle is psychological. Think about going slowly and then go slower 👍🏼 Have you seen the slow jogging video doing the rounds on the forum?

Yes, I watched the slow jogging video this morning and recognised my speed!! 🤣 I love my music too and agree that certain songs can really help so I might follow your advice and create a special playlist for the longer runs. You’re right about psychology- I tell myself I can’t carry on and end up walking even though I must be capable to have got this far! I literally haven’t run since secondary school and I turned 50 this year 😆

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to Prof1

Well you’re doing great so far, W4 was the ‘biggie’ week, where you really ramp up the run time. (From 9mins to a total of 16 if I remember rightly). What’s 4 more minutes this week?! You can totally do this.

Slow. Slow. Slow. And tell those gremlins where to go.

(That was not meant to rhyme but I like it) 😎😂

I like it too! I remember how great I felt after the 2 lots of 8 minutes in week 4 but I’ll just have get used to not having a walking break. Positive vibes are the way to go, I think!! 👍😊

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to Prof1

When those gremlins creep up, tell them, ‘I CAN, and I WILL do this!’ 👊🏼💥

Look forward you hearing how you get on. Bon courage!

Merci beaucoup! Are you a former languages teacher too?!! 😂

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to Prof1

Ha, I’m not but I spotted your bio and thought Prof had to be a nod to French or Spanish! 😁 I lived in France for a few years. Miss it a lot, sigh.. 💙❤️

I used to teach French & Spanish! I love languages but some secondary students weren’t as keen! Both are beautiful countries 😃

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to Prof1

Hmm, yes.. I loved French at school but I remember the utter disinterest from so many fellow pupils. Such a shame! I love language/s in general. I speak tourist Italian and would love to run away to Italy to become fluent. One day maybe 😄

Funnily enough I want to learn Italian when I retire (in a few years!) ... and also piano. Hopefully I’ll still be running then too! 🏃‍♀️

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to Prof1

Maybe we should start a running/language group!? 😁 I remember when I first joined the forum and I saw a few people talking about ‘LEJOG’ which I thought was exactly that 🇫🇷

Turns out it’s a virtual race from Lands End -> John O Groats. I was disappointed to say the least! 🤣🤣

Good idea! Now I’m off to bed so hasta mañana 🇪🇸

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to Prof1

Hee hee, moi aussi, bonne nuit!

nowsterGraduate in reply to acountrycabbage

You're Australian? 🤣

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to nowster

I’ll call a taxi for you nowster..! 😁😉

nowsterGraduate in reply to acountrycabbage

"You're a taxi."

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to nowster

Ha ha ha 😂

BaddieThePirateGraduate in reply to acountrycabbage

Mais oui, may we?

acountrycabbageGraduate in reply to BaddieThePirate


Saarek in reply to Prof1

I found Week 5, Runs 1 & 2 really hard. New runner soreness in the calves was a killer, but I remember that others mentioned that it doesn't matter if you jog at a walking pace, it's the pose and movement of the jog that matters at this stage and I managed to hang in there and complete.

Just finished Week 5, Run 3 last night and was amazed that I found it easier than the other two runs.

Just keep at it, you're way fitter than you were during week 1, you'll nail it.

BogshufflerGraduate in reply to Prof1

Prof, as you are now recognizing this your head not your body that is preventing you completing the 20 mins. Country Cabbage's tip about sorting your own playlist is a goody, I think I did that for week 7 or 8 run 3. Pick the tunes that pick you up for the middle and end of the list. Also, if you look through the forum you will see that a lot of us feel rubbish at 10 mins or so, but then when we push on regardless, find that 5 minutes latet we feel comfortable. Just decide you're going to do it and then do so.

BTW I'm 55 and have not long graduated, so age is no excuse especially when you realise that people a lot older than us are smashing C25K 😝


Force yourself to go slower than you have ever jogged before. The middle ten are hard but once hear your coach say there is just five minutes left you just have to tell yourself,"I've got this far, so I am going to finish." Honestly once you hear then that there's just one minute left you will feel light and might even hey a tiny spring in your step.

You can do it.

Prof1 in reply to Rennur

Great advice, thank you 😊


Just slow it down. This run is 10% physical and 90% mental. But just keep going. When you look back this is really the watershed run that defines a runner so it needs to be overcome👍😀

Prof1 in reply to MontyMooDog

MontyMooDog - is your dog a Cava or Cockerpoo? Gorgeous! I have 2 cavapoos called Bonnie & Clyde and Clyde is the same colour as yours. Anyway, thanks for your advice - I agree with it totally and know that I can do this I just need to get out there and prove it to myself! 🤞


Monty is a cockapoo and a real character. He will be 2 in January😀

Prof1 in reply to MontyMooDog

My 2 are 8 already but such lovely dogs, they have a great temperament don’t they? Shame they can’t run with me but I’d have to jog on the spot to pick up their woopsies!! 🤣

nowsterGraduate in reply to MontyMooDog

My sister has a cockerpoo who is her shadow. I stayed with them for three weeks when he was about 10 months old. I was with him the first evening she'd gone out without him. After about an hour he warmed to me. At the end of my stay I'm told he sulked for the rest of the day when I went home. Definitely a character.

