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Couch to 5K
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Now I have just lost all confidence!

I was doing really well, running about twice a week after graduating, going further and further (slightly) each time. I was trying to hit the magic 5 mile run and almost, almost got there. (Although hills still killed me....!)

But on Monday I really struggled and stopped about three quarters of the way through my run - I was tired, out of breath and really couldn't get going again.

I am SO deflated, and I know everyone gets bad runs, but throughout the entire program I have never stopped before the end.

The stupid thing is that I am due out again tomorrow and am really scared that the same thing will happen again. I don't want to lose the running bug, but for the first time I am dreading my run. I don't want to go backwards.

What can I do to make sure I have the full energy to keep going for that magic 5 miles? And how can I stop feeling like I failed? I know I'm sounding like a putz, but I was feeling so proud of myself beforehand.

12 Replies

you should feel proud, but it might be a good idea to mix it up a bit and try shorter, faster runs that you know you can do to regain your confidence and confince your brain that it's fun to run again. You say you are going for 5 miles, but there is some evidence that the best way to build up stamina for distance is to run shorter distances. After all, that's actually how you got so far in the first place- remember doing 20 mins on wk 5 then going back to shorter runs in 6?

Don't give up hope, just try something a bit different. :)


"Pride commeth before a fall" ...Respect comes after a fall when you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on the horse whether you start back at walk, trot, canter or gallop.

Enough of the dodgy metaphors ... Perhaps you need a little time to regroup, to run for the fun of it rather than to reach your next target.

Having injured myself slightly on W6r1 1 min into the first run, I've had to take a week off and step back to week 4 ...On monday I got the very pleasant surprise that it was easier than the first time round.

Why don't you go out and try a 3 mile run and play I spy with something relevant to the rout you run.

I was terrified I would fail my week 4 run on monday, caught myself noticing the squirels instrad of wondering how much longer.

Hope this helps


Blimey this is a difficult one, you could equally have started this post with I have, graduated, kept going and now at about 5 miles and only just had my first bad run what are all the rest of you wimps complaining about? ;-)

But that doesn't help at all does it?

I don't think you need to do anything more than you are. Pick yourself up and carry on, you might have another bad run but sure eggs is eggs the good ones will be back.

For what its worth you are doing a cracking job so far by the looks of it.


Trite but true...some days you just don't have it. Don't let it get to you (I know, easier said than done)....if it doesn't feel good next outing, maybe back off the mileage, do a different type of run (fartlek, intervals, or even find a hilly course .. a new challenge rather than mileage). Maybe some cross training...bicycle, swimming, weights (runners NEED upper body strength). Or maybe, just maybe, you actually NEED a BREAK. You will not lose a significant amount off your level of fitness (and you ARE doing well) if you take a few days off, and it will give your mind time to re-group and recover also...remember you run with your brain as well as with your legs. Trying to "push" through a rough spot may do more harm, physically and mentally, than just laying off for a while.

Good luck....let us know how it goes...


Hey, don't be down on yourself. You are doing brilliantly. I am finding it a bit tricky to stay motivated after graduation but I am also trying to do 5 mile runs as I'm trying to lose a bit of weight (who am I kidding - a lot of weight!). Remember what Laura said, if you're getting tired, slow down. Sometimes I'm kind of crawling along, but I think I'm a bit OCD and can't stand not to achieve my goal, so even if I'm really slow at the end I don't care. It would probably be more sensible to do a shorter run a bit faster but I won't be told :) . Give yourself a break if you need to, the world won't end. But always be proud of how well you have done to get this far and what you are continuing to achieve. :)


Your running for nearly 5 miles? Be very proud indeed! I've not really ran 30 mins solid since graduating, prefering to run intervals. Find your own way, by not deviating at all you are putting too much pressure on yourself, which is daft considering you are doing just brilliantly just as you are. Says Nicky who has had plenty of shockers, but does what suits on the day....the fact is I'm still doing what suits religiously 3/4 times a week and that is ultimately what counts


If that is your first bad run then you are doing really well...

Keep going, the next one will be better :)


"due out again tomorrow and am really scared" .... what is there to be scared of? This isn't a competition ... stop beating yourself up ... . You know deep down how far you have come and how good you are so use that knowledge to motivate yourself rather than the memory of one poor run.


On your next run just picture this in your mind:

All of us who have just started are running behind you and full of admiration for where you've already got to,

another group who have run as far as you have are running beside you

and you're all enjoying the achievement together,

and another group running a little further in front of you who are inspiring you to keep going – we're all in this together and we're all rooting for you . . . . YOU CAN DO IT!

PS: I'm in the 'running behind you group' full of admiration


Remember, it's also been extra hard these last few days with humidity and heat. There are all sorts of external factors that play a role. We are not machines that perform in the same way each time, if we were it would be much easier! Keep going, you're doing great :-)


Gosh we all have bad runs! Just try to enjoying the running:)


WOW! Thank you to everyone, you are right, I see it as a competition which I shouldn't and I'm piling too much pressure on myself.

I'm going out again this evening, have changed my running music slightly and am drinking lots right now. I will also be taking my trusty beetroot shot - haven't done that for a few runs and it may be psychological, but who cares!

Some of your comments made me feel really daft, others inspired me, but thank you again to all. Here goes nothing! :)

And finally - daystogo, your comments brought a tear to my eye! I am such a wuss! Thank you. :)


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