Log in
Couch to 5K
68,590 members100,997 posts

10k panic - why can't I do this??

Hi all,

I need some help figuring out why I'm having such trouble running post-C25k. I ran a 5k around this time last year, and then didn't run for quite a few months after that, but was still relatively fit when I started training again in January. I skipped a few C25K session this time round as I seemed able to manage it. As I've signed up for the BUPA 10k at the end of May, I downloaded the Bridge to 10K app and tried the first run yesterday. I got a really bad stitch in the second 10min section, so stopped. I tried again this morning, and had to stop again in the second 10min section because I felt completely exhausted. It's really strange, as I know I can run 30mins in one go, but can't seem to even manage 20mins with a break in the middle on the Bridge to 10K!

I don't know if it's because I've been exhausting myself exercising at the gym on my non-running days (and working pretty hard too), or if it's all in my mind (the thought of running a 10k horrifies me, and I remember swearing I'd never do anything more than a 5k after my run last year!) Or perhaps I'm not eating the right things? Please help! I've not got long until I have to do this, and can't afford any setbacks :( Any advice would be much appreciated!

Thank you :)

7 Replies

B210k didn't suit me, the stopping and starting broke my rythym so I built to 10k using the method of adding no more than 10% each week (distance or time). As you can run 30 mins without stopping already perhaps this will work for you. If you get stitches practice diaphragmatic (belly) breathing to get through them. Best of luck & don't despair, you can do it if you tackle it steadily. :-)


I expect it's a bit of both - the mental challenge and the physical. Maybe follow notbad's suggestion, and have a look at the link in this blog about varying your pace for going further and faster: couchto5k.healthunlocked.co...

I had two consecutive runs last week where it all looked as though it had gone pear-shaped, and I was wondering how I'd ever run 20 minutes, let alone 50, but the next one was soooo much better. I'm sure you'll be back with it again very soon. Perhaps you need to pretend to yourself for a while that you aren't aiming for 10k - that would certainly put me off bigtime!


I just finished a 10K program and the intervals were just as bad as when I did C25K. I would suggest just continue along with the program or just do longer runs increasing the 10%. Do whatever will work the best for you and you WANT to continue on. As far as stitches, breathing as suggested helps as well as being properly hydrated. Dehydration can also mimic tiredness. Good luck! Gayle


The start of stitch is often because you are going too fast too soon, so perhaps start more slowly and build up into a comfortable stride by the first 10 minutes mark.

Getting from 5K to 10K for me was done by just adding about 1K at a time, I then reached 8.5K so I mapped out a route of 10K and set off very slowly early one morning, I wasn't that worried if I didn't manage it the first time but went out with the opinion that I would run until I couldn't run any further. I managed it and went on to run that same route twice more. I do however find 10K takes it out of me both mentally and physically, my poor old body took about 4 days to recover each time. I now stick to 5K or even less if I feel that way inclined.

Take things steady, don't add too much distance at any one time that could lead to injury, also try and map a route you enjoy doing. I took 2 x 5K's of my favourite routes and linked them so that I ran a figure of 8. Doing it this way I managed to confuse my brain into thinking I was just on one of my 5K runs when in fact I was well into the second half of 10K by the time I started to tire. If the brain thinks its happy then the body does too was my reasoning and it worked :)

Good luck, keep us posted on your progress.


The B210K podcast is only one of very many 10K training plans available on the 'net. I tried it and didn't enjoy it so changed to something that worked for me.

I worked up from 5K to 10K by running three different types of runs a week. Run 1 was short and fast, running sprint intervals (ie fast/slow for ~45 secs) for maybe a total of 15-20 mins. Run 2 was running at my 5K pace for 30 mins for a few weeks and gradually increasing to 40 mins. Run 3 was run very slowly, and increased in length by about 0.5-1.0km a week (work out 10% of previous week and add, ie 5.5, 6.1, 6.6...) This way I was only doing one long run a week and still have plenty of energy for cross-training (cycling) on non-running days.


I completely agree with Swanscot. Only do one longer than 5k run each week and have your two day recovery after this run if possible. You're (we all are) relative beginners still (graduate or not), so try not to push too far too fast, and you'll make it to 10k. Fitness isn't the only thing you're developing, you're also developing the ability to sustain the constant stress the impact has on your bones and joints.

I, like you, am trying to build up to 10k. I've done it before, by adding 1K gradually to a basic run of 5k, but I'm starting from scratch again (currently on week 4). I don't like the intervals of walking approach; it makes the start of the next running section more difficult (for me) than running constantly and 'zoning out'.

I remember regularly running 7-8k for several weeks before trying the 10k and like greenlegs says, that extra bit was as much a mental challenge as a physical one (if you have the base fitness).

Finally, don't worry. Setting a target race is a great motivator, but don't let it stress you out so much that you don't enjoy the running part of it. You'll make it to the race and you'll do fine :)


Thank you all for your kind words and excellent advice - I feel much better now! I'll try to add 10% at a time like you suggest - I think I get tired so early on in B210K because I'm anticipating the end of the 10mins! And I'll take it a bit slower at the beginning too - it had been a while since I had a stitch, so found it quite alarming! I'll keep you all updated on my progress. Wish me luck!


You may also like...