Couch to 5K
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Have read ahead and am now really scared!

Hi all. Just completed w1 today. I was curious as to what w2 would be so read the plan for the whole podcast and am now a bit anxious. Although I've done the 3 runs of w1 I found it really really challenging and cannot even imagine running for 5 let alone 20 minutes.

It just seems so insurmountable at the moment. I think it didn't help that after the run today I saw someone I knew (was all breathless and purple faced!) and made the mistake of telling them that I hadd signed up for the Race for Life in July and they replied "I'll sponsor you but looking at you now, I don't think you'll make it"

Think I just need a bit more self belief. Did anyone else have this complete doubt in themself?

29 Replies

Oooh. That's a cruel thing to say to you. Don't listen to them. Take their sponsorship money, but don't listen to them.

I started C25K at the start of Jan, and did exactly what you've done. I got through week 1, and then looked ahead and freaked out! But don't worry. The programme is designed to build you up gradually, and each week you'll notice an improvement on the last.

I completed week 5 today (yes, the 20 minuter!) and it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be.

So get out there for week 2, and don't let other people get you down.

Good luck!


Thanks nannon. Thats encouraging to hear. Just having a bit of a down day I think. I suppose I should focus on the the fact that I've even completed week 1 which seemed impossible at the start. Nice to know there's so much encouragement and nice people on here - thanks :-))


100% self doubt here at the start, I was puffing and praying Laura would say stop within seconds of starting but just keep going because this really does work and I can't believe I can run as long as I can now. I'm going to run for 20 minutes non stop tomorrow (oh yes I am, begone you negative voices!) for the first time in my life, 5 weeks ago I felt just like you, sticking with this programme is the best thing you will ever do for your health


Welcome and well done for completing week 1 - doesn't it make you feel good that you did it? As for what comes after - well, focus on the week you are on and remember, that each week builds you up to tackle the next week. It might be daunting and the first run of a new week is hard, but by the time you run the second one of the week you have "been there and done it".


Thanks everyone for the support - it's really encouraging. When I've been running I really feel like there's the devil and angel on my shoulder. One telling me to stop because its too hard and the other saying you can do this - luckily the angel has won so far! You're right though, the sense of satisfaction is great afterwards.

You're all right of course - I shouldn't think too far ahead. I will try and just focus on the now.

Thanks all


LondonKel Well done for signing up for Race for Life - you are far more brave than I was at the start of C25K. I couldn't run for 1 minute let alone 30 and it took me about 4 weeks to pluck up the courage to move on from week 1. I was 44, overweight and had never been fit in my life. Even in school I was always the kid hiding behind the bike shed during PE.

Nevertheless, now nearly a year on I can run comfortably for 30 minutes and can run 5K, albeit fairly slowly, and best of all I have a new hobby that is good for my health and I love it. This still astonishes me! My friends think I have been abducted by aliens and replaced by fairly good but not exact replica! How else to explain this complete change?

This programme is brilliant - if you do what Laura says you WILL be able to run for 30 minutes at the end. My advice would be to follow the programme, take the rest days, listen to your body. If you need to repeat a run or even a week that's ok. Don't get too hung up on distance or times or pacing yet - you have the rest of your life to become a running nut! Don't be discouraged if you have a bad run - they just happen sometimes. As Laura says any run is much better than no run at all!

Good luck. You have plenty of time - I have no doubt that you will ace the Run for Life. Think of the pleasure when you collect the sponsorship money from your 'friend'! ;-)


As others have said, this programme is amazing. It will only ask of you what it's taught your body to do previously. Physically you will be able for every step up it asks of you, however, after a while, you'll quickly realise it's not really a physical thing, it's mental.

Actually it's clear you know that already, the devil and angel thing tells me that.

You know the best thing about it? It's when you're looking back two weeks at any stage and you can see how difficult you found what you consider easy now.

In Week 3, you see running for a minute as a pleasure, at Week five you see Week 3 as....well, I'm sure you catch my drift.


Baby steps! Its way overwhelming if you look ahead too far. I liked tagging and reading about the run I was facing just to get helpful input. You can do matter how are a had the courage to start. Show those meanies what you're made of and make them eat those nasty comments. :-) I went from not completing some if my 1 minute sessions to running 54 minutes my last run. :-) Good luck!! Gayle


Wooo Gayle, that's a lot of running! Well done you. :)


54x3 last week to be exact! It still seems like a dream! I never thought it was possible for this old body! ;-) Thank you!!!!!


Three times - really? Blimey! That old body ain't doing so bad!


I'd read ahead also and like you couldn't imagine doing even 5 minutes. I'm on week 4 and so far I'd have to say I struggled the most during the first week. You're on your way, so keep it up.


Well done for signing up. Stick with the podcasts and you'll find they build up steadily and what seemed impossible now becomes progressively easier. There's no harm in repeating the runs for a week before moving up to the next stage or going back a week if you need to. You've plenty time before July. The important thing is to develop a routine of regular exercise.

As for Race for Life, I've done it a few times now and the first few years did their plan from the website with no great success. It was C25k which has got me running. A lot of people walk it anyway. It's a fun and moving event for a good cause.


Thanks so much everyone. It's funny isn't it - someone you know can bring you down but the kindness of strangers picks you back up again.

I'm loving this board as everyone is in the same boat (desperately unfit to start with). I work in an office where everyone is super fit and always running 10ks and marathons so I felt a bit stupid at my level but on here everyone has been at that stage of finding a 60 second run daunting. So glad I found this board.

Thanks for all the comments. Am going to try and relax about it and might even repeat w1 just build up my confidence before moving on.


