Couch to 5K
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It really is mental!

That was the last comment I made on my blog yesterday, as I had been really struggling to find a way of being positive about the final run of Week 5.

It took me a long while (I've been grappling with it since I checked Week 5 out last week) but, with the help of many of the kind folk on this site, I finally got my head right late yesterday evening and set out this morning quite hopeful, rather than despondent.

The alarm went off at 5 am and as is my wont, I was up and out the door in ten minutes, pleased to see the expected frost hadn't materialised and made the ground icy. One of the decisions I'd made was to revert to Laura instead of my late practice of compiling an appropriately timed playlist, and so through my ears came the familiar tones, explaining what was in store.

"As if I don't feckin' know ya cow", I said out loud. To myself!

After the warm up walk I set off, keeping to my usual pace. I've been fortunate in that I've had little or no pains, twinges or aches in my legs so far but noticed them complaining almost immediately this time, however after a couple of minutes I put it down to my mind playing tricks on me and once ignored, the soreness eased off.

When Laura came on to tell me I'd done five minutes, I felt so good (it seemed to come so quickly) that my confidence got a real boost. By the time she told me I was halfway through and I'd turned for home, I already knew I was going to be okay. Then she made a comment that made me glad of my decision to revert to her podcast (and why I titled this blog as I did) as despite the fact that I've said it myself often and read it on this site even more, it really hit home. It really IS mental.

It was that bit where she says that your body has been trained to do the run but this was about training your mind for the longer distances. It struck me that you can tell yourself something time and time again and even know it to be true but until you experience it, it's not real.

It was now very real to me. That also applies to when I've read people say they find the second half of the long runs easier. I have to say I couldn't for the life of me see how that could be so, once again, I do now.

When the lovely lady told me I'd done fifteen minutes, I actually started to ruminate on carrying on past the 20 and notching another five minutes, that's how good I felt. Even when her 18 minute timecheck coincided with a slight niggle from my achilles, I considered doing the 25 but decided that because as I mentioned, I'd had no problems with my legs whilst actually running before, I decided to heed the advice of those who say I should listen to my body and dropped the idea, opting instead to try and sprint (okay, maybe sprint is a slight exaggeration) the last minute or so, so speed up I did.

As I slowd to a walk and it was done, my first almost involuntary reaction was a huge smile. I was so delighted, not only to complete it but at how it had gone. The smile was then replaced by what may have looked to the casual observer like a show of emotion, however I assure you it was only sweat that had rolled down my face and into my eyes.


It really did mean that much to me.

So now I've finally checked out Week 6 and can understand why so many have said they found it the toughest of the lot (see the poll) as the last thing I want to do is stop and start. Already I'm thinking of repeating what I did for the first two runs of Week 5 and going off piste a bit, by doing two straight 20 minute runs instead of what's asked in runs 1 and 2, followed by the required 25 minutes for run 3.

What a difference a day makes, eh?

23 Replies

:-) :-) :-) well done !


Can't comment on week 6 but just wanted to say well done! Nothing wrong with a bit of sweat either :P


Well done!

A note of caution though. Week 6 is possibly hard as you have the tendancy to say 'I did 20 minutes, 8 minutes should be easy' and set off at too fast a trot, thus getting tired too quickly, finding it hard and putting a downer on it. But don't worry, if you stick with Laura your next long continuous run is only a week away!


What Beads said! The program hasn't failed you to this point. Don't question it, just work it and you will continue to be amazed. Very well done Fingalo, I knew you could do it!! Have a much deserved rest and then welcome to week 6! Gayle


Brilliant! Congratulations.

I know what you mean about you have to experience it to understand it. Maybe that is why you should do the podcasts as they are meant to be done i.e. stick with Laura through wk6 runs 1 and 2. I'm sure you'll find plenty to curse her for :-) . As Beads says if you do stick with Laura then take it slowly as it does make a difference to how w6 goes. And if your achilles really is about to be a prima donna maybe the walks will make the difference to a successful run.

