Couch to 5K
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20 minutes......Will I, won't I???

I had the day off yesterday as we awoke on Monday morning to find we had no heating! Thankfully the shower stayed warm just long enough so I was able to have a quick one and head to work, before getting home in the early afternoon to meet the engineer, who spoiled my impression of tradesman by actually turning up when he said he would. However it required a part he wouldn't have until the following day, hence the day off.

Thankfully he again confounded my prejudice (only bankers, estate agents and used car salesman left, pah!) by not only hitting the bell on time (nice and early) but having it fixed within the hour, thus ensuring my day would not be wasted. Thanks Richard.

That his boss failed to abide by my request for a 'phone call prior to his arrival was neither here nor there, although Richard was quite amused at the discombobulation he was confronted with when I opened the door, as the bell going had roused Mrs Fingalo from sleep, who then did the same to me, leaving me in that special state where you're in your own place yet haven't a clue where you are!

Job done, home heating up gradually, I decided to take my second run of Week 5.

It seemed very odd going out at that time of day, in the light and when folk are up and about their business, to the point where it quite threw me out of my 'comfort zone'. I might add that the inverted commas denote my routine for a run, rather than how I feel when running....

For the first run on Saturday, because of my fear of the dreaded 20, I had opted to skip the official run 1 and go straight to Laura's run 2, although I added four minutes onto the second eight, at which point I felt unable to go any further.

I had thought about upping that run from twelve to fifteen minutes this time but realised that I'd ran the 20, all I needed to do was cut out the interval walk, which I did from the three minutes I'd taken on Saturday to two minutes this time, the idea being that for run 3 I'd be more able for the fact that I'd have no walk at all and would still have ran for 20 minutes twice.

Great in theory but I can't recall having to dig any deeper than I did on that final twelve minutes yesterday, indeed it was only the knowledge that I'd done it once already that gave me the determination not to stop. It wrecked me. To the point where, all day yesterday, I hadn't a clue how was going to manage run 3 and truth be known, am far from confident even now. It tells you something that this is the first time I've not checked out what's in the following Week after the second run of the Week I'm on.

Tonight I'll read through some of the answers and advice I received from the kind folk on here to a question I posted about this run and will tweak my playlist too, before heading out for run 3 in the morning.

Wish me luck, I think I'm going to need it.

18 Replies

Good luck, Fingalo. We are all with you on this one ( mentally at least!!).


Ah, you will! You'll be fine. I've said this before, but I'll say it again :) slow and steady is key! Good luck!


Rollertoaster is a very wise woman! You will rock this Fingalo! Just go slow and keep telling yourself you can do it. Every previous run before this one has prepared you for the dreaded 20! GOOD LUCK! Gayle


Glad you are now nice and toasty - these things always happen when you need them most...brrrr!! :O

Glad your run went well despite the digging deeper but its good practice for.........oh ok, I wont give the game away!!!! :D Honest, you will be fine for the 20 mins. We have all thought the same as you and then are absolutely amazed at ourselves for achieving the impossible. Just take it slow and steady, get caught up in your music and before you know it it will be over!

Best of luck!

Sue :)


The problem as I see it that I already go slow and steady so if I'm struggling already.... I also try to distract myself.

I understand the logic that the programme has prepared my body for it and that many, many others before me have felt the same and done it. Yet despite my knowing this is a mental thing, I just can't get in a positive frame of mind about it, try as I might.


We are with you in spirit! Every run for me was a struggle. I never dreamed I could do the 20. Just give it a go and believe in yourself. You may even surprise yourself in that the longer runs go better for you then the intervals. Gayle


Fingalo, don't beat yourself up over this! I have no doubt you will be able to do it.....but....if you don't, so what??

There is no rule that says you HAVE to do this the first time or you get thrown out of the club! I've done a few runs where I've had to stop - once after just 7 minutes for goodness sake - but I swore quietly to myself, took a while to get my breath back and then started again.

