Why do I find this so hard?!: I've been a gym... - Couch to 5K

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Why do I find this so hard?!

I've been a gym goer for the past 2 years now, average 3 times a week. I'm 25, non smoker and a healthy size 12 yet I really struggle to run! I've currently just finished w2 r3 and although I've managed it ok it's not as easy as it looks on paper! My breathing isn't too bad but I find my legs throb like they are saying "stop"! I've had a gait analysis and was told my run is near spot on and a new pair of trainers might not necessarily improve anything. Does anyone else really struggle? I see people much older and heavier than me running for ages and I wonder how they are doing it?

11 Replies

As somone much older and much heavier, I would guess that you are trying to run an awful lot faster than us geriatric chubsters. Just slow down, get the time then get the speed.

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A common mistake is to start out too fast? I took the lovely Laura at her word when she told me a light jog would do! I did think my legs/joints would be the issue as I was and am so overweight but it was my breathing and the unaccustomed sweaty feeling that I had to battle!


It sounds like you are doing everything right... we all take differing lengths of time to get into different things, you might be building different muscles now or gaining stamina for a new activity.

I think if you keep at it, you will keep seeing improvements and hopefully find this motivating - think of how you are doing compared to how you were doing a few weeks ago for example, rather than how you are doing compared to other people - that's certainly working for me, it's the little improvements over time that help me.

If you've finished Week 2, you're doing great already!!


It's early days, you'll probably feel a lot more positive in a week or so. The program works really well and you'll be amazed how quickly you progress.

Perhaps it seems hard because you're expecting too much too soon - remember it is a new type of exercise to you, so, although you are already fairly fit, you still need to learn and adapt.

I think everyone has found ups and downs on the program but if you stick at it, the rewards will be worth the effort. I'm much older and heavier than you (age 45 and size 14, and pleased to have got down to only just over healthy BMI) and I've survived to Week 6 Run 2 so far - I've done it by following and trusting the program and by reading the various blogs and comments on here; recognizing the same doubts, despair, elation and pride (and other emotions) in others that I have felt myself. I've also learned that I am more determined and capable than I ever realized. It isn't always easy - but if it was always easy, you just wouldn't get the same sense of accomplishment.

Keep at it, a lot of the program is about mental attitude as well as physical fitness - you'll be fine.


as a 37 year old, smoker, size 16 running now for 28 mins... my realisation is that running is a leveller and folks of all shapes, sizes, ages and previous levels of activity or no activity at all can give running a go and one should never judge fitness by it's cover :)


Thanks for your help guys, I'm sure the support on here will get me through it! I am running on a treadmill at 8.5km/h which doesn't seem fast. That wouldn't even give me the 5k in 30 mins :o( I saw a man running (or should I say sprinting at 16.5km/h yesterday) needless to say he couldn't keep that up for long!


I have a similar experience with swimming. I have been running 18 months now, can go 10 miles when I want to. However when I go swimming I am completely pooped after one length and if I look back down the pool it looks like a naval convoy has been patrolling. Then I look in the other lanes and there are people who must be 253 years old gliding up and down for hours barely making a ripple :-)

Luckily I HATE swimming ;-)

I can't work it out at all.


Ha! I can swim for 2 miles. I usually stop way before this due to boredom but don't find it a struggle at all! Guess we can't all be good at everything!


make your stride length shorter- worked for me- I probably look a bit like Mrs Brown, but I can jog for 28 minutes!

Just spent an hour and half in the pool with 2 eight year olds and an 11 year old- didnt swim a length, but was completely knackered doing handstands, forward rolls and going down the flume LOL ;-)


Hi becksta87 - just wanted to say that I am the same as you - same age, size etc. I found it really hard at the start and was exactly like you - I noticed how so many people were older, bigger, smokers etc but seemed to be doing so much better. It took me until about week four to truely find my pace, although it may be a little different for me as I run on roads.

If as you say, the difficulty isn't in breathing so much as your legs, my guess is that your fitness is up to it, you just need to build up the muscles! I was lucky in that I did ballet for fifteen years as a kid, so seem to still have some decent leg muscles from then, and my problem is always in breathing. Am now about to move onto Week 7 and have repeated many of the weeks a few times - I started this back in January!!! It can be really disheartening sometimes when you see people on the forum zipping through the weeks when (in my case) it takes you four weeks to move from 20 minutes to 25 minutes - but stick with it!! You WILL improve and giving up will only get you one place.. Back to square one!!

Let us know how you get on as I always like to hear how people around my age are doing with it :)


Well, on Friday I headed to the gym aiming to see how long I could run for without following the plan (I'd already completed my 3 runs for this week) to cut a long story short I ran for 15 whole minutes without stopping, covering 2km. And this was after a 10 minute straight run. I couldn't believe it! It may not sound like much to some people but I felt like I had run a marathon! So now my question is, do I really need this plan? This is only the end of week 2 for me and if I am already capable of running for this length of time I may not need the next 7 weeks to get me to 30 mins! I found it a help to cover the time on the treadmill and my boyfriend was next to me running at the same time, although he can easy do 10km!


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