Couch to 5K
53,171 members85,257 posts

Stuck on Week 7

OK, so I can run for 25 minutes, which is great, but mentally I'm struggling to get past week 7. I have done 6 runs at week 7 so far.

I want to run; I get my gear on, including my new fluorescent jacket and what I like to call my 'go-faster socks'. I prepare for music and mapmywalk for timings and off I go. I run for about a minute or two then I start looking forward to the point at which I can stop.....!

What's that all about? Does it get any easier? I mean, I know its not meant to be that easy or I wouldn't be burning the calories, but the mental effort is tough sometimes.

Friday was a hard run, I barely managed 20 minutes and not all at once. My gremlin is nagging me hard, I must find a way to ignore him!

I plan to run my alternative route today, and if I successfully run for 25 minutes today I will move on to 28 for my next run. I have Laura in mind telling me that I CAN do it. I AM ready after the training I have done so far.

21 Replies

Be interested to hear if an alternative route helps. I'm going to try one now you've put it in my mind. Be watching to see how you do. Sure you can.


I'll post later and let you know!


I agree with this - I particularly struggle for the first 15-20 minutes. However, getting to the longer runs I realised that around 18 minutes was my 'pain barrier', and after that I actually got into my stride better - I'm wondering if it takes some people longer than others to settle into a rhythm. When I'm particularly struggling and just want to walk I think 'just keep powering through this bit' and it does get better after a while!

Also, maybe think about the inclines on your route - I have one route which starts on a very gentle incline and although it is not massive I really struggle because I start out on the tiring bit. Conversely, I have another route which starts on a steep downhill, which makes me go way too fast and tire myself out!

Don't know if that's helpful, but keep powering through and you'll get there eventually!


I know what you mean about inclines. If I run downhill too much that uses my muscles differently and can sometimes mean more impact because of the extra drop involved. I never noticed inclines so much before I started running. Now the slightest one can have an effect on me.

I try to put off stopping. I do something similar to you and think just a little more, then just a little more again, then it hardly seems worth stopping because I've come so far! It works some of the time. :P


Perhaps you are trying too hard? Also, sometimes I need a bit more than 5 minutes to warm up. I think using an alternative route is a good idea - was for me anyway. Getting stuck in the same, or near the same place mentally makes getting past and finishing the run harder. Let the gremlins go the usual way, surprise them by going your own. I also distract myself by thinking lots of different things but not really finishing off a topic before going onto the next one (also known as old age)


I warm up with lots of stretches, then have a five minute walk. Maybe I will try a different way which gives me a longer warm up.

I do find my mind wandering sometimes (maybe it is age, lol), and realise that I must be doing ok because I haven't thought about my legs or my breathing for about a minute. Then its a case of letting my mind wander off again.... My husband says when he used to run, years ago, he did a lot of thinking and put everything into perspective - especially after a tough day.

I will try that with the gremlins. Reading your post did make me smile! I will tell them I'm going one way and go the other. :D


Hi, I had the same problem after doing 20mins and struggled to get up to 25, but I have found something that works for me. When I am running I try not to think about it all, I focus on something else. I am a student so its usually things like reciting the cranial nerves in my head as I jog along, but I have found that if I slip and start thinking about the time or finishing then all of a sudden I am struggling to carry on. I usually try to plan what I will think about before setting out and just graduated yesterday so it got me through that barrier.

Hope this might help.


That's a good idea. You can get stuck into thinking about how hard it is. I wonder what I should try to recite? Suggestions welcome :-)

Congratulations on Graduating!!


I found listening to an audiobook or story really helped - I had to concentrate more than just having music in the background, so the listening helped me to forget about running. Found some ghost story podcasts on itunes, which are all about 25 minutes long and they worked great. Also, try to go out with someone else, having a chat and some company really takes your mind off it!


I often take a while to get into my stride too. Sometimes it can take until around halfway before I feel more comfortable and am not focusing on every step I am taking - maybe because I'm in the closing half and the end is somewhat in sight?!

Are you pacing yourself enough? It can be tempting to set off too fast - especially if you are keen and then find it hard to maintain the pace later on. Try going out slower and then build up as you feel more comfortable.

Let us know how you get on!


Sometimes it can take a while to get into my stride, but recently I've been finding it easier to get it right. I am running, feeling like my feet are someone else's (i.e. don't hurt at all) and hardly thinking about my breathing at all. Just thinking about when it will be time to stop. lol.

But there are times when I love it and I always enjoy being outside in the fresh air away from everything. I must try to distract myself more. It certainly is easier after half way, but sometimes that last minute of the 25 is tough.

I am looking forward to when I can do 30 and 25 seems easier! :-)


I found the first 10 mins of every run I have done very hard, until very recently. Mentally as much as physically, its as if my head and legs just don't want to gear up. Once I get through that then there are tactics I used to use to keep going on the longer runs.

Firstly (obviously) pace yourself, dont go off too fast.

When you start wanting to stop, promise yourself you can stop after you have counted to 50. Count to 50 slowly. Then do it again! And again . . . (Paula Radcliffe trick).

If running outside pick a landmark (the third lamp post, a gate, once round a short block, whatever) and say you can stop when you get there if you need to. Then do it again!

If running on a treadmill I have to hide the time display with a towel, and just try and lose myself in the music/whatever's on the tv in the gym!

