Week 4 or Weak 4?
May 10, 2011 12:04 PM   Subscribe

I feel like I'm doomed to suck at running, but that's probably irrational. Help me figure out what is up with my workout so I can stop feeling like I'm stuck.

So! Like half the earth I've decided I'm REALLY GETTING IN SHAPE THIS YEAR! Except I kind of have been. Exciting right? But I'm hitting a wall and I don't know what to do.

I've been using Robert Ullrey's podcasts to do Couch to 5K. Everything was hunky dory until week 4, when a number of things happened:

1) I had my IUD replaced, which was not comfortable. This slowed me down but I managed to do my workouts for the week.
2) Ramp-up for my theater's show got real, and my hours got long.
3) so my eating habits and water consumption got wobbly and not as good.

All of this aside, I managed to make it through all of week 4 from April 25th through the end of that week, including the 20 minute run. When I tried to get through it during Hell Week (the next week, where we're in tech for the show every night and I'm DYING of TIRED), I got through day one and day two, but on the supposed 20-minute-run day, I just expired and did the day one work out again. I gave myself until today to get started with week 4 one more time, and while the day one work out I did could have been worse, it's surely not better. I cannot imagine trying to make it through day two any time soon, much less the 20 minute run portion.

So, questions, along with complicating factors:
1) I am not fast. I am not doing the distance the C25K program calls for, just the time. Should I stay on week 4 anyway until I get the distance down, or just go for time endurance?
2) I have a wobbly right knee. I have compression pants that have knee support, so my knee does NOT hurt, but weirdly my foot is starting to get twingey on that leg.
2a) so, do I need new shoes? my shoes are not new but haven't been used much and were properly selected by a professional a couple years ago. I doubt they are thrashed.
2b) is this just because that's my weaker leg, so my muscles are all freaking out?
3) should I have lost this much ground to sleep deprivation and non-ideal diet? I haven't been out eating chicken wings every night, but my carb consumption, which is typically low, has been inflated (sandwiches are convenient).
4) anything else I should know about why this might suck so much right now?

I felt SO MUCH BETTER during the first three weeks, and I want to continue with this, but I'm feeling so beat down by my sudden screeching halt in progress. Advice? (FWIW I run on a treadmill and for the foreseeable future that will continue.)
posted by Medieval Maven to Health & Fitness (32 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Week 4 doesn't have a 20 min. run - it's the run 3 min/walk/run 5 min/walk/repeat week. Do you mean week 5, or are you jumping ahead a week in the schedule? That might explain your problem right there.

I'm not super slow, but I did it according to the time and I thought that worked well. I think your end goal is more of an either/or goal - you either get to a 30 minute run without stopping, or a 5K without stopping, and either one is fine.
posted by LionIndex at 12:12 PM on May 10, 2011

Yes, you will lose that much ground to sleep deprivation. It's absolute hell on your body in ways that aren't obvious until you do something physical. I'd take a week or two off completely until you can get a couple nights' sleep, and then start over with week 4.

(Also, I never bothered with tracking distance, and it seemed to work fine. Only caveat is that if you run an actual 5k at the end you will be somewhat surprised by how long it is.)
posted by restless_nomad at 12:15 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, crap I meant week 5. Please sub in week 5 if you are familiar, I am clearly off my brains today.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:15 PM on May 10, 2011

Also, and I have no freakin' experience whatsoever doing couch to 5k (although many years ago I managed to train for and survive a 10k) - in addition to what nomad said - I think if you cross trained you'd feel a lot better. (I know, yer busy enough as it is).
While there's no question cross training is often good for lots of folks, I think that unless yer somebody who's naturally 'born to run' (not me!) I notice that doing almost any sporty thing I've ever tried always feels way easier and less nasty when I also lift weights, or swim, or do something else that just builds my strength but isn't as jarring.

This of course assumes you have time / energy / etc. But no matter what I do (and no matter how much lung capacity my allergist says I have) I have always been a pretty crappy runner. ; ) I sure can walk a long ways, tho....
posted by bitterkitten at 12:24 PM on May 10, 2011

Pretty much everyone I know who has done C25K has run into "OMG this is so hard I can't do this!" territory starting around weeks 5 and 6. This includes friends of mine who have been exercising for years and have no health issues or life craziness. It's just HARD.

As a point of reference, I have tried doing C25k THREE times over the past few years and the first two times I completely burnt out around week 6 and gave up. The third time has been much better for me because I just stuck with it, even though the first time I did the 20 minute run I had to take a little walking break in between. My running pace is a 13-14 minute mile, so I am going slower than some speed walkers, but who cares?

