Stuck on W5R3: I have found C25K a real struggle... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Stuck on W5R3

dognanny profile image

I have found C25K a real struggle. It took me 23 goes to do the 14 runs up to W5R2, and now I've had 12 goes at R3 and counting! Last Thursday I managed to do 10R, 5W, 10R, and thought I'd cracked it.

All I needed to do now was to whittle down that 5 minute walk in the middle. Unfortunately I haven't managed to repeat 10 minutes again.

Has anyone else struggled this much, but managed to get through to the end? I'm guessing most people would have given up long ago!

Any advice would be much appreciated, (but please don't tell me to slow down. I'm already going at 'Elderly Japanese Guy' pace. Any slower and I'll be going backwards!)

31 Replies

Hi dognanny, well done for persevering. I started ‘running’ outside in February, wasn’t able to progress to W3 until the gyms opened again in April. I definitely think treadmill running is easier, once you get the hang of it. I just finished W6 R2 today. I have had to repeat some weeks because I struggle to get 3 runs in one week sometimes. My pace is slow, but I can get into a rhythm now. I remember reading on the introduction info that the only way you will fail is if you go back to sitting on the couch. Keep up the good work and you will get there. 😊

IannodaTruffe profile image

You don't actually tell us why you are having to stop.......that would be helpful.

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

It's always possible to go slower....... can run on the spot. It doesn't matter if your jogging pace is slower than your brisk walk pace. The action will build your stamina and musculature.

I know of one regular on the forum who struggled mightily with that run and I am fairly sure that she would say slow down even more.

Don't let it become a block. Relax and enjoy it.

This was an absolute game changer for me.

backintime profile image

Many many people have repeated runs more than once.

I remember someone who did W1R1 over 10 times, but she graduated!

Don't give up! Maybe channel "elderly Japanese guy after a marathon" :)

Read the links IannodaTruffe put up and you will get it

I remember seeing W5R3 and thinking "that's never going to happen" but it did, just don't give up

dognanny profile image
dognanny in reply to backintime

Well, that makes me feel better. It only took me four goes to complete run 1! I'll report back after tomorrow's run.

Bruuuce profile image
Bruuuce in reply to dognanny

I’ve replied below but I’m adding here to say I didn’t think I could run any slower. I graduated a few years ago but I hated every minute because I was so breathless. I gave up because I didn’t enjoy it. This time I have embraced slow running. I feel less embarrassed running slowly and looking comfortable than running faster and gasping for air. Im actually enjoying it now. Good luck. You obviously have a lot of perseverance so I’m sure you’ll make it.

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Bruuuce

Your case illustrates perfectly the situation of a beginner, starting out on their own, who had no idea of pacing, went too quickly, got disheartened because it was feeling so hard and gave up. I think a lot of people have this experience of C25K or other beginner programs, especially when on their own.

This is why I advocate running with more experienced people who can demonstrate how to go at the correct pace.

backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to dognanny

how did it go dognanny ?

dognanny profile image
dognanny in reply to backintime

Today I achieved what I'd hoped to do after last Thursday's 10R 5W 10R. I did 10R 4W 10R. I.e. I cut the walk down by one minute. But today I had some help (possibly). My husband is also doing C25K, but he runs laps of a field across the main road, while I do a circuit of the village on farm track and road. Today he went out before me and was just finishing his warm-down when I caught up with him, and he jogged the last 6 or 7 minutes with me. Would I have completed the 10 mins if he hadn't been with me? I'll find out on Friday!

backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to dognanny

well done!

so that kind of shows that some of this at least is mental - you CAN do it.

now you need to find that belief in yourself

No words if advice dognanny as I haven’t got there yet but rooting for you! 💪🏻🤞🏼👍🏼

Jurgen77 profile image

I found dropping my running pace down to the same as my brisk walk pace really helped me, the pace can come later.

GoGo_JoJo profile image

Sometimes it can just be a mental block, your brain is just telling you you can't do it, it knows the point in your regular route it can make you give up.

Change or reverse your route. Set out with the mindset that unless your legs fall off, your feet spontaneously combust, or you actually, honest to goodness; die... you're not going to stop. Not for a stitch, not for a panda suddenly appearing in your road, not even for the Postcode Lottery people approaching your house with a giant cheque! Obviously that's a bit extreme but you can get my point. Keep telling yourself "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this" until it's done. Don't check your watch/ phone, just keep on going as if your very existence relies on it.

So much of this battle is mental but I can absolutely tell you that when you break through this block you are going to feel amazing, you're going to feel like you really have won that lottery, you're going to feel taller than King Kong, your grin is going to be huge, there's a chance you'll cry but you are going to be astounded at what you did. 👍🏻🤞🏻

Rising60 profile image

I repeated lots of runs many times, and at the time (last autumn) I thought I'd never forget exactly how many times it took me to do each particular run, but I have. I too got really fed up with people telling me to go more slowly, but I did eventually find the right pace and graduated at Christmas. I have continued pretty faithfully since then to run 3x a week, but I haven't started to train for longer distances as many people do. This week we are on holiday, walking part of the coast path, and I am definitely better able to cope than I was pre-c25k, so it is having a beneficial effect. Ditch any competitive feelings and just focus on the health benefits of carrying on, however long it takes you to get through the runs. Good luck!