Use your imagination! When needs be, in my head I am running down the Mall at the end of a London marathon with my family/friends/George Clooney down on one knee with a diamond ring in his hand at the finish line :-P

And if you do decide to stop, it really really isnt a crime lol! But only stop when you really have to and tell yourself you can only stop for 20 seconds before you run again, count to 20 and start running again.

Good luck, you can do this :-)


I like the Paula Radcliffe idea. I might try that next time. I do run outside and use the landmark technique. If I can just make it to that bit of the road, then to the field with the horses, then the place where I saw that squirrel. These things do help.

I try to tell myself that I made it to that landmark, so why not try a little more. I also know that if I run 20 minutes instead of 25 I will not feel as good at the end. Thank you for all the ideas. Maybe Johnny Depp could wait for me?


I know exactly where you are coming from Arablue! I struggled through W7 and finished it this morning but I really need to keep changing my route. I agree with AnnieW55; if there is a part of the route that I find hard then every time I get to it its like I cant get through that mental block of it being hard. Changing routes, even if just doing a detour down a different road or going down it in the opposite direction really helps me to keep going.

I hope the run went well and that you can join me in moving on to W8! Good luck! Sue x


It doesn't make a great difference about the route, apart from the fact if I do either of them in the opposite direction I end up doing more uphill at the beginning, which leaves me struggling with the rest.

Maybe I could just alternate the routes? But in a random fashion, so the alternating doesn't get repetitive! :-) Its just good to know other people have had similar struggles and overcome them.


Hi Arablue, I had one bad run on W7R2 and was convinced that I had hit a wall and was going to have to repeat the week so I came on here and had a little moan and mainly got 2 pieces of advice - keep repeating it until I felt comfortable but not to beat myself up over it or to chart the bad run as a blip and carry on as normal and trust the programme. I chose the latter and have realised that there is a point about two thirds of the way through each run where I want to chuck the towel in so I have learnt to give myself a good talking to and grit my teeth! Hey presto, I'm now only 4 runs away from graduating :o)

I'm not confident enough to run outside 'cos I still resemble the michelin man in a tracksuit (albeit nowadays I seem to have low profile tyres rather than the tractor ones I started with) so I'm running on a treadmill which is REALLY boring so I'm afraid that I have ditched the podcasts and just run to my own choice of music and I have a simple rule - I'm not allowed to look at the time until I have listened to a certain number of songs (this week it's 7) 'cos by then the time is nearly up :o)

It has taken a couple of runs to get the discipline but today I did the whole 7 and I only had 2.5 minutes left :o)

The other thing I do when the going is tough is think about what I want to achieve - yes I want ti get fit, but I also want to lose weight before my hubby and I go on a Med holiday next year so I try and think about lying in the beach sunbathing and what sort of clothes I'm going to buy.

You'll find a way that works for you and you'll get there 'cos you've come this far already :o)

Good luck.


I did have a bad run one day. I made it through, but it was seriously hard. I had run the opposite way on a route I do, starting downhill, then slight uphill incline for about 15 minutes. It was so slight you would hardly know it was there, but it really tired me out.

The next run was fine, which bolstered me a bit. But the one after that was when I wasn't mentally in a good place. I had a negative feeling (pms) day. So after that I did feel defeated. Which is daft really when I've come so far.

I do need to remember that after not doing any exercise for years, apart from the odd burst of pilates or wii fit, I have come a long way. To be able to run for 1 minute was a challenge to start. Now I can run for 25, even if it is very hard!

Also, I think you are right, I need to keep those goals in mind. I am so much fitter and my stamina is greatly improved. I will think about all those calories I am burning, and how pleased I will be when I reach my goal weight (and all the shopping I can do!)


Funnily enough my bad run was when I was mentally in a bad place as well - too much stress at work, not being able to stick to my running routine and huge car problems - I just don't think I was 'in the zone'. Things seem to be getting back on to more of an even keel and surprise, suprise my running seems to be improving again - it is still REALLY hard but then it is supposed to be otherwise we wouldn't be pushing ourselves, but it is achievable :o)


Thanks mcc65, that does put things into perspective. I think of the running as freedom from work and stress, but putting that stress into a separate box and not taking it running is difficult. I suppose like meditation practice will make it easier. :-)

I feel better this week, so maybe even though the run is still hard, it won't be as bad as last week if I am in a better place mentally.



Thank you for all your support, advice and kindness. I will be remembering all these little tricks when I go out next. It's like you're all there with me.

I DID run for 25 minutes, on my alternate route. The gremlin was there, and I did walk for about 10 seconds, but knew there was only one way to get back that positive feeling and that was to succeed in this run and overcome the 2 failed runs. I knew I had to keep going!

So, with you all running with me, I thought of people being overtaken by snails, singing (to myself inside my head) every day I'm shuffling, hoping my gremlins had gone the other way, and setting targets for myself I did get there. :-)

I was doing the last 5 minutes, and nearly there, when I had a busy road to cross. I told myself earlier in the day that "even if I end up running the last bit on the uphill, which I might because its 25 minutes, I will keep going regardless". I got to the road, managed to cross, walked a few paces feeling exhausted - then told myself I had to keep going or I would feel I hadn't done it right, no matter how little was left. I must have run about 30 paces then my 25 minutes was up!

So, I was tired at the end. But I did it. I CAN do it. So I made the promise to myself that if I ran 25 minutes, I would move on to running for 28. It's only 3 more minutes right? (Yikes!)

Well, parents evening tomorrow, so won't be back til late, but bring on Wednesday! :-O


Yay, good for you :o)


You may also like...