Don't give up, and don't beat yourself up if you have to take a walking break in the middle of your longer runs. Just know that it's pretty common for people to find that week of the program to be hard. And don't worry about how much distance you're covering, just focus on the time. Also, this might be controversial but I would avoid redoing an entire week just because you had trouble with run #3 of a week. Just redo that run once or twice and move on. Otherwise you'll get demotivated and bored.
posted by joan_holloway at 12:36 PM on May 10, 2011

Worry about speed later. Get to 5K first. Once you can run a whole 5K without stopping then you can worry about doing it faster. That is best done through interval training - sprint, cool down, sprint, cool down, sprint...... (by sprint I mean run hard, not necessarily all out) There are so many variations on how to do this the mind boggles. My sensibilities are best suited toward a Fartlek style of interval training.
posted by caddis at 12:38 PM on May 10, 2011

I am in the process of doing C25K now -- and I've done it successfully in the past (and became somewhat running obsessed which is the state I'm now working to get back to!). Now and in the past I've gotten "stuck" in a week and repeated either the week or the previous workouts until I felt good enough to make the next run. Nothing big to worry about and very likely after 2-3 "remedial" runs you will be back on track.

And at some point you do realize what your body *needs* in order to make it to the next level (more sleep, more food, less junk, less alcohol, etc) -- so do pay attention to that and see what you can tweak. But keep at it!

Also will say I didn't work for the distance until the program was finished (or in week 7/8) and think the time is the important bit.

Final note -- one of my old running partners (running with a buddy is a great motivator) introduced me to what we call the "tiny jog". Sometimes your just dragging and need a little recovery in the midst of a longer run period and rather than giving up, just slow down the pace -- a lot. Tiny jog is a super slow jog for recovery (really at a walking pace almost) and usually after a minute or two of tiny jog you're set to go again -- the mental hack is that you haven't *stopped* running, just changed the pace so it seems to help with the sense of accomplishment and ease you into a run again.

You might also find that as you progress in the program you try to run faster. The object is not to run as fast as you can but to run at a pace at which you can comfortable get to "the end". Try slowing it down a bit if you things aren't progressing in your remedial runs.

As for the foot -- slowing down might help that too -- but pay attention to it. See if you're building strength or it's feeling worse. Don't, however, run to the point of injury.

My running form falls apart when I'm tired and draggy and as such all the little twinges come out. The foot might also related to the general tiredness.
posted by countrymod at 12:40 PM on May 10, 2011

I found week 5 to be a real physical, and psychological, jump -- that 20 minute run was really intimidating.

It's totally okay to repeat weeks, or to back off to a previous week if you feel like you're going too hard too soon. Maybe you need to repeat a few weeks to build up fitness and stamina to tackle week 5. That's not failing to progress; it's progressing at a rate that is best for you.

Also, pushing too hard too soon even though your body is screaming at you not to is a good way to get injured; and that'd really put you off.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:43 PM on May 10, 2011

In my experience, the stage you are in right now is the toughest for a beginning runner to get through. You are currently at a point where I've quit in the past, and I know others who have too. But this year, I signed up for a race, which motivated me to stick to a program, and I'm quite happy for it.

Personally, I found keeping track of distance more helpful than keeping track of time. I also found the 20% guideline helpful in thinking constructively about my progress. Essentially, for the sake of safety, the total distance run over the course of the week shouldn't be more than 20% greater than the distance of the previous (or average) week. The longest run of the week also shouldn't exceed the longest run of the previous (or average) week by more than 20%. This is helpful to keep in mind when the gains you are seeing are small. It helps you understand why going from a run of 1 mile to a run of 2 miles is such a slog, while going from 5 miles to 6 miles is painless. You're at a point where the gains are supposed to be slow. Set your expectations for yourself accordingly.

It's okay to take a break during your run every now and then. A ten second walk or a quick stretch or a gulp of water are all okay. In fact, they might help you get more out of the remainder of your workout.

Another thing that I found helpful was keeping track of the points at which I hit a wall, especially after starting the continuous runs, like your 2 miler. When I first started running, the first half of the first mile was hell. I'd wonder if something had gone horribly wrong--have I gotten injured? Am I sick? Is it the lack of sleep? Then I'd get past the half-mile mark, and suddenly running was easy. The point at which I hit that wall has changed as my runs have gotten longer, but now I know it's coming and when. Instead of giving up on my workout that day, I try to push through. If I hit that wall at a different point though, I'm more open to the idea that maybe the workout that day is going should be shorter than planned.

