Consolidation runs...not getting any easier - Couch to 5K

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Consolidation runs...not getting any easier


So I’m just trying to get my CRs in but I feel a bit all over the place. My speeds drastically change from run to run (ie I get slower and slower!!!) but I thought it would get easier. I’m sticking to 30mins and it feels harder than doing the plan. What’s happened? I take one day off, sometimes two and get back to it. But my last couple CRs I’ve really had to push myself and still finish slower than my “normal”. Any advice please?

41 Replies

Are you running at an easy conversational pace?

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Yes and I think that’s all that is keeping me from stopping but every 5 mins I feel like, I think I want to stop now. Then I have to keep saying to myself, you’ve done this before. You have done this like 9 times now.

Do you think I should just try a bit slower even and put it down to maybe the body needing a slower day from time to time? I feel a bit like I’m going backwards 😔

IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to Justdoit4u

When was the last time you had a break from running? A week off can have you come back reenergised.

There is no problem in going slower, if it is helpful. Don't make a chore out of running.

Do you have targets for every run or at least for each week, as suggested in the guide to post C25K running? This can help you with motivation and reward you with success.

Your situation is very common which is why we created the monthly Consolidation Club designed to offer advice to new graduates who are struggling why not look in and see what others are doing.

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

I haven’t had a break...just one or two days off.

I think it is becoming a chore.

My only goal is to keep going and keep doing 30mins regardless of the distance. Just so it becomes easier. Perhaps it’s wrong for me to think it should get easier? As my body gets used to it I suppose I’ll automatically get a little faster and then make it a little harder for myself unintentionally?

I will read the guide again because I must’ve missed something.

I will look into the consolidation club too. Thank you

IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to Justdoit4u

Have a week off and see how you feel when you get back.

LesleyLivGraduate in reply to Justdoit4u

Hiya, we have had a goal of three times a week, no matter what, even though there is no goal, but got up this morning and no way am I going out in the storm that is raging outside. I think sometimes you just need to give yourself a little break........ not too much but just to recharge so you can enjoy it again... 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🤞🤞

I feel a bit the same. As if my body is finding it harder and harder each CR. I am explaining it at the moment with running after work, which is harder than running in the weekend. But I do also fear a little the same like you do. I don't have a goal besides run a bunch of CR until it feels eadier. Only then am I allowed to run longer a little bit by bit. But at the moment that 'goal' seems to grow more and more distant. I do hope Sunday will be a better run, then the after work toxicity might have some truth in it. Anyhow, long explanation just to say: you're not the only one 😉

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to BlackScorpion

It’s a bit better to know I’m not the only one but sad for us all too.

I want to try again on Sunday and then take IannodaTruffe ’s advice and take a break (maybe then I’ll be itching to get going!).

I did enjoy coach Bennett on the Nike app a few runs ago so I’ll bring him along too.

I normally run in the morning before having any breakfast but my last couple runs have been right before dinner. Perhaps that’s what I’m not being able to do, run later in the day. So I will try (not sure how) and get myself up and out early again. Thanks for prompting me with that thought BlackScorpion !

I hope you have a better run on Sunday too!


I felt exactly the same for the first 6 CRs - it felt harder than week 9! I think I put pressure on myself to go a bit faster for these runs but now I’ve settled back into really slow running and I’ve really enjoyed my last 3 runs - just getting out in the fresh air and running for the fun of it. Try not to put any pressure on yourself and maybe have a break then get back out there - slowly! Hopefully you might start to enjoy it again. Good luck and let us know how you get on

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to VG11

Thank you for your support and advice.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

So glad you’re doing better - perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel!

I feel like maybe I’ve hindered and jinxed myself because I was so proud of running for 45mins and my first 5k last week. I thought it would make these 30mins a breeze! But no, still learning, still trying.

We graduated by October 2019 and didn’t run much in December and January then this year went into winter with a great plan and haven’t run as much What we have learned though is we need to mix it up a bit, new route, intervals, sprints for a few seconds, walk and talk, lighter evenings are on the way

For me music makes a big difference, i downloaded an album of a group i like the other day and after 3 tracks was bored with the music and bored with the run

30 minutes is the ideal but Willow found that he’s happy running 20 minutes most of the time and waits fir me in the car so you see you don’t have to run continuously you can change things round to suit yourself and as others say take a week off, you will start to miss it

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to WillowandSola

I was feeling like if I run for less time then I’ll lose it and not be able to do 30mins again. It’s good to know it doesn’t always have to be 30mins and I’ll still be ok. That’s a great help, thank you.

