Couch to 5K

A Low Day

I was so excited to do my second run for week 2. On Sunday, a surprised myself by managing the first run of week 2 with no trouble, and even having a bit of extra oomph at the end. I felt eager to continue, and confident that I would be able to keep getting better.

Today did not meet my expectations.

Granted, I have had a headache all day, and found myself sleeping something like 14+ hours. But I wasn't really that sick, and all I had to do was keep up a light job for 90 seconds at a time.

It started drizzling outside, so after taping my knees, I put on a hoodie. Then my partner J and I got going. My preferred route has a steepish hill at the beginning, with a gradual descent and gentle hills after that (avoiding hills requires driving out of my area.) My first run was a slow trudge up the hill, but I made it. The next couple of intervals would continue up, but mostly at a gentle incline.

On that first interval, with my barely-jogging pace, a treacherous thought hit me. It hurts to run for that interminable 90 seconds. I must be delusional to think I can run 5 minutes, let alone 30 in a couple months! My step faltered. I hoped that each measure of that "running" music was the last, that it was time to rest. Finally it was.

My next interval was on a very gentle upwards incline, almost flat. It should have been easy. J, who is so much stronger than I, took off running on his own (he doubles back to meet me). I ran perhaps half the interval, with the drizzle turning to rain, and just couldn't make myself keep going.

I stopped and cried instead, a wrenching sob more appropriate for grieving widows and babies than weak runners. I felt like such a failure. And also stupid for being so distraught. And also pathetic for not trying harder and faltering long before the program got really hard.

I changed my route and headed for home. My tears mixed with the rain as I slogged back with my tail between my legs. All I can say is, I really hope I am ever able to progress, because this does not bode well for me.

20 Replies

Days like that are rubbish and its only natural to feel a bit despondent really.

Try not to read too much into it though, its just one day, just one bad run on a day you were not feeling 100% and still went out and did it.

They happen, but don't forget that however much of it you did is still better than doing nothing on that old couch.

Onwards! Tomorrow's another day.


That is good advice. I do tend to over-think things and psyche myself out. Tomorrow is indeed another chance. Thank you.


Yes I agree, you were'nt feeling well and you weren't in a good place mentally, Laura says trust the programme and don't try to think too far ahead. Take it easy and don't be too hard on yourself


So true, Gridlet, and being in a good place mentally. I have trouble trusting either the program or my body. It is something I have to work on, for sure. I will try more to stay in the present, for now, on the 90 seconds I am running, rather than the daunting future tasks.


Aw Hun, don't feel bad. I found that the first few weeks seriously are the hardest runs you'll ever do. Reasoning behind this is that you are trying to convince you body to do something that it hasn't done before.

Well done for doing your runs outside, locally and where there are hills -I'm on week 9, and have not yet really tackled any sort of hilly terrain!

Try not to think abou the weeks ahead, and just concentrate on week 2.

Feeling I'll won't help matters either. Don't be hard on yourself. Get up fresh either today or tomorrow, fingers crossed the sun will be out and get yourself out again. Repeat your run 2, and take it steady. Ask your partner J to run/walk beside you fir this next run - I find it easier when Daz is running next to me - he pushes me further than I think I can go.

I really hope the next run goes so much better for you. It really does get easier - I can't believe I'm running 30mins now - lik you, at week 2the though of running 5, 10, 20mins was very daunting!

But saying that, if I can do it (morbidly obese, 20stone), then I can honestly say anyone can do it. Have faith in yourself an trust Laura.

Hugs and good luck for run2



Thank you Lisa. I think I will ask J to run along side me until I feel more confident. It definitely makes a difference. And by the by, good for you for running regardless of your weight! I couldn't even begin to run until I had lost 40 pounds because my knees couldn't take it. I am so impressed with your hard work. I think I have an idea what that is like, and I applaud you.


Don't feel bad, I think you are great in tackling the inclines and hills at this stage, I am like Lizzie and have not really run any of those and am at week 6, I feel a bit of a wimp for avoiding any slopes where possible even though it meant running up and down my lane at the back of my house to start with and only in the last 2 weeks have I ventured further away (still avoiding the inclines though :-) )

Don't be too hard on yourself, you will make it and anything you do is better than nothing :-)


I don't think running on flat ground makes you a wimp. Perhaps just smart. Thank you for cheering me on. It is true that I went 2.5 km more yesterday than I would have done sitting on the couch!


