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How to Start Running: Couch to 5K

If one of your goals for 2009 is to start running and you're at a loss about how to begin, I can point you toward some helpful structure. After lacing your sneakers, check out the Couch to 5K running schedule over at Cool Running.

The program eases you into running three miles by combining intervals of running with walking. This method prevents you from overworking and becoming so sore you never want to run again. Over the course of eight weeks, you condition your cardiovascular system and your legs while slowly increasing your running time, eventually running for 30 minutes straight, which is about the time it takes to run a 5K. It is a great way to start running, and the schedule has you running only three times a week, making it easy to fit into a busy life.

Check it out and try the program. Chances are you will get hooked on running. My only caution is 5Ks are considered a "gateway" race to marathons and triathlons.


Join The Conversation
kristints kristints 8 years
I'm doing that program right now and I'm finding it very easy to do and my performance is really improving, I love it!
peachy-thing11 peachy-thing11 8 years
thanks so much. I'm having a hard time running and I really want to, this seems perfect.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
I disagree Tidal! I enjoy running! :)
goatimpact goatimpact 8 years
I did this 3 years ago. I went from being out of breath running up a block to running a 5K. I never thought I could be a runner since I was the girl that could never run a full mile in high school but being on a plan rather than just attempting to run as far as I can worked for me. Sadly, I hurt myself last summer and now can only run a mile so I'm doing it again but starting in the middle.
sandy82 sandy82 8 years
I did last year and loved it! I used Robert Ullrey's podcast which are available for free on iTunes. I moved onto Gateway to 8K after my 2nd 5K.
chameleon7 chameleon7 8 years
You can find them in itunes in the podcast section. Just do a search under couch to 5k and they should pop up.
melx melx 8 years
thnaks a lot Fit!
shiningeyes shiningeyes 8 years
chameleon7 - What are these podcasts? Thanks fit for posting this! I was JUST thinking about starting this up for myself. I know it was mentioned not too long ago and I was going to go back to looking for the link. I'm glad you saved me the time!
kia kia 8 years
I am taking a step back and doing this program now. When I go out for my inconsistent runs I may do a LONG one and hurt my calves then stop running for a while. I am not doing this for my cardio endurance, but trying to build a slow consistent base for my body. I am in week 3.
chameleon7 chameleon7 8 years
There are a few podcasts that use this plan, but add music and cues. One of them has three running interval plans (podrunner intervals), the first one starts out like the couch to 5k and the other two (8k and 10k) take it further.
Kaciegrrl Kaciegrrl 8 years
I've been eying this program for awhile but I feel so self-conscious running on the treadmill at the gym. Walking is no problem, but something about running makes me feel so conspicuous!
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
Sure, i did this and can run 30 minutes without stopping. But that's it. Can't run any further. It's like, even the training people know that running gets boring as all get out after 30 minutes.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
i used this program last year and it was GREAT! Take your time with it, if you need more time then slow down. It's better than the injuries you'll get from pushing too hard! I wish I could run again!!
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