I also felt like if I walk for a min in the middle it just renders the whole run a waste and that doesn’t count as consolidation. Maybe I’m too hard on myself. I’m so glad I shared how I was feeling. I feel more positive now and ready to try these ideas out 😊

WillowandSolaGraduate in reply to Justdoit4u

That’s good, c25k requires you stick to the programme and run through all the runs, consolidation ideally is three thirty minute runs a week but there are no hard and fast rules now, it’s your running adventure and we all end up doing different things, i’ve slowly run 10k a couple of times and love to run along the roads but Willow likes to run round and round the original track we started on, Look up jeffing, that’s a way of run walk intervals that give you time to recover and keep going for longer, I got those completely wrong as i thought i had to sprint the run parts and pulled a muscle lol

This is your time of exploring what works for you

I can’t wait to see what you do next 😀

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to WillowandSola

I have seen the word come up here and there and didn’t quite understand. In the end I thought it was their way of swearing without swearing 🤣🤣🤣

WillowandSolaGraduate in reply to Justdoit4u

That made me smile, yes as in it was a jeffing run today lol 😂 i didn’t realise it was a real thing when i first saw it

and i can still raise a giggle at fartlecks

Peter44Graduate in reply to Justdoit4u

There's alot of us, that thought that's what it was!!! 🤣🤣

I think after the routine and challenge it can be a bit difficult to go solo. I agree with others here who have suggested mixing it up. Have you tried following the NHS follow-up guided runs, there are three of them, they are a challenge, that’s for sure! Or try going back to the beginning but run fast in the run bits and slow down to a jog to recover in the walk sections. A week off is no bad thing but make sure you set yourself a date to get back to it! You won’t regret it....

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Elliedot01

I hadn’t tried them because I thought they were for once I’d gotten good with consolidation since they talk about speed and stamina. I can also add it on my list to do.

Ooo, I do like the idea to go back to the beginning and to run and jog... that will be interesting. Thank you.

I haven’t been doing much walking this week so I think I’ll add that in my week too!


I felt the same, I think week 9 is such a goal and then it’s a bit of an anti-climax when you finish the programme. I have signed up for a charity event with a running goal of 26 miles during January which has really motivated me & is also helping a good cause.

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Caz0601

I was fine for the first 5 CRs so I didn’t see this coming really. But everyone has provided such good advice that I cannot wait to put it into practice.

Well done on setting a goal and for helping charity, I hope it’s going well!


Hiya, I also felt a bit flat after completing C25K. I think as the programmes gives you new goals each week and you progress and move on, you feel you should get a PB with each consolidation run, and in reality it takes longer to improve at 5K distance. I felt I needed new goals so signed up for the 10K magic plan.I’ve been running 5.5 months now 3x a week since starting C25K. I’ve only knocked off about 2 mins off my 5K time, and a few extra mins when it was snowing out! Yet to be repeated.

But I can now run 10K comfortably, run for 85mins, and run much faster on my 4K runs.

I initially did not like the shorter runs on the 10K plan, felt I should run 5K min. But I found the shorter runs are when you can speed up a little and push yourself a bit more and I enjoyed that, and was back to getting PBs. I found when I just run now and don’t focus on pace I’m naturally getting faster (and I’m not fast by any means). The plan allowed me to see progress and I like having a long term goal, I’m now training for half marathon, it’s a long way off but it’s my goal. You get to a point of being in the moment on your run, breathing, legs all on autopilot, I have to pinch myself some time when I look down and see my legs moving off their own accord lol, or overtaking walkers. There’s a lot of fun to be had, see what works for you, don’t be afraid to run shorter time or distance, and as you get more miles on your legs, you will see further progress and you’re getting stronger run by run. Sorry long rant, hope something helpful

RunningJ123Graduate in reply to Catho78

That's what I'm thinking too about the shorter runs... It kinda feels like a step back in a way! But that's true, maybe it does help in other ways

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Catho78

Perhaps that’s what I am feeling, disappointed that I’m getting slower rather than faster when I should just enjoy it. There are days are enjoy it and others where it’s just hard work.

I wanted to increase by 10% each week but as I’ve not had such a great week I thought I’m far from being able to start increasing.

