Couch to 5k – An Introduction to running, for people who can’t run
On the 21st June I’m signed up to do the Color Me Rad 5k Manchester. I signed up because it looked like fun, and I wanted to get splatted with loads of colours, but I didn’t really care about the running part. Queue panic mode at the beginning of June when it suddenly dawns on me that even though I’m doing this for fun, I really don’t want to be that fat girl that crosses the line last. So I decided to put some effort in……
On attending the Manchester Girl Geeks BarCamp a few weeks ago, I went to a talk from the inspirational Colette Weston about her experiences training for a triathlon. During the discussion aspect of the talk someone mentioned the couch to 5k, which is designed for people who do not run at all, and slowly builds them up to running 5k in 9 weeks. Well by this point I didn’t have 9 weeks, but I decided to get through as much as I could so that I wouldn’t come in last at the Color Run, and then to continue training afterwards so I could attempt another 5k later in the year and aim to run the whole thing.
What is Couch to 5k
The Couch to 5k program is designed to get anyone off the couch, and running 5k or for 30 minutes in 9 weeks. Developed by a novice runner called Josh Clark, the program was aimed at absolute beginners, and involves 3 runs per week with rest days in between.
It works by building up your stamina and fitness through interval training, where you run for so many minutes, and then recover by walking, then you run again, and so on. Each week the program increases the amount of time spent running, allowing you to attain achievable goal. And the best bit is that the program can be followed completely free!
How to get started
1. Podcasts – The NHS has developed it’s own set of Couch to 5k podcasts which can be downloaded for free here. The podcasts will tell you when to run and when to walk, and provide motivational tips throughout.
2. Apps – One of the main benefits of the apps are that they integrate with your own music, so you can listen to any playlist on your device, and your app will just interrupt the music to tell you when to run, and when to walk. There are 2 highly rated free Couch to 5k apps available, C25K® – 5K Trainer FREE by Zen Labs & C25K Couch to 5K by RunDouble.
3. Equipment – You will most likely need a good pair of running shoes to reduce the risk of injury, a water bottle, and a phone or mp3 player to listen to the app or podcasts.
4. Where – As the podcasts and apps are based on time, you can follow the program on a treadmill or running outdoors. Some apps will also track your distance if you run outside.
I will be following up with my progress using this program after completing 3 weeks at a time so look out for my follow up posts!
Read about my progress here;
- Couch to 5k – Weeks 1 to 3
- Couch to 5k – Weeks 4 to 5
- Couch to 5k – Weeks 6 to 7
- Couch to 5k – Weeks 8 to 9
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