Out of shape but tired of sitting around all day? Maybe you’ve never run a mile in your life but have always wondered what it would be like to compete in a 5K race. Don’t count it out just yet! No matter how out of shape you are, it’s never too late to work toward such a worthy goal. The satisfaction of finishing a race and getting fit will be worth the work, not to mention the benefits of losing weight and improving your health.
If you’re ready to go from sitting on your couch to running 3.2 miles in as little as two months, you can do it with the help of a popular app called “Couch to 5K.” By following the training schedule set forth with this app, you’ll be able to call yourself a runner and sign up for your first big race in no time.
Interested? Here are a few of the training tips and the basic schedule outlined in the Couch to 5K program.
Tips for the Early Days
Starting off too fast too soon is a recipe for quitters. Many people dislike running because they do it the wrong way. Running when you’re out of shape is likely to lead to soreness, injury, and giving up completely. Beginnings runners must gradually ease themselves into a running program. In fact, the first few weeks may not involve running at all. Walking and slow jogging will gradually get you into running shape.
Even on the days you feel you could push harder or longer, don’t. You may regret it the next day. If you’re not progressing as fast as the schedule suggests, take your time and a deep breath. Repeat a week of training if necessary.
Ideally, your training will take place three days a week. It’s a good idea to avoid training on three consecutive days and aim for every other day so your body has time to recover. Otherwise, burn out may be in your near future.
At all levels of the program, start your workouts with a five-minute warm-up and end with a cool-down and stretching.
Time to Train
If you’re serious about running a 5K or are interested in seeing a detailed description of each workout, download the Couch to 5K app or a similar smart phone application.
There are three workouts for each of the nine weeks of training, making a total of 27 sessions. Each workout begins with a brisk five-minute walk to warm up. Here’s a quick summary of what you can expect each week.
Week One: For 20 minutes, alternate one minute of running with 90 seconds of walking.
Week Two: For 20 minutes, rotate between 90 seconds of running and two minutes of walking.
Week Three: Run 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds, run three minutes, walk three minutes. Repeat.
Week Four: Run three minutes, walk 90 seconds, run five minutes, walk two minutes, run three minutes, walk 90 seconds, then run five minutes.
Weeks Five through Eight: Each week has three different workouts that slowly increase the time spent running versus walking.
Week Nine: After your five-minute warm-up, run continuously for 30 minutes.
This training regimen has been tested by thousands of beginner runners who then go on to run their first 5K. You could be the next. What are you waiting for?
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