Can You Really Do a Couch to 5K?
If you aren’t a runner getting started can be tough. The thought of just getting out there and doing it can be daunting. However, done right it can be pretty easy to get started.
It’s all about the build up, and that’s where something like a couch to 5k can work wonders. The whole idea of a couch to 5k has become incredibly popular in recent years, and that’s because it works. There are numerous stories of people who have gone from never having exercised to major marathoners.
The main thing if you have decided to go for it is finding the plan that works for you. Completely new to exercise? Try an all walk program and move up. Do some exercise but don’t feel incredibly capable of a major run yet? Start with more of a run-walk program. Or if you are an avid exerciser, check out an all run program and just build your speed and duration. If you don’t need tons of motivation, simply mapping out a good schedule (there are numerous ones out there) on your calendar may work well for you. However, if you need lots of encouragement and push, apps abound. A good app program will take you through day-to-day steps of exactly what you need to do.
Whatever you decide, you are going to most likely start out eager and motivated. Be careful not to push yourself too hard or you will find yourself with burn out or worse, an injury. Always begin and end with a good-paced 5 minute walk to warm up and cool down, and always end with some stretching to prevent muscle tears and soreness. Rest days are a crucial part of any beginner program so don’t ignore them. They are there for a reason.
Consider adding in a strength training regimen. The dreaded side stitch that happens so often with new runners comes from muscle spasms due to poor core strength. One other factor to think about is where you plan to begin your couch to 5k program. A treadmill is okay, but try to get outdoors at least once a week when you hit the 3 week mark. You don’t compete in a 5k on a treadmill, and if you only do your runs this way surprises are in store once outdoors. Treadmills propel you forward making running easier, plus temperatures fluctuate, hills happen, and headwinds make for resistance outdoors.
Don’t think you can’t be a runner. A couch to 5k is for anyone.