Couch to 5k
January 2, 2022
Keith Donnelly

The holidays are over, and we’ve all enjoyed ourselves. As the leftovers in the fridge begin to dwindle, the New Years’ resolutions begin. A common one to make the list often involves joining the gym or losing weight. We’re gonna talk you through a program that’ll get you up and transform you from a couch potato to being fit and ready to run a 5k in your next local fun run. The basic plan is aimed at new runners, but is flexible and can be adapted here and there to suit your own starting fitness level. The main outline is to have three ‘running’ days a week, with a rest between each one, these days are extremely important too. For nine weeks, you’ll change the pace and schedule slightly each week, until you achieve your goal. It is also super beneficial to add other workouts on other days such as strength training, or muscle toning like yoga.

To start off, your runs will be a mix of walking and running. This is the best way to keep your heart working, help build stamina, and not push yourself too hard at the start. Feel free to repeat any weeks if you don’t feel ready to move forward yet. In your first week, you should start with a brisk walk for 5 minutes, and then alternate 1 minute of running with 1.5 walking, for a total of 20 minutes. In your second week, you’ll amp it up to alternating 1.5 minutes of running with 2 minutes of walking.

Getty Images/Maskot/Maskot

In week 3, after your warm-up walk, you’ll want to do 2 repetitions of 1.5 running and 1.5 walking followed by 3 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking. Things get cranked up a notch in week 4, here you’ll run for 3 minutes and walk for 1.5, then run for 5 minutes and walk for 2.5, and finish off with 3 minutes running, 1.5 minutes walking, and 5 minutes running. Mix it up a bit in week 5, with running between 5-10 minutes with 3 minutes of walking in between each set. Things are starting to get serious when you hit week 7. You will now be running for 25 minutes straight, which you will increase to 28 minutes in week 8, followed finally by 30 minutes of running in week 9.

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