Couch to 5K
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Starting the plan with anxiety disorder, agoraphobia and panic attacks, palpitations (eptopic beats - confirmed, nothing serious). Hahahaha!

Sounds like a recipe for disaster doesn't it?!

But the truth is, these days thanks to mindfulness, eft and a great anxiety cd program from a website called i love panic attacks, I manage my day to day living quite well. Did I say a very supporting partner too? He has been amazing. Truly.

However, my anxiety about running exists because I have been out exercising on a few occassions and been miles from home, alone and scared I was having a cardiac arrest and not being able to get help. Seriously. It was terrifying. It has happened about 6 times and I thought I was dying. To this day I don't know what was happening to my body. Hyperventilating? Hypoglycemia? Panic attack? Or something else?

In recent months I have had an all clear from my doc's with a ecg and echocardiagram and been on a stress test on a treadmill and have been told I am very well indeed! I also had an asthma test and was told my lung capacity is 20% over the average. I am slim,petite and don't carry much weight, I'm quite lean and strong. I have been told by national champion althetes (my partner and his close friends) that I have great potential with my frame.

Why try running again?

What has given me some confidence to try again is that for the reasons that may have given me 'funy episodes' whilst out exercising I think I am better informed for each potential 'terrible' outcome!

Hyperventilating? - well, this I think is over doing it. I have always gone too fast - but only because I felt what I was doing was ok, I didn't feel that tired, it came on suddenly - but with a structured regime like the C25K I am hoping I should be ok. The thing is I have often had to STOP to analyse how my body is doing. I have listened to music but would get carried away running with gusto! Hopefully the plan with it's walking periods will be my 'safety check' on my body. By the time I am running for 20mins, I should be fit enough to run for 20mins without over doing it.

Hypoglycemia - The last time I was out exercising was the time I gave up. 2 years ago and I think the reasons for my 'funny turn' here were many. I had 6 hours sleep the night before, I was hungover, it was freezing, I hadn't eaten well for weeks a because/and I was under a traumatic amount of stress splitting from my abusive partner. I was on a 20 mile bike ride. Vision went funny. Heart rate very high. Weak. Couldn't think. Shaking. Heart rate high for the next 1 and half hours - 130-140 - even though I ate, lay down in warm bed for 20 mins and then asked my mum to take me to the hospital, where after waiting for 20mins, it settled down along with my high blood pressure. It was a walk in centre, not a & e, nurse said her sister had the same thing and it was poor nutrition. I would not accept this. I ate 20mins before this happened, half a sandwhich, a v small choc bar and a hot chocolate. Until speaking to my friend who does worldwide ironmen competitions. EVen though I ate, it was too little too late accroding to my friend. She says I had depleted my body of glycogen which takes 2-3 days of good eating to have a good store before going out and doing long periods of exercise (I guess I had been out for 2 and a bit hours cycling, into the wind, with a heavy mountain bike with paniers full of morrison's shoppning). The cold took it's toll, lack of food and lack of fitness, it was only the 5th time or so I had been out and I wasn't really fit enough for what I was doing. These days I eat much better and am much calmer, sleep better. I'll be better prepared eating wise will not be over exerting thanks to the structured plan!

Panic attacks - ugh! Well, on the principle that thoughts are mysterious creations of the mind that we can witness as simply just thoughts - it has taken some time meditating and being part of a mindfulness group which I run with a friend fortnightly (after completing a 8 week nhs course 1 year ago) that has enabled me NOT to 'add stories' to sensations in my body and just letting them be there, and letting them pass. Not making a bridge between the physical sensations and the 'stories in my mind' such as cardiac arrest! or my final moments - which these days - my final moments (dramatic eh?) I feel more at ease with. This has been helped with the cd course I mentioned earlier. Realising we have a choice whether to get caught up with the thoughts that can often bring on the fight or flight syndrome and THEN once that kicks in being scared of the 'flight' sensations thinking it was some kind of serious illness! Lol. The course is about £100, and I was so unwell, I couldn't work, but I scrimped and saved for months to buy it and it helped massively.

That's my loooong story - it could have more detail, but that is me - scared but wanting to embrace my physical potential, to be confident about my body (even though I am slim I am still not body confident). I also have IBS which I know the jiggling about of food in my intestines whilst I am running helps me! I'm sick of feeling bloated, constipated etc. PLus I want to end the obsession with my pot belly and fat bits round my hips and thighs (that is the ONLY place I put on weight and I hate it!) Most of all, I want to be fit enough to cycle longer rides with my partner, to have cycling holidays. There is a whole world with my partner I want to be part of, but my anxiety and fitness are stopping me.

