Wk4r3 this close to giving up : Hi! I’m looking... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Wk4r3 this close to giving up

Orca33 profile image


I’m looking for motivation I think. I’m finding week 4 really difficult and it’s making me not want to carry on. A 3 minute run is easy for me now (which is mad since on week 1 I thought a 60second run was about to kill me) and I can do 5 minutes ok but by the second 5 minute run my legs are absolutely killing me.

It’s not even so much that I’m out of breath, it’s pain in my calves and thighs that makes me stop early. And then I’m so deflated by it that I don’t want to go out again and I’m leaving way too long in between runs.

I suppose the logical thing would be to do week 3 again? Would that help?

I’m a notorious “would rather quit than fail” personality type so I’m finding it hard to stick with the programme.

27 Replies

Don't give up. You've done so well to get to week 4 run 3. Are you stretching before and after you run? Also, are you drinking enough?

Sounds like you need a running buddy, and guess what? you’ve found a bunch of us right here. Now there’s the general aches as your body gets used to this running lark and there’s pain that indicates damage .

If your legs are aching are you drinking enough water? you need to be well hydrated.

Did you read the guide to the plan in the pinned posts?

We are repeating c25k to run with a friend and really enjoying ourselves.

I remember though first time round week 4 was a huge jump and we struggled!

We are running week 3 run 3 on Thursday, why don’t you do the same? and think of us doing it as well.

If week 4 feels too much how about walking it? and walk a bit faster for the running parts? you could do that a few times until it feels easy.

Fitting runs in around life, it’s only half an hour out of your day, so plan when you can go and just go, if you are tired walk it if you feel you can then run very slowly.

Let us know how it goes, I am running between 4 & 5 tomorrow and will come back and look for your post

Instructor57 profile image

Week 4 is the longest training session of the program so far .Congratulations for completing it 👍

Personally I wouldn't go back to week 3 as you will then still have week 4 to do again.

I would ask you 3 basic questions !

1. Are you running slow enough ? (At a conversational pace)

2. Are you fully hydrated (2.5 to 3 litres a day even on non running days)

3. Are you doing the Dynamic excercises AND the post run stretches ?

I would pay particular attention to these points and maybe have a couple of days rest , then go out and continue with week 5 👍

IannodaTruffe profile image

You are doing great to have got this far.

Are you stretching after every run? Stretching immediately after every run, nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/h... 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.

Are you drinking enough? As a runner you need to drink a minimum of 2.5 -3 litres of fluid each and every day, running or not, as mentioned in the guide.

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

You can do this and it may well transform your life and self belief as it has for so many of us.


Teejay113 profile image

Yes I know the feeling my leg felt so much pain. Then I realised that's what I needed to consentrate on building strength in my legs. There's lots of information on health unlocked.

Just go at your own pace, Wish you all the best.

Remember all it is one foot in front of the other.


John_W profile image

Are you doing this?


or maybe this?


John_W profile image

Q1. How bad are you pains? On a scale of 1-10 (0 is no pain, 7-10 is a 'needing to stop') where are you? How long does the pain last after stopping? Aches, pains and discomfort are very common when starting new exercise, especially running ... and you can generally put up them before they eventually go away, as your body starts to get used to the activity.

Q2. How much walking were you doing each week before starting C25K ?

Q3. How active were you?

Imc50 profile image

Don't quit! Push on as tricky as it may be, we believe you can do this!

Believe you can and you will 👍

MaCherie112 profile image

Have you checked your speed? You could be running too fast and fatiguing your body. It could also be to do with posture, so as I’ve seen advised here it may be an idea to pop into a runners shop like “runners need” and get a gait analysis done. They can advise on posture and correct running shoes. You may also want to think about incorporating some light resistance workouts/training on a couple of the days you are not running, in order to strength IG your muscles and improve your gait.

Don’t give up though. Think back to the rush of completing that first run!

Repeat as many runs as you need to. Remember you are running your own race - and the ultimate goal should be to improve your fitness, so listen to your body, even if that means slowing down the pace at which you complete the programme to 10+ weeks instead of 9. Adjust don’t quit!

Slow down each run if you need to (should be at a conversational pace), Stay hydrated, correct your posture, get adequate rest, incorporate light resistance training. Best of luck!

Loubielou15 profile image

You have done amazing so far!! I had similar pain and sometimes still do but the stretching at the end of so so important. I also iced where the pain was after stretching. Each time you leave the house and get going on the run you are telling your body, you have got this!! Even if you literally have to say come on you can do this out loud. 🥰

Good luck with week 5 and keep going!! You can do it!

Everyone's journey is different. I find that doing 3 runs every week is too much for example. I also repeat each run 3 times before I move on. Once I get used to that I may move on to 2 runs let week. It depends on what my body tells me.

Yes to repeating run 3 until you feel able to move on .Are you doing your stretches before and after ? What sort of shoes do you wear .Persistence will pay off .Good luck .

Hi there...This may sound odd but do you wear a decent pair of running shoes when you run? I started off in old pair basic trainers and my shins and feet hurt.I went and had a gait analysis and purchased some Brooks running shoes.

Don't be too hard on yourself either your run can be affected by tiredness, I find time of the month, even what I've eaten.

