Couch to 5K – How To Get Started Running
If you are reading this, chances are you have some level of curiosity with regards to running. Perhaps you have never been a runner or maybe you have started the path but never finished because you pushed yourself too hard and too fast. Or maybe it is just time for a significant change in your life.
Whatever the reason, Couch to 5K presents a relaxing, but focused program that makes it easy to start the journey of becoming a long distance runner. It makes it possible for you to create a new and active lifestyle from scratch, and all on your terms.
It is easy to feel like you are the only one who suffers from inactivity due to jobs in the office where you sit all day, or an otherwise busy lifestyle where you don’t give yourself time to do anything but maintain your schedule. But these are concerns which are widespread. You could throw a stone and find 5 people within that distance who have also felt like running is an impossible feat, that they don’t have time, are too fat, or old.
Couch to 5k is for anyone and everyone who has ever felt that way. But you are never too old, too fat, or too busy to get yourself healthy.
The program was specifically created to encourage those who may not have been active for many years and have some level of embarrassment associated with running.
If you are ready to change your life for the better, get healthy and use your leg muscles again, then Couch to 5k is your one-stop-shop.
Health Benefits of Running
You probably already know some of the common benefits to running. However, it’s hard to just get up and go. It’s even harder if you have certain conditions or ailments that prevent you from just getting up and going – getting started on a program so that you can meet your health goals.
The Couch to 5k program will help you:
Lose weight and keep it off
Strengthen cardiovascular health (significantly reducing the effects of heart disease)
Build strong muscles
Curb depression and anxiety
Calm the mind
With each of the steps within the program, you will find it possible to increase your activity and gain strength that will help you to lose weight and get fit in the future.
The Future is Now
Tired of waiting for weight loss results?
Frustrated with lack of progress as you try other programs, but just can’t seem to make it work for you?
The reason for this is commonly because active programs that encourage exercise, such as the Couch to 5k program, they are not all created equal. This program is one of the few with you and your health needs in mind.
Let’s take a look at the program and see just how different it is and why you will see results.
What is the Couch to 5k?
Commonly referred to as C25K, Couch to 5k is a gradual training program which focuses on building a solid foundation for your running practices versus pushing your body too hard too quickly as is suggested in other programs. When you jump into running too fast, this can cause significant damage to your body and also tends to cause a person to quit too soon because of the physical discomfort they may feel.
Many runners know from experience, that though the benefits of running far outweigh the cons, when you are just starting it is easy to get caught up in how exhausted you feel before your body becomes a conditioned running machine.
Couch to 5k emphasizes the importance of growing healthy muscles via a healthy routine so that it isn’t in shock every time you go running. You give it a little, then reel it back in so that your body has time to heal and adjust.
This is the entire premise of the Couch to 5k program, and for this reason it differs from many other running programs on the market today. The true goal of C25K is creating a successful environment where you can maintain your own customized running routine.
The Ins and Outs of Couch to 5k Programs
So many beginning their running journey are intimidating when they see “5k.” Often this number is misunderstood as many mistakenly feel that this represents a five mile run. When you are completely sedentary, going from nothing to 5 miles is an extremely overwhelming idea.
However, the real number of miles run during a 5k, is just 3.1. This number is much more likable and possible in our minds. Particularly knowing in advance that you don’t have to accomplish this overnight, many are more willing to contemplate 3.1 miles but might quit early if they think they will never reach 5 miles. Since much of what we deal with in life is a mental exercise, it is far more comfortable to imagine 3.1 miles than five.
Couch to 5k has been around since 1996 and has thousands of followers from all walks of life. It focuses on breaking through the mental barriers around running. It doesn’t have to take tons of time away from your regular routine, it doesn’t have to be painful or laborious. However, it is going to be challenging.
Remember, a good amount of challenge can bring a tremendous feeling of self-confidence, which is why this program exists. Challenging yourself and meeting a goal that you set out, unrelated to anyone else or external pressures will improve all areas of your life.
Explore your Options with C25K
Couch to 5k exists to slowly bring you into a jogging lifestyle and is meant to not push so hard that you injure yourself, but to be able to keep this up forever if you want to. Couch to 5k focuses on incremental and gradual progress over time. Specifically, nine weeks for the introductory level. You have two options on how you want to approach the program:
Couch to 5k – Option 1:
Running for time – When you are running for time, you decide how long you wish to walk or run, and then cycle back and forth between the two slowly increasing the time as you become stronger.
Couch to 5k – Option 2:
Running for distance – When running for distance, you choose how many miles, or laps you are going to run. You might decide to start with one lap around the track in 60 second increments and then increase over and over until you are strong enough to do more. This tends to be more popular primarily because the goal is 3.1 miles, so a good mental exercise is seeing how far you are going so that you can feel encouraged as you get closer to that marker.
The general routine of the Couch to 5k focuses on sessions which go for 20-30 minutes at a time at least 3 times a week. Try not to do more than that just so that you don’t end up sabotaging yourself. This increasing amount of continuous motion will help weight come off and help strengthen as well as tone your muscles. If you have started your journey after spending a lot of time in a seated position, and then start walking and running, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your body adjusts in a positive way to meet the new demand if you are pragmatic about it.
Couch to 5k focuses on spreading the work outs apart so that your body has time to recuperate in between sessions so try to give yourself a day in between each attempt. As you get accustomed to the practice, you might want to push yourself farther and run faster. But the whole point of the Couch to 5k is to not overdo it so that you can run faster later.
Sample Couch to 5k Workout:
An example of the first work out you will find with the Couch to 5k program involves beginning first with a warm up walk. This is a very crucial step of the workout, as it prepares your body for movement.
When you have had your five minute warm up walk session, you can then begin a slow jog of about 60 seconds if you can manage it, and then 90 seconds of walking, and you do this repeatedly for 20 minutes at a time. It is amazing how quickly 20 minutes will go by!
Don’t be hard on yourself if 60 seconds of running feels like death, try 30 seconds, then walk then another 30 seconds, then walk. Just remember that any movement is better than no movement at all. Some consider getting a stopwatch which beeps so that you know how long 60 seconds is and can switch back and forth easily.
Whatever works for your routine is going to be what you should focus on.
Your muscles and bones aren’t going to be initially prepared to carry your weight right away when running and you could injure yourself if you try to push too hard. So be careful, and take time to move into your new training slowly at first so that your whole body understands the change that is coming.
When starting something new, it can be really way too easy to want to hurry, get through it, maybe push forward to a more rigorous part of the program but do your best to hold yourself back if you can. Doing more before your body is ready can cause serious injury and sabotage your progress.
With Couch to 5k you have all of the time in the world to get yourself into the perfect routine and the best shape of your life. You can work at a pace that is best for your body in order to align with your ultimate weight management and health goals.
Couch to 5k – The no pressure approach
Unlike so many fitness programs out there, Couch to 5k is meant to fit into your lifestyle. No one is going to tell you what to do or monitor your progress or tell you that you fail if you can’t do the first level exercises.
This is 100% about you doing what you need to do to feel good. And you can structure it however you need until you can get to the point of running that whole 5k. We all know that life can be busy and frustrating and sometimes you won’t have the time or energy to run. That’s okay. Just get yourself back out there as soon as you can.
Get Started With C25K Today
Whatever your reasoning might be for running, whether that’s to be healthier for your children, or feeling stronger so you can have adventures with friends. Let the Couch to 5k program mold your body into something you can feel proud of. Strengthen your heart and muscles and realign your life with an amazing weight management program that has you in mind.