Getting From Couch to 5K

If you’ve never run a race before, or have taken a long hiatus from cardio activity, training for a 5K can seem daunting—or even impossible. Don’t be intimidated. If you are hoping to run this 3.1-mile race this season, there is a terrific training program designed especially for novices: the Couch to 5K.

What Is C25K?

The Couch to 5K (or the C25K) is a self-paced training program that gets you ready to run a 5K race in about nine weeks’ time. Through a series of guided audio podcasts (which you can download to your smartphone or MP3 player), or iPhone or Android apps, the program directs you when to run and when to walk, and provides background running music between instruction. On your first day, the podcast will instruct you to jog in 30-second intervals with a few minutes of walking in between. By the end of the ninth week, you’ll be able to jog for five kilometers without interruption.

Why Does It Work?

Simply put, the C25K program is an easy and approachable way for race newbies to successfully train for a race. The program meets you where you are, without intimidation and without judgment. And you can proceed at a pace that is comfortable for you, repeating podcasts when you don’t feel ready to move on to the next level.

This structure makes giving up less likely, because you’ll never feel discouraged by training too quickly. Instead, you’ll train at exactly the level and speed you can handle. While training, always make sure to listen to your body and take any rest time you need. Slow and steady is best: If you push yourself too hard, you may end up with a sports injury.

I Finished My First Race! Now What?

First, give yourself a huge pat on the back and a round of applause! You just did something 85% of US adults can’t (or think they can’t) do: You ran three miles. After that first 5K race, be sure to rest up. If your muscles or back are sore from the impact of training, see a care provider such as a Physical Therapist or Chiropractor for a professional evaluation. And if you live in the greater Minneapolis area, book an appointment at one of our seven Orthology locations. Our collaborative care teams of Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, and Soft Tissue Specialists specialize in helping patients recover rapidly from sports-related injuries.

Try It—You Might Like It!

The Couch to 5K running program is the perfect antidote to a sedentary lifestyle. Even if you’ve never run a day in your life, at least give the first day of the training podcast a try. Remember, getting started is the hardest part, and the first podcast requires you to jog for only thirty seconds. With some time, dedication, and patience with yourself, you may find yourself running for thirty minutes straight in no time.