I'm on week 4 of the Couch to 5k running program. This week, the amount of time spent jogging in each workout is longer than the walking time. No surprise that this week has been physically the hardest for me so far. I take this as a sign that I'm making progress - I've moved out of my comfort zone, into hard work.
I read with interest your comments and advice about distracting my brain while running. Several of your suggested I keep track of distances rather than times. It's a good idea, but here's why I'm not doing that.
I have a way of keeping track of the time precisely, but I don't have a good way of keeping track of distances, except in general terms, since I don't run on a track and there aren't many distance sign posts. I've found that estimating distances makes me more likely to cheat - "Oh, this is about 400 m..." *shifty eyes* .
So instead, as a compromise between checking time and checking distances, I've started only checking my watch when I reach certain landmarks along the way. This is kind of a roundabout way of keeping track of things, but so far it keeps my brain occupied, which is the important thing.