Couch to 5K
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really struggling and slow, need some inspiration

Hey, just feel that my body is letting me down somewhat and that I have somehow ingested a slow bug.

Can't be helped that I have gained weight too, so lugging around an extra 3-4 kg gained in the last 6 months has not helped. Is this mind over matter or weight??

I mean I have done 32km this week in runs and walks with the dog, but it feels like I am just sluggish when I ran.

e.g I jogged 8.85km today which sounds good but I could not keep to the B210k week 2 programme, more walks to catch my breath than I should ,

pace was 8.7

speed was 6.9km/h

Just walking almost.

anyone got any ideas.

I know I dont expect to be speedy being past the 50 year mark in age, but need some inspiration and advice please??

17 Replies

Sounds good to me burstcouch. I wouldn't worry too much about the pace or speed. You are out there running which is the main thing!


I would agree with saruma, Burstcouch! However, I do sympathise with you re feeling sluggish as I go through phases of feeling the same. I've come to the conclusion that its linked to my diet. If I eat more refined carbs and sugar then I've noticed I have less energy and feel more 'heavy-legged'. After Christmas (and all the choc, mince pies etc that I consumed) I felt awful when out running - I felt like giving up because I was so lethargic and was not enjoying it at all. However, cleaning up my diet has lead to having more energy and I feel stronger and fitter. With the lighter nights coming in and Spring round the corner hopefully we'll all be given a boost! :)


Totally agree that perhaps rather than focus on speed but just getting out there and enjoy your running. I am not fast either and my speed is around yours. I suppose it is down to what you want out of your running ie win races or achieve specific distances or pleasure/fitness?


I agree with all of the above. When I started the programme I was full of lofty ideals about being able to run 5k in the 30 mins. They were shattered really quickly when I realised that my comfortable running pace was only 3mph!!!

I persevered though, I figured that being overweight, middle aged and very unfit meant that being able to run for 30 minutes would be one heck of an achievement - and I got there :-) I then decided to try and improve my pace by doing the Stepping Stones programme but I just couldn't keep up.

So, here I am on W3 of the programme for the second time, but now I'm running it at 4mph instead, but I have come to the conclusion that I'm built for comfort not speed so I've decided to accept that and when I get to the end of the programme I'm just going to increase my distance / pace as and when I feel comfortable enough to do it.

Until I started this programme I hadn't really done any exercise since I left school 30 years ago so I figure that anything I do is better than nothing :-)

Just keep going, you're doing a grand job!!!


mcc65...your reply has inspired me and made me feel I am acheiving something. I run on a treadmill, and my speeds arnt great, but Im just starting week 7, which I find quite amazing. on week 7 !!! But I know Im not fast, and I get a bit despondant about that, so when I read your reply to burstcouch it cheered me up, coz you have echoed exactly how I feel, and if I make it to graduate, then I want to go back to the start and just keep improving on my snail like speeds. And so yes anything is better than nothing.Thank you.


Dear all thanks, for the lovely comments and the inspiration I am needing at the moment.

Sometimes I need a reality check too as I am 20-30 years older than some of the other bloggers/joggers, so won't be breaking any records soon.

much appreciated



Great advice above, I definitely think you should give yourself credit for what you HAVE achieved, which is no mean feat. Perhaps b210k doesn't suit you, it didn't for me and instead I have built up to 10k gradually in my easy paced runs once a week. Find what works for you & your own body ryhthm, we're all different. Best wishes for a swift return of mojo. :-)


You sound very fit with covering 32km running and walking this week and that is something to be proud of.

If you really want to run faster, you can, but it will take hard work. I once read that if you only ever run at one speed, then you'll be able to run at one speed (or something like that). Your high total distance run each week will help you increase your pace, but not very much. Your overall high level of fitness will help you increase your speed, but again, not by very much. The only way to increase speed, is to run faster, but start with very short intervals.

When I completed C25K I could only run at one speed, and again about one month ago when I was just getting back into running following 6 weeks off with injury, I could only run at one speed. But now, after 3 weeks of hard work I can run at 3 speeds. The hard work was in the form of interval training sessions. I don't really enjoy running speed intervals like some people do, but they do help to increase pace.

