Have you ever wanted to take up running but are unsure where to start? Not done any exercise for a while and want to improve your general fitness? Maybe you want to do a run to raise money for charity but am unsure which training plan to follow...
The Couch to 5K plan has been designed for those who are completely new to running. It was devised by novice runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to create a plan that his mum could follow to get her off the couch and get her to start moving more. The plan covers nine weeks and is based on three runs per week with a rest day in between each. It is suitable for everyone, no matter what your level of fitness and it’s totally free to follow.
The NHS have backed it as a good plan to follow if you are new to running and have lots of information about the plan available on their website.
There are many health benefits associated with running. Not only is it a great way of improving your physical health but it requires little equipment other than a good pair of trainers that support your feet. Running can improve the health of your heart and lungs, help you lose weight (especially if combined with a healthy well-balanced diet) and in some people, it can increase bone density which protects against diseases such as osteoporosis.
There are also benefits to your mental health as running may help with stress and depression. The Couch to 5K helps you to work towards a manageable goal giving you a sense of achievement and self-belief which in turn boosts your confidence.
So how do you get started?
First, you need to download the Couch to 5K podcasts or app to your mobile device or computer. If you are downloading to a computer then you will need to copy the podcast onto your mobile device. The podcasts/app are suitable for both IOS and Android devices and are completely free. Each podcast features a narrator, Laura who will guide you telling you when to run and when to walk, they also feature music to motivate you during each session.
The best way to ensure you stick to the plan is to work out when and where you are going to do your runs, ideally starting with easy terrain and flat areas until you build up your stamina and your fitness increases.
Also consider your environment when running … If it’s dark make sure you are wearing clothing which is reflective so road users and other pedestrians can see you and try to run in areas that are well lit. If you are wearing headphones you may be less aware of your surroundings so always make sure you can see where you are going and keep a lookout for cars, cyclists and pedestrians.
Once you have completed the programme you should be able to complete a 5K run. Why not celebrate your achievement with one of our shoe tags? Our laser engraved tags are made of stainless steel, 30mm wide and will fit all adult and teen running shoes or trainers. Available with 5K engraving they are the perfect way to mark your completion of the programme. We also sell tags with 10K, half-marathon and marathon engraving for those who have extended their distance beyond 5K. They also make the perfect gift for a family member or friend who loves running.
You can find out more information about the Couch to 5K plan on the NHS website. The Couch to 5K app is available for your mobile device at both the iTunes and Play stores.
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