Couch to 5K

W1R2 - Not so promising - I must be doing something wrong!

Well, after having aching legs after W1R1 I felt sufficiently rested to run it a 2nd time. I thought I would change my route slightly as the first time I ran it I covered much more distance than I thought I would (3.94km). My changed route involved starting slightly further along the shore to make my run a there and back type run instead of running the same section 2 or 3 times. Foolishly the middle part of my run involved going up a small hill before returning back down.

All was going well until I hit the hill when I felt my lower back twinge slightly. I tried to run through it but the pain became quite uncomfortable resulting in having to walk the remainder of the session. This was very disappointing as other than my back I felt ok (well it was hard work but was confident I could see it through). Feel a bit flat at the moment as I am still in week 1 and finding this more difficult that I first thought. I am still determined to see this course through but have some questions that I hope people are able to help me with.


Does anyone do any stretches before running? The podcast seems to suggest that a brisk walk at the beginning and end is sufficient but my calf muscles in my leg feel sore after running as well as my lower back.


Are ordinary trainers ok for running or is it worth investing in a pair of proper running shoes?

Running uphill

Does anyone else get lower back ache when running up or down hill. Maybe I should stick to running on the flat for the time being.


What distance should I be looking at covering in week 1? So far my 1st run was 3.94km and if I completed my 2nd run it would have been 4.73km. Not sure what my running pace should be, I am guessing it is too fast at the moment but it feels strange running at a slower pace (not that my pace is fast at the moment!).

Typing all this out is quite therapeutic and has underlined in my head my determination to get back on track as soon as possible, without any injuries of course!

Thanks in advance to all those who can offer any advice or suggestions.

8 Replies

Maybe I'm reading this wrongly. What runs are you doing? Week 1 only has 8 one-minute runs, with a minute between each one. If you are covering 4km in that time that would mean a speed of 4 minutes per kilometre - and you're at walking pace for half that time? You'd have to be sprinting like Usain Bolt in the runs!

Most of us right at the end or graduated are only just reaching 4 1/2 or 5 km in a continuous 30 minute run.

I may well be wrong but I suspect either your distance tracking is wrong or you're doing the wrong week...



I've doubled checked and I am definitely on w1 podcast. Sorry, in my total distance I've included the 5 min warm up and warm down in that distance, so this is definitely right but over 31 min not 16 min, averaging around 8 min per km. Hope that makes sense!


New trainers - definitely and get them fitted if you have a good sports shop who can do gait analysis.

Your legs will likely ache for a while don't worry about that its normal and you just have to work through it - running is pretty heavy duty on those leg muscles and they need to get up to strength. May take a few weeks but just give them some TLC ;-)

Not sure about the back thing but keep flat for the moment if it helps.

There is though no right distance or pace, put that out your mind. The right pace is the one which stretches you but allows you to finish! The distance takes care of itself.


What Gregg said :)

Also, my body has never ached as much in my whole life as it has in the last few months! The aches move around which makes it slighter easier to take (calf,shin, thigh, butt, groin and this past week knee pain) so don't worry too much about aches. I've not experienced back pain though so I can't really comment. Is there any history of back trouble you could relate it to perhaps? If not then I guess it's a case of rest and see how it goes.

Good luck and keep at it :)


I have had lower back pain towards the end of a run and afterwards. Look up pirformis stretches on you tube as I found this helped. Back was ok after a day's rest - think it is about using muscles in slightly different ways. If your trainers aren't giving you enough support this could also cause pain. I had bad right knee pain that literally disappeared when I got a properly fitted pair of running shoes. Worth the effort!


I don't do stretches before a run, just the warm-up walk. Stretches afterwards are important though - I've been advised to do twice as many as I think I need.

Proper running shoes are crucial - go to a shop where they do gait analysis and give you proper advice.

Don't worry about distance - concentrate on pacing yourself so you can finish each run.

Good luck !


Well done for getting out there and making a start :) I think the general thought on stretching before exercise is split - there is an argument that stretching cold muscles can do more harm than good and the brisk walk should suffice....although stretches after you finish training are a must (speaking from my own experience). My warm down walk usually gets me back to my car, and then I do some stretching before I get in and drive home.

Don't worry about distance, the idea of the programe is reaching the end of each podcast and building the stamina to run for the allotted time - building speed and meeting distances can come later :) Have fun and keep us posted :D


I totally agree with everyone on here re distance, just make sure that you finish the podcast and are comfortable running to that...... Running shoes definately a must - gait analysis is great but the shoes they suggest can sometimes be a little pricey therefore you need to weigh up if your running is going to be a long term endeavour or not. Maybe to start with by a decent pair off the shelf - my current ones are Adidas and were £25 from sports direct because I didn't know whether running was going to be my thing or not at the start. I'm looking at going for a gait analysis pretty soon when the pennies will stretch to a decent pair of trainers...... As Nat said, stretching cold muscles is really bad, the warm up walk is enough to get things going. Post run stretching is crucial. Check out this video on YouTube (, its a good baseline for running stretches and there is loads more on too...... For calf stretches, try standing on a step with your heels hanging over the edge of the step. This stretches the calf muscles really well...... But it's not just your legs that need stretching...... Running is a huge stress on the body so make sure you do some core stretches too.

Just one last thing.... Personally, I think you might be running a little too quickly to start with - 8K/hour is pretty quick for a beginner and you may struggle to keep this pace going on the longer runs as the weeks go on. Laura (on the podcast) states that if you were running against a hedge and someone is on the other side and can only see your head, they shouldn't be able to tell whether you are running or walking. Take it easy and the speed and distance will come eventually as the weeks go on. Ibuprofen and ice were the things that got me through so keep them handy!! Good luck, keep going, you can do this!!!!

P.s chiropractic care may help if you continue with the back pain..... I would be crippled if it wasn't for my chiropractor.....


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