My ability seems to be going backwards

Hi there. I'm going to keep this as brief as I can because I really would like some help and advice and I know how busy we all are (and believe me, I can waffle on with the best of them!)  Been running since mid April, literally from couch to 5k Have done numerous 5k runs as training and one race event My usual time is 40 mins+ so I'm v.slow (can't seem to improve but that's another story) I have done 7km, the last time was on Weds just gone, this is my furthest distance to date My problem is this: My last two runs (Friday and today, Sunday) , and some previous ones, I have felt that I just can't run! I know this sounds weird but as soon as I start running (after a good 5 min warm up walk), I feel my breath becoming difficult to catch (I'm not asthmatic and have no pains) and I feel like my legs can't carry me. At first, I thought this was the "terrible 10 minutes" that I've read about, but it goes on for at least 3km and sometimes for the entire run. Today, it even made me stop at 2.7 miles and despite walking for a while I really only managed another 1km off and on, mostly off.  Why is this happening now? I honestly feel that I can't even run 5km easily, whereas leading up to my 5k race at end of June, I was bashing out 5's 3/week. I was looking to sign up for a 10 and I've got the training programme to follow but my body doesn't seem to want to and I'm worried I won't manage it.  Explanations I've considered - maybe they are true??? Hot weather?I try and run after 4pm so not in the burning sun although it can still get hot.  I drink throughout the day (at least 2litres) and sometimes take water, not always as many people suggest it's not necessary for 5k. My lungs/legs are not strong enough?  I would believe this more if I hadn't been able to run 5k at all, when in fact I just seems to be going backwards with my abilities. Also, I do some cycling and core work but maybe not enough. Is it just mental? I've heard that running is 90% mental and I do often have this feeling just as i head out that I can't possibly run (I don't know why). At home, on the sofa,   I have no problem visualising myself running along like a graceful gazelle (if only!) but when it actually comes to that very first run-step, bam! The physical feelings kick in which then reinforces my belief and I battle my way round if I can. Mentally I love running (and I'm Paula Radcliffe) but physically I fear I'm more Mrs Blobby!  Thanks for reading, I'd love your opinions and advice as I'm really stuck and I jus want to enjoy my runs. 


  • Maybe although you are not running when the day is at its hottest, the hot weather has done for you, and the step up in distance.  I've just gone up to 7k from 5, almost the same timing as you I did 7k for the first time late on Thursday night and nearly dissolved in a puddle of sweat, did it again this afternoon and feel OK but who knows... I almost always feel I can't possibly run after about a hundred yards, but I think of something else and plod on!  Maybe you are "going down with something".  Maybe you should give it a few days rest?

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Have a rest for a couple of days then just try running at an easy pace. Don't try and run a PB every time.
  • I would go with the heat.  After 4 is still the heat of the day, most days the temp has peaked at 4pm...I would suggest running first thing in the morning before the heat if you can or wait until after 8 pm.  I have done a couple runs, one at 6pm one at 7.30 and another gone 8pm.  None were as good as my 6am start runs.  The type chest difficult to catch your breath, not unusual unless you are used to running in this heat.


    So you are not going backwards at all, just getting use to the heat.  just remember how far you have come and go and sign up for the 10k.  You can do and will get there, this heat won't last forever.

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