How many times have you picked up a magazine, opened an email, or followed a Twitter link to a Couch to 5k training program only to discover the author seems to have forgotten Couch means lack of exercise? Their idea of a beginner plan is 3 minutes of running, followed by 1 minute of walking. Maybe you strapped on your shoes, headed out the door, and realized you were sucking air twenty seconds into the run. Discouraged you turned around and went home.
I’ve done that many times. And each time I get ticked at how quickly these exercise veterans forget what the couch means in C25K.
If you are a true beginner, you are seriously starting from couch position and you want a plan that won’t send you back to the couch sidelined by injury and defeat.
I’ve scoured the web for the most considerate beginner 5k running plans. All you have to do is pick one that suits you and begin.
NOTE: Always check with your doctor, first.
ALSO NOTE: When the plan calls for runtime, it doesn’t mean all out. It means slow. Some may call it jogging or even fast walking.
The Best Running Plans + One to Avoid:
- The Mayo Clinic has a great one for a true beginner.
- This one by Shape Magazine is nice. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a breakdown by pace. The down-side is that if you’re coming off the couch, do you really know what your mile-per-minute is?
- About.com has one on Running – I like the concept of getting to one mile.
- Health Benefits You’ll Gain from Running – This link has some great information in regards to the health aspect of running. And note: they stress starting slow and steady. Love that!
- One to avoid (this link is currently dead – maybe a few other people called them out, too) – Basically, defunct link people, stated in the first paragraph that the program was “for someone who has never strapped on running shoes.” The first workout plan started off with a four-mile run. That is a recipe for shin splints and other injuries that will sideline you!
Where to look for races?
Google (your hometown or just your state) + 5k races
Or check out these sites:
When I first started running, it was basically an over-glorified walk. I learned to slow down after suffering from hip pain and shin splints. As I got fitter, I was able to increase my speed. After doing a half dozen 5ks, a 10k, and a half marathon, I’m aiming to run a whole 5k. That’s my goal. What’s yours?