New running shoes have few downsides other than the expense and may help your issue with your foot. So if you can afford them, get them.
posted by whimwit at 12:45 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I did C25K last fall and quit around week 6, when it just got too hard and it was cold outside and sometimes it was rainy and I didn't feel like running and I wasn't having fun with it anymore and WHY IS EXERCISING SO HAAARD??? Then my asthma flared really badly and I had a convenient excuse to give up on running.

I started over and am on week 3 now, and anticipate a similar experience. I felt like there was kind of a big jump from week 4 to week 5, but this time, I think I'm prepared for it.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 12:49 PM on May 10, 2011

By this time next year no one will know if you did week four once or five times or ten times. Keep doing whatever exercise is sustainable for you, even if that means slower increases.
posted by anaelith at 12:49 PM on May 10, 2011 [5 favorites]

I find that the transitions from week 3-5 is a tough one. My goal is to just keep hammering away at it until it gets easier. The nice thing about running is that it's just you, which means you can't "fail" at it. I mean, who is going to know/care whether you ran for twenty minutes or only thirteen? Or how many times you had to repeat the Week 4 Day Three workout before you got it down?

It helps if you don't schedule a formal 5K race. I sort of understand why people who are already diehard runners do races, but I don't really get the pressure to cap your C 2 5K training off with a formal event.
posted by Sara C. at 1:01 PM on May 10, 2011

The 20 minute run just sucked so hard for me and if you're not treating yourself properly, it's going to suck even harder. (I just did week 8 day 2 this morning, so it can be done!) Maybe just try repeating week 4 or parts of 5 for a few weeks until you can get yourself in better shape to tackle week 5 head on.
posted by sperose at 1:17 PM on May 10, 2011

FWIW I run on a treadmill and for the foreseeable future that will continue.

I feel like I'm deliberately picking at the AND THIS IS NOT NEGOTIABLE part of the question, but: I often find running on a treadmill to be tougher going mentally than running outside.

On a treadmill there's no scenery to look at as you're running; and there's that relentless timer staring you in the face reminding you of exactly how many more minutes you have to slog through. Running outside there's enough distractions that 20 minutes can slip by more easily.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:05 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm not familiar w/the couch to 5k plan but it sounds like a sensible approach to training to be able to cover increasingly longer distances in a sensible, low-risk way. Diet shouldn't matter this much, lack of sleep and stress can make things feel much harder than they should though. You're doing great so far.

This leapt out though:
2a) so, do I need new shoes? my shoes are not new but haven't been used much and were properly selected by a professional a couple years ago. I doubt they are thrashed.

Yes! Please get new shoes before those twinges become something more serious. The shock-absorbing rubber in running shoes continues to cure and harden over time regardless of how much use they are getting. Two years is a pretty long time. I'd spring for new shoes if I were you.
posted by stagewhisper at 2:10 PM on May 10, 2011

This doesn't directly answer your Couch-to-5K question (a program I'm familiar with but have never tried), but I hope it will be helpful regardless, as it may get to the heart of some of the issues you're having. (Or it may not-- maybe it's just empty blathering. I hope not, but who the hell knows.)

Anyway, after many, many false starts and non-successes in beginning and keeping to a fitness program, I finally learned an incredibly important lesson about it: to succeed at something that's difficult, you have to learn to give yourself permission to fail.

Once I really, truly internalized this, I was able to work through the individual failures and the difficult times and stick with a fitness program long enough that now, at the age of 40, I am in the best physical condition of my life (despite, embarrassingly, still smoking 10 - 12 cigarettes a week).

"To succeed at something that's difficult, you have to learn to give yourself permission to fail" was an offhand remark my therapist made during a discussion of something else entirely, but it stuck in my head, and I realized could apply to a hell of a lot more than the specific thing we were discussing. I know it sounds like an empty platitude-- and maybe it is-- but when you're talking about a fitness program it can be very meaningful. To wit:

You have a long term goal. For the purposes of the question you've asked, your long term goal is "Run 5 kilometers without stopping." (Although, arguably, it could be "Get in better physical condition." Either works here, but let's stick with the more concrete one).

In order to achieve your long term goal, you have a fitness plan which involves accomplishing a series of short term goals. For the purposes of this question, that plan is the Couch-to-5K program. In other contexts it could be a different fitness plan (100 pushups, p90x, something you've designed yourself, whatever-- it doesn't matter) but let's just talk about the short term goals in Couch-to-5K.

