Tips for succeeding in week 5: Hi I’ve just... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Tips for succeeding in week 5

Yumyummaltese profile image

Hi I’ve just completed week 4 and definitely feeling the gradual improvements in my fitness but week 5 is scaring the bejeezus out of me! It seems to ramp up quite quickly so I was hoping for some strategies to confidently attempt and complete these runs…? Thanks in advance for your insights

52 Replies
Instructor57 profile image

Congratulations on completing week 4 !What's scary about week 5 ??

It's just another week of runs that you have already prepared for .

No weeks are scary , they are all there to be embraced 😁

Instructor57 profile image

Take a look at this

Perfect, thanks! Love this group

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Moderator in reply to Yumyummaltese

Your welcome !

And yes me too ! Best place on the interweb 😁

Irish-John profile image

Every increase in times scared the crap out of me :) But - seeing as the previous weeks "worked" I kept trusting the programme and kept at it slow and steady :)Took me 16 weeks to graduate - but now training, five years later - for my second FM :)

Slowly, steadily and keeping it fun on at least some level was "the secret" for me :)

Wow! I’m definitely inspired by stories such as yours 🙌🏼

Irish-John profile image
Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Yumyummaltese

Always keep in mind that the graduates here did the programme because they felt the need for it :)If any of us had thought we "we can already run" - there wouldn't have been any point in doing it :)

As it is, two polls over the years show that less than ten percent graduate "in time/with distance" :)

What the programme does is get you to where you have a great foundation to go on to greater times and distances - again, slowly and steadily :)

Week7 profile image

Don't overthink it! In c25k I always felt that the next week would be a step too far , but it wasn't.

Just put one foot in front of the other and slow down if you struggle-I think at times my "runs" were slower than my walk breaks . Just follow the plan, you won't regret it.


Alan99 profile image

Trust in the program and remember to take it steady. A few months back the thought of running continuously for 7 minutes terrified me.Now I'm bouncing round Parkruns. Well, I get to the end suitably shattered anyway.

The program really does work. Just deal with those damn gremlins whenever they decide to appear and believe in yourself👍

drun profile image

Welcome to the forum Yumyummaltese well done for getting started.

Week 5 seems to catch a lot of people out as it's the transition week where you do more running than walking.

This post is essential reading for those new to the programme or returning after a break and includes hydration, stretching after a run and knee and leg strengthening exercises all of which will help.

Enjoy the journey and keep smiling

Hi, I’m in exactly the same position. Starting week 5 tomorrow. Scared I won’t be able to do it.

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Ju-Ju40

Why are you scared? And what if you can't do it? What then?

If you read through this thread you will feel better about it :-) good luck and let me know how it goes for you

nowster profile image

What's scary about Week 5?

Week 4 is the scary one which almost doubles the amount of running you're doing, or didn't you realise that when you were doing it?

Good point!

PJRunner profile image

Trust the plan, tell those doubts to 'do one'. You are ready for this, slow down if you need to, there's no such thing as too slow. Good luck you've got this.


It’s that 20 minute run at the end of week 5 that has us all quaking in our shoes, when the run sections got longer I worked out if we started really really slow we might just make it to the end, I hated every minute of week 4 and then loved every minute of week 5, I remember bellowing to Willow “slow down or we won’t be able to run long enough” as he powered off in front, we watched the japanese slow running video and really enjoyed ourselves, and realised by week 9 that our really slow running was comfortable and faster than in the beginning when we were huffing and puffing and our heart rate hadn’t gone up so high. Good luck and remember to come back and tell us how you did 😀

I’ll give that Japanese slow running technique a try if I’m struggling! Thanks 😊

Sandie1961 profile image

Just keep following the programme because it really does work. I decided not to look in advance at what was coming up so I didn’t have time to worry about it 😂 And music!

I always need to know what’s next! 😂

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Yumyummaltese

Do you ? Really? In which case, you should have a look at the C25K Wallchart which will help you understand how the program works and should ease your concerns.

