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How to go from Couch to 5k in 5 Easy Steps

Our Couch to 5K training programme is ideal for beginner runners who want to gradually increase their distance and improve their endurance. Eventually, you’ll be completing our virtual 5k races with ease!

You may have seen a range of Couch to 5K training plans, but our version of the NHS Couch to 5K 9-week running plan is proven to achieve great results and has been completed by thousands of new runners.

 

Follow the Couch to 5k Plan Week by Week

The Couch to 5K plan focuses on interval training and gradually improves your ability to run for longer by encouraging you to move at different speeds throughout your running session. As your pace varies, your body will adapt and will become healthier and stronger as your heart and lungs adapt to the different levels of physical activity. As the training programme continues, your challenge of completing a 5k race will become more and more realistic.

Week 1

3 Runs

A brisk 5-minute walk followed by a 1 minute run with 2 minutes walking. Total of 20 minutes.

Week 2

3 Runs

A brisk 5-minute walk followed by a 90-second run with 2 minutes walking. Total of 20 minutes.

Week 3

3 Runs

A brisk 5-minute walk followed by 2 repetitions of 90-seconds of running, 90-seconds of walking, 3 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking.

Week 4

3 Runs

A brisk 5-minute walk followed by 3 minutes of running, 90-seconds of walking, 5 minutes of running, 2.5 minutes walking, 3 minutes of running, 90-seconds of walking and 5 minutes of running.

Week 5

3 Runs

Run 1 - A brisk 5-minute walk followed by 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running.

Run 2 - A brisk 5-minute walk followed by 8 minutes of running, 5 minutes of walking, and 8 minutes of