You have probably heard of people following the couch to 5k plan to get fit and healthy. The plan basically consists of people working themselves up from doing absolutely nothing (being total couch potatoes) to jogging and training to run a big race, bit by bit.
The idea of going from doing zero exercise to being able to run a full 5k may sound crazy, but with the right work and discipline, it is something that is totally achievable. This isn’t something that will happen overnight, though. You have to have a good plan set out, have patience and be prepared to pick yourself up and try again as you go building up your fitness levels in your couch to 5k journey.
Trying to jump into anything too quickly never turns out well, and that is especially true when it comes to sports. You can’t just shock your body into suddenly running a 5k if you never do any sports and without working on your endurance first. This can result in you burning out and is likely to cause injuries, too. Nobody has ever been able to get up from the sofa and just start to run just like that. So, what plan can you follow to achieve your goals?
Where to begin with your plan
So, you find it hard to get moving, and after a day at work, the sofa is way more attractive than the gym or putting on your trainers and getting outdoors. We know, we know. But you can do this. We’ve got your back, and with these tips, you will catch the fitness bug in no time.
Start by walking – Whatever your fitness levels, you should find it easy to walk for at least an hour at a time, and this is a great way to start your plan. Go for a long walk 4-5 days a week, and gradually increase your speed.
Walk and jog/run in intervals – Once you complete a week of walking, you should start feeling fitter straight away. This is a great warm up, but now you need to start pushing yourself and adapt the body to something a little more intense. Start walking and jogging in intervals, for example jog 1 minute, then walk 2 minutes, and repeat, each day increasing the repetitions.
Continue this plan for a week, and in the next week, run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes. In week three, run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes. And repeat. In week four, run for 5 minutes, and then walk 2 minutes. Repeat. This is a great way to slowly adapt your body, and before you realise it, you’ll be running a full 10 minutes without stopping, then taking just a short 2-minute break to walk, before running another 10.
By the end of week 7, you should end up doing a 20 minute run without stopping, followed by a 5 minute walk and then a 15 minute run, and by week 8 you should be prepared to be able to run the whole 5k in one go without stopping to walk.
While training is the most important thing in this plan, you should also take care of what goes in your body and make sure that you keep hydrated. Eating properly and following the right nutrition will make things so much easier, and give your body the fuel it needs to succeed. Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, healthy fats and carbohydrates, and stay away from unhealthy snacks and high fat foods, and replace sugary soft drinks and alcohol with water.