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Yumyummaltese

John_W profile image

"... scaring the bejeezus... " out of you?

Why? What's the very worst that could happen?

Yumyummaltese profile image
Yumyummaltese in reply to John_W

Fear of failure I guess. A set back that might put me off continuing. I figured it was the right time to reach out to this group for some support and I was right!

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Yumyummaltese

You were right! If you have read the links above, then hopefully you now understand that Week 5 is simply another week on the way towards Week 9 and 30 minutes of continuous running (jogging!) If you work backwards from Week 9, ask yourself how else you'd structure the program... when would you ditch the walking breaks in such a way that allows to build towards 3x 30 minutes in Week 9?

More importantly, Week 4 was the bigger jump but hardly anyone ever realises. It's the TOTAL amount of running time that builds your fitness and NOT the length of any one particular segment. Let's look at it like this:

W3R1 - you ran for 9 minutes

W3R2 - you ran for 9 minutes

W3R3 - you ran for 9 minutes

W4R1 - you ran for 16 minutes (SIXTEEN!)

W4R2 - you ran for 16 minutes

W4R3 - you ran for 16 minutes

W5R1 - you run for 15 minutes (FIFTEEN!)

W5R2 - you run for 16 minutes (this should be easy now, yes?)

W5R1 - you run for 20 minutes (yay!)

By the time you reach W5R3, you'll have accumulated 157 minutes (over 2.5 hours) of running fitness which should be more than enough to see you through. The key is go nice and slow and take it easy.

In other words, your BODY is ready, prepared. But your MIND, is telling you something else. Trust your body. Switch BRAIN OFF! Your body is capable of extraordinary things, but it's the mind, your brain that puts the limits on. Don't let it.

You're ready.

Do it.

PS. DON'T GIVE UP. NEVER GIVE UP. If you don't manage it, suck it up and go again.

Yumyummaltese profile image
Yumyummaltese in reply to John_W

So helpful, thanks! I’ll post on here how W5 R3 goes when I get there!

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Yumyummaltese

Embrace the challenge - enjoy it , you're on an amazing journey that could and hopefully *will* change your life :-)

Ju-Ju40 profile image
Ju-Ju40 in reply to John_W

This is brilliant. A lot of my battles are in my head. Thank you for this

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Ju-Ju40

C25K, like any progressive exercise program, is a mental challenge, NOT a physical one. That;s cos the program has been designed to be physically do-able for people like you (and me!)

The key is the mental battle.

TIP: switch BRAIN OFF!

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Ju-Ju40

How are you both getting on? Yumyummaltese

Ju-Ju40 profile image
Ju-Ju40 in reply to John_W

I’m struggling. On Monday I did a metafit class thinking it would help strengthen my legs and now I’m aching so bad!

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Ju-Ju40

Well, now you know. That type of thing will only benefit you if you recover from it properly, i.e. giving it time. Was the idea to strengthen your legs the day before doing W5R3 ?

Ju-Ju40 profile image
Ju-Ju40 in reply to John_W

Not really just wanted to strengthen my legs in general but think I went in too hard to quick. Def learnt my lesson!

Yumyummaltese profile image
Yumyummaltese in reply to John_W

Hey John, sorry for the late reply. I just completed run 2 of week 5 and it’s as of a switch has been flicked in my mind and I absolutely loved it! I’m on such a high right now. I really needed your advice about switching the mind off - although it ended up becoming quite the opposite as I suddenly got all inspired about some work I’m doing and was having a creative and energy block - to be honest I’ve been blocked for some time. Today while running I deliberately stopped thinking about the running and the time and ended up having some great ideas and even made a decision to start a blog! So instead of switching my brain off it got all fired up and I haven’t stopped grinning about it since 😊 sincere thanks to you and all this group for the amazing support that got me over my hump, not only am I not worried any more about run 3 but I’m actually weirdly looking forward to it!

