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How to Start Running: Couch to 5K

Many of you listed starting running as a goal for 2010. A noble goal for sure, but having a little outside structure helps.

After lacing your sneakers, check out the Couch to 5K running schedule over at Cool Running. Having a schedule not only makes you accountable, but it might save you from overdoing it and giving up your goal due to post-workout pain.

The Couch to 5K plan eases you into running three miles by combining intervals of running with walking. 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. The workouts are listed by both distance and time, so you can use it on a treadmill by adjusting the speed up and down.

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
lighthouselady lighthouselady 7 years
Because of an extremely weak ankle, (I broke it a while back), I find it's best if I stick with walking. I know I'm addicted to that.
Porkchopz Porkchopz 7 years
I think she was just being facetious about the "gateway" thing.
Mme-Hart Mme-Hart 7 years
My only caution is 5Ks are considered a "gateway" race to marathons and triathlons. Why is that a 'caution'????
Porkchopz Porkchopz 7 years
And DAYUM. The girl in the pic is overpronating like crazy! ;)
Porkchopz Porkchopz 7 years
I graduated C25K on Thanksgiving -- ran my first 5K Turkey Trot that day! :) The next popular plan is Gateway to 8K or One Hour Runner (10K). I am currently on week 5 of the 8K program. It's not easy, but my body is doing amazing things that I never would have thought possible. I never considered myself a "runner", but I think that's changing :)
T-S T-S 7 years
Couch to 5k is totally amazing. I recommend it to everyone.
katiedid0985 katiedid0985 7 years
I totally Couch to 5K is great. I did it over the spring and summer and ran a 5K, something I never ever thought I'd do! Unfortunately I got out of the habit of running in the fall when school started, but I'm getting back into the program. Hopefully it won't take quite as long to get back into shape this time.
funkygeorge funkygeorge 7 years
Definitely want to recommend this program! I wasn't able to run more than a minute before I did the couch to 5k, because of breathing issues and shin splints. Because the plan works in you in so slow, i was able to overcome those issues and i've run far longer distances since then :)
bethinabox bethinabox 7 years
I tried running a few times last spring and I didn't like it. It was terribly hard to motivate myself and it just plain hurt, mostly my shins, which I eventually realized was a product of the way I was running (landing on my toes, and probably not even the right way to land on your toes). I decided to try it again, REALLY paying attention to how my feet hit the ground--er, treadmill--and lo and behold, I actually enjoyed it. I used the beginning treadmill workout from right here on Fit and I'm planning on working my way up to running an entire 5k (and at some point this spring I'm hoping to transition to running outdoors). Here's hoping I don't develop my mother's and grandmother's knee problems! Whew, that was a much too long comment! *g*
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
"5Ks are considered a "gateway" race to marathons and triathlons." Haha - I love it! Every runner I ever spoke to talks about how addicting it becomes, it's only fitting to reference drugs.
dakmo dakmo 7 years
I've never thought of myself as a runner (especially b/c I'm asthmatic), but I did the couch potato to 5K plan last year and it really worked. I had never run before that in my life, and after the 8 weeks of training, I ran (every step!) my first 5k. Felt great! It's true that following the program keeps you from being overwhelmed and from over-doing it. I highly recommend it for new runners!
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