Couch to 5K
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Need some advice and encouragement!

A but of background - I started the C25K in the middle of January because I needed something to get me out of the house and give me some space from my kids (aged 2.5 and 10 months), wanted to to try and lose the baby weight, and also knew it might help with my post-natal depression. I got injured in W2R2 and had to have 3 weeks off, then restart the program, but since then I have been doing at least 1 run a week, and generally 2 or 3. My husband has also been doing it, and we have set days that we each run while the other one looks after the kids, so if we miss a run, we have to wait 2 days until our next slot before attempting to go again. Two weeks ago I finished week 8, but then last week I was ill at the start of the week and couldn't run, and then the weather was atrocious and I couldn't face going out in it again having slogged to toddler groups in it earlier in the day. We were then away for the day on the day I usually do my weekend run, so my first chance to get back into it was Monday. It did not go well.

Stupidly, I decided to start week 9 anyway, even though I wasn't feeling confident, as I had been fine running 28 minutes the week before. I also decided to stick with the route I had already planned, which involved running down a very steep hill and then back out the other side for the first half of the run, then running home along the flat. In fairness, I made it all the way down and was within 10 metres of the top when I saw that it didn't flatten out immediately as I had expected but continued to slope upwards for a little while longer, and I gave up and stopped just 15 minutes in. I haven't stopped since W1R1 the first time round. I don't let myself stop because I know it would be a slippery slop for me. As anticipated, I then walked for a while, and ran on and off the rest of the way home, allowing myself to stop whenever it got at all tough.

I just feel so down and demoralised now. I feel like the voice in my head that says I can't do it and I'm stupid to think I can run has actually won, whereas on my last run before this one, it was quieter than ever before. I couldn't try again on Tuesday because it was my husband's running day, but I am supposed to be going tonight, and I am really struggling to motivate myself. I feel like now I have stopped, I will keep stopping and that I can't do it any more. I seem to have completely lost my confidence. I was thinking I could a 20 minute run today to try and ease back into it, then a 25 minute run next, then 28 to build me back up to trying week 9 again. But my husband thinks 20 minutes is too big a step down and that I failed because I tried to do a steep hill after a week off and with low confidence, and that I should just do a 25 minute run on the flat. I'm just worried that given I only made it to 15 minutes running on Monday, I'll fail again at 25 minutes and will feel even worse about it and won't be able to get back out again. :-( Any advice on how to proceed?

9 Replies

Firstly, you CAN run 28 minutes!! WOW!!!! That's an amazing acievement and nothing can take that away from you.

Secondly, you know the reason that you didn't quite make week 9 run1: THE WRETCHED HILL. End of. It wasn't that you couldn't do it.

Thirdly, you won't keep stopping because you did that on one run. It just doesn't happen like that, trust me.

So, my advice for your next run:

Keep it flat

Trust in Laura

Trust in yourself


you can do it. you have already proved that in weeks 6, 7 & 8.

we all have bad runs. runs where that little voice is so overpowering you cant get it to shut up.

so keep it slow & steady & avoid that hill until you feel ready for it again.

when Im not looking forward to a run, sometimes after a bad run, I put on some feel good music that makes me happy & then once Im in that "I can do anything" mode I step out the front door & go.

think positive thoughts & give that running demon a talking to before you go!

good luck. you know you CaN do it & so do we :)

& let us know how you got on X


Please don't let yourself get into this negative mindset just because of one bad run! We all have them sometimes and it sounds like you were doing great - it was just the hill and getting back into it after a short break.

Don't be so hard on yourself, you can do it and you proven that already in your previous runs. Take it steady and avoid such big hills, and tell those voices in your head to shut it!

Keep smiling and don't stress, you'll be fine :)


Hi there, I think you should focus on what you have done already, you have a really busy time with your babies, and you have already run such a long way! I think you should take the pressure of yourself and listen to what your body is saying, why don't you go for the 25 mins run and see how you go? don't think about failing, the only one stopping you is you, I have done this to myself all the way through and made it much harder work for myself. your husband can do what he does, and you do what is right for you! good luck and don't forget to smile when you run, it really helps - and avoid that hill!


been hoping a blog would appear this evening... Hope you went out. Agree with all the good people above, darn that hill and a bad run is a bad run. Your mind plays some awful tricks and lies and convinces you that stopping is best for mind body and soul, but really it isn't. I do hope you went out and if you missed your slot then you get ready for the next.

I graduated a couple of weeks ago, since then I bailed out on one run at 15 mins, another run I had a stitch and burps and had to do a walking bit after 27 mins, Sunday just gone I ran round my village for 30 mins and matched my PB on distance, today I was going to run and haven't because life got in the way

It's running... it's the way it is... :)


I'm amazed at what you've achieved with all the other pressures you have - you've done brilliantly to stick with the programme. We all have bad runs, even after "graduation" - don't let it put you off.

Drop back abit if you need to - avoid hills at all costs - I've gone through the whole programme without tackling a hill (except when they caught me out while on holiday :-)).

Go for that run - and update us as to how it went - we're right behind you :-)


Hello! Finally been able to get on to update. I DID go for my run yesterday, and did 25 minutes, largely on the flat, but not entirely because there are hills of varying steepness in every direction where we live once you are running over 20 minutes. It was just a railway bridge though, and I managed it okay. It was where I stopped the second time on the last run, and I nearly stopped again but didn't. I nearly stopped again at 20 minutes as well but forced myself to remember all your encouraging words and made myself keep going. Afterwards, I wasn't even that out of breath - usually I really push myself, especially at the end of a run, and struggle to get my breath at the end, but I was too afraid I wouldn't make it to the end to do that this time, so I didn't! I still didn't feel very confident, but am glad I went and managed to do it, and will try 28 minutes tomorrow. Thank you so much for all your support and kind words. It really helped to get me out there. I really don't want to stop running because I am getting a lot out of it, so thank you so much. :)


Woohoo well done! :D I'm so glad you came back and told us how you got on, I've been thinking of you and was worried you would give up from the way you were talking.

25mins is great and I'm sure you will manage 28mins next since it's only a little extra. I think you are right to not push yourself too hard and risk not completing it, you want to be going at a steady pace with some effort but not killing yourself. You can work on speed once you finish the programme, for the moment just keep going :D


Remember that for each time you think 'I can't do it' there are others behind you thinking 'wow, that lady can run for 25 mins'!


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