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Yumyummaltese

Well well well... whoddathunk it?

That's absolutely lovely to read. Well done and now you can....


John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to John_W

I'm trying to come back from an injury and build up to 30 minutes of continuous running (jogging!). Here's what my program looks like. Week 10 is 3 runs of 30 mins. Have a look at Week 9 and see if you can work out why it isn't a big jump from 4m30s to 30min :-)

Return-to-run protocol
SunShineRae profile image
SunShineRae in reply to John_W

Love this! Such awesome positive advice🙌

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to SunShineRae

Hope it's been of some help to you. Week 5 is very misunderstood!

Just do it at an easy pace. If you need to repeat a run, it isn't failure- it's part of the plan.

The Japanese slow running video isn't really a special technique to fall back on if you're struggling. It's just another way of saying run at a pace where you can literally talk out loud, with a handy video to show you what that might look like.

As the running sections become longer, pacing yourself becomes more important. It takes a bit of practice to get it right.

Good luck with week 5👍🏼

Have to say I felt the same as I’ve just completed week 5 and the thought of running for 20 mins just sounded impossible but as other people have said a lot of it is in your mind physically it really wasn’t so bad I found the hardest part was to not think too much about the time I was running for

I imagine that will be the same for me! Thanks for sharing your experience

I did Week six run 1 this morning in Gozo. I was worried about the step up in week 5 but I gritted my teeth and managed run three. Have faith in the people who designed the programme, they got you this far!

Well done you!

My advice is don’t worry .You are ready if you have done all the runs leading up to this .Take it slowly would be my advice .It’s not as hard as you are imagining as long as you pace yourself .Good luck .You can do this .

IannodaTruffe profile image

Welcome to the forum and well done on your progress.

W5 is just another week of progressive runs in a perfectly structured training plan, culminating in the shortest workout since W3.

This guide to the plan is essential reading

and includes advice on minimising impact, stretching after every run, hydration and strengthening exercises, all of which will help.

Enjoy your journey.

How is week 5 going? My story is the same as the other replies and like them I miraculously managed.

Thanks MerryLynette, see my reply above to John_W for the full deets but suffice to say I’m LOVING IT 😊

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to MerryLynette

It wasn't a miracle - it's a tried and trusted program, your body was ready but your brain wasn't convinced :-)

W5 R3 completed! It was hard but I did it. I think it was made all the harder because I’ve had a lot of negative energy thrown my way over the past 2 days and that can have such a detrimental effect on our physical ability. I wasn’t able to quiet my mind and I didn’t get the high school f the past run where I was buzzing with energy and positivity. But I’m a stubborn lady and I did it! Feeling proud of myself and determined not to let all the negative ninnies continue to get me down 💪🏻 🏃‍♀️ 😃

Well done you🙌 I understand how difficult it can be getting back to running whilst going through the effects of cancer & still am! I also had a hip replacement surgery 7mths ago so know it’s tough but wanted to cheer you on👍

What I found helped was to repeat a couple of the same runs from wks 3 & 4 to build up & feel stronger when attempting wk 5+… just take your time @ your own pace - for me it’s always the first 5-10mins where I think I can’t do this but once I get in to my stride & have music on it just takes you away & you forget how long you've been running!

Hope this helps & keep it up,.. all small runs are the stepping stones to the big ones🌈

Big love🙋‍♀️

Yes indeed cancer is the gift that keeps on giving, in terms of side effects of treatment if you’re one of the lucky ones to beat the beast. I just realised that I’m back to my old pre-cancer weight, which had really sky rocketed for a while from chemo/steroids and immobility after surgeries. Now I’m focusing less on my weight and more on my general well-being, mobility, mental health and fitness. I turned 50 a few months back and determined to fit the mantra ‘50 is the new 40’! Since my 40’s were such a rollercoaster I feel the need to reset the clock! Good luck to you and thanks for reaching out! X

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