The Couch to 5k Running Plan

Running through a parkDo you keep telling yourself that you’ll start running soon? Don’t have the time? Do you think that it’s too hard to run? Just think you can’t do it? Out of excuses for not starting your fitness New Year’s Resolution? Spring time is a great time to start running and I’ve got a plan that will help you get started.

The Couch to 5k Running Plan, in case you haven’t already heard of it, is a program that takes you from not running at all to running 5k (three miles) within two months. The program is pretty simple. On day one, you will start with a 5-minute warm-up walk, then start alternating from 1 minute of running to 1 and 1/2 minutes of walking. This is done for 20 minutes, and completed with a 5-minute cool-down walk. Simple right?

The process only takes about 20-30 per day for three days a week. Typically you will want to alternate days on which you run, since the “down time” between runs will help to build your muscles and condition them for further distances. Also, on your off days, you have an opportunity to have your calves and hamstrings massaged with a simple 30-minute massage, if your feeling the burn.

There are many resources to help you with your program. First, is the Couch to 5k website. On this site they provide a schedule of “events” for your run days. This schedule is broken down by weeks and the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd run of the week. Each week, the repetitions become more and more run focused and less walk focused. But, since you’re taking time off between run days, it should be easy to keep up. However, if you find that you can’t keep you, go back to the previous week and re-run those days. Advance at your own pace!

Another resource would be one of the many apps in the Apple iStore or the Android Marketplace for your smart phones. Just search for Couch to 5k and I’m sure you will find several options to choose from. Some of the apps will even allow you to tweet or share with your Facebook friends your “achievements”.

I hope you find that this program is easy to start and I hope that you are then able to complete it and can then sign up for the next 5k run in your area. It would be a huge milestone for your wellness if you were able to compete in a local run.

As with any exercise regiment, I strongly recommend that you contact your physician to check that this program would work for you.