So - I haven't set a start date. I'd start today but I have spent too long writing this, its a day off, kind off and I have promised to lots of tidying in the house, I better get moving on it! But I am going to start... anyday!

If you aren't exercising because of panic disorder and agoraphobia but are challenging yourself to do the C25K - I'd love to keep in touch to see how you get on. Maybe we can laugh along with each other over all the dramatic and ridiculous thoughts that have stopped us in the past, lets move beyond them! They are only thoughts after all.

Take Care


8 Replies

Good luck Mundomagic, I can only imagine that running will help with your state of mind, especially as you get further into the programme with the longer runs. At least you have a head start in that you have friends that can help and your body type is already ok and you don't have that as another challenge. Enjoy the process - btw, dive right in don't leave it too long, I hope you have fun!


Thanks suki! It is motivating being around fit people and I dreeeam of being able to join in what they do as much as I enjoy cheering them on and supporting them with handing up bottles and feeds on their impressive distances! I hope the running will help my 'state of mind'! I think I will have my moments but hopefully this time I am better and wiser, I'll be posting on here. Thanks for your kind response. I used to have a cat called Suki, for 18 years!


Wow Mundomagic, you really have a lot to contend with but good luck, I know you'll do it. Perhaps first of all you could run close to your house and just run round the block several times. This way you'll never be too far from your house. Do you think that would help with the panic attacks? Do keep us updated as to how you are getting on!


Hi Pelephant, thanks for responding :) - as you have suggested, indeed that is the plan - to run around the block which will never be more than 400m from my house - hello neighbours.... hello neighbours.... yes it's me passing you again.... yes hi :), I know I was running last time you saw me and now I'm walking, I'm not giving up I have to walk in this bit..... yes I am running again hellooo.. you'll see me a few more times yet!

I may be slightly embarrassed by the amount of times people see me as I do laps of teh block, but I have to tell myself what more than a fleeting thought will I be in their mind and if I make them smile because I seem mad, then great, I've made someone smile!

I already know I will, like a lot of people encounter in any sport I suppose, have mind blocks but this time I want to commit to it and make it for life. But - one step at a time. Next is to set a date.... right after this hoovering, car washing, dusting, pressure washing the patio! lol!

Thanks for dropping by :) it's nice to be acknowledged as a newbie :)


That first paragraph made me smile :) You shouldn't feel embarrassed by the amount of times your neighbours see you passing though, you should feel proud! They are obviously still sat in the same place if they are seeing you pass which means they are still on the couch, and as we all know, if you are doing [something] you are lapping those on the couch!!

Good luck with your c25k journey mundomagic, you will find the community on here a lovely bunch so make sure you come on often and share your progress :)


Good luck and get started soon. Try not to over-think it. Running (as many other forms of exercise) can be a simple pleasure.

IF being far from home worries you try walking one way and then running back over your tracks ...or find a comfortable loop to run. Nothing (apart from a bit of boredom) says you have to go a long way from home. I started by running round my block about 415m. I was so chuffed when I could make it non-stop along one side and when I made it all the way around WOW!


Thanks KANdoit - you have hit the nail on the head - overthinking (tick - yes good at that) , keep it simple (must try harder!). If anything I should try not to think about it much at all! I can get obsessed! But I would much rather just DO IT and not think about it too much. I REALLY do like you say, want it as a 'simple pleasure'. I can't wait until it really is. Well, at least I hope I get there. This forum seems so great and I have started to read other people's stories and felt really inspired. Around the block I reckon I could probably do already, I can be quite determined - ha! and then collapse in an exhausted heap! lol! done this many times!



Hi mundomagic. I have been diagnosed with a (quite specific) anxiety disorder and one of the many reasons I am doing this is to improve my state of mind (I'm not very good at sticking to the mindfulness techniques!) and I am finding it great! It is really making me feel positive about myself as I achieve and progress each week. I am quite nervous about tonight's run (w5r3) but I really believe in myself now that I can do it and am determined to! The positivity and support on forum really helps, and I must give some credit to hubby who has been really supportive throughout this journey :)

Regarding specifically something you mentioned, I agree with others that you should start running near your house and then gradually run further afield as you grow in confidence. This will reassure you of there being a safe place nearby so hopefully you will be able to relax and concentrate on the running.

If you ever want to talk, feel free to message me :)


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