You're having a hard time accomplishing one of your short term goals-- the Week 5 20-minute run. You've failed at it. I can't tell from your question how many times, but at least once. Maybe twice? I don't know. It sounds like you feel that failure pretty strongly. You're discouraged. It sounds as though you feel that because you've failed at the 20-minute run, that means you've also failed to achieve your long-term goal.

But that's simply not true. It's OK not to achieve one of your short-term goals the first, second, third, or even twelfth time you attempt. So accept that you failed. Give yourself permission to have failed. It's not a big deal. Failure happens when you set yourself goals. Hell, if that shit was easy, there would be no need for goals or a plan in the first place.

And the most important thing to remember is that this failure to achieve one of your many short term goals doesn't mean shit to your long-term goal. It only means shit to your short-term goal.

Because, really, what's the important thing here? The long-term goal. And you haven't failed to achieve your long-term goal. You haven't at all. Failing to complete the 20-minute run the first one or four times you attempt it isn't failing to complete the Couch-to-5K program. So maybe you need to go back a week. So what? Go back a week. Get used to the feeling of succeeding again, of achieving short term goals. Then try moving forward one more time. Do that as many times as you need to. Your long-term goal is just that-- long-term. It's not going anywhere. It will wait an extra week. Or two. Or as long as you need it to.

To succeed at something that's difficult, you have to learn to give yourself permission to fail. You haven't failed to complete the program just because you failed to complete the 20-minute run. You just haven't succeeded yet. You've only failed to complete the program if you let your short-term failure discourage you into giving up entirely.

Ok, wow, that turned out longer and more more cheesy and self-help-y than I intended, but I swear that really internalizing that one phrase made an unbelievable difference to my ability to stick with a fitness program. I recognize, of course, that everybody's different and it might not help you, but hey, you never know, right? Now if only I could take my own damn advice and internalize it when it comes to other things (quitting smoking, writing more, getting a new job, etc. etc.) I might really get somewhere...
posted by dersins at 2:23 PM on May 10, 2011 [12 favorites]

It helps if you don't schedule a formal 5K race. I sort of understand why people who are already diehard runners do races, but I don't really get the pressure to cap your C 2 5K training off with a formal event.

We do races because they're enormously good fun.

I will always remember that first 5K race: it's exhilarating and amazing and after months of doing this thing where you're essentially alone suddenly here you are amongst hundreds of other people doing that same thing and wow goddamnit I am a runner.

I registered after I'd finished C25K. I don't think I'd have wanted to have it staring me down as an immovable goalpost during C25K; instead I started to think about "and then maybe I'll register for a 5K" as a reward I could give myself for finishing.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:30 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Since you are running on a treadmill, I'll give you the advice that really helped me out when I first started running. GO SLOWER. Knock your speed down a couple notches and see how close you can get to 20 minutes.

You can build stamina by going slow and longer. It took me months to get up to a 5K. Now I do a 5k 2-3 times a week in about 30 minutes. If you're not quite making it to 20 minutes just scale it down and just keep at it until you're done with week 5.

I did couch 2 5K a couple years ago. I basically stopped during week 6 like many others. I didn't quit running though, I just adapted and kept making progress until I finally did it.

Remember this will be quite an achievement when you pull it off.
posted by eggm4n at 2:34 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Week 5 was always the one that kicked my butt too. It's a really abrupt shift to go from several increments to what feels like one long run of doom.

I've gone through the couch-to-5k a couple of times, and stitching the shorter runs into longer ones was always sort of mentally difficult (ie, I always felt like "this is like the last run except I don't get my break! I WANT MY BREAK!!", and it was hard not to feel negative about that). This last time when I started up again with the running, I was in good enough shape to still run (slowly!) a mile, and I just started nudging that upwards by a quarter mile every couple weeks, so that the whole thing was a single run with no breaks from the beginning, and it's been easier.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 2:58 PM on May 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

No experience with couch to 5km, but I'm a long distance nomad lonely whatever you want to call it. I'm competing in ultra events this summer and I've had knee "problems". This raises a red flag:

2) I have a wobbly right knee. I have compression pants that have knee support, so my knee does NOT hurt, but weirdly my foot is starting to get twingey on that leg.

I'm also not a doctor, so I'm not sure what you mean by wobbly knee - but don't screw with your knees. If you can afford to see a doctor, get an actual diagnosis of what that is.