Prof1 in reply to nowster

These Poodle cross breeds are like shadows - they follow us everywhere even into the bathroom. They are very loyal, lovely dogs - highly recommended to anybody considering getting a dog. Another big plus is they don’t moult! Win win. ❤️

MontyMooDogGraduate in reply to Prof1

Monty won't leave my wife alone😂🤣🐕

Prof1 in reply to MontyMooDog

😂 Typical!


Welcome to the forum and well done on your progress.

If you are struggling, just slow down to the recommended easy conversational pace.

If you cannot speak clear ungasping sentences as you run then 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.

Enjoy your journey.

Prof1 in reply to IannodaTruffe

Thank you very much for this. I read it when I first started and have just reread it - there are some really useful tips here, especially about hydration 👍

When I was dreading it, someone on here said to me it is only 4 lots of five minutes, really helped me mentally. You can do it, maybe take an extra rest day 💪🏻

Prof1 in reply to Tendance

Yes, I might go out on Monday rather than tomorrow with 4 five minute songs on my playlist! Thank you for your advice 😊

Jacbo30 in reply to Prof1

I did w5 R2 last night & planning on r3 Monday. I’m dreading it as the jump to a full 20 mins running seems huge. We’ve got this far so stay determined & you will get there....at least that’s what I’m telling myself. I might make myself a playlist as well, like suggested earlier. Good luck with it & look forward to seeing how you do on Monday 😁


You should do the 20 minutes non stop, you shouldn’t be moving on until you’ve mastered that......If you get your breathing right and set off nice and slowly you won’t need that break. Try and get your breathing into a good rhythm, deep breath in then purse your lips as you breathe out, so you breathe out slower. If you get that right, your legs will carry you through and you won’t get out of breath, because your body is getting the oxygen it needs, also forget previous attempts, they were just practice runs....next time clear your mind and focus on the run itself. Your new mantra being ‘don’t quit when you’re tired, quit when you’re done’ come on Prof1 you’ve got this 💪🏻👍🏃‍♂️


I would try it again and aim for 15 minutes without a break. That way you're adding a bit more on without it seeming too daunting. When you get to 10 minutes try any distraction you can think of to get you through to your next goal. Good luck!

Hi. You've had loads of great advice already (that's what I love about this forum) but for my two pennies worth, it took me 4 attempts to crack the 20 minute run. At the time it felt so hard but I am so glad that I stuck with it as I graduated last week and feel great 😁 For me, the keys to beating the 20 minute gremlins were slowing down even when I thought I was already slower than a snail, not repeating a route where I had 'failed', reaching out to the lovely people on here and the Top Gun soundtrack.

You will get there. Just remember that we are all on our own journeys. Good luck and I look forward to reading about your success very soon 😁

Yes definitely - go back and keep doing it - even go back to week 4 and rebuild your confidence and stamina. I did week 5 twice as was worried - best of luck!!!


Definitely keep trying this run until you can complete the 20 mins without stopping. As said in some of the earlier comments, this one is mostly a mental challenge. You are physically capable of completing it if you have completed all of the preceding runs and are doing so well

I graduated a little while ago (but am still a new runner), I can complete 30 minutes very comfortably now, but the first 10 minutes are always a slog (read up on toxic 10) and my most comfortable is 20 minutes onwards. In hindsight the earlier runs in plan never got me to my personal comfort zone (and were increasing my endurance and conditioning) And I enjoyed week 7-9 much more because of that

The feeling you will feel when you complete this run will be worth it (I cried, or tried to cry, whilst not being able to breathe). Your accomplishment has been amazing so far. Keep going 👍🏻


I did week 5 a few times and without repeating it I doubt I would have ever finished the program it’s totally worth repeating especially if you slow down


I repeated loads of runs earlier on. I’m now running w7r3 m, 25 mins no stopping. Repeating will ensure you are ready to move on to the next one and not have serial disappointments


You got this as you are over half way so you have done more than there is left of the program. Pick a rout with some down hills if you can and check which way the wind is blowing and try to let it push you through-conditions right now are tricky and a bit demoralising - keep looking to reach the next lamp post or keep your eye on something and you will get there. Steady away.


I didn’t but it took some serious self belief to make me complete it. It does get harder but keep believing you can do it and you will. I’ve graduated 3 weeks ago but have repeated week 9 for those three weeks, I’m going out of my comfort zone and doing 35 minutes today. Keep going.

I second what acountrycabbage said. Around your point I started to create timed playlists. I'd put my most motivational songs after the half way point then for the cool down have songs that told me how awesome I was! Or Another One Bites the Dust! Good luck.