My favourite pace is slow! :-) This is easy, and I can plod along happily and do this for my lsd (long slow distance) run each week. My lsd runs are currently only about 40 mins/6km, as advised by my physio, but as soon as she gives me the all clear, I'll be increasing the distance by 0.5km each week. I'll slow down the pace as I increase distance.

My second running pace is my tempo pace. Tempo is '5km racing pace' and at the moment I can only sustain this for 5km. This is about 1 min/km faster than my slow and I find it tough running at this pace and very hard work keeping it going for 30 mins.

My fastest pace is about 1 min/km faster that the tempo, but I can only sustain this for about 60 - 100 seconds. Running this fast is very hard for me (I, too, am over 50); it hurts; I feel sick; and I want to stop. The first few weeks doing this I did stop, but now having persevered with the 5K+ Speed podcast, then moving on to a an Audiofuel intervals podcast, I can just about complete the seven speed intervals. Some people are happy to set their own targets for speed intervals, eg running between trees or lamp posts, then a slow run until the next, but I know I'd not push myself and I'd stop a wee bit early! I like the podcasts as they keep me pushing on until the final bar of each interval and I'd recommend trying them.

I still have a long way, as I'd like to complete the intervals podcast without feeling sick and I'd like to be able to do a tempo run for 5km+ without feeling I'm going to collapse.


BTW I gave up on the B210K plan. I didn't like the three long runs each week and from reading other training information. I believe it is more beneficial to run three runs with a different focus each week: (intervals (or hills); temp and lsd.


Yep i,m with you on that swanscot. Mix up your runs and the rest will take care of its self. You wo.nt get bored and you will lose weight doing HIIT too.


I too am over 50 (well, over 60!) and put on a little weight over Christmas holidays. Eating "clean" has put me back on track and although I still have about 2kg to go, running is much easier! Since running leaves me very hungry later in the day or evening, I just manage by eating fairly moderate amounts of lean protein with the rest of the plate filled with fruits and non-starchy vegetables (at least 2-3 cups at each meal) and do not choose any processed foods at all for now. No sugar, flour, or wheat. About a tablespoon of healthy fat total for the day is added. It feels wonderful!

I really doubt that exercise alone (when one is above a certain age) will get rid of the sluggish feeling and extra kgs. I wish that were not true!


Thank you genome911. I shall try to modify the diet a bit too. Lucky I am a lover of all green veg. In fact any veg!

I don't tend to eat processed foods. AND I have given up crisps for lent which is my biggest downfall.

One of my meds makes me eat more so I just need to fill myself up more healty options.

goood advice and thanks


The colder air makes it more difficult i find, so don't worry spring will soon be here along with salads and more choices of lovely fresh fruit. Mix up your running, it's better for your leg muscles than constant long runs, HIIT will burn more calories and most definitely build up strength and stamina. Good luck.


thank you oldgirl what is HIIT?


HIIT is Hight Intensive Interval Training. Simple way of doing it when running is to use lamp posts. Warm up walk 5 minutes, then into a run for a few minutes.

Then your off as fast as you can to the next lamppost, slow down for 2, then again repeat fast/slower/fast/slower. As you get more used to this you can extend your distance to say, 2 lamp posts fast, 2 to recover etc. the choice is yours. You will only need to do this for about 10-15 minutes.

I found lamp posts a much easier way than using a time system.

You can also use this method in swimming, 1 length flat out, 2 slower to recover and repeat, cycling or rowing do it with distances.

You will find to start with that the high intensive part will be short as its very hard until your body gets used to it. Its not unlike Speed Podcast but the difference is you are really pushing as fast as you possibly can go, sprinting. Its very enjoyable, you get a lot of satisfaction when your finished and its all done in under 30 minutes. Thats including a good cool down jog and then walk. Give it a try, its fun and really builds up your strength and stamina.


8,85 is great. Like "Oldgirls" advice and will try this as I am struggling with speed myself.


Tried speed podcast today, felt like I was going to expire but did it!!


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