Couch to 5K
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Why are some runs easier than others when nothing has changed?

I've done W2 R3 today but really struggled and wanted to stop and walk and yet found W2 R1 quite easy. I thought I would find it easier every time. I am yet to experience that 'high' that people talk about, I'm always just relieved that it's over!!!! I am dreading week 3, I'm beginning to suspect that there's a big chunk of positive mental attitude involved in running and wondering how I get it!

5 Replies

To channel our great sage, Laura: "Some runs are easier than others. There's no rhyme or reason for it."

And also: "Always remember that a bad run is better than no run at all."

Isn't she wise?

Now, that said, I'm currently working on the Bridge-to-10K plan, doing three 17 minute runs (with a minute of walking between them)... and _I_ have also not experienced the legendary "runners' high" that you mention. I'm always happier with a run when it's finished!

You are right, though, that a lot of the training is mental. Wait until you get to the much-dreaded Week 5 Run 3. If you are like most of us, you will find it impossible to believe you can do it... and then, when you do, be astounded. To some extent, I think that workout was put there for mental, rather than physical, purposes -- to tangibly demonstrate that you _can_ do this.

And, indeed, you can! So ignore the internal voices that say otherwise... and keep on running! :-)


I have to agree with everything that Matt said, Khrissy. Well, maybe with one exception. I have experienced that runner's "high!" I am about a week behind his training in Bridge to 5K and I actually experience it with every comes when the run ENDS!!! It happens to me when I realize that I just SURVIVED again!! This is especially true if there were no emergency vehicles called to the scene and no near death experiences!! :-)

This running lark has been far from fun for me. My wife Gayle (gdeann) and I run together. We have even questioned how far we would have made it in the program if we wouldn't have had the support and accountability provided by having each other as running partners.

As for getting easier, why would it? I am a firm believer that this program isn't designed to get easier every week. It can't. It is designed to get harder every week. The runs get longer and the walking bits get shorter. Comparing how hard W1 and W3 are to each other is precisely comparing apples and oranges. If you want to see how far you have progressed, repeat a run from three weeks prior. Here is the important part though, even though the runs are more difficult each week, you are MORE CAPABLE each week. Your abilities grow as the runs do!! You become a runner and don't even realize it is happening!!

I also agree that so very much of this program and the training it offers is mental. The program will provide your body with what it needs to be physically prepared and capable of every run. YOU must provide the mental. Our bodies are capable of far more than our minds often care to admit. My advice is to train your brain to focus on one phrase..."I CAN and I WILL do this."

Keep Running...YOU CAN DO THIS!! :-)



I've been running for nearly a year now and I still find the first 5 minutes of EVERY run a trial. I find myself saying 'I can't do this', 'It's too hard', 'I'm out of breath' etc, etc. But I now know that that is just my mind playing tricks and that I CAN do it so I just tell myself to shut up and get on with it and eventually fall into a rhythm. A lot of it really is mental and learning to ignore the gremlins. I do mostly enjoy the runs nowadays but what I REALLY enjoy is the feeling of well being afterwards, the way I sleep better and cope better in my daily life and being able to go up the stairs without puffing and panting - and the fact that other people think I have lost loads of weight! I've only lost about half a stone but I am a much better shape - and I have not dieted at all.

This is a brilliant programme. If you do what Laura says you WILL be able to run for 30 minutes by the end and that is quite an achievement! You're only two weeks in and even after 9 you are still pretty new - in fact after nearly a year I still feel like a newbie and learn new stuff all the time. No problem - you've got the rest of your life and there's always another challenge if you want to take one on. You're doing something brilliant for your health both physical and mental. Good luck! :-)


Aww, thank you guys, feeling better today and determined to go on....still not looking forward to W3R1 tomorrow but will do it and check in after


W3R1 done! Can't believe it! I may just become a runner after all, thanks for the advice and encouragement :-)


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