Couch to 5K

Finished W7 nearly 3 weeks ago... then stopped

I got a puppy and my life got tipped upside down with wee schedules and other obligations! So I had to slow my training down to run once a week for W6 and W7. I completed w7 but then haven't run at all for nearly 3 weeks. This is mainly due to lower back pain - which I had not experienced at all until I started w7 (coincidence maybe?) - anyway I decided a rest would be better than causing damage. I'm contemplating going for a run tomorrow - should I start W8 or redo W7... or even W6? I was managing the 25 min runs ok but I do already feel that my fitness and stamina has dropped away - whereas before I was feeling better and fitter each run! Any ideas also on the back pain?? Thanks everyone

6 Replies

I would do 25 mins and see how you get on. If you can do that ok then on your next run go to week 8.

Nearly 3 weeks is quite a long time so you don't want to be disheartened if you find it hard.

I'm not sure about the back pain!


I would also say try the last run you finished on and if you can do that, move on to week 8.

I suffered from lower back pain not long after I graduated last year, I actually only remembered last week when I was looking back at a running log I keep on It lets you mark down if you had any sort of injury and what it was. Unfortunetly I have a terrible memory and can't remember how I got over it! I think it lasted a couple of weeks and I was quite determined around that time not to stop running to lots of stretches on the floor probably helped!


Good for you for coming back to the program. I imagine it can be hard. I am sure you know that running once per week won't give you the same results, so if you can find a way to manage it, you may want to aim for 3 times each week again. There is nothing wrong with trying a 25 minute run, but since it sounds like you weren't running regularly for several weeks (3 off totally and a few at once per week), try to set your expectations that whatever you can do in this next run is simply a marker, not a judgement. If you get 15 minutes, cool. If you get 20, cool. If you get 25 and feel like running more, also cool. It just tells you where you are.

As for the lower back pain. It could be caused by many things, and you didn't give a lot of information, however there are a couple things you can try.

1) See your doctor. Just to rule out anything dangerous, and maybe get a physiotherapy referral, if needed. Some causes of lower back pain are pretty serious, although most common causes are not. Pay attention to any other "unwell" symptoms: pain in other places or pain at other times, fever, redness, etc.

2) Assuming it is run-of-the-mill exercise muscle pain: Yes, running can cause lower back pain, because the "knee bones connected to the... leg bone" which connects to the hip, which sits in the pelvis, which goes to the spine. One possible cause is piriformis syndrome, explained a bit here: Other biomechanical problems could be at play also. Stretching and strengthening the lower back, hip and thigh muscles will help if this is the case.


I think I'd just set out to see how far I could manage at a comfortable pace - a sort of assessment run followed by a walk back home, rather than setting a target.


ok thanks for your responses. i didn't make it out the door as was still feeling a bit un-strong in the lower back. will do some strengthening exercises and do a test run next week to see where i'm at. i'll get there eventually :o)


Another two weeks slipped by... but i went out today. Ive still been having lower back pain, without any other pains or symptoms. My husband has also been having lower back pain (both mainly in the mornings) so we have deduced that our mattress is knackered and have had an expensive super dooper supportive one delivered today. I have also started the pilates-type strengthening excercises for lower back so am hoping those will help.

I thought I really had to get back running or risk having to start back at Week1 so I headed out today and started at W6r1. It was surprisingly hard - fitness and stamina levels have plumetted - but I completed it, so its a step in the right direction. My back doesn't hurt while running, so hopefully with a bit of strenghtening and correct support it will ease soon.

Just thought i'd update in case anyone else is in a similar position.


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