Not sure how to start running? Try the Couch to 5K plan.
If you are worried about an existing condition, recovering from an injury or feel out of shape see a GP before you start running.
What is Couch to 5K?
It is a running plan that aims to get you to work out for 20 to 30 minutes, three days a week. The daily workouts start with a five-minute warm-up walk and guides you to running five kilometres without a walking break within nine weeks. All plans have weekly step by step guides.
How did Couch to 5K start?
Couch to 5K was created by a new runner, Josh Clark in 1996 to help motivate his 50 year old mum to get off the couch and start exercising. Today over 5 million people have made use of the programme.
Where do I find more information?
You can access for free the Couch to 5K information in a number of places:
- Online such as
- Apps for mobile devices
- Local Running Clubs
You should warm up and stretch down before the Couch to 5K?
A warm up should help to prevent injury and the cool down should relax, slow your heart rate and improve flexibility.
Times are the minimum you should spend on them. Warm Up – 6 mins Cool Down – 5 mins
What do I need to start running?
You require very little to get started, appropriate footwear and clothing, more information available on our new to running page.
Ways to keep yourself motivated.
It is easy to have an initial boost of energy when taking up a new activity below are a few ways to maintain your motivation, read How do I remain motivated?
- Set yourself a goal, based on emotion
- Make it a habit
- Join a club
- Keep a diary
Set yourself some running goals.
Setting your running goals is invaluable as they act an impetus to get started but also help to keep you motivated too.
Goals need to be part of a plan, as this allows you to break the challenge into manageable chunks, increasing your likelihood of success (and enjoyment!). Examples of a running plan include:
- Download the running app
- Get started ‘take that first step’
- more in running goals
I am struggling at Couch to 5K on week 3, help!
If you have started Couch to 5K, well done! Now at week 3 (or 4, 5) you are finding it hard – tired, aches, pain? Go back to the week before, complete that week again then try again. If you still experience any symptoms, seek medical advice. A podiatrist is fabulously helpful!
Are there shorter plans?
If you are after a short plan, have you got some running experience? There is a 6 week course plan from Runners world here.