Desperately seeking motivation… : And maybe a... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Desperately seeking motivation…

Dairyfarmgirl profile image

And maybe a kick up the arse but please be gentle!

Gave up with C25K a few weeks ago after a panic attack while out (W1 still after 3 weeks) when I had to get back to my house double time (fastest I’ve moved in a long while!) and not been out since but still following you all on this wonderful site and hoping I can continue.

Really want to go back out there but a huge mental barrier is stopping me and I have read the recommended posts about mental barriers but they have not helped.

Any other ideas, pearls of experienced wisdom very gratefully received.

Thanks x

50 Replies

Don’t really know what to advise but want to say the same I always said to my kids, you are stronger and braver than you will ever know and you can do this, it might not be tomorrow and the steps might be tiny but you can and will get there. And be kind to yourself

Thank you and you are nailing it yourself as I read all your posts 🏃🏻‍♀️

Bet your kids are brill in everything they do too 😊. Thanks xx

I'm so sorry! I don't know what to suggest, I've never suffered a panic attack. That most I've had is a fervent wish not to be seen by anyone I knew, in my first couple of weeks, but I soon caught on that nobody else gave a monkeys about just another runner out there! What exactly is causing the anxiety?

Without knowing more, my only suggestion is to find a running club or group that does c25k courses, and book yourself on! I did that for my first c25k and it really helps to be just one in a group. I also found that I didn't talk myself out of going when it was an organised group and people were expecting me.

Oohh thank you kind girl. Anxiety is sadly always with me, have a sneaking suspicion the fear of failure brought it in but some days it doesn’t take much.

I didn’t even know there were running clubs or groups for absolute beginners or C25K groups.

Also I live on a farm, it’s just over 1.5 miles to the nearest road (clocked it in the car in case I ever make it that far on a jog!) Will look into it! Xx

grumpyoldgirl profile image
grumpyoldgirlGraduate in reply to Dairyfarmgirl

Ah, it took me until I was 60 to figure it out! 😁I always thought you had to be a runner already, or fitter than I was, or younger... The good thing about where you live, is you can go on your own track, and you've got nobody to answer to and nothing to prove. This is just for you, so be kind to yourself ❤️

drun profile image

We all have setbacks, you said that you really want to get back out there, the biggest step is getting out of the front door. Set a day and time plan your route,enjoy and take it one run at a time.

I wish you all the best x

Dairyfarmgirl profile image
Dairyfarmgirl in reply to drun

Thank you so much. Set today as my get back out there day in my head but I’m still on the sofa and it’s pitch black out now as no street lights here.

Will try and set a time tomorrow as it is a brand new day. Xx

drun profile image
drunAmbassador in reply to Dairyfarmgirl


Mrsrun profile image

The great thing is you know you want to do it.... Maybe just wear your running kit all of your down time and if per chance you are walking around the farm and feel like running , try and do W1R1 . Is it the feeling of not being able to do it that stops you or being seen or both? Or another reason. I have only ever had one panic attack and it was to do with driving and I have never fully recovered but I drive every day and very slowly I am working up to the situation I had the attack ...... Every step closer is making me feel stronger but I do not push it too far.... But I do push it .... My kind to yourself.

Dairyfarmgirl profile image
Dairyfarmgirl in reply to Mrsrun

Oooh goodness you’ve made me cry! But in a good oh you get it way. I treasure your kind words so thank you Mrsrun.

Definitely a not able to do it failure feeling. I never encounter anyone out except the herd and if I did I really wouldn’t give a toss what I looked like.

Great advice, I’m going to get up tomorrow and dress in my jogging outfit aka dodgy tee shirt, proper socks and leggings so I am ready to go anytime! Trainers by the door!

