Couch to 5K

The most popular 5k training program is the Couch to 5k, or C25K.  It has been followed by thousands and thousands of people all over the world since its introduction in 1996. The philosophy behind the idea is that running does not need to be painful and time-consuming: it can be rewarding and the 5K training program will deliver results that you can really see.

The designer of C25K, Josh Clarke, was determined that no-one would share the agony he went through in his first few months of training. He says: ‘Too many people have been turned off running simply by trying to start off too fast. Their bodies rebel, and they wind up miserable, wondering why anyone would possibly want to do this to themselves.’

So if you are reading this because you want to make changes in your life, but you have no idea how to set about doing it, then the 5K training program could be exactly what you are looking for.

Once you have embarked on the 5K training program you might find that you cannot keep to your commitment to run three times a week. This might be due to work pressures, you might find that you are struggling to find time, or you might fall ill and be unable to run at all – none of this matters. You can stretch the program out to last as long as you want it to. If you miss a week, that is fine, just move your schedule back. If you feel you are being pushed along too fast then repeat a week. The beauty of this 5K training program is that there are no set rules.

Each session should last for 20-30 minutes, this amount of time spent exercising will help you reduce your weight, tone your muscles and get you fit.

 

Week

Workout 1

Workout 2

Workout 3

1 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
2 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
3 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 metres
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 metres
    (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 metres
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 metres
    (or three minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 metres
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 metres
    (or three minutes)
4 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
5 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)

 

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1.2km
    (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Jog 1.2km
    (or 8 minutes)

 

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3.2km (or 20 minutes) with no walking.
6 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1.2km
    (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1.6km
    (or 10 minutes)
  • Walk 400m or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1.6km
    (or 10 minutes)

 

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3.6km (or 25 minutes) with no walking.
7 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4km (or 25 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4km (or 25 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4km (or 25 minutes).
8 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4.5km (or 28 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4.5km (or 28 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4.5km
(or 28 minutes).
9 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 5km (or 30 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 5km (or 30 minutes). The final workout! Congratulations! Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 5km (or 30 minutes).

 

You can approach the 5K running program in two ways: you can run for a time or you can run for a distance. You might say: ‘I am going to run as far as I can in 20 minutes,’ or you might decide to run 3k. Either way, don’t make the time or the distance an all encompassing target – if you don’t quite keep running for 20 minutes or if you fall short of the 3k target that is not the end of the world, the important thing is that you are enjoying getting active and following your 5K training program.

 

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