You'll get there...Take care 😊

pottyblue profile image

start the whole programme again

there are no rules

you are a better runner now than you was when you started

stick with it one foot in front of the other

Couchpotato2 profile image

Hi! That’s interesting what you say about your personality. By doing couch I m changed my view of failure to be failing is not trying. It sounds to me As if you had an important lesson there and have already identified what might help you…Ie just repeat the week.

Do look at the pinned posts and make sure you are hydrated well the day before the run and go slower if it helps!

Hi there I’m also on week 4 too so please keep going you have done really well to get this far🎉🎉🎉 before you train have you had plenty of fluid so you don’t get cramps and also perhaps make sure your not running on an empty tank either that may make you feel lethargic .. I train first thing around 6.30am I find the air is fresh and I warm up by stretching at home my calf’s and glutes I also walk a few extra minutes before the start the session .. just to make sure I’m warmed up.. I drink plenty before hand too. Like you I have had that voice that says no in my head but I’m over riding it and carrying on as I know this is a challenge I want to complete .. anything worth while is Always testing and then through that we can find achievement .. good luck and keep on rocking we can do this 💪🏻💪🏻🍾🍾

Newbie59 profile image

You are doing this for yourself, not for anyone else. Please don't compare yourself with other people that you see out running and jogging. We are all different.

I started this last year and only found this forum at week 4. I was struggling at week 4, but at that point I wasn't doing any stretching, and I'm sure I wasn't drinking enough water either! Also, I realised that after week 4 I needed to take 2 rest days instead of one, to give my older body time to recover.

Doing dynamic stretches before, and stretches held for 30 seconds after the run, and with two rest days, I found I was able to easily carry on through the programme and finish it (in 11 weeks rather than 9). I did repeat a couple of weeks when I felt too tired to move on. The point is I got there in the end, at my own pace.

Good Luck, and keep on Running :)

nowster profile image

Been there!

Week 4 Run 3 was the hardest for me too. It was really humid. I was running in a misty lull between two large deluges of rain. I was huffing and puffing at the end. It was one of those sessions which made you want to chuck it all in and slump on the couch.

But I completed it.

And then a few days later I did W5R1. It was sunny and fresh out. The difference between that run and the previous one was like night and day. It felt good to be out there.

Don't give up. A hard fought run is a victory in itself.

John_W profile image

hey Orca33 I hope some of the replies above are of help. How are you feeling today?

GoGo_JoJo profile image

I am with you on the quit rather than fail spectrum.... but.... are you enjoying what you have been doing?

If so, don't let fear of failing take that from you. If you want to redo any of the weeks thus far, do so! Although it's a 9 week programme, you move through it at your pace. If your body isn't ready for week 4, do what has been good.

Look how far you've come already, do you really want to give up on that progress?

I know how you feel but it’s great that you’re running for 5 minutes when initially 60 felt impossible - that’s progress :-) I’m now finding that I just repeat a run until I feel comfortable doing it & try not to feel pressured by the ‘9 weeks’ malarkey. Maybe you could try that? It may well take 9 months to get to 5k for me, but I feel confident that I’ll get there, gradually! X

Hi there, don’t be too hard on yourself, I found wk 4 trickier than wk5, I haven’t got much advice as I’m only on wk 5 r3 tomorrow but what helped me was slowing down my pace and looking at my splits- (woo I sound like a real runner) so look at your pace on your first bit compared to the 2nd you may be going quicker at the beginning so try and switch and if you have anything left in your tank save it for the end. Good luck, I get it can be disheartening after a run which isn’t enjoyable but every run is training snd getting you to the next stage. Good luck 🤞

GoogleMe profile image

You've had lots of suggestions I wouldn't disagree with.

I don't think you really want to give up or you wouldn't have posted like this. The programme can at least as much about psychological benefits, changing the way we see ourselves. It can be really useful to have some insight into our tendencies but maybe not as an excuse. You don't have to be defined by the particular way you have defined failure.

An additional suggestion for a tweak (and seriously that's all you need, some tweaks) is to look at *where* you are running. If it is all a bit sticky then ensuring you're not attempting the same route. Also have a look at the surfaces you're running on, especially if you feel your main problem is leg pain. If you can get off hard surfaces such as roads and pavements... and go for a mid or forefoot strike rather than hitting the ground heel first, that might make the difference (it does for me!)

Shandy1 profile image

Hi I found doing Lesley sansone fitness walking on you tube on ‘rest days’ really helped my stamina when it came to run days 😊

Orca33 profile image
Orca33 in reply to Shandy1

Thanks so much, I’ll look that up now :)

Rennur profile image

Remember. This is really a "Couch to 30 minutes" programme. Only about 10% manage 5K in 30 minutes. A year on and I have yet to break 42 minutes. I did 15K last month and a 10K "fun run" (fun but hilly!) last Sunday. I struggled with Week 1. Most people have at least one hard week on the programme. It is not supposed to be easy- just achievable. You can repeat one, two or three runs (I did) or even whole weeks. Don't beat yourself up. I am slow but I love it. I am over 55, overweight and balding (I think it's the lack of hair that slows me down.) If I can do it .....

Well… i just finished week 4. I had the treadmill set to 5km/hr which is slower than the pace I set it to for my walks but whatever, it still counts so I’ll take it.

I’m thinking the 5 minute walk isn’t enough of a warm up for me and maybe I should add something else as an extra warm up before I even open the app.

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