Couch to 5K
54,801 members87,302 posts

How do you defeat the 'voices' in your head?

Well, having started W4 with the voices saying "This is going to be so tough, you're really going to struggle", I ended run 2 on a huge high as I proved them wrong and finished strong. However, I also finished with a bit of the sniffles, which combined with the Hogmanay celebrations, developed into a full blown cold. Suffice to say, the only thing running yesterday was my nose and this morning, when I expected to be jumping out of bed and kicking W4 into touch, I'm feeling really poorly and the voices are back saying "See, told you, you're not a runner, that high was a one-off and it's going to be as tough as ever when you get back out there".

So, all you supportive run-buddies and graduates out there, is there a turning point in C25K when you stop feeling negative with self-doubt at the start of every run? Should I just have gone for a run this morning after all even if I was a bit under par?

And any advice on how to banish the 'voices'?

7 Replies

Hi Pink, personally i just put some music on indulge myself in that. I have a bit of a cold but will try and get out tomorrow, i did three miles yesterday. However if you are feeling like crap i would leave until you are better, you may feel worse otherwise, Ed x


Like Ed said if you're not feeling well don't go or you could end up worse. Keep yourself warm and have some nourishing hot soup I would say.


Pinkhat, the program is designed for each week to challenge us and for us to succeed! We will have good runs and bad runs, but we will be out there failing there. Mentally, this program is more of a challenge then physically at times. Come up with something in your mind you can repeat as you run, I used a favorite bible verse as well as just repeating over and over "one foot in front if the other" and "I will not stop". I Assumed by week 7, I would be a "pro"...not! :-) Once I graduated and ran 30 minutes, then ran an organized 5K, I became more confident knowing I could do it. You will get there! Sometimes those dang mental gremlins need kicked to the curb! ;-) Do take an extra day to rest though, so you won't become more ill and set yourself back further. Best wishes!!! Gayle


Yes, like the others say it's sometimes best to miss a run or few if you're not up to it. As for silencing the gremlins I think it's helpful to remind yourself of what you have achieved so far, the facts are that you stuck in there and got to Wk 4. As you progress you will chalk up more & more achievements, keep reminding yourself of them and don't beat yourself up over setbacks. Best wishes to you. :-)


I call the voices "that troublesome chimp on my shoulder" - I got the phrase from some psychobabbler I once heard on Radio 4. He said to just put the chimp back in its cage, after which it would shut up. My own modification was to listen to the chimp and ask whether it was actually making any sense. If it was telling me to stop for a wee walk, I'd ask why. Did my legs hurt? No. Pains in my chest? No. Seriously out of breath? Nope. So, Mr Chimp, exactly why should I stop for a walk? And it worked - the chimp didn't have an answer. That meant I coud tell it to get back into its cage and let me get on with what I was doing.

OK, so it seems a stupid approach. But it worked for me. And anyway - you don't talk out loud to the chimp ... so nobody hears your conversation. It's just you and the chimp!

1 like

"So, all you supportive run-buddies and graduates out there, is there a turning point in C25K when you stop feeling negative with self-doubt at the start of every run?"

I've found I always feel this way about the first run of a new week in the programme but once I've completed it, find I'm quite positive about the second and third runs, the principle being that if I can do it once....


Thanks guys for all your feedback. Tried to bear all the good advice in mind when I finally got W4R3 under way this morning and was delighted to find that despite some wheezing and breathlessness from the cold, I finished strong once again - woohoo!


You may also like...