Good luck with your drive tomorrow, so sorry to hear you had a bad episode but you are clearly making great progress you lovely strong person. Sending you love. Xxx

D25K profile image
D25KGraduate in reply to Dairyfarmgirl

When I'm struggling to find the urge to run I also find it helpful to get my running kit on 'just in case'. If I don't go out, fine, but if I catch myself even half-thinking 'I guess I could get out now for a few minutes' I can shove myself out the door before one of my many reasons not to can sneak in to my mind! Good luck DairyFarmGirl, I wish you all the best x

Mrsrun profile image
MrsrunGraduate in reply to Dairyfarmgirl

Glad it was in a good way. Have a go tomorrow and see how it goes. I am making progress but it is taking time... Let us know .

CressidaB profile image
CressidaBGraduate in reply to Mrsrun

I love this post too. I might sleep in my running gear!!! Definitely gonna wear my running gear round the house. Thanks for the pearls!!

Oldgirlruns profile image

We’re always gentle when a..e-kicking Dfg! I’m sorry to hear the reason for you stopping your C25K journey and sadly I can’t offer any solutions for you except to say that you’re quite right. This whole running malarkey is very much in the mind and you’ve read so many posts here which relate people’s struggles - I seem to continually cart gremlins around that insist on telling me I can’t do this and spend a lot of my runs trying to outrun them(not always successfully!). You don’t say how far from home you were when you had to turn back but I wondered if you could perhaps pre-empt that by doing a really short loop around your home so that you’re never too far away. That might help you relax a little. Other than that I can only wish you well - don’t worry about the running, C25K will be there whenever you’re ready to get back on it!

Thank you and that’s another good idea. There is only one tarmacked track off the farm, the rest are either up hill or unmade tracks and I tried one but feared I might turn my ankle. But I can just do the same 100 yards or whatever up and down over and over so I’m probably never more than a few minutes from home.

So thanks for the great idea but more importantly your kind words and empathy. X

Oldgirlruns profile image
OldgirlrunsGraduate in reply to Dairyfarmgirl

You’re welcome - I’m sure you’ll be running up those hills before you know it!

Lonmayloon profile image

When I first started out on C25K I was much like Grumpyoldgirl and keen to avoid being seen by anyone. That feeling faded after a few weeks and now doesn’t bother me at all. If I’ve missed out on regular runs, for whatever reason, it’s easy to postpone the restart until the following day. The feeling of disappointment grows with each day.However if I get changed into my running gear it’s impossible to stay at home. I’d feel a fool sitting on the couch dressed like that when I hadn’t been running.

You could try that, get changed and ready, tell yourself you’ll do only ten minutes, after ten minutes if you feel fine do another ten minutes, then a further ten minutes and that’s it.

All the best.

Another fantastic idea thank you. In fact I might also put my trainers on in the morning! I need to add I never wear trainers, I’m generally a high heels sorta girl (keep wellies in the car for the farm gates/cattle grids and have hiking boots for dog walking!) so if anything will get me out if the house it’s wearing trainers. I’ll be so desperate to get them off I’ll probably fly out of the door! Thanks x

Lonmayloon profile image
LonmayloonGraduate in reply to Dairyfarmgirl

A dairy farm girl wearing high heels in the milking parlour…….I don’t think I’ve seen that film…….honest🤣

grumpyoldgirl profile image
grumpyoldgirlGraduate in reply to Lonmayloon

Lonmayloon, I'm just the same - once I get into my running gear I always end up going out of the door. My mindset seems to change as soon as I've got the kit on!

Mrsrun profile image

A slow jog is what C25K will be for the majority of us . Do I want to run at speed and win races? No! ...... Do I want to be fit and healthy? Yes ! Did I start out thinking I would love this programme ? No! Did I think I would love getting hot and sweaty , puffing along like a train ? No ! Do I love it now ? Yes! Why do I ? Because I feel fitter and healthier. I love the feeling after a run? I love the feel of my newly forming muscles in my legs (a slight change), I love the freedom to move from one place to another knowing my body is capable of doing that however slow, Does my mental health love it ? You bet it does !... I can only speak for me but some of those things may apply to you as well.