Just wanted to say, I was in the same boat as you. I completed week 1 which I thought was pretty horrific. I made myself do week 2. Each week that passes I think oh god, how am I going to do it. I have my week 5 run 3 tomorrow, which I am dreading, but I WILL do it. Its a mental thing, everyone wants you to fail because it will make them feel better because they wont/cant do it!

Just get rid of the mental hurdle of thinking I cant do it, and make yourself do it.You will be amazed what your body can do if you put your mind to it. Good luck!


In response to the question "Did anyone else have this complete doubt in themself?" the answer is Yes.

To give you some idea of where I am am in the programme, tonight I will be doing the 3rd run of week 5 (the 20 minuter) and the idea terrifies me.

When I started, I barely made it to the end of my first run and all the way through I was begging it to be over. That was running for 60 seconds... I thought "how the heck am I going to EVER run 5k? I can barely run for a minute!"

I can promise you this... It get's easier... and it also get's more enjoyable :-)

And as cutecub79 said "everyone wants you to fail because it will make them feel better because they wont/cant do it!"... It's up to you whether you let them live with that illusion or whether you send them a framed photo of you at the finish line of the Race for Life :-)


Having just read your post again Kel, I suggest you turn their scoffing to your advantage. After all, if they don't think you'll make it they'll surely be willing to risk having to donate more to your cause as they'll not have to pay you.....Ramp up the sponsorship!

It will have the added effect of giving you a greater incentive to prove them wrong.


Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond - has really picked me up and am planning an 8am run tomorrow.

You're all so right - it is mental. I thought I couldn't complete the first 60 second run but I did.

Fingalo - you're do right. I will try and use it positively and have the satisfaction of proving them wrong. I was searching the Internet earlier for some inspiration and found a quote that I think is very inspiring and apt:

It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not

Should pin it on my wall I think!


Well done for completing W1. I too have just competed it today and yes it was hard and I do wonder if I will be able to do week 2, but I am going to give it a bloody good try. The only thing that stops us achieving our goals is our own fear of failure. You did week 1 LondonKel and now it's time to conquer week 2. :-)


Welcome to this lovely forum!

I'd like to underline this bit about Race for Life - you don't have to actually run any of it - I've done it twice walking almost all of it (I managed four one minute trots the second time!) and was nowhere near the slowest person doing it. So definitely no need to worry about that.

But I bet you will be able to run it by the time it comes around! This programme is really very good. I started just before Christmas, and struggled with week 1. I can now do 30 min in one go (but nowhere near 5k in distance). If I can run the whole 5k in June it will be a huge achievement, but if I walk some it, so what? I'll still raise just as much money! :)


Hadn't done anything for 20+ year, if I can do it anyone can, my story is similar to hundreds of people on here. Join us, it only takes 9 weeks-ish :-)

You can do it....ignore them and as someone else said take the sponsorship' looking forward o seeing your graduation badge :-)


Well that's got everyone talking! You 'll just have to prove this person wrong. You can do it, just take your time and keep going. We are all behind you, cheering you on.....


I completed week 1 yesterday too and found it really, really hardgoing. I'm going to move to week 2 and give it a go, but have decided that if I find it too hard then I will repeat week 1 until I'm ready. I'm not going to give up and be defeated, I've just accepted that after not excercising in over 20 years (since I left school) it's going to be tricky. Congrats on completing week 1 and good luck for week 2, look forward to reading how it's going for you.

And as for that person that was so rude to you, tell them to put their money where their mouth is. If they don't think you can do it then they shouldn't be afraid of sponsoring you a lot of money, should they? ;-)


LondonKel, you've done the hardest bit, and that's getting off the couch. I was exactly the same as you 6 weeks ago and, unbelievably, I managed the 20minute run this week and actually enjoyed it! Honestly, the high you get after running and the support from all the fantastic people here on the forum will get you through it. As many have said already, for those of us who have used every excuse under the sun to avoid regular exercise for years, there has to be a shift mentally. The c25k programme prepares you gradually and you will amaze yourself. Be brave and go for it - 2 fingers to the devil on your shoulder and the rude 'friend' too!

(On the weightloss front, I am fasting 2 days a week (500 calories) and running on those days too - am finding this really works for me.)

Good luck, we're all rooting for you :) . Amanda


"I'll sponsor you but looking at you now, I don't think you'll make it"

Oh my god what type of person would say this to someone! What a complete and utter twat!!

1 like

You'll do it! I turned 63 at Christmas and, having lost two and a half stone on the 5:2 diet, I felt full of energy. Someone told me about this marvellous programme and I'm now on week six. I found week one a struggle but kept going and I haven't repeated any weeks. Graduation is within my grasp now and I intend taking part in 5k local races this year!


Thank you so much to everyone that has responded ( too many to reply to each one). I genuinely am touched that people took the time to post and be so supportive. It definitely helps to know you're part of a sort of community and posting on here will hopefully motivate me to keep going.

Have been reading everyone's blogs and whilst I still can't quite believe I'll make it, I'm going to take the advice and have a blind faith in the programme that it will work. Found a good quote tonight to support this :

"It always seems impossible until it's done"

Happy running everyone x


What a horrible thing to say about your Race for Life plan. Now you have a perfect opportunity to prove them utterly, totally, completely WRONG. Go for it. Have faith in the programme - you WILL make it.

I didn't start until I was 61, not having run since school 46 years previously, graduated last year on my 62nd birthday and am now in the BUPA Great Yorkshire Run (10K) in September. You CAN and WILL do it. We know; we've been there. Let Laura be your guide


Ned - that's great that you got into fitness at a later stage in life and proves that there is no excuse really. I love reading about the 101 year old marathon runner, Fauja Singh who didn't take up running until he was 89!! So there's hope for me yet ??

Thanks for the kind comments - this forum has really picked me up and got my confidence back.


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