Couch to 5K, an easy step by step program!

Do you envy those people who pound the pavement, rain or shine? Then the couch to 5k program could be for you!

The couch to 5k program is ideal for people who want to get fit but who perhaps haven’t been physically active for a while or are embarrassed to be seen out of breath and out of shape. It requires commitment and perseverance but the payback is well worth the effort.

What is Couch to 5K?

Since 1996, couch to 5k has been helping transform millions of people into runners who can easily manage 5k and more. The program is based on a nine week plan that begins gradually and ends with the participant confidently running 5k.

So what’s involved and how do you get going?

Follow our week by week breakdown and you’ll be switching off the TV and hitting the pavement in no time.

Week 1

The first week of couch to 5k is all about easing yourself into the routine and incorporating it into your daily life. Exercise should be fun as well as a means of improving your health so don’t feel guilty if you miss a session. Adapt the plan to suit your busy lifestyle.

Start with a brisk five minute warm-up walk. After this, alternate 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Week 1 Couch to %k

Week 2

Begin with a brisk five minute warm-up walk then alternate 90 seconds of running with two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Week 1 Couch to %k

Week 3

The ante is upped this week.

Start as usual with a brisk 5-minute warm-up walk followed by two repetitions of the following – 90 seconds of running, 90 seconds of walking, three minutes of running and three minutes of walking.

Week 1 Couch to %k

Week 4

Nearly half way there!

Start your session with a brisk 5-minute warm-up. Follow with three minutes of running, 90 seconds walking, five minutes running, two and a half minutes walking, three minutes running, 90 seconds walking and five minutes running.

Week 1 Couch to %k

Week 5

As you get closer to the finish line, sessions will become more difficult but all the work you’ve done up until now will stand you in good stead.

Session 1: start off with a brisk five minute warm-up walk. Follow with five minutes running, three minutes walking, five minutes running, three minutes walking, five minutes running.

 


 

Session 2: begin with a brisk five minute warm-up walk, then eight minutes running, five minutes walking and eight minutes running.

 


 

Session 3: brisk 5-minute warm-up walk to start you off, then 20 minutes running with no walking.

Week 1 Couch to %k

Week 6

Like last week, there are three different sessions in Week 6.

Session 1: brisk five minute warm-up walk to begin with followed by five minutes running, three minutes walking, eight minutes running, three minutes walking and five minutes running.

 


 

Session 2: brisk five minute warm-up walk, then 10 minutes running, three minutes walking and 10 minutes running.

 


 

Session 3: start with a brisk five minute warm-up walk followed by 25 minutes with no walking.

Week 1 Couch to %k

Week 7

By now, running should be almost second nature! Sessions from now on will consist of running without walking intervals.

For sessions in Week 7, begin with a brisk five minute warm-up walk followed by 25 minutes of running.

Week 1 Couch to %k

Week 8

Nearly there! Remember to pace yourself; don’t run out of steam before the end of your session.

For Week 8, start with a brisk five minute warm-up walk then 28 minutes of running.

Week 1 Couch to %k

Week 9

If you haven’t extended your program, you’ve nearly reached your goal and made huge progress.

For this week, start with a brisk five minute warm-up walk and follow with 30 minutes of running.

Week 1 Couch to %k

You can download the entire guide below:

Download the Couch to 5K Program


Health Tip: The idea behind it is to avoid the problems commonly associated with running such as injury or feeling sick and exhausted. Three running sessions per week is the norm but if you find you’re unable to manage this, the program can be pushed out to last as long as you need it to. There are no hard and fast rules with couch to 5k; it can be adapted to suit your changing lifestyle and needs.