Save Your Sofa with the Couch to 5k

The couch to 5k is a hugely popular running program. There are a few versions but the aim is the same – to get you off the sofa and running 5,000km by the end of a 6, 9, or 12 week training period (depending on which program you choose.)

And with the stories that your couch is slowly killing you and the holiday season approaching, perhaps it’s something you might want to consider…

How Long Does Couch to 5k Take?

For those who work in miles, 5k is 3.1 miles.

And the time it takes depends on which programme you choose and of course, how dedicated you are to completing it. But the ultimate goal is for you to be completing a 5k run without stopping by the end of the training period.

Perhaps the popularity of the Couch to 5k programme comes in that most of the programmes tell you exactly what to do each day. You don’t have to think too hard, just follow what you’re supposed to do each day, or how often you are training.

And the really good news is that it’s achievable. It’s not going to have you bent double in agony after your first attempt.

It’s actually really important mentally that you believe you can achieve these smaller goals. It will help you begin the programme rather than be overwhelmed by it.

How Does the Couch to 5K Work?

The couch to 5k is based around interval training. So that means you train in such a way that your heart and lungs don’t get too comfortable, thus making them stronger.

But it’s basically a combination of walking and running. And over the weeks you slowly build up the amount of running you do and cut back on the walking.

Again there are many different training programmes out there (Couch to 5k has been around since the mid 90s when runner Josh Clark created the routine to get his 50-something mum moving), but a week one might look like this:

Day 1:

5 minute walk

2 minute jog

5 minute walk

Day 3:

5 minute walk

2 minute jog

5 minute walk

Day 5:

5 minute walk

3 minute jog

5 minute walk

So you train for three out of seven days, increase your jog by one minute on day five.

To make it easy the NHS offers downloadable podcasts to help you as you train.

Some Extra Tips

There are a few other things to consider when doing a Couch to 5k too:

  • If you want to lose weight you’ll need to look at your diet too
  • Learn to run properly so you minimise the risk of injury
  • If you don’t like running and won’t ever like it doesn’t force yourself
  • Have a plan for when you finish your 5k, so the sofa doesn’t consume you again

So What’s So Bad About Being on the Couch?

You know the drill. It’s not new. And the problem with things that aren’t new is that they can sometimes get forgotten.

But a sedentary lifestyle hurts your body and increases your risk of all sorts of ailments, from diabetes to heart disease.

The human body was meant to move. It was not designed to spend 8 hours a day at the office, followed by five hours sitting in front of the TV. It was meant to consume berries not nuggets.

But it also wrecks your sofa.

Constantly sitting in one place damages the fibres of the cushion and the springs. You might have seen the depressions left when a person sits in the same spot, day in day out…

And eventually, the damage will need more than a length of fabric and an upholstery staple gun to fix it.

You’ll need a whole new sofa.

Most Couch to 5k apps is free to download, or only cost a few pounds. The running element takes a little effort but is free. A new sofa or three-piece suite can run into thousands of pounds.

Even if the Couch to 5k isn’t for you perhaps you should think about another activity to boost your movement and save your sofa.

You’ll be doing yourself a great service.

TH Staff

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