Start Running - Couch To 5k
Start Running - Couch To 5k

Whether you are looking to get healthier, fitter or to lose a few pounds, running is one of the most accessible forms of exercise to take up. There is minimal investment required and you can do it anywhere. However it can feel daunting to take those first steps and that’s where a structured training plan can help; it will motivate you to get started and allows you to clearly chart the progress you're making.

 

Couch to 5K (C25K)

C25K is a training plan designed for newbies to running, with the aim to literally take you from no running to being able to run 5km (3.1 miles). The plan, which is backed by the NHS, takes 9 weeks with 3 weekly runs of gradually increasing running time:

 

Week 1

For your 3 runs in week 1, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk. After this, you will alternate 1 minute of running and 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.

 

Week 2

For your 3 runs in week 2, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk. After this, you will alternate 1-and-a-half minutes of running with 2 minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.

 

Week 3

For your 3 runs in week 3, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 2 repetitions of 1-and-a-half minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking.

 

Week 4

For your 3 runs in week 4, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 3 minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 2-and-a-half minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running.

 

Week 5

There are 3 different runs this week:

Run 1: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running.

Run 2: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 8 minutes of running, 5 minutes of walking and 8 minutes of running.

Run 3: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 20 minutes of running, with no walking.

 

Week 6

There are 3 different runs this week:

Run 1: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 8 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running.

Run 2: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 10 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and 10 minutes of running.

Run 3: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 25 minutes of running with no walking.

 

Week 7

For your 3 runs in week 7, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 25 minutes of running.

 

Week 8

For your 3 runs in week 8, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 28 minutes of running.

 

Week 9

For your 3 runs in week 9, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 30 minutes of running.

 

There is a free app available that will help you track your overall progress as well as keep time during your runs so that you know when it’s time to walk and run:

Apple

Google Play

 

Don’t rush it!

The key to making sustainable progress is to not rush it; it might be better to repeat a week rather than progress to the next level if you are starting to suffer from aches and pains. When your body is still unused to the new level of activity, taking things up a notch too fast can lead to injuries which will only hold you back.

 

And remember, whether you are new to running or a seasoned veteran; bad runs happen. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, it just doesn’t flow and running is a struggle. Don’t let that get you down – chances are the next run you will feel like you're flying.

 

 

What do I need to start running? 

A good pair of running shoes will be a smart investment. A lot of injuries can actually be due to running on shoes that have no support or have lost their cushioning.

 

While sweat wicking sports clothing will make running more comfortable, it is not absolutely necessary to have it when you begin running. For women, a good sports bra is an absolute must though and worth the investment.

 

Do make sure to wash your running clothes after each run, especially if you have been sweating, as sweat can start causing smelly bacteria to fester in the fibres and you will end up with stinky kit.

 

Things that you can also consider having from the start are:

 

Somewhere to keep your phone – If you want to bring your phone with you then it will be much easier to have it either on an armband, waist band or even a holder you can wear over your chest. 

 

Headphones – Safety first! If you wear headphones then please make sure they allow ambient noise through so you can hear cars and other road users.

 

 

How to support my running?

Strength and mobility training is an important part of being able to run well and sustainably. This does not necessarily mean hours spent at the gym but doing 10 minutes a few times a week at home can make all the difference. Squats, lunges, calf raises and various other exercises can all be done without equipment. Muscle strength will go a long way with injury prevention as well.

 

Nutrition is also important. RunStrong® Daily Supplement is specifically formulated for runners and can help to support your body on your journey from the couch to becoming a runner!

 

Useful links:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/

https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/a774987/5-at-home-strength-and-mobility-moves-to-improve-your-running/

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