Imc50 profile image

Believe in yourself, be kind to yourself, and you'll get there however long it takes 👍

CressidaB profile image

No wisdom to give unfortunately, just wanted to commiserate and share that my motivation has been draining away after having graduated a few weeks ago. Every morning the sense of being a failure is there when I know I'm not going to go for that run like I used to. And it feels horrible. But one thing I find cheering is that the programme is always there waiting for me, when (if) I am ready. Hope you get past your barrier. Panic attack sounds terrible. Good luck. 👍

Leosmit profile image
LeosmitGraduate in reply to CressidaB

Set yourself a new challenge if motivation dwindling - eg: a new route, a nice coffee after, a new podcast when out running, doing one more minute… but stick with it, you’ve come so far!!

CressidaB profile image
CressidaBGraduate in reply to Leosmit

Thank you very much for the words of encouragement. I will try 😊

Hello Dairyfarmgirl, I did notice you were quiet! Sorry you're having such a bad time. I haven't ever had a full blown panic attack, but I have had a couple of unpleasant meltdowns when my fear of heights was at it's worst (it got so bad I couldn't go down certain staircases without someone holding my hand). In the end it was solved with one session of hypnotherapy, amazing because I was very sceptical but desperate. I had almost forgotten about this until I started writing, it feels like it happened to a different person.

I still get pretty anxious about things, but I find that pushing at my boundaries a little really helps. I can always look back on the things that I did despite the anxiety and remind myself it's possible.

I hope you make it out on your run today. If you don't, here's a very gentle option.

It occurred to me that if you're struggling to breath while running, that could feed into a panic attack.

How about setting aside special time for exercise, putting on your running kit and going for a brisk walk, different from walking the dog because of the intention. Maybe, decide you're going to do that for a set number of weeks, before you go back to week 1? You could even add in the occasional few seconds of jogging. It could get you out and in the habit of exercising outdoors, improve your fitness a little and increase your confidence ready for your next week1 attempt.

Good luck 🤞🏼

p.s. up until now you've been approaching this with a great deal of determination, so I'm sure you have it in you!

Dylan you are exactly right, when i feel i can't breath properly that leads to a panic attack and then i genuinely can't breathe! Now i don't want to go out in case it happens again, i'm anxious and short of breath just thinking about it happening again...

They only started when i went through the menopause 7 years ago. Mind you i blame the menopause for everything 🤣

As i'm sat here in my running gear and new Brooks trainers my mum bought me to spur me on i've decided to go with what you said and just do a brisk walk, no pressure on me then.

Thank you x

DylanTheRabbit profile image
DylanTheRabbitGraduate in reply to Dairyfarmgirl

I started on hrt around the start of lockdown. I don't know if you've already tried it or if it's suitable for you. Among other things, it turned my anxiety down a couple of notches. I may have mentioned it before, I also read a really interesting book called the XX brain. It goes into a lot of non hrt self help stuff in some detail.

I hope you enjoy your brisk walking X

Sh53202 profile image

I think you are so amazing. You had a bad experience but you still want to get out there. How brilliant is that! My tuppence, for what it’s worth is you need to cheat those gremlins at their own game. Foe example, put your running gear on, go out, and tell yourself at very minimum you are going to listen to the week 1 plan but just walk fast. Then when you get there you might feel motivated to try a little jogging ... but tell yourself it doesn’t matter if you dont do them all, or you only do 30 seconds. Etc. I’m willing to bet that once you are out there you will feel a lot better.You can do this!

PJRunner profile image

I feel for you. I can't imagine what it is like. Perhaps you could try some of the exercise on utube to get you off the couch in the safety of your home to start with, get those endorphins going and boost your confidence a bit. You are brave and strong or you wouldn't have shared with us and somewhere in you, you really want to do this but have built up a mental barrier which are way harder to break down that physical ones. Will it be easy - no, will it be worth it - yes. Good luck, I'm rooting for you. ❤️ ( BTW I put my running gear on first thing in the morning as my commitment to run, it usually works!)

