Couch to 5k in 8 Weeks

This easy "Couch to 5K" program is designed to gently slide you off the couch and push you through the finish line.
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STARTING OUT

It’s always daunting to get back into shape or to pick up a new sport. There’s a reason why every year, thousands of people break their New Year’s resolution to get into better shape. This Easy Couch to 5k Program is designed to gently slide you off the couch and push you through the finish line.

I "designed" this program for a friend who wanted to get in shape and lose some weight for her upcoming high school reunion. She hadn’t exercised regularly for over 10 years, and she was the type of person who would circle the parking lot for 10 minutes to avoid walking an extra few yards. She liked the couch and she liked the remote. If she could do this program, then so can you.

Walking and jogging are among the easiest sports to pick up. It costs almost nothing- the only gear you need is a decent pair of running shoes. You don’t even need special clothes. I’ve been running for years and have run marathons, and I still run in old t-shirts and ratty sweats and shorts.

If you’re starting this program and not a traditional 5k training program, then you’re probably not in great shape yet. Remember to take it slow and try not to do too much at once. You want to avoid injury and burnout and make walking and jogging an enjoyable part of your life, so don’t overdo it at the start.

TO BEGIN

1. Sign up for a local 5k. Ideally, you will find one that is 2-3 months away. This is a good old kick-in-the-pants to motivate you to finish the program. Try to find a run/walk 5k race or one that is for charity, as both are great for beginners.

CLICK HERE to find a list of 5k races in your area.

2. Try and find a running buddy. Choose a friend, spouse, neighbor, or coworker and tell them your crazy plan. Promise them that they’ll lose weight and feel better. Plan weekly or biweekly run/walk dates, because it’s better motivation if you know someone is waiting for you.

THE PROGRAM

This easy 5k training plan requires that you commit three times a week to getting back into shape. The workouts are only 25-40 minutes each and only gradually increase in distance and difficulty. Don’t forget to stretch!

WEEK 1
Day 1: Brisk walk for 25 minutes.
Day 2: Brisk walk for 20 minutes, slow jog for 5 minutes, cool-down walk for 5 minutes.
Day 3: Brisk walk for 15 minutes, slow jog for 5 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, slow jog for 3 minutes, cool-down walk for 5 minutes.

WEEK 2
Day 1: Brisk walk for 15 minutes, slow jog for 5 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, slow jog for 5 minutes, cool-down walk for 5 minutes.
Day 2: Brisk walk for 15 minutes, slow jog for 5 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, slow jog for 5 minutes, cool-down walk for 5 minutes.
Day 3: Brisk walk for 15 minutes, slow jog for 5 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, slow jog for 5 minutes, cool-down walk for 5 minutes.

WEEK 3:
Day 1: Brisk walk for 10 minutes, slow jog for 7 minutes, walk for 4 minutes, slow jog for 4 minutes, cool-down walk for 5 minutes.
Day 2: Brisk walk for 10 minutes, slow jog for 7 minutes, walk for 4 minutes, slow jog for 4 minutes, cool-down walk for 5 minutes.
Day 3: Brisk walk for 10 minutes, slow jog for 7 minutes, walk for 4 minutes, slow jog for 4 minutes, cool-down walk for 5 minutes.

WEEK 4:
Day 1: Brisk walk for 5 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, walk for 4 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, cool-down walk for 5 minutes.
Day 2: Brisk walk for 5 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, walk for 4 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, cool-down walk for 5 minutes.
Day 3: Brisk walk for 5 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, walk for 4 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, cool-down walk for 5 minutes.

WEEK 5:
Day 1: Brisk walk for 3 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, walk for 3 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, walk for 2 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, cool-down walk for 3 minutes.
Day 2: Brisk walk for 3 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, walk for 3 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, walk for 2 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, cool-down walk for 3 minutes.
Day 3: Brisk walk for 5 minutes, jog 3/4 mile, walk for 2 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, walk for 2 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, cool-down walk for 2 minutes.

WEEK 6:
Day 1: Brisk walk for 5 minutes, jog 1.5 miles, walk for 3 minutes, jog 1/4 mile, cool-down walk for 3 minutes.
Day 2: Brisk walk for 5 minutes, jog 1.5 miles, walk for 3 minutes, jog 1/4 mile, cool-down walk for 3 minutes.
Day 3: Brisk walk for 5 minutes, jog 1.5 miles, walk for 3 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, cool-down walk for 3 minutes.

WEEK 7:
Day 1: Brisk walk for 3 minutes, jog 2 miles, walk for 2 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, cool-down walk for 2 minutes.
Day 2: Brisk walk for 3 minutes, jog 2.5 miles, walk for 2 minutes, jog 1/2 mile, cool-down walk for 2 minutes.
Day 3: Brisk walk for 5 minutes, jog 2.75 miles, cool-down walk for 2 minutes.

WEEK 8:
Day 1: Brisk walk for 3 minutes, jog 2.75 miles, cool-down walk for 2 minutes.
Day 2: Brisk walk for 3 minutes, jog 3 miles, cool-down walk for 2 minutes.
Day 3: Brisk walk for 2 minutes, jog 3.1 miles, cool-down walk for 2 minutes.

CONGRATULATIONS! You can now run a 5k!

USEFUL LINKS

This is one of the best and oldest couch-to-5k plans around: coolrunning’s training program. It’s for beginners and it has a proven success rate. Some people swear that the constant timing of the walking and running spurts (many done in 90 second periods) distracts them from the fact that they are exercising. Or at least distracts them enough that they don’t want to quit.

Find Races in the USA

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