Wow. That’s awesome that you can run 10k and for 85mins! Definitely something to aspire to.

Good luck with your marathon!

I appreciate what you shared. Very helpful. Thank you.

Catho78Graduate in reply to Justdoit4u

Thanks. Glad it helped, and just to clarify it’s half marathon I’m training for, woah, marathon is years away lol. Learning to just enjoy the run in the moment is hard but amazing when you can, it heightens your senses, and makes gives you an amazing sense of self belief.

And a lot of the time I enjoy my runs more on reflection, especially with this lovely weather right now

Peter44Graduate in reply to Catho78

That's interesting, i was put of by the idea of shorter runs too, i know they are there, to build us up, but didnt fancy it, i guess everyones different, and after c25k, which guides us so well, some need another plan to follow.


Totally feel the same since New Year, had a virus of some discription & I keep beating myself up if I dont do my 3 runs a week, everything feels heavy & I have no energy so when I have done a run , Ive only managed half the usual distance so I berate myself some more. Sorry Im not more solution focused, I assume this is all just a phase & we both need to start enjoying running however short or slow! 😊

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to AutumnWolf

Yes, let’s go for a short run and enjoy the landscapes. We can do it. We’re just thinking about it too much and beating ourselves up too much. Now I can’t wait to run again tomorrow!

Catho78Graduate in reply to Justdoit4u

How was your run? Hope it went ok.

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Catho78

Hello. Thanks for checking up on me and keeping me accountable! I didn’t run yesterday, was too busy and in the end I did a weights workout so still positive!

I went out this morning for my run and I loved it. It was a nice easy run. I ran slower and kept telling myself to slow down (as everyone always says and what we’ve been learning from the start) and in the end, running slow, I was faster than my last 2 runs (the runs I hated). So all positive and it’s thanks to everyone’s support so thank you.

Catho78Graduate in reply to Justdoit4u

No worries, glad you enjoyed your run better. It’s mentally hard to slow down but often where the happy runs lie. I found my pace naturally increased a little over time but when I tried to go faster it was no fun. You got this, happy running 🏃🏽‍♀️

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Catho78

But what I didn’t get was that I was excessively slow on my last run and it was still hard work. I was closer to my normal speed rather than the extra slow speed.

I’m glad it clicked anyway. Just have to keep going and know there will be ups and downs. I even managed to enjoy a nice hour walk so today has definitely been a good day.

Thank you for the support.

Catho78Graduate in reply to Justdoit4u

No worries. Yep there are good runs and bad, sometimes it’s good during, other times good that you’re done lol. It’s all running experience and miles on the legs, you’re getting stronger even if it mentally challenging at times. I’ve only had 1 real runners “high” where everything clicked perfect, but I continue to chase it and try to enjoy the run for what it is. It’s my “me time” and time to clear my head. Take care


So pleased to have come across this post as Im finding the CR runs hard too. Had to do a couple on treadmill which was boring and got out yesterday and was looking forward to being outside in the day and dry but found it so oooooo hard. 6 completed and aiming for 12 before looking at the other plans. Only do two/week at the moment, generally feeling a bit off at the moment but persevering. Good to know others having the same experience so thanks for sharing 👍


Slow down more. Honestly.

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Tasha99

I ran slow and it was great 😊

What's a consolidation run?

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Lay7777

When you finish the plan and can run for 30mins / 5k you are meant to consolidate your new found ability by continuing to run for 30min / 5k (whatever you achieved) for a few weeks and just enjoy it without worrying about pace or anything.

I hope that helps.

thanks for explanation. woah what a faraway dream that is for me, currently at w2 r1 (and returning dead from each run)

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Lay7777

You’ll get there before you know it. It definitely flies by!

Slow down more. Honestly, it works.


Two years post graduation I still find some runs hard. These days I aim to run for a minimum of 25 minutes and then see how the mood takes me. This seems to take the pressure off and on occasion I have found myself running for 40 minutes albeit very slowly. I do prefer it when I can run off road as this gives me more things to focus on than my legs or my breathing and puts the gremlins to bed. I the spring and summer I run on routes with lots of wild flowers and I am running slowly enough to be able to ID the flowers I pass!

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Knitruntalk

That’s a good way to approach it. Yes, I’m also really enjoying running outside now but it’s starting to get warmer so I’ll have to get some new cooler tops to keep me going as I don’t need something else slowing me down!

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