DON'T use a knee support to fix a knee problem for long term things. The knee support will take the pressure off your knees to support themselves, so when you stop using the knee support, you'll end up with weaker knees.

The type of organization of something like couch to 5k seems really restrictive to someone like myself. I hate to have the program freak you out, because the types of gains you're getting you're not. Running should be stress-relieving, not stress-inducing, so if you have other, more important engagements, don't damn yourself for missing your running. This type of problem is prevalent in even the most serious of runners.

Remember to have fun with what you're doing. If you don't want to run - don't! If you want to do another exercise, out of the whim, that could help your running, do it! I'm blessed with a million of options, but Hiking Up Things alone has completely made my running awesome.
posted by alex_skazat at 3:02 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ditto what many have said about week 5 being notoriously difficult. The few times I did Couch to 5k, it was always around that point where I'd have trouble. (Life also got in the way quite a bit, so I kept picking up and dropping the program.) adjust it however you need to, as others have suggested.

Re: your foot... Try loosening your shoe laces and running a bit slower. I had something similar when I was going through Couch to 5k. Running store gave me some tips in an order I can't remember: check my shoe laces, run on a non-treadmill surface so my foot has some variation from step to step, and get new shoes. I think after doing all these things I was still experiencing some tingles, but they eventually went away. Perhaps turning it down a notch while your body gets used to it will help save you the discomfort. New shoes would probably be a good idea anyway if you plan to continue running after you finish the Couch to 5k program.
posted by Terriniski at 3:06 PM on May 10, 2011

Wow, thanks everyone. It's nice to hear that others have found this particular part discouraging.

@alex_skazat re: my knee: I have some kind of soft tissue (?) injury or weakness from twisting my knee by stepping in a hole several years ago. Whatever is wrong, I've had a hard time getting it diagnosed but getting my weight down and strengthening my leg helps. The compression pants are nothing like the brace I was using, so I'm stepping down. :)

@dersins - thank you for that. I am most definitely a recovering perfectionist. I wasn't thinking of myself as thinking of it as failure - just sort of inexplicably suddenly everything seemed very difficult. But reading your comment reminded me that expecting to progress steadily and without setbacks is a perfectionist hallmark, and I need to back up off that.

I will look into new shoes and keep at it. I may give myself the week off from running - we just got the show open and I'm about to go away for a few days - perhaps next Monday is a good time to revisit the workout and see how I'm feeling.

More insights welcome! I'm a complete noob at this so sometimes I just feel like it's all in a foreign language.
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:54 PM on May 10, 2011

I'm not doing the couch-to-5k program, but I am doing a couch-to-5k program and I got to 20 minutes continuous running by going really, really slowly. Like, four miles an hour. At the time, it felt crazy, because I ride a bike and 4 mph for a bicyclist---well, you might as well get off and walk.

But it turns out I can hold 4 mph for twenty minutes. In fact, I got to fifteen minutes and felt so good I kicked it up a notch---all the way to 4.5 mph! Super-fast, right? But that was enough to get me back into the gym two days later, and that's really all that counts.
posted by d. z. wang at 4:32 PM on May 10, 2011

Oh, right, runners use time-per-mile. So, 4 mph is a 15:00 mile and 4.5 mph is a 13:20 mile.
posted by d. z. wang at 4:33 PM on May 10, 2011

I did couch to 5k a couple of years ago. Repeating a week until I was ready to move on helped a lot. I think after sucking at week 5, which is the biggest jump in the whole c25k program, I actually just did the 2nd day of week 5 twice until I felt ready to tackle the 20 minute run.

You'll get there, just don't feel guilty for repeating a week or backing off if you need to.
posted by zug at 4:34 PM on May 10, 2011

You're doing this as part of a goal to be healthy long-term, right? So...chill. What you do this week matters virtually not at all in the long run. What matters is what you'll be doing a year from now - and you'll be much better off if you repeat week 4 every week for the next year than if you decide week 5 is too much suffering and you flat out quit.

It's not that you shouldn't push yourself (you should push yourself! today! you'll feel better afterwards!), but, assuming you've been out of shape for a while, you're at the very beginning of what will hopefully be a long and active rest-of-life, and it takes time to figure out how to motivate yourself. You might like long-term goals, short-term ones, ambitious ones that are thrilling when you occasionally achieve them, or moderate ones that you consistently achieve.

