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Couch to 5K Beginners Programme

couchto5k

To many people, the thought of going for a run is a scary prospect, especially if they have not done any sport for some time or they are simple not fit enough.

But, regular running can help to reduce risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and keep your weight under control as well as enhance your mental wellbeing.

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.

Running regularly can also be a great stress reliever and has even been shown to combat depression.

The Couch to 5k is a well known NHS backed running plan that will get you off that couch and gradually work you up to 5K or for 30 minutes running in just nine weeks.

The plan is based around three runs a week with a day off rest in between each run.

The greatest challenge for any new runner is knowing when to start or where to start and it is easy to overdo it or feel defeated and give up.

The great thing about Couch to 5k is it’s a perfect mix of walking and running that gradually builds up running fitness, stamina and confidence.

For example, week one only involves running a minute at a time giving realistic expectations and achievable results from the start. Couch to 5K is for absolutely everyone.

Whether you have never run before or you or getting back into running after a lengthy time away, this plan is for you!

6 tips for starting the Couch to 5k Plan

1. Plan your run

The best way to ensure that you complete the plan is to carefully work out from week one when you are going to fit your run into your day.  If you work then run first thing in the morning or during your lunch break or in the evenings.

2. Decide where you are going to run

In the gym on the treadmill or outside in the fresh air around a park or a route through the town. The advantage of running outside is that will not cost you a penny!  There are many websites (mapyourrun or the realbuzz) that will help you map out your run and help you focus on your running.

3. Think Safe

Remember if you are planning to run outside to watch when crossing roads for oncoming traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. If you are wearing headphones keep the noise level low so you can hear and be aware of your surroundings.

4. Running Kit

It is important as it may reduce the risk of injury but do not spend a fortune as at this point you cannot guarantee that you will continue running in the future. Start off with a cheap pair of running shoes and then if you find yourself still running after a few months then invest in a good pair by completing a gait analysis as this will help you to protect your joints and muscles.  The average running shoe will cost between £80- £105.

5. Don’t be scared to repeat a week.

Most novice runners will experience some form of illness during the plan or simple need to repeat a week to gain the confidence to progress to the next weeks plan.

6. Health Concerns

If you have any health concerns about beginning an exercise regime such as Couch to 5K, make an appointment to see your GP and discuss it with them first before starting running.

Week

Workout 1

Workout 2

Workout 3

1

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

2

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

3

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

4

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

5

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.

6

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 22 minutes) with no walking.

7

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).

8

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).

9

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

The final workout! Congratulations! Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

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