You are spot on and i've probably shared way too much (sorry folks!). I've never been good at keeping things in, i am an open book. x

Patrys profile image

Dairy farm girl I can not relate to your panic attacks, but to fear... Since I can remember I had the fear of success... It's that whole thing of when I'm done, what then so I have in most things never completed what I started. I started this program in November last year, repeated many runs and have 1 run left before graduation... Had it left for the last month already. Throughout my journey I would get injuries even with taking it real slow. I very much believe my body manifests what goes on in my mind and it was one way to drag out end point. I also constantly had to remind myself that I'm not doing it to be a runner but for my mental and physical health and the program is just a tool to help keep me motivated. And even if I could only manage a stroll in the open its better than doing nothing. I refuse to give up. So my suggestion like others said... Get dressed and even if it's a long stroll with the paws, it's better than nothing...your showing up with intention . Be kind and patient to yourself. All the best.

Dairyfarmgirl profile image
Dairyfarmgirl in reply to Patrys

wow, nearly a graduate, that's fantastic 😀. "With the paws"... love that though the dog is a bit of a liability as too much sniffing not enough moving even by my standards! x

Oh am so sorry to hear you haven’t got out there again, the running has been my saviour from work which is manic. Have you thought of running on your patio/garden, I have done that a lot when it’s in the evening as I don’t want to go out with my music on or Laura talking to me! My garden is not big at all and mange to get it done and then maybe do your 5 min warm up and down just in the road that you live? Or just walk some of the route and then build it back up, see if any one is available to go with, hope you can over come this and get back in to it soon

thank you x

I think exercise is a huge help if you are trying to control your mental health issues. At least for me it works wonders (anxiety/light depression). I do understand the struggle to "leave the couch", but after a run I can tell you I feel much better. Wouldn`t recommend more.

Stay strong, for your physical and mental health. You need this. ❤️

NetballKitty profile image

My daughter suffers badly from anxiety, and something fairly minor can trigger a full blown melt down, so appreciate where you are at. There has been some really good advice here, and I'll chuck in own tuppence worth.

Firstly, by going out at all, you have achieved more than many have by sitting on the couch. I get the fear of failure, or the fear of what people will think, but I promise you, as a bit of a lumberer, that most people are just in awe that you're doing anything at all. I have running friends who regularly run off, gazelle-like, for a quick 10k. I don't do quick and I don't do 10k (yet.. - I'm working on 5k - 10k now...) But... I'm doing this for ME and not for THEM.

Secondly - if the conditions near you aren't ideal - being down a dark lane probably isn't great for you, can you drive to somewhere and run there? My last few runs have been in the dark on well-lit roads, and actually I quite like it - it's cool and quiet. I've also met my daughter at the gym, and we've run home, so even if we give up on a run, we've still got to walk the rest of the way, so there is less temptation to duck out! C25K is mostly mind over matter...

Just as a final thought, too.... my daughter finds that exercise really helps her mental health - it seems to trigger a bit of a reset. It isn't a miracle, but helps her alot. Get a good play list... go s-l-o-w... and believe in yourself.

And keep us posted - we are all the C25K family. 😜

thanks and you are also spot on, there are so many wise people on this site...

It can be something most other people would see as a minor inconvenience and completely take in their stride that triggers a full blown melt down. Glad your daughter has got you on her side 🥰 x

Oldbadknees profile image

On the panic attacks, I sometimes get them when driving. When they first started, 30+ years ago I would have to pull over until they passed. What helped me was realising that they will pass. I found a simple trick, which is to say to myself 'I'm not going to die from this' (which I think is the big fear). Also, concentrate on breathing out. Apparently the instinctive thing is to inhale which means you get too much oxygen which makes you light headed. Breathing out will help to normalise everything. Good luck with your running, try and move past Week 1, you can do it and it gets better and better!

sorry to hear you suffer too... will try the breathing out concentration. Thank you. x

Wavy-chick28 profile image

Oh my! This forum is the greatest full of kind wise words I’m almost in tears eating my lunch at work😢 I blame the menopause for everything too it’s such a blinking nuisance.

