I am on the fifth week of the Couch to 5K program with the help of one of the C25K iPhone apps, and I am not going to lie to you: it is not easy. I am one of those people who just cannot run, so when I go out for my walks, I am always admiring those joggers who seem so at ease while running… hey, some are even smiling and chatting!
But I was talking about the Couch to 5K program so let’s get the technical part of it first before I tell you in detail my thoughts…
What is the Couch to 5K program actually?
Couch to 5K program in a nutshell:
- Alternates between walking and running.
- Takes 9 weeks to complete.
- Workout 3 days per week.
- Each workout session is from 30-40 minutes long.
- The most popular 5K running plan.
The founder of this program is Cool Running, an online resource for runners which has been available since 1995 –thus, it is longest-running commercial site dedicated to running, so they know at least something about it… In case you want to check this out.
The Couch to 5K iPhone applications
There are many apps available on the app store. I chose the C25K app from Bluefin Software, LLC, because I came across it while surfing and it sounded good that I decided to give it a shot. I have not tried the other apps, but they all seemed to do pretty much the same things for the same price more or less. And most of them also have a follow up app to ease into a 10k run.
The C25K App tells you when to switch from running to walking while playing your favorite music. It lets you know when you are half way done, and when it is your last run. When you are doing the 3-minute runs, it reminds you how many minutes are left. On the five minute run it stays silent for the first three minutes, and then reminds you of the last two minutes. It may not sound like a big deal, but those little details are what actually keeps me going.
And for the social network addicts, you can publish your results directly from the C25K app to Facebook and Twitter. I personally copy and paste to use it in Foursquare instead.
I am now on week five of the Couch to 5K program. The first 3 weeks were pretty easy, and I actually enjoyed them!
Week 1: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes, then five-minute cool down walk.
Week 2: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of running and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes, then five-minute cool down walk.
Week 3: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking, run 3 minutes, walk 3 minutes for a total of 20 minutes, then five-minute cool down walk.
Week 4: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Run 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 5 minutes, walk 2-1/2 minutes, run 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 5 minutes, then five-minute cool down walk.
Week 5: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 5 minutes, then five-minute cool down walk.
In the following weeks, the running time significantly increases, until you can run 30 minutes non stop on week 9.
The C25K App also has a “distance run” option which lets you chose the distance you wish to run, and the app will let you know when you have reached your goal.
Some people may laugh at this, but trust me, we are not all able to run just like that! I believe it is sort of a gift, actually, like singing or dancing! I am always interested into people’s opinions and reactions so I can write about it, so I openly talk about what I do, but if you are looking for moral support, make sure you chose to talk to very sympathetic people.
I would not say I am unfit, but I just cannot run, and when you say that to someone who can just jog miles and miles, they will just have a good laugh at you, thinking you are just kidding as we all should be able to run as if it is second nature. But is it really second nature? Running does not feel like second nature to me. And while I enjoyed the first 3 weeks of the Couch to 5k program, I still do not find running enjoyable or fun. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try, of course.
Week 5 is starting to be a bit difficult for me. So from my personal experience with the Couch to 5k program, I would advise to do week 3 and/or week 4 a few times before advancing to week 5. I was a bit apprehensive of week 5. 3 minutes for me is hard enough, so 5 minutes of running seemed like a huge step to take. After all, you do not have to strictly follow what the app says, and you can re-do any day you want.
If you do not have an iPhone or iPod, you can also get an audio version called 8 Weeks to 5k Training Program on Amazon.
I do not think that you will catch me jogging with a smile on my face anytime soon though, even though I highly recommend the Couch to 5K program, especially after getting the ultimate – in my opinion- fitness outfit…
Are you prepared to take on the Couch to 5K program?