Today, I did my second 7k run, in 43 minutes, which seemed totally out of my reach even three weeks ago.

If you really have to stop, then just pick up again as soon as you feel able to and continue. You might even surprise yourself and run longer than 20 mins. (I did!) And I can't emphasise enough that speed is irrelevant at this stage; there is no such thing as 'too slow', go as slow as you need to, to complete the run. Just try and stay relaxed and don't forget to use your arms when you feel like you need a bit extra oomph.

By the way, I've stopped running to music. I found it too distracting and kept me thinking about how far I'd gone and had left to go. Since then I've managed several +5ks and two 7ks!

You can do this - all the best!! :-)


Course you'll do it, then you'll come back and write a brilliant blog post about it and we'll all virtually high-five you :D

As long as you make sure you go slow (and then go a bit slower), you'll be fine. There's no rush. You can always speed up towards the end if you want but finishing is the goal, not finishing within an allotted time. Yet.

Go forth and be awesome :D


I think you have got your knickers in a bit of a twist. Worrying too much about it before it happens. Giving yourself extra pressure by altering run 1 and 2, which are designed to prepare you for run3. In essence you have been doing a week 7 when you needn't have. But, it's all done now and I think that you will surprise yourself for the 20 minutes. I bet you'll get into a good stride and just do it. Enjoy :) Tricia


Sometimes thinking about doing something is worse than actually doing it.

I find that it is harder to get going but then I reach a point where my body relaxes and it becomes easier. This is borne out by a lower heart rate as I progress. Maybe you will find this too. As Laura says, don't panic.......people who succeed are the ones who don't give up...there's always tomorrow.


What I've thought going through this is, it doesn't matter if I fail. Provided it's hard, I know it's working, and the worst case is I just repeat a week, which isn't really bad at all. That has taken the pressure off, and as it turned out I never actually had to repeat anything so far.

Just go in without thinking too hard about it, and try to forget about the time. Provided you are still able to take the next step, you're fine.


Now, look. I'm now rather sorry I got all worked up about the 20-minutes and messed about with week 5s first two runs. (I should have listened to the experts. I am contrite.)

Anyway. Just look at this. You've already been doing the equivalent of week 6.

Wk 6, Day 1: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 8 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running. [18 total]

Wk 6 Day 2: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 10 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 10 minutes of running. [20 total]

You already know that you have acheived so much more than you could do just a few weeks ago, so don't be so hard on yourself.

I'll be willing you on in the morning. Stay slooooooow!


Yes I meant week 6! Duh


brilliant post fingalo :-) I have to agree with everyone else, keep it slow and steady - slowest of the slow, and you are so going to kick r3 into touch and surprise yourself just like Richard the gas man surprised you!

Look forward to hearing all about it tomorrow!


Cheers guys, I know those of you are right when you say I've been over thinking it. Also that it doesn't matter if I don't do it the first time, I will eventually. The extremely patient Mrs Fingalo has been telling me the same thing.

Anyway, thanks to herself and you guys, I've now taken it on board. Also I've realised that in looking at my efforts in the first two runs, despite what I've said on here, I've really not been giving myself credit for running for 20 minutes, I've actually been completely disregarding the fact that I'd already done eight minutes when I struggled to get to twelve on my second running sections.

Also I'm going to revert to Laura, rather than my own playlists. Let's hope she'll have me back.

I really appreciate all the encouragement and will give it my best shot tomorrow, what's more I'll be going out there now thinking I might actually do it, not writing of my chances before I start.

Thanks again. At whatever stage I manage it, a lot of credit will go to the folk on this site.

It really is mental.....


Yup. We're all mental.


Good luck, I hope you relax(ed) enough to enjoy the run. This is the biggest mental challenge of the course, once you've licked it, you will never say never again. You CAN do it!


Thanks Vix, it's almost as if you can predict the future....


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