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Get up and go! Couch to 5k

By bzkev 08 Jan 2022

It's time to get off the couch, dust off those old trainers and begin the 5k challenge.

If improving your fitness was one of your new year's resolutions but you haven't started yet, or you just want to set yourself a challenge, then this is the perfect opportunity to start.

The Couch to 5k challenge is made for beginners and gradually builds you up the ability to run 5k without stopping in 9 weeks. What's good about this challenge is you can change it to suit you, for example, if you're not ready to move on to the next week you can re-do a week until you feel ready.

There is also an app you can download on your phone to help you along the way;

We all know the benefits exercise can have on our physical health and mental health, but it also gets us outdoors and gets some fresh air into our lungs. So what are you waiting for?

a person using a fitness app on a mobile phone

You can access the below plan on the NHS website.

Week 1

For your 3 runs in week 1, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk. After this, you will alternate 1 minute of running and 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.

Week 2

For your 3 runs in week 2, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk. After this, you will alternate 1-and-a-half minutes of running with 2 minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.

Week 3

For your 3 runs in week 3, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 2 repetitions of 1-and-a-half minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking.

Week 4

For your 3 runs in week 4, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 3 minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 2-and-a-half minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running.

Week 5

There are 3 different runs this week:

  • Run 1: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running.
  • Run 2: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 8 minutes of running, 5 minutes of walking and 8 minutes of running.
  • Run 3: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 20 minutes of running, with no walking.

Week 6

There are 3 different runs this week:

  • Run 1: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 8 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running.
  • Run 2: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 10 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and 10 minutes of running.
  • Run 3: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 25 minutes of running with no walking.

Week 7

For your 3 runs in week 7, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 25 minutes of running.

Week 8

For your 3 runs in week 8, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 28 minutes of running.

Week 9

For your 3 runs in week 9, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 30 minutes of running.

a man stretching next to a body of water

It is important to warm up and cool down before and after running, make sure you stretch properly after your jog to avoid aching in the morning - here are some good stretches and tips.

If you're not sure of any good running routes near you, have a look on Strava, this will show you any running routes already used by people on the app. Strava is also great to keep a track of your progress and how you are performing, plus you can connect with friends to keep each other motivated.

a person running on a wooded path

Good luck!

Topics

Fitness, Running,