Congratulations again. As ever, a great blog


Well done, 20 minutes is no mean feat.

Not that I'm in any way an expert, but I would also advise to stick with Laura's advice till the end now. The plan has worked so far, so I'm willing to put my faith in her for the last 3 or 4 weeks (scarily close, now!)

Mind you, I may just think that, as I rarely get the desire to carry on at the end!


Well I hate to say it, but I TOLD YOU SO!!! ;) Seriously though, well done. It's absolutely the best feeling in the world isn't it? I may have also shed a tear or two after my W5R3. May.

Good luck with week 6. I hated it, hehe. I thought I was invincible and could take on anything. I was not. You realise that you have achieved so much, but there is still more to learn. By the end of week 6, you'll see the end of the programme in sight. It's a great feeling.

Great blog, it took me right back.


Well done, Fingalo, I knew you could do it. Might want to get a headband for that sweat!!! ;)


Yes exactly, your body may not be ready for continuous running. One 20mins is one thing but, you are building up to 30. Injury can be debilitating, follow the program then see where you go when you graduate. Improve your speed, go for longer runs or train for a 10k. Slowly slowly catchy monkey! ;)


Well done a fantastic achievement and a great run. Personally I would stick with Laura although I did find week 6 tough am sure it helped my overall running. Good luck:-)


Cheers guys. Definitely getting the impression the consensus is I should stick with the programme this time, yet I can't help feeling that pushing myself harder than required in runs 1 & 2 of Week 5 paid off this morning. I've asked in the questions section but will repeat it here, has anyone any thoughts on why a return to intervals would be better than repeating long runs as I'm proposing to do?

All I can think of is what Annies says about injury.


Freaky. What happened to your post?


Great job, well done!


Well done Fingalo! So pleased you thrashed that little demon in the mind and kicked it out of the park!

I think the point of reverting to intervals is to consolidate what you've achieved before the next big push. But I could be wrong!


I knew you could do it :D Well done! Bring on week 6, eh?


Oh well done lad!

I am *so* pleased for you. A very entertaining blog, as ever, and I had a big cheesy grin on my face reading the bit where you got to the end. Really lovely.


Fantastic! Well done :-)

Just did W5R1 this evening, which was fine, but it was less running overall than the W4 sessions so I wasn't worried (when I say running, it is more like controlled stumbling ;-)). The thought of 20 minutes in one go is freaking me out a bit right now, so thanks for your post. Good to hear that you got on so well.


Thanks again all.

Bibs, if you read my blog prior to this one, you'll see how worried I was about this 20 minute run. I had loads of support and advice as folk could see my concerns. I think you'll find it easier than you thought.


Nice one! It feels great doesn't it. I knew you would do it. Pleased for you.

Regarding next week, many of the 10k programs are structured around an easy run, an interval session, and a long run, with the long run getting longer each week. Note the similarity in the structure of week 6. Don't think that the intervals are in there as an easy option. I am not sure of the reasoning, but stick with it, it has got you and lots of other this far, and the end of the beginning is now in sight.


Having thought about it, I think it's a mixture of confidence gained form this run combined with not wanting to go through that fear again at the same stage next Week.

Two 20 minutes runs will mean 25 minutes won't faze me, whereas 1 and 2 as laid out will make 25 seem a big deal again.

I genuinely appreciate all the feedback on this, both on this blog and the specific thread in Questions.


Well done. Stick with Laura, she really does know what she is talking about, even though I doubted her sanity on more than one occasion. Shemanaged to get an unfit 50 year old mother of 2, who last ran at secondary school, to 5k.


Well done Fingalo. I agree with the others - stick with Laura she knows what she's on about! Good luck with Week 6 - not that you'll need it :-)



Fantastic! Well done. I really loved reading your post and can relate to the 'wind in your eyes' part as I had that same problem today ;)

Congratulations and, yes, it really IS mental! Woo hoo!


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