Take all the advice go slow and steady in the knowledge we are all rooting for you it will make such a difference my mental health has definitely improved as well as my general health.

Do you listen to music or podcasts whilst running/jogging it could be a distraction?

Keep us informed I have my fingers crossed for you xx

Thanks Wavy, yes this forum is an absolute life saver, everyone is so kind and wise. I was in tears last night feeling the love but have definitely got a bit more of a grip on my emotions today!

Damn the menopause though i've always been a bit highly strung 🤣

Have no idea how to put tunes on my iphone or even what a podcast is and coz i live and jog on a farm there is no signal to even have the radio on my phone when i'm out... will have to ask one of my teenage nieces about some music on my phone!

Have a great day and enjoy your lunch ( no tears!). xxx

Wavy-chick28 profile image
Wavy-chick28Graduate in reply to Dairyfarmgirl

Yes definitely get them to download some music for you, podcasts are just people talking either serious or funny! I prefer the funny but look a bit mad laughing and running! Wishing you lots of luck xx

nowster profile image

Speed isn't important (even if some of us get obsessive about our times).

What is important is how long you're active and moving.

For what it's worth, it took me three attempts to complete C25K.

Pink4eva profile image

Hi Dairyfarmgirl , sorry to read that you are struggling. I started C25K in Feb during lock down, after many repeat weeks, I got to WK3 in April. I am a regular gym goer, so when they opened again I started running on the treadmill. I appreciate that going to the gym can be anxiety provoking, but just in terms of running, you are in complete control on a treadmill. You could always think of getting a second hand one for home use. I was terrified when I first started and hung on with both hands for a while. Once you get over that hurdle, you can speed up, slow down, can stop whenever you want to, surface is even, so less risk over going over on your ankle, introduce inclines etc., I graduated a few months ago. I can run for 30 mins, slowly, which means for me about 3 1/2 k. I will run outdoors again at some point, my goal is to do a 5K Wolf run with my granddaughter in April. Hope this helps as an alternative suggestion, good luck😊

Mrsrun profile image

I think it is our or should I say my time to thank you. You are honest about your journey and that will help me and others be open about theirs. ... That my friend is awesome in a world that could be kinder... I have said it many times but the support on this community is second to none and we are all here to help.....

Dairyfarmgirl profile image
Dairyfarmgirl in reply to Mrsrun

Mrsrun, thank you as always 🥰 and yes all the support on here is incredible and i am very grateful to all and also for all the wonderfully practical suggestions.

I have been surprised and humbled by how many people seem to relate to my anxiety/panic attacks. I'm sure more people than ever are suffering since Covid so it's great that we can all support each other. I am sending you love and thanks. xx

Good Morning,I hope that you are doing better today. Just a thought but, how about finding a running partner or a coach?

Hi, i am thank you for asking. I have looked into a running coach but most of them are online and i am old school, i like things in person. This site helps massively so thanks x

Cakerunner profile image

Hello there Dairyfarmgirl, I'm really sorry that a panic attack interrupted progress......its a really horrid beast with horns, isn't it...the panic I mean, I speak from a horrid experience, though unrelated to running. What I do know, is that c25k can happen, and should, at your pace, it took me a very long time to graduate, with many problems along the way.....On the other side if this, I absolutely love the feeling of being able to run, however I choose...very slowly, really short one......longer one some days...and very importantly, stopping for a walk if I need to. I love the suggestions to wear your gear around the house! I might try that myself. Maybe, have your running gear on, music etc in hand, and try the warm up walk? See how you feel? You might be able to do a little more each time?

I absolutely wish you all the very best, do log in and tell us how you're getting on😊 we'll cheer you on💪🏃🏃‍♀️

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