Tell me it gets easier!

I don't know whether to be pleased or disappointed - just back in from my first ever run outside and it was hard!  It was my first run for months; in the past I've got up to about 4-5 km on a treadmill and found that reasonable.  But this was hard!  I used the walk/run method which I've never done before but I found I had to.  I probably did about half of each round a 2 km route.  On the one hand I'm so chuffed that I put aside all my fears about people looking at me and just got out there, but I can't see me ever being able to run round the whole way!  I find pacing so hard and I can't get a slow steady speed.  Someone please tell me it does get better!

Woo, my first thread image



  • It DOES get better!  I had never run before (at least not since school, when I hated running with a vengeance) when I randomly decided to go for a jog in March of this year.  It was awful, I could barely breathe and couldn't run at all.  Following that I found the walk-run method on a website called  There are variations depending on whether you want to start off with more walking than running, or the other way round.  I chose to walk 5 mins to warm up then 1 min running and 3 minutes walking alternated finishing with a 5 min walk to cool down.  When I say 1 min running it was more like a very slow jog but that was as much as I could manage.  Slowly slowly I found I could run a bit quicker, a bit longer, that I needed less walking time to recover. 

    Then I decided to try running non-stop and started with 5 minutes, then 8 minutes and so on really slowly increasing it.  Taking it really slowly, not pushing myself too hard, making it more about completing the run rather than speed was what helped; I gave myself very small achievable goals and didn't worry too much if I didn't achieve them right away.  Now I can run a whole 5km, which is more than I have ever run in my life!  More to the point I'm enjoying it because the small achievements and improvements are motivating me to keep going.  I did push myself way too hard at one point and only ended up making myself feel violently sick, having to stop and feeling a failure.  It's just not worth it! 

    I have never run on a treadmill so I can't comment on how it feels compared to running on paths and roads, but personally I would suggest not comparing what you achieved then to now.  It might be that running on a treadmill is easier than roads and paths due to absence of hills and the steadiness of the environment you are running in, possibly?  Also you do lose fitness when you don't exercise for a long time, so you mustn't lose motivation because you can't pick up where you left off. 

    Also I personally find now that I am able to run non-stop, that walk-run is harder work, because you don't have time to settle into a nice steady rhythm.  Apparently it's actually better for you, cardio-vascular wise, because of the frequent changes of speed. 

    Anyway here's the link for the different 5k training plans from, if you're interested?  You can choose whichever one you prefer.

  • Thank you so much for your reply - it is always good to hear from others in the same situation!  I'll definitely look up the training plans - I think I might well be a convert to the walk-run method after all!  Thanks for posting the link.  Your progress sounds excellent, and in such a short space of time!  I cannot wait for the day when I can come on here and say that I managed to run the whole route; that's why I posted - to give myself somewhere to be accountable to.  I want to get to the stage where running feels good and at the moment it feels anything but!

  • I know it's hard but if you want to keep motivated you have to make sure you actually enjoy doing it, and speaking from my experience the way to do that is to make sure you don't push yourself so hard that you can't finish your planned run, slow your pace a bit, give yourself a bit of a break on an uphill stretch, allow yourself to feel the euphoria of having finished.  That way you'll want to keep doing it and then you'll improve almost without noticing it!  Also remember rest days, very important, those.....  I also do a little bit of gentle hatha yoga on my rest days, which seems to help with the aches and pains.  LOADS of videos on youtube for that.... And have fun with running, experiment with what you can do and play with it.  Good luck!  Let me know how you get on image


  • I think I could enjoy it - when I got in I did feel a bit of a high from having at least gone out and tried it.  Also at one point when I thought I had finished running I found I could do a couple more stretches even if it was just between a few lamp posts.  I think I'll get myself a cheap stop watch and maybe give a proper walk-run training plan a go.  Or are there pod casts thingies for that?  I don't know if I'd hear a stop watch over my ipod. 

    Will be popping in an out over the next few weeks - hopefully with some progress to report!


  • Well done fraggle, you have done the hardest part getting over the door and doing it. I promise if you stay with it it will really get so much easier. Just take it nice and slowly, don't get carried away and try and overdo it, you'll end up injured and loose all you're great work.

  • I got a cheapo stopwatch from TK Maxx that can record laps.  So you press one button to start the stopwatch and then when you get to the end of your 5 mins warm up walk you press the button which means it saves the first 'lap' time, and starts the second.  Then you press it again when you finish the 1 min run, and again when you finish your 3 mins walk etc.  It saves up to 30 'laps'.  It does mean you have to look at the watch occasionally, and press a button, but it was only a fiver and works fine for me.  And you eventually get a sense of time so that you stop thinking "I must have been going for a minute by now!" and looking and seeing only 23 seconds have passed, ha ha!

    There is also a series of podcasts called "Couch to 5k" which I found on the NHS website, which are effectively a walk-run 5k training plan over 12 weeks (I think?).  The podcast plays you music to tell you when to walk and when to run.  I didn't use it as I'd already got going with the WalkJogRun one, and had my stopwatch, so I discovered it too late really.  That's got to be even easier than looking at a watch and pressing buttons.  I guess it also depends on whether you like their choice of music, as well, I suppose. 

