What Is The Couch To 5k Running Program?

When your typical day includes sitting at work for 8 hours and then sitting for 4 more hours at home in the evening while you watch TV or surf the web, taking up running can seem overwhelming, even impossible. Fortunately, there is a program designed to take couch potatoes off the couch and to the finish line of a 5K (3.1 mile) race in 8 weeks. It’s called the Couch to 5K program (also known as C25K) and it is one of the easiest ways to develop the habit of running, even if you’ve never run a step in your adult life.

How Couch to 5K Works

One of the first things you realize about CS5K is that you walk. A lot. Because your body needs time to adapt to exercise — muscles have to grow to support new movement, bones need to thicken to absorb impact, nerve endings need to stretch out so coordination can develop — you simply can’t get up and run. You’ll end up hurting yourself and in the end, discouraging yourself. Instead, with C25K, you walk almost entirely the whole first week: a five minute warmup walk followed by alternating 60 seconds of slow jogging and 90 seconds of walking.

Sounds easy enough, right? As you move into a new week, you slowly increase your walk/run intervals. Your second week will be 90 seconds of slow jogging alternating with 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes. As the weeks continue, so does your time spent jogging. By the time week 6 rolls around, you jog for 5 minutes, walk for 3 minutes, alternating for 28 minutes. When week 8 arrives, you will be jogging for 28 minutes continuously.

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