From my house I have two hills which take about 8 minutes to walk up (each) before I get any road which is not on a steep incline. I used to walk up the first one and then start the programme and jog slowly up the second one. Although I could just about do it I realised that it basically sapped all my energy and ruined the rest of the run. So I decided to walk up both as a warm up, taking 15-20 minutes and then start the podcast and then I could have a reasonable shot at what was asked of me.

If you've got the time I would do the same because your first run is 'a slow trudge up a hill' and this will just make the rest of the run so much harder than it really should be.

You CAN do this, you just have to give that voice in your head saying that you can't a jolly good talking to!


I will definitely consider changing my route to something more friendly for newbies. Not 100% whether it is worth the rather considerable drive... but I can look for options.

Regardless, I absolutely agree that the nay-saying voice in my head needs a good muzzle. Thank you for helping me re-align my expectations.


Its only week 2. you've just started sweetheart. We all go through those runs, or non-runs, that just plain dont work. This stupid weather is so hard to run in and it gets everyone down. I ran so much better when the sun was shining. I believe you can do it and i'm sure J does too. I did all of the first few runs a few times because i just didnt feel ready to move on yet. (41 and 4 stone overweight)

Collect yourself, rest up for a couple of days and perhaps find a nice even route (i cant run hills without feeling like i'm having a cardiac arrest!). Its not failure, its just regrouping, ok?

Let us know how you get on and remember that we are all here for you, good day or bad.

Nicky x


Thank you so much Nicky. I will definitely gather myself up and get out there again tomorrow. I keep trying to say, "A setback is not failure. A setback is not defeat."


Dont be so hard on yourself. You've done good! You went out when you werent feeling great and 90seconds is a lot to jog in week2. You've done it once so you can do it - you just weren't well.

I'm seriously impressed that you ran up a steep hill & you're on week2. You've definitely got the stamina and the willpower to do this. As the others say, dont use all your energy on that first hill - walk up it. If i were you (and if its poss near you) I'd find a park or football pitch - something that's flat - and I know its boring - but just do circles of it until you complete week2, then gradually build the gentle inclines into your jog.

Be good to yourself today, rest up - coffee & chocolate is my prescription!


Now that is some interesting and good advice! But is it cheating to walk up the hill and run down it? I find running downhill even easier than running on flat. And it is sort of my reward for making it up the first half of the run, especially the very first bit. Maybe it is sort of cheating, but worth doing anyways if it keeps me running. I can always add that first hill back in later...


I had a bad day early on, my mind was on other things, and I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm! I gave up after being out 20 minutes and felt utterly useless. However, I made myself go out again and it has got better as I am now running for 15 minutes at a time. You will get there in your own time - don't give up!


So true, Boldie. Thank you for the encouragement to try again. I will do so tomorrow, and hopefully it will be much better then.


Honestly don't worry! I just did the last run of week 4 and had been doing really well, then suddenly my legs were like lead or stone maybe and I just couldn't run at all. I was really disappointed but I just lumped my way through the rest of the session and will do it again. It's just one bad run, perhaps I was more tired than I realised. I would absolutely advise you not to start learning to run by running up hills, I find it an absolute disaster. I think the most important thing is to achieve the runs, it doesn't matter how slowly you go or how pathetic you think your running is, it does improve, I can now run (slowly) for 5 minutes and at the start couldn't manage 20 seconds. It gives you such a sense of achievement if you can get through each session and without realising it you get stronger and your stamina improves. Do it again when you feel better and I bet you will manage really well. Slow and steady works really well. Good luck :)


Thank you for the good advice, Cattery. I think you have to truth of it. May I ask, how did you get started if you could only jog 20 seconds? (I was terrified I wouldn't be able to manage 60 seconds for week 1, so I did some practice runs around my living was one of my biggest fears. I am curious how you overcame it.)


Oh bless your heart!

Great comments from all the guys.

Can't really add any more except we all have those days, honest, and get away from hills for the time being.

I graduated last week and didn't go near a hill till week 6!

Keep going,love, and you'll be fine xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Thank you for the support and sense of perspective. I will keep you and all the other amazing community members in my head when I go out again tomorrow.


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