Have You Tried the Couch to 5K Program?

Many people use marathon runners as inspiration to get up and put on their own running shoes, ready to attack the road. The only problem is they often bite off more than they can chew and end up overdoing it, getting burned out or even injuring themselves. This causes sore muscles, nauseous stomachs, and bruised egos, which inevitably turns them once again back towards the couches. Below are four quick tips to determine if the Couch to 5K is the right plan for you.

Start Off Slow

Those great athletes we admire on TV didn’t hit the ground running. They started slowly, and gradually built up their stamina and speed until they reached a competitive level. Pretty much anyone can do this. It just takes knowing how to start and following a carefully designed plan like the Couch to 5K program.

Set a Goal

By choosing a particular event you plan on participating in you are now able to develop a training start date, typically 2 months before the race. The Couch to 5K was developed to increase the stamina of someone who is not used to running long distances so do not be afraid to get out and try it. Start by choosing a race from a list of events in your area.

Stick to a Regimen

The Couch to 5K program isn’t about immediately jumping off your couch and running 5 kilometers, or three miles. It is more about the “to” in between your couch and those three miles. The program starts beginners out at just twenty minutes a day three times a week. This gives your joints and muscles a chance to strengthen and develop so they can be pushed to a limit they have never been to before. The point is simply getting yourself used to jogging on a regular basis. You can even alternate between walking and jogging if you need mix it up in order to complete the full twenty minutes.

Challenge Yourself

Once jogging these twenty and thirty minute sessions becomes easy, you can start pushing yourself to try to either beat your time or your distance. Setting small, achievable goals like this will give you a sense of accomplishment and something to reach for. In approximately eight to nine weeks on the Couch to 5K Program, you should be running those three miles with ease. Who knows what your next goal could be then. Half marathon anyone?

Mike Gould is a 10 year fitness trainer who encourages his clients to keep in shape and reach new goals by participating in various running events. He has completed over 2 dozen marathons and enjoys helping others reach their fitness goals. For more of his contributions and tips visit allmarathontraining.com.

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