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Couch to 5K For Beginners

Hello there, and welcome to the Couch to 5K for beginners training plan! We’re happy to have you here with us. Now, before you go thinking that this just isn’t for you, hear us out! While this plan will get you ready to run a 5K (that’s 3.1 Miles, in case you were wondering), you DO NOT have to run. Do what feels right for you- the fact that you’re participating in a 5K or at least training for one is accomplishment enough. Be proud of your efforts, and even if you’re not planning on participating in a 5K, this is a great way for beginners to veterans to get off the couch, get motivated, and have a plan laid out for you!

If you haven’t been active in the last month, take this training schedule very lightly. Consult a trainer and your physician before beginning. You don’t want to injure or push yourself too far too fast.

The layout of this plan is simple: each week you will increase your running time while decreasing your walking time. In between running days, you will be cross-training with weightlifting to ensure you are training balance, strength, and coordination muscles in order to be more efficient and help prevent injury while running/walking.

*If you are not comfortable running, you can use this same plan to increase your power/speed walking while decreasing your steady stroll pace. See? There’s something for everyone!

While a 5K might sound like a far distance, it’s only 3.1 Miles- this training plan will help you find about a 10-Minute Mile pace… that means you’ll be able to run a 5K in 30 minutes! So while this may be a lot of effort for you now, soon you’ll be able to run at a great pace and you will be able to include running a 5K in your regular weekly training schedule! To put this in perspective: 3.1 Miles can be anywhere between 6,000-8,000 steps. Do you know the daily recommendation of steps per day?

10,000 Steps Per Day!

You can do this, and you will be so happy once you’ve completed this challenge!

Onward…

You want to be running at a pace where you can carry a light conversation- this should not be an all-out sprint! We’re going for distance and consistency, otherwise known as LISS (Low-Intensity-Steady-State Cardio), not HIIT (High-Intensity-Interval-Training).

Alright… you ready? Here we go, our week-by-week plan!

WEEK 1
Download Training Checklist: Couch To 5K Weeks 1 & 2

Day 1- Run 1 Minutes, Walk 1 Minutes. Repeat 10x

Day 2- Cross Train, Option to Rest

Day 3- Run 2 Minutes, Walk 4 Minute. Repeat 5x

Day 4- Rest, Stretch

Day 5- Run 2 Minutes, Walk 4 Minutes. Repeat 5x

Day 6- Cross Train

Day 7- Rest, Stretch

WEEK 2

Day 1- Run 3 Minutes, Walk 3 Minute. Repeat 4x

Day 2- Cross Train, Stretch

Day 3- Run 3 Minutes, Walk 3 Minute. Repeat 4x.

Day 4- Rest, Stretch

Day 5- Run 5 Minutes, Walk 3 Minute. Repeat 3x.

Day 6- Cross Train & Stretch

Day 7- Rest

WEEK 3
Download Training Checklist: Couch To 5K Weeks 3 & 4

Day 1- Run 7 Minutes, Walk 2 Minutes. Repeat 3x.

Day 2- Cross Train, Stretch

Day 3- Run 8 Minutes, Walk 2 Minute. Repeat 3x.

Day 4- Rest, Stretch

Day 5-Run 8 Minutes, Walk 2 Minute. Repeat 3x

Day 6- Cross Train & Stretch

Day 7- Rest

WEEK 4

Day 1- Run 8 Minutes, Walk 2 Minute. Repeat 3x

Day 2- Cross Train, Stretch

Day 3- Run 10 Minutes, Walk 2 Minute. Repeat 2x, then Run 5 mins

Day 4- Rest, Stretch

Day 5-Run 8 Minutes, Walk 2 Minute. Repeat 3x

Day 6- Cross Train, Stretch

Day 7- Rest, Stretch

WEEK 5
Download Training Checklist: Couch To 5K Weeks 5 & 6

Day 1-Run 9 Minutes, Walk 1 Minute. Repeat 3x.

Day 2- Cross Train, Stretch

Day 3- Run 12 Minutes, Walk 2 Minute. Repeat 2x, then Run 5 

Day 4- Rest, Stretch

Day 5-Run 8 Minutes, Walk 2 Minute. Repeat 3x

Day 6- Cross Train, Stretch

Day 7- Rest

WEEK 6

Day 1- Rest, Stretch.

Day 2- Run 15 Minutes, Walk 1 Minute. Repeat 2x

Day 3- Rest, Stretch

Day 4- Run 8 Minutes, Walk 2 Minute. Repeat 3x

Day 5-Rest, Stretch

Day 6- Rest, Stretch

Day 7- Race Day/ Run a 5K!

TIPS:

  • Don’t carbo-load: You’re not running a marathon, not even a half marathon! Eat how you would normally eat the day before and enjoy breakfast as you normally would. Be sure not to stuff yourself if the run is early in the morning- our bodies need time to digest our food, give your stomach about 30 Minutes, then give yourself an extra 15 minutes to use the restroom.
    Once we start exercising the blood in our body is dispersed through our limbs and digestion stops, because our bodies are very smart and are constantly trying to work in the most efficient manner. Unfortunately, if you eat right before your run you’ll be leaving a big chunk of food just sitting in your stomach waiting for you to be done so it can get back to work digesting!
  • Don’t wear new gear: Do not decide to wear new sneakers, socks, or clothing on the day you’re racing! You have no idea how they will feel, what kind of chafing you might get, or if blisters will pop up in a matter of minutes. Wear clothing you’ve been training in and feel comfortable enough in for the entire run. Don’t set yourself up for failure, save those new clothes and shoes for a training day in the gym!
  • Don’t skip the warm-up: Warming up is essential to get your blood flowing and helping to prevent injury. Don’t skip this crucial step- your bones, muscles, joints, tendons, and brain will thank you for taking the time to ensure you’re 100% ready to tackle the course.
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