Trying to crack week 6: I've now attempted week... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Trying to crack week 6

PD25 profile image

I've now attempted week 6 run 3 for the second time now, unfortunately I didn't complete either. First time I was 13 min in and the second time 10 mins in. I've done week 5 run 2 (20 min) quite a few times so I think I'll go back to week 6 run 1 .

I am doing this on the treadmill between 5.5-6 mph on a 1% incline as with all of my runs, so hopefully I will be able to crack the 25 min run by the end of the week.

37 Replies
Cmoi profile image

Hi PD25, while I know nothing about treadmill running, never having run on one in my life, if my calculations are correct that's quite a decent speed you're running at. Why not just go slower? You need to be running at a pace at which you can hold a conversation; it's not a race!

PD25 profile image
PD25Graduate in reply to Cmoi

Thanks for the advice Cmoi, it must be my way of thinking as I think 5.5mph 9kmh seems quite slow, to me anyway. I will take everyones advice on board and maybe drop it to 5.2mph and see how I get on.

KayBee1000 profile image
KayBee1000Graduate in reply to PD25

I ran on a treadmill to do C25k - I think during week 6 I was running at around 3.5mph (from memory).

You haven’t fallen into the trap of believing you should be running 5k by the end of the course, have you? That would be around 6mph. The goal of C25k is to run for 30 minutes non-stop. If you can’t manage to finish a run it’s likely you’re trying to run too fast.

I graduated a couple of years ago and my running pace is still only slightly faster (and sometimes slower!) than my brisk walking pace.

If running is something you’re going to keep up, you need to adopt a slow and steady approach, especially before graduation, but after that too. Hopefully you’ll be running for many more years, there’s no rush 😁

Try and run just 1mph faster than your walking pace, see how that goes. It’s about stamina, not speed.

Good luck, let us know how you get on! We’re all rooting for you.

PD25 profile image
PD25Graduate in reply to KayBee1000

Thanks for your support. I took everyones advice and slowed it down, though I still kept the 1% incline.😃I managed to finish the run this time, I did 18 min@ 5.0mph then dropped it down to 4.6 and back up to 6 for the last minute.

As everyone has said I was trying to go too fast and I was trying to run at a speed what I thought I should be running at before I had my aortic valve replacement.

Thanks for everyones encouragement its really boosted my confidence.


KayBee1000 profile image
KayBee1000Graduate in reply to PD25

Yay! Well done. I agree you should keep the incline (I also run on a 1% incline, as it replicates the slight resistance you get from running on uneven ground).

I didn’t realise you’d had a valve replacement; many congrats on getting back to exercising after that, it can’t have been easy. A relative of mine has just had stents put in, and he’s finding it difficult to come to terms with not being able to do everything he was able to before.

To be honest though, I think even if you hadn’t had a valve replacement 6mph would be too fast for most people by week 6, that’s quite a pace!

Glad the wonderful people here were able to boost your confidence and get you over the hump - this truly is one of the best forums on the internet!

Good luck for the rest of your C25k journey, you’ve got this 👍

PD25 profile image
PD25Graduate in reply to KayBee1000

For me, the hardest part is getting my fitness back to the levels I had before the operation and Covid, which to be honest I will be surprised if I do. If, sorry when, I get to 5K I'll be happy and take it from there and maybe go for 10K. I can hear the rowing machine trying to entice me back as well😂 but for now one step at a time.

I agree with Cmoi . It sounds like you need to slow down. Remember the c25k isn’t about running at a particular speed, it’s about something you can comfortably sustain for the run time.

Practising how to manage your pace will really stand you in good stead as your runs get longer in duration.

PD25 profile image
PD25Graduate in reply to MissUnderstanding

Thanks for taking the time to reply. Unfortunately 5.5mph does seem quite slow to me as 5mph seems like a half jog, half walk pace 😀 I have done the 20min run at 5.5 and with a 1% incline so I'll persevere for now at that speed and if it doesn't work, I'll have to follow everyones advice and drop the speed.

MissUnderstanding profile image
MissUnderstandingGraduate in reply to PD25

Unless you’re only going to run distances you can manage at 5.5mph, wouldn’t you be better spending time practising how to run more slowly? It didn’t come naturally to me either but there’s no way I’d have got to 10km if I’d continued running as fast as I did for 5km. On days when I’m tired from other things, I need to be able to run at a recovery pace. If I’m doing intervals, I need that slower pace between sprints.

It might be worth taking the long term view that you’re going to be limiting yourself if you don’t learn to run at that slower pace.

What’s caused you to stop on your previous attempts?

Good luck for your next run.

PD25 profile image
PD25Graduate in reply to MissUnderstanding

I understand what you are saying and I'll have to slow down. I thought if I could run 20 at 5.5 then why not 25? We live and learn even at my age. on my first attempt at 25min I stopped because I really shouldn't have attempted it as I didn't feel too good before I started. The second time I had a CBA moment at 10 mins so I walked for three then did another 10min run.

I also have to remember I'm 60 and not 16.


