Couch to 5K
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Struggling with week 7


I have been working through the program quite happily... well as happy as you can be

However, now I seem to of hit a wall, trying to run 25 mins straight is practically killing me, unless I stop about 15 mins in :( Plus I am struggling sticking to the time, to run 2.5 miles I tend to end up running for 30 plus mins. Any suggestions as to how I can break this barrier?

8 Replies

My guess is that you are setting off too quickly. You may not have noticed that your pace has increased (I didn't..and I found that suddenly I couldn't run nearly as far or as comfortably as I had become used to!)

Try consciously slowing down, especially at the beginning. It really doesn't matter how slow you go - it isn't a race! A nice steady juffle might be all that you need to get back into your rhythm, and if you do have to stop, that's fine - just walk a bit then pick it up again as soon as you feel able. You could find that you'll then be able to run another straight 20/25 minutes. I had several runs like that!

Just take it a bit easier, don't get hung up on time/distance and definitely don't beat yourself up for stopping. You 'will' get there!


I agree with everything dottie says. Slow down and forget about how far you get, and you'll find you can keep going much more easily - and a few sessions like that, and you'll probably find you'll be ready to increase the pace just a teeny bit - or alternatively, go a bit further. But it's best not to try and go faster and further at the same time. Probably best to forget pace until after you graduate - which isn't far off now! (I'm on week 9 and it takes me over 30 minutes to do 2 miles, so I'm nowhere near 5k, but my target is 30 minutes running, rather than the distance.)



Try to remember that this is really "couch to 30 minutes" and that for many new runners the 5K in 30 mins comes weeks later (or maybe not all), it's the continuous running that counts.

I wouldn't worry about distance at all yet; you've gone from running for 60 seconds to 25 minutes (in just 7 weeks!) which is a huge improvement so you should feel really proud of yourself. Focus on that achievement rather than thinking you're not fast enough. You might be trying to run too quickly and that could be what's making the 25mins so difficult, if you pace yourself a bit more it should be more enjoyable and you're much more likely to be able to keep going if you're not hating every step/minute. I think when I first graduated I would have had to run for closer to 40 mins to reach 5K which was a little discouraging before I remembered what it was like when I couldn't even run for 4 mins!

Forget about the miles, concentrate on completing weeks 7-9 (doing some runs more than once if you need to) and once you're ok with the 30mins you can then decide if you want to try to increase speed or distance (or neither and just enjoy 30 mins of exercize).

You've done so well to get this far, keep going & stay positive!


I don't think many people manage 5K in 30 minutes when they graduate (I certainly didn't) so don't feel pressured to keep up a particular pace. As the others have said, start out slowly and keep going for as long as you can rather than starting out too fast and tiring yourself out. I thought I couldn't go much slower, but when I reached weeks 6 & 7 I had to slow down to get through! If you feel the need to have a little recovery walk then do so (I used to walk till I had my breathing under control again) then carry on running. If you manage 20-25 mins in total, with a little walk in between, then you are nearly there. :)


Another thought I had while running today - some of the programmes keep mixing walking and running for longer anyway. The Jeff Galloway method uses a mix of walking and running right up to marathon distance, and apparently he gets marathon runners to get faster total speeds by alternating walking and running. So if it suits you to include a bit of walking, maybe it doesn't actually matter all that much, if you end up doing more running in total?

I'm on week 9, and although I can now run for 30 minutes, sometimes it's pretty tough, and I'm thinking that after graduation, on 'off' days I might just let myself include some walking, if it means I carry on getting outside and doing exercise, rather than deciding it's all too much like hard work, and stopping completely!

Improved fitness is the key, I think. :) Bet you sort it out though!


Wow, your reply here is 5 years old but exactly where I am feeling on W7R2. I don't know if you are still running? My legs feel like jelly on the 25 mins and I'm already going slow...I'm managing to push on to the end but already daunted for the final weeks. Thinking I will be far more comfortable going back to a minute or to rest. I definitely going to Google the method and teacher you mention. :)


Haven't been on here in a while (skin reacts badly to sunlight/wind) but I still get the updates, so managed to reset my password to come and cheer you on! Don't worry about going further/faster unless you really want to - 25 min is still 25 - though with a tiny bit more practise, it won't feel so tough. All depends on your starting point too. For some, it's no big deal really, for others it is a huge leap from previous activity levels, and maybe taking a little longer to get to whatever target you set yourself is fine. Even though I'm not running much at the moment, I am much fitter now, at 58, than I was about 20 years ago, because starting running changed the way I saw exercise. So all good. (I do Pilates now, which is really good alongside running.)

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Hello, I definitely agree with everything the others have said. I did w6 r3 (25 mins of running) the other night and made myself slow down. I figure I will focus on running for 30mins non stop first. Then focus on hitting 5k in 30mins (most likely after graduation). You are doing v well, don't be so hard on yourself and keep it slow and steady :-)


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