Couch to 5k (C25k) – the intro
What exactly is C25k?
C25K is a 9-week training plan designed to provide an easy method to get you into solid running shape. The runs on this plan are structured around intervals that alternate running and walking. Every workout should be accompanied by both a five minute warm-up walk beforehand, and a five minute cool-down at the end. The first week starts out nice and easy, with eight rotating intervals of a 60 second run and 90 second walk. In each week that follows, you begin to run longer, and rest for less time.
C25K follows a relatively gentle progression during the first month. Those first few weeks likely won’t be a big challenge, but they will really begin to build up your endurance. It will start to challenge you as you progress into the later stages of the program, but every ramp-up is manageable. Typically, if you made it through the previous week, you can make it through the next but, if at any time you feel unprepared to move on, you can redo your current week.
Who is C25k best for?
C25K is a good choice for anyone looking for a simple training program that will ease you into the ability to run 3+ miles. It’s best suited for new runners, runners looking to get back into shape after an extended break, and anyone who would like to be able to run for 30+ minutes without rest. Part of the beauty of this program is that it’s difficulty scales incredibly well for everyone. Whether you’re young or old, couch potato or seasoned athlete, you can do this and it will help you jumpstart and maintain a more active lifestyle.
How do I get started?
If you have a good stopwatch, you can go ahead and try to manually clock your intervals based on the training plan. Alternatively, you can use G-Map Pedometer to estimate your intended distance and just note the time you started and when you finished. For more ways to get started, check out our quick tips on “how to start running”.
Of course, if you have a smartphone, there are a number of cheap apps that will make everything a lot easier. These apps track your time and provide audio prompts for all your intervals. Searching “Couch to 5K” in the app store will give you a number of different options including the official C25k app from Active, 5k Runner, and C25k by Zen Labs (the most popular version of program).
Whichever way you choose to do it, the important thing is that you start somewhere, and Couch-to-5K will give you everything you need to take that first step. When you finish the program, you’ll find that not only will you be in much better shape, but you‘ll be able to really enjoy running.