Cmoi profile image
CmoiGraduate in reply to PD25

MissUnderstanding is right about pace and distance. Following the logic of "If I can run at this pace for this amount of time then I can do it for a longer period" Usain Bolt would've been a champion at every distance including marathon! 😉

Bear in mind too that going from 20 minutes to 25 minutes is actually an increase in running time of 25%.

I do get that slower speeds might feel frustrating or as though you're not progressing, but as

Instructor57 says, running slower and building a better aerobic base will help you more than going all out.

nowster profile image

6mph (6 min 13 seconds / km) is a pretty brisk jog. Most folks here would consider it pretty fast for a beginner.

Go slower and drop the incline.

I've never run on a treadmill myself, preferring to get some natural Vitamin D. At that stage of C25K I would have considered 6'13"/km to be pushing myself hard.

The goal of the C25K scheme is not to get you to 5km, but to get you to the stage where you can regularly run for 30 minutes comfortably.

PS. I did do 5km in 30 minutes on my graduation run, but I also gave myself a very badly sprained ankle in the attempt, leading to a month without running, two physio visits, and then I had to start again from scratch.

Vespina profile image

I’d echo what everyone else has said. My first thought was “goodness me, that’s fast!”

I have slowed down a bit as the distance has gone up, which is perfectly normal. For example, almost no one has a 10k time that is twice their 5k. It’s usually slower than that. So as I increased the distance, I dropped the pace slightly. My focus was on hitting the time goals, as that’s the structure of the programme.

Maybe give it a go with dropping the pace. You can always work at nudging it up again after graduation.

PD25 profile image
PD25Graduate in reply to Vespina

Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely drop the speed on my next attempt.

Vespina profile image
VespinaGraduate in reply to PD25

Looking forward to seeing how it goes. It expect it’s harder to gauge on the treadmill. I run outside so it slows naturally. All the best with it and keep us posted on how it goes

PD25 profile image
PD25Graduate in reply to Vespina

Will do.

Instructor57 profile image

I would ditch the incline and slow down !Remember, this is not about speed or distance , it's about time running/ jogging

Are you running at a pace where you could comfortably hold a conversation without gasping for breath ?

If not it's simply too fast .

PD25 profile image

Will do, I'm only really out of breath the last couple of minutes but I will run slower on my next run.

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Administrator in reply to PD25

If you are out of breath the last couple of minutes then the pace you are running is too high for you current aerobic base to sustain .The way to improve your aerobic base is (as strange as it may seem) to run slower .

For optimal development around 80% of your running shoul be at a conversational pace but this would be suggested after C25k .

During the program we would advise 100 % of your runs should be at a conversational pace

nowster profile image
nowsterGraduate in reply to PD25

Ideally you're looking to find a pace that you could run all day at and hold a conversation with the person next to you. Speed work can come later.

You'll notice that a lot of of us work in pace (minutes per km) rather than speed (mph or km/h).

My fastest km took 4 minutes (9.3 mph), but that was after about 18 months of regular running, and I was huffing and puffing for a minute after doing it.

During my recent long run (16 miles, nearly 3 hours), I averaged 6'27" per km (5.8 mph), but by the end I was doing closer to 6'52"/km (5.4 mph). This is my "all day" pace after nearly two years of regular running.

My 5km pace is about half way between the two.

One of my most enjoyable short runs was even slower at about 8min/km (4.7 mph).

Now this is after two years of regular running (at least every other day), nowadays doing about 100 miles per month. I'm much fitter than I was two years ago.

I did hardly any speed work but instead concentrated on gradually increasing my distances at a slower pace. Those plodded miles are what caused the most improvement to my natural speed.

My guess is that you're trying to do something closer to your current 1km speed, and trying to sustain that for 25 minutes.

Well what can I say? sounds like you’ve been doing well but as everyone says slow down, if you’ve anything left near the end you can always speed up a bit. I found I just took the longer runs slower and slower although outside not on a treadmill, I used to run a lot on a treadmill though and the big difference for me is if it’s not comfortable outside I slow naturally and am great at really slow running 🏃‍♀️ but can keep it up for 10k now

PD25 profile image
PD25Graduate in reply to WillowandSola

Thank you for your reply. I took everyones advice, so I slowed it down and completed the 25 min run this morning. I looked at the slow running method which a few people have mentioned, which also helped.

Digdeep profile image

I’m a full time treadmill runner and graduated a few weeks ago.

I run at 4.1 mph which is around 6.5 km/hr mostly on a .5 incline which I feel is quite slow but I’m okay with this, some days I can incline to 1 but I have knee problems so I have to be careful.

5.5 - 6mph is fast thats around 9 - 9.7 km/hr. The C25K is not about speed and reaching 5k in 30 mins although after lots of practice you may do this but it’s about being able to run 30 mins straight.

Sounds like you are going to fast, try Japanese slow jogging and you can hold a conversation at the same time. You can repeat each week as many times as it takes, don’t push yourself feel comfortable before moving on.

Good luck keep running, keep smiling.

PD25 profile image

Thanks to everyone who has replied, it really is appreciated I have taken on board what I really have to do, which is to slow down. I'll let you all know how I get on, starting from tomorrow.

I agree. Just slow down. (I started at 61).