To paraphrase dersins, one thing that will be useful in the long term is the experience of failing and then picking yourself up again. Missing a week isn't a big deal anymore when you've been running for years and know that you've missed weeks here and there but it didn't mean you were giving up altogether. However, experience will also demonstrate that skipping a week, while not totally derailing your training, will set you back, which provides extra motivation to not slack off in the first place. The same principle applies for repeating a week of Couch to 5K, or any other less-than-ideal situation.

For whatever it's worth, I was already a casual 5k-each-morning runner when I tried and then quit Couch to 5K a few years ago, attempting to motivate a friend who wanted to get in shape. I remember thinking it was a weird curve, with a few weeks of "this doesn't feel like we're making progress towards a full 5k" followed by "wait, what, now we're actually running for most of the half hour?" which was approximately where my friend's knees and hatred of running got the better of him and we stopped that particular program. If Couch to 5K ends up not working out, there are a whole lot of other ways to get in shape.

As for your actual questions...
Do distance or time, whichever you find more fun. I like distance because I like to track my pace as accurately as possible, and it's easier to measure one distance and run it repeatedly for time, instead of running for a set time and trying to estimate the distance. Some people are less anal about this. Some people just go for a run, not caring about either time or distance, but I am not that zen. If you want to get faster, and you put in the miles and the effort, you will get faster.

Sleep loss, dietary changes, and lack of water could definitely be affecting you. Sleep sounds tough to address right now with the long show hours. Lack of water is probably the easiest to fix, if you can just make a habit of carrying a bottle with you. If your diet isn't great right now, maybe pay attention to the ways it isn't great - not enough fresh food? Too much/little food in general? Too much sugar? Too much caffeine? Having a tough time because of a temporarily crappy diet sucks, but learning which parts of the crappy diet you're most sensitive to is valuable information. And, as above, knowing how it feels to run the day after three meals of white flour or whatever can be a powerful motivator to eat better even when you're overworked.

Lastly (sorry this has gotten long), you ran after having an IUD replaced? I applaud you. You are so capable of doing a 5K.
posted by orangejenny at 7:04 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

whimwit: Essentially, for the sake of safety, the total distance run over the course of the week shouldn't be more than 20% greater than the distance of the previous (or average) week. The longest run of the week also shouldn't exceed the longest run of the previous (or average) week by more than 20%.

Whoa! Just want to chime in that I've never heard it as 20%; every running book and website I've ever read has had it as the 10% rule. It's practically running canon. There are times when you can increase more than that, but if you're feeling on the verge of injury, you should definitely dial it back.
posted by web-goddess at 11:53 PM on May 10, 2011

I know you said that you will continue to run on a treadmill, but I strongly urge you find a nearby high school running track and try a lap or two on it. You will be amazed at how much more pleasant and easier on your body it is to run on, compared to the treadmill.

FWIW I've run about a dozen marathons, but I've never been able to force myself to run longer than half an hour on a treadmill.
posted by monotreme at 12:05 AM on May 11, 2011

Go find Brad Hudson on Facebook. He is an amazing running coach for people from 5k to marathon. He also wrote a book called Run Faster from the 5k to the Marathon.

Also he lives in Eugene, Oregon and is a former elite level distance runner. Easy to talk to as well.
posted by tarvuz at 2:57 AM on May 11, 2011

Sorry, I guess I should have pointed out why being from Eugene, Oregon is a big deal. That is where scads of runners come from and train. Also a small running company called Nike started at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
posted by tarvuz at 2:58 AM on May 11, 2011

I modified my runs into 10 minute intervals when I started to have problems at week 5 of the program. I took a week or two off from running after a few bad runs (attempting the 20 min a few times). After my time off I modified my runs to include 6 mins running/ 4 mins walking - repeating the cycle three or four times depending on how I felt. I did this three times per week, and after successfully completing them three times, I bumped up my running and decreased my rest time to 7 mins running/ 3 mins walking. I'm up to 8/2 now and it seems to be getting easier.

I hope that makes sense.
posted by kelrae3 at 4:37 AM on May 11, 2011

I'm about to start Week 5 myself (tomorrow, in fact). In my usual son of a librarian, obsessive/compulsive way I have read everything on the internet about C25K. Pretty much universally everyone suffers on Week 5, Day 3. The general consensus seems to be that you should push as far as you can, walk when you have to and repeat Week 5. Over and over if you need to. It seems to really be the big hump you have to get over. As others have said, you can ramp it up intentionally by cycling the amount of rest you get or try slowing WAY, WAY down.
posted by Lame_username at 12:29 PM on May 11, 2011

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