  • Well I've now downloaded the first couch25k podcast and am starting on Sunday!  I'm quite excited.  Hopefully I'll be able to run for a minute!  The worst thing about treadmills is keeping yourself from clockwatching constantly.  Especially when only a few seconds have passed!  I think having a bit of structure might help now, I've been aimlessly falling in and out of running for a while and not really getting anywhere.  Will be back on Sunday to report how the first "run" went!  Thanks again guys.

  • it gets easier.

    the first 4-6 weeks are the hardest.

    but, it never gets completely 'easy' because you keep trying to improve, so you want to go thst but further or that bit quicker image 

  • Simple answer. Yes - it gets easier. 

    I started "getting fit" last year and couldn't get to the end of my road without wanting to collapse. I hated it - and couldn't believe it would ever get better. Now I regularly run 5K and do 8-10k at weekend.I run slowly - I will never have a fast time - but I run for the sake of running. 

    Whilst running is never exactly easy, I have never felt as bad as I did when I first started. I even enjoy running - actually I often enjoy running.

    Key points to remember is that it will take time, it will be hard, it will be worth it. Don't compare yourself to anyone and come up with strategies to make it easier - like using running partners; setting targets and rewarding yourself. 

    Some of the most perfect moments have been running (listening to the Goldberg Variations as the sun set by the river).

    Hope this helps!



  • It definitely gets easier! Walk/run is a great strategy to start with and there are a few people that stick with that strategy for marathons. So don't feel bad about needing the walk breaks.

    The key thing is consistency and not doing too much too soon. That way you can build up slowly without getting injured.

  • I'm quite excited about tomorrow - run 1 of week 1 on my couch to 5k.  I've heard so many success stories that I'm quite worried I'll be the one who can't manage it!  Hopefully I won't collapse in a heap in the middle of the road!

  • 1 down, 26 to go!  Just back in from my first run on the couch to 5k.  It was good, doable, but I'm thinking I'd quite like more than one week before having to run any more at a time!  I do like the after-run feel though, once I've got my breath back at the end and I feel great!

  • KattCKattC ✭✭✭
    Good luck just finishing couch to 5k on the last week. I personally did not download the app just put some cheesy tunes on a ipod and a stop watch. Love it although still not able tk run 5k in 30 mins but who cares xx

    good luck
  • Thanks, I don't think I'll be running 5k in that time either, last time I did 5k it was on a treadmill and took me 40 mins!  I find pacing really hard outside though, I can't seem to get into a steady pace and I'm sure I'm still going too fast.  Hopefully practice will sort that out!

    Well done KattC on finishing!

  • KattCKattC ✭✭✭

    Got two more runs to go and then I have technically finished the couch to 5k but need to then run a little more timewise to get to 5k.  I just enjoy the scenery and I have also written down notes and times of each run to get me motivated.  I went way too fast and now try a steady pace of 12.30 minutes - which is slow and I have snail past me by but who cares.

    I have also found the advice on this forum and encouragement fantastic - so I am pretty much hooked on this running fun image  Just found out we have a new park run starting in my town middle of September so hopefully I may be up to 5k by then lol

    Keep us posted fraggle




  • Thanks again KattC, I'm still dead excited about starting this plan, I wish it was another run day tomorrow but I should stick to the rules and have a rest day.  I know what you mean about going slow, I have to check sometimes that I'm not just jogging on the spot!  I do the walking parts faster than the runs.  

    Hope your last two runs go well and then you can celebrate - maybe with a park run?! image

    I like having somewhere to post my progress, even if it's just me who reads it it'll still help keep me motivated, and of course I like reading all about everyone else's running journeys too.  

  • KattCKattC ✭✭✭

    Keep it up Fraggle x even if you have a bad run its better than a no run image  I took longer than 9 weeks as I badly sprained my ankle during a hike. Cursed and cursed as I had to take 5 weeks off the running and go back 2 weeks of the programme.  Personally the main point for me is I really enjoy it, and don't worry how fast I am going.  I'm never going to be a Mo F at 46 lol  and been seriously ill three years ago.

    My housemate is a keen runner so I use to vitually run if you can call it that and read all her running magazines.   I dipped into this forum and found it very inspiring and helpful.  I also dip into the health unlocked forum which is the official if you can call it that lol couch to 5k forum.

    It links into each week so you can read about people's personal journeys on each week.

    Keep me posted as it does help writing something down and reporting back on it.  Our first park run is 20 September but I have the cancer research Pretty Muddy race on 6 September first - 5k with obstacles image

    Good luck on your next runs and look forward to hearing all about your running adventures


  • Aw thanks image This place is so friendly!

  • Peter MPeter M ✭✭✭

    tips for running slower.

