Getting off the couch is half the battle! But if a person can walk for five minutes, they will be able to set their goals toward a 5k run in just a few weeks. The many health benefits of taking up running typically outweigh the negatives for most. It’s good for the mind and self-esteem. Plus it is free to get out and go for a run. The one thing stopping many beginners is they feel like they can’t do the distance. If you struggle with running, how can you ever be a “real” runner? And motivation is also hard, as it can seem tedious in the beginning. That’s where a couch to 5k training plan comes in. This training schedule lays out exactly how many days per week and for how long (time or distance) you should be training. But the best part is the ability to ease into running.
What is Couch to 5K?
Couch to 5K is a running plan for absolute beginners. It was developed by a new runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his 50-something mum get off the couch and start running, too. The plan involves 3 runs a week, with a day of rest in between, and a different schedule for each of the 9 weeks.
How does Couch to 5K work?
Probably the biggest challenge a new runner face is not knowing how or where to start. Often when trying to get into exercise, we can overdo it, feel defeated and give up when we’re just getting started. Couch to 5K works because it starts with a mix of running and walking to gradually build up your fitness and stamina. Week 1 involves running for just a minute at a time, creating realistic expectations and making the challenge feel achievable right from the start.
Who is Couch to 5K for?
Couch to 5K is for everyone. Whether you’ve never run before or you just want to get more active, Couch to 5K is a free and easy way of getting fitter and healthier. If you have any health concerns about beginning an exercise regime like Couch to 5K, make an appointment to see a GP and discuss it with them first.
What are the benefits?
There are plenty of benefits from getting into running. For starters:
- it’s an easy way of improving your physical health.
- Running requires little equipment, but a good pair of running shoes that suit your foot type may help improve comfort.
- Running regularly will improve the health of your heart and lungs. It can also help you lose weight, especially if combined with a healthy diet.
- There’s evidence it may help increase bone density in some people, which can help protect against bone diseases like osteoporosis.
- There are also mental benefits of running. Taking on the challenge of Couch to 5K can help boost your confidence and self-belief, as you prove to yourself that you can set yourself a target and achieve a goal.
- Running regularly can also be a great stress reliever and has even been shown to combat depression.
How to get started with Couch to 5k App
Couch to 5K (C25K) from Zen Labs (available for iOS and Android) is an extremely popular app for beginning and wannabe runners. The free version doesn’t include an Apple Watch app, or calorie and distance tracking, but you can splurge and pay the $5 for the Pro version.
- Give permission for C25K to use your iPhone’s motion processor. Swipe through some intro screens, and tap “Start Running.” At this point, you’ll need to give permission for whether and when to access your phone’s GPS.
- Before you start running, though, you’ll need to connect C25K to the Health app. Tap “Pause” on the Warmup screen and tap the hamburger button on the upper left to show the settings menu. Scroll down and you’ll see a toggle for Apple Health. Turn it on.
- C25K then shows you the screen that lets you share your workouts with the Health app. Make your changes, tap “Allow” and close the menu.
- The Watch app can work as a standalone; just flip the toggle. Tap “Start” and you’re off to the races.