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Rising60

The advice to slow down worked then? 😉😎

Well done for sticking with it. I suppose the first question I’d ask myself is why am I struggling? Am I breathless or do my legs hurt? If I’m breathless there’s no getting over the fact I might be running too fast and I have slowed myself down.Do you know at what pace you are running/walking. I’m running/walking at roughly 6k per hour.

You haven't given up so you're already doing better than anyone who's still sitting on that couch! I always remember Sanj's advice: Have faith in yourself and have faith in the programme.

Have you tried running at different times of day? I know I get on better if I make my run the first thing I do. I know everyone's different but you could try some stretching, running on the spot etc. (not too energetic!) to warm up as well as doing the warm up walk that's part of the app. Water and a slurp of fruit juice for an energy boost before you set off can help too.

Take heart and don't give up!

This sounds really silly but when I was struggling I practised that Japanese slow running indoors to get my steps small and my form upright, the next time I ran I felt so much better, put on your favourite music and daydream while you are running,

John_W profile image

Hi dognanny

What is it you're struggling with exactly? Can you give us some details describing your difficulty? Think of this as being at your GP... what are you your symptoms? In this case, both physical and mental. That way we can prescribe the right course of action.

I have repeated every week several times as I felt I needed to build up my stamina. I don’t run fast at all. I’ve probably been doing C25k for about 9 months (I did have an 8 week break as I’d hurt my knee) and have only got to week 6 but when I tried the 25 mins run I couldn’t do it. I did get disheartened then and have had to give myself a good talking to. But I will continue at my own pace and not put any pressure on myself. Well done for persevering and we will get there one day.

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Morgy53

What is it you struggle with? What's happening body and brain wise when you have to stop?

dognanny profile image
dognanny in reply to John_W

It's my breathing. I suffered from asthma from birth to about 8 years ago, when I cured it myself by giving up dairy. So although I am no longer dependent on inhalers, it's possible that 50+ years of asthma means my lungs are not A1. (Although when I've done the peak flow test at the surgery they say my reading is normal for my age.)I'm not looking for excuses, but it may be a factor.

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to dognanny

Finally... we have an answer!

To think of asthma as an 'excuse' is a tad negative... it absolutely IS a huge factor in what you're trying to do. There is no shame is telling us this information. In fact, it's very important.

Do you find any difference in your breathing when you walk briskly (so that you're getting warm and a bit sweaty) compared to when you're *JOGGING*? (And I really mean jogging - a pace which could be the same or slower than your brisk walk).

dognanny profile image
dognanny in reply to John_W

I walk 4k every day and never experience any breathing problems. I have walked 8k on occasions and then my legs start to ache, but my breathing is still ok. I have a spreadsheet of my C25K progress which gives me an idea of my walking and jogging speed. On W5R2 it worked out at 4kph walking and 6kph jogging. Is it really possible to jog as slowly as you walk? How do you do it?

backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to dognanny

When I first started I ran (according to my treadmill) 5.5kph or sometimes even 5kph, small steps and consciously slow down. Imagine jogging slowly next to someone that is walking - you could even try that with a friend or family member just to give you an idea of speed.

You really can speed up after graduation, my first 5k took me 50 mins or so (so 6kph, up from 5 or 5.5), and I got it down to under 40 (just) before having a non-running-related injury. But it is nice to get up to 30 mins in your legs and get used to running for that amount of time. Once you're happy running for a longer amount of time, you can try upping the speed slightly over a period of a few weeks and see where that gets you. Your legs will get stronger and your breathing will improve just with practice.

hope that helps

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to dognanny

How do you do it?

By watching that Japanese Slow Jogging video (again) very carefully - look closely and you'll see quite clearly that they are going genuinely very slowly - i could walk much faster than that - and trying to mimic it. Start in the comfort of your own home first of all.

Dellie100 profile image
Dellie100Graduate in reply to dognanny

I’m asthmatic but no running expert but this is what worked for me... slowing down generally, but consciously slowing pace during a run if I feel I start breathing hard. Also, on warmer/high pollen count days, taking a small bottle of water to sip when needed (I get the asthma cough which alarms other park users at the mo!). I’ve found that my breathing and lung capacity has hugely improved through the programme. It would be worth discussing it with the asthma nurse at your practice. Good luck!

Knitruntalk profile image

I am really impressed at your tenacity. It took me about 9 months to complete C25K as I could only manage 1 or 2 runs a week. I also struggled with the heat and ran less often in the hottest summer weeks. I also had some weeks off following surgery, so not the smoothest journey to graduation.But, every time you get out and run you are improving your fitness. It helped me to remember that you improve most when things are a struggle. So persevere I am 2 years post graduation, am in my late 60s and now that I have retired run 3 times a week and try to run for a minimum of 30 minutes. I tend to just go with the flow and continue to be amazed that my body can actually run (or rather plod) continuously for around 30 minutes.

Good luck, and don't give up, you can do it.

dognanny profile image
dognanny in reply to Knitruntalk

Well done. I'm wondering what it will be like in hotter weather, but I'm running around 6.30 am so hopefully it won't be a problem at that time.

heatybob profile image

What worked for me when I struggled was (aside from slowing down) I concentrated on my form, for sure I probably still had bad form but it occupied my mind and we're only talking a few min here, still works for me now when I feel like wrapping.

Good luck,persevere you will get there.

Tasha99 profile image

Slow down

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