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The Skinny on the Couch to 5k Program.

Let's face it, retraining or beginning to run is a bitch. It is so easy to get discouraged and say fuck it after that first mile. I don't run much in the winter months so when the ice melts and spring rolls around I can't run three miles to save my life. A couple years ago I experimented and started with the walk/run plan. What a difference it made. I felt more empowered and less discouraged. Now I start with the run/walk plan every year.

There are great benefits to the walk/run program.

  • It is a healthy way to gradually increase and lower your heartrate.

  • It helps with the mental aspect of running.

  • It creates less impact on the body. Running is a high impact sport and injuries can occur if you jump in too soon.

  • It is a great healthy tool for increasing distance. Infact many people use this method to run 5ks, half marathons, marathons and ultra marathons.

What is a Couch to 5k?

The Couch to 5k concept is a nine week run/walk program that builds you up to 3.2 miles. The program requires only three days of running. There are many free 5k Apps out there that you can use. Apps are great because they will tell you when to run and when to walk. No stress.

The program was designed by a guy in his 20s who says essentially any couch potato can run 3.2 miles after 9 weeks with his plan. There are many things that are concerning about that. Below are some details you should be aware of when starting the program.

Couch to 5k: Details you should know.

  • All programs are different. Around week 5 they tend to vary. Some jump mileage too high too fast. I would choose one that doesn't.

  • It may take more than 9 weeks. Everybody is different. Don't beat yourself up if it takes longer because it probably will depending on your level of fitness. Keep that in mind with no judgement.

  • Modify! Repeate weeks if necessary for as long as you need. Stick with it! The program works!

  • Treadmills are different than running outside. There is no way around it. Try to get the majority of your runs outside. I have seen many people train soley on a treadmill and can hardly run the 3.2 miles on the road when they finish the program.

  • Plans do not include a cross training schedule. It is important to add something other than running into your routine. Yoga, Spin, weightlifting and Pilates are all great additions.

  • You do not need to be able to run 3.2 miles consistantly by the end to be successful! Sign up for that 5k! Remember, many people use the run/walk method!

Now pick a program and hop to it! Visit my blog Beginning to Run: Tips and Tricks.

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