Rabbit561 profile image

I really struggled with running slowly enough at the beginning too, caught up with what I “should” be running. Look up Japanese slow running - it really helped me to get it. But keep going and maybe try running outside one of these days- it’s so good.

Trainers2022 profile image

Hi there, well done for coming this far😀 thanks for posting about your experience of running week 6!! I know exactly how you’re feeling, it was my 3rd run of week 6 yesterday and it felt like a big hurdle. I was flagging at around the 17th minute. I walked for 3 mins and then picked up the pace again. I’ve decided to repeat week 6 as I just didn’t feel ready for the 3rd run just yet. Keep up the good work, good luck 😎

PD25 profile image
PD25Graduate in reply to Trainers2022

I managed to do run 3 week 6 this morning. 😃I slowed down to 5mph for the first 18 min, then dropped it to 4.8, then 4.6 and for the last minute I went up to 6mph.

Like you, at around 17min I started to feel it so I dropped the speed accordingly.

Pinkpiglet17 profile image

Good luck I feelYour pain ! Just completed week 6 run 2 this morning and building up to the 20 minute run on Friday !! You can do this don’t give up now you’ve come this far 😊

PD25 profile image
PD25Graduate in reply to Pinkpiglet17

Thanks for your support, giving up is not in my vocabulary. 😊 I managed to run the 25min this morning and I'll most probably do it again over the weekend.

Packrunner profile image

I had the same conundrum. I started my runs on treadmill, up to week 6, then I travelled back home for a bit and continued the program running outside. Like you, on the treadmill I was trying to keep to 9.6km/hr, aiming for 10, which would see the 5K in 30 minutes. When I started running outside, I had no “measuring” tech, I just had Denise telling me when to start and stop, so actually I had no idea how far I was going and at what speed, I just focused on not stopping. I graduated C25K like that. After graduation I started using a run tracking app, and my last outside run I did the 5K in 30 minutes. Now I have returned, and I’m back on the treadmill. Maintaining 10km/hr is (for me) impossible. It seems ridiculously fast, and I am sticking to somewhere around 9.5 (maybe up to 10 for the last 30 seconds for the hero’s finish 🤣) the only thing I can think is that outside we have ups and downs in gradient, and our pace probably changes all the time without conscious effort, I need to get out and test my theory a bit more, but I know for sure I can go further, in less time outside, and there is a marked negative correlation in required effort compared to the treadmill. If you’re doing 5k in 30 mins on the treadmill at 10km/hr .. when you get outside you’ll be literally flying 🤣 … anyway, I can’t explain it, but those are my findings from going from Treadmill to Outside to back again. Can you try outside? Happy running! x

PD25 profile image
PD25Graduate in reply to Packrunner

Thanks I'll bear that in mind. Outdoor runs wont be happening until it starts cooling down.... a lot.

Digdeep profile image

Speed and time chart

Comte profile image

Having used both a treadmill and normal road running, I find the treadmill a lot more difficult. One problem with the treadmill is that once the speed is set one is forced to run at that speed whereas with road running one can easily change speed, not necessarily by much, and I think I do this unconsciously throughout a run.

John_W profile image

"Unfortunately 5.5mph does seem quite slow to me as 5mph seems like a half jog, half walk pace"

And what's wrong with that?

It seems like most of the replies have put you right about your pace.

Your running ego (we all have one) has got the better of and without any knowledge of what your body is capable of you seem to have a pre-determined idea of what 'slow' and 'fast' are and how a 'run' should feel.

C25K is about getting you JOGGING continuously for 30 minutes, 3 times in Week 9 - regardless of distance. Assuming you enjoy it, then what you're doing is building a foundation from which you can go onto bigger and better running (jogging!) experiences - longer/further distances and maybe faster 5, 10k runs etc etc.

My own tips from having done C25K on a treadmill and since then (7 years ago) have continued to do 30% of my runs indoors:

1. Forget the incline - it's simply not necessary for C25K and won't help when it comes to transitioning outdoors. The 1% thing is a well-worn myth.

2. Pace - glad to hear you've slowed down. When starting, try imaging finishing your run (jog!) feeling like you could carry on if you had to - what does that pace look and feel like? If you can work that out then THAT is your perfect C25K pace.

3. This will hurt your male running ego, but after your BRISK 5 minute warm-up, just increase the treadmill speed a fraction and break into a jog and see if your running ego will allow to hold at that speed for 5 minutes. Then increase it a smidge more and do the same. Keep on like that until you've run (JOGGED!) for 25 minutes (W6R3 or W7).

PD25 profile image

You're right, I still think of what my body could do before I was ill and what I can do now, so slow it is.

The 1% is something I have always done for some reason and when I use my fitness app workouts.

I'll try point 3 tomorrow and let you know how I get on.

Thanks for your advice John.

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to PD25

You can obviously and still run quite quickly, given your original post. But you'll have a far better time of it by slowing down and then building from there post-graduation.

'tis a fine feeling finishing a run (JOG!) feeling like you could easily carry on. *

* think of letting air out of a balloon in a very controlled fashion - say over 1 minute, making sure there is air left during the final second. It's kind of control over your pace, from the 1st minute that you're aiming for ideally.

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