    Move your arms less (arms linked to legs, slow one down you'll slow the other).

    take an app like "map my fitness" that tracks your pace and try to stick around the pace you've set yourself (wear headphones and listen to music at the same time image)

    an "easy running pace" (a pace you can maintain without getting to out of breath) is also known as "conversational pace" (a pace you can hold a conversation with someone). Lacking someone to talk to, sing (under your breath if u don't want to look a crazy person :P) happy birthday. If you're struggling to get through a line of the song without needing a breath, you're going to fast.

    run with someone else who can set a pace,.. if you've not got someone, then when you're ready to get around 5km, join your local parkrun (free weekly timed 5km "race" full of friendly everyday types of people) and start near the back. Tag along with some of the fokes towards the back of the pack and see how you go image.


    well best of luck with your C25k programme. it does get easier as your body gets more used to it. If you have weight to loose then it gets easier as you shed that to (i've gone from 18st3p to 13st8p in a year and a half of running). But if you want better and better times, you have to put in the work image, will be speed session, tempo runs, hill training, fartleging (real thing!),.. but don't worry about that for a few months yet :P.

  • Thanks Peter, that's good advice.  I'm ultimately aiming to do a parkrun when I finish this program.  I'll probably be about 40 mins though imageimage but I don't really care!  As long as I can get through it.  I like the arm suggestion, I never know what to do with my arms when I'm running so I might try to make sure I'm not using any energy moving them too fast!

    I don't have any weight to lose but I'd really like to get fit.  As well as the couch to 5k I'm doing 30 mins of exercise bike on two of my rest days and having two days of nothing at all.  I'm finding that even after a week or two the bike is getting easier so I'm hoping running will be the same!  

  • Good Tip from Peter image

    When i'm training for ultras I try to consciously drop my arms down to my sides and have minimal arm movement it relaxes the body and helps me to slow down.

  • I used to do that with my arms on the treadmill but always felt a bit daft!  I really need to work on them, and my legs too, because at the moment I feel like Phoebe from Friends when I run!

    I'm only one day in and already I miss it!  I wish today was a run day, I've spent all morning wishing it was tomorrow.  I wonder how long that will last though!

  • KattCKattC ✭✭✭

    One more run left on the couch to 5k programme and thank you peter I am now going to start singing happy birthday lol

    Very helpful tips thank you xx  Let us know how you get on with the next run fraggle.

  • It definitely gets easier Fraggle. I started the Couch to 5k program in June. Initially I thought there would be no way I would ever be able to run for 5 minutes non-stop never mind the eventual 30!! Having started the program I also decided to register for Parkrun (these are free events which happen every Saturday at hundreds of locations across the country). My 1st attempt at Parkrun was on 19th July and I managed a time of 30m:38s (I still had to do some walking). At my 2nd attempt I finished in 28m:55s, again I needed to walk on a few occasions during the run. Then hurrah, on Saturday I completed my 3rd Parkrun with a new PB of 26m40s with no walking.

    By no means do I have a stereotypical runners physique. I am about 5'9" and when I started Cto5K weighed about 16st10lbs. I'm now about 15st7lbs.  I cannot recommend the Couch to 5k program highly enough. Without something like this to follow I would almost certainly have given up very early on in my running journey.

    Good luck with couch to 5k - I'm sure you'll smash it!!                        


  • That is really good to hear - and well done on your own couch to 5k, and the parkruns - those are great times!  It's knowing that other people have managed to complete it that makes it seem a lot less daunting.  Especially those like me who at the beginning are worried about just running for a few minutes!  

    I went out this evening and found myself a new route so I don't have to run along so many main roads - I still hate running past queues of cars in rush hour because in my head they're all gawking at me image

    Good luck KattC on your last run; go and sing Happy Birthday at the top of your voice!  Maybe that should be some sort of code for runners from here so we all recognise each other...

    2nd run in the morning, no doubt will be straight on here to report how it goes.  Thanks again for everyone's advice and encouragement, it's been so helpful.  image

  • hi Fraggle I have just done my first 5k at the weekend aged 53 I managed it in 41mins! had to walk a couple of times but only started running again 12 weeks ago! I just love to run now although not very fast

  • KattCKattC ✭✭✭

    Well done JGD that is a great time - I'm going to take more than 30 minutes for my 5k at the moment - still only managed 3.70 miles in 30 minutes lol.  I blame my height I am only 5ft so must have a shorter running step lol so must take more steps image lol

    Not sure I will be able to sing Happy Birthday out loud lol people might think I need sectioning lol   I did get a nice man on a bike give me the thumbs up today image

    Will let you know how it goes - pretty muddy in September and then its park runs for the slow lol

    Let us know how you get on with the 2nd run and keep posting here - I find it helps to keep motivation going lol xx



  • KattC if you are managing 3.7 miles in 30 minutes that's a great pace. Parkruns are fantastic - loads of friendly people who are full of encouragement for newbies like us!!image

  • KattCKattC ✭✭✭

    Sorry that is a typo!!  I meant to say km - I am doing 2.40 miles in 30 minutes lol I can always dream!! I am doing about a 12.30 to 12.45 minute per mile pace lol image

    Well done and I cannot wait for our park run to start in September - already signed up image 



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