I often repeated weeks just to give me the confidence to continue and enjoy what I was doing. I completed week 9!last week and managed 5k in just over 30mins. I couldn’t manage a minute when I started. I also join a local beginners running group and it’s so much easier to run with someone else rather than on my own. I struggle 30 mins in my own but yesterday did a 5k with the group xx


hey Prof1

There is nothing physically difficult about W5R3, simply because, just like every other run in the program, all the preceding runs have prepared you for it. Yes, your body is actually ready!

BUT... what isn't so ready is your mind and W5R3 is pretty much a mental test. It's also about finding the right pace that can sustain you for that 20 minutes. It means slowing down - a lot.

You may not believe now, but it's perfectly possible, even at this stage, to go for 20 minutes non-stop AND feel like you could carry on at the end if you had. Find *that* pace and you'll have a very enjoyable and satisfying experience.

You can do it - crack on!


Here's something to give you some confidence:

Week 1 - you ran for 8 minutes (3 times - so that's 24 minutes )

Week 2 - 9 minutes, 3 times (27 minutes in the week)

Week 3 - 9 minutes (another 27 minutes)

Week 4.1 - 16 minutes

Week 4.2 - 16 minutes

Week 4.3 - 16 minutes

Week 5.1 - 15 minutes

Week 5.2 - 16 minutes (should be easy by now, right?)

.... Week 5.3 - 20 minutes (with 157 minutes of previous running in your legs).

And have a look at : healthunlocked.com/couchto5...


: healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

2 mantra's for you:

Mantra #1: every run you've done prepares you for the next one (i.e. your body is ready!

Mantra #2: the body is ready but the mind less so (i.e. ignore the gremlins, the fear!)

You don't need luck, just confidence.

Your body is READY .

Do it.


You can do this. The first time I did the 20mins I got all emotional. I was so happy to get past the one that I was so scared of. I would say that run is the game changer. It’s the path to becoming the runner and all further runs become less fearful: it’s really all in the mind. Try relaxing, slow down, music on and think about a holiday or something nice. The time flies by and before you know, it’s done. Good luck

I did w5 r2 yesterday and am planning to do w5 r3 tomorrow! The playlist idea sounds better than watching the clock!

I think we should give that a go?!

Good Luck!


To me its the same as any other run -

1. do what you can and don't worry about it - maybe you manage this week or next or the one after - its not really going to change the world if you're late

2. try and run slower or at least at a comfortable pace for you (i.e. I find it harder on my joints if I go too slow) - remember a few seconds per km pace may not seem like much when you're thinking about a 6-8min period (1k) but it actually makes a massive difference to your ability to keep running continuously - speed will come with practice as will distance

3. try to be firm with yourself - you don't have to have a will of steel but try not to back out too easily (some times I feel knackered for the first 10-15 mins but carry on and find everything falls into place) - just keep saying to yourself you can try for another 10 seconds - do it - then repeat- mentally try and trick yourself

4. on that one - set small goals - 'I will run to that next bush,' house, tree etc - get there - then set another goal.

5. music - yep it helps - KoL is good - anything that gives you a boost at the required time - when I was learning I had boys in better land kick in everytime I started flagging or pixies or some such - leftfield has a good cadence(?) as do other dance tracks

6. if you aren't dead at the end of the 30 mins - take another walk break and do a bit more distance - 2mins or whatever - it shouldn't hurt so long as you but don't over do it

7. always do plenty of stretching after and a walking wam up to get into the run - though for me I found the 'warm ups' a bit long in the winter i.e. I would actually get colder!

8. just stick with it

9. don't worry about age - I started a year ago at 53 and now run 10k most days and did a half marathon a couple of months back / probably do a marathon at some stage (tbh it gets a bit boring for me when I run for more than an hour and a half)

hope that may help? : )

You've done really well to get to this point. I recall approaching this particular run with such trepidation and having completed it, I truly realised that much of the programme is actually mind over matter. You'll get there and it will be quicker and easier than you're currently thinking. Honestly.

Keep on doing W5R3 until you can do it. There are no rules in the C25K, it’s there to do at your own pace, keep at it and you will succeed or go back to W5R2 or earlier and do them a few more times and then have another go at W5R3. I’m 78 and I have completed the C25K and now I return to W5 or W6 to maintain my fitness. My music is ABBA, it’s happy and great for hiding aching legs. Good luck and stick at it, you will get there because thousands of runners on this blog want you to.

Go slow. Nope that’s a bit too fast, slow it down a bit more... perfect. Go you, you’ve got this.

I gave myself a let out clause on W5R3. I didn’t decide whether I was doing W5R3 or repeating W5R2 until I’d done the 8 mins. I was always nice to myself and didn’t push myself, but I’m quite competitive so I usually managed what I was aiming to achieve. Just bypassed any stress by giving myself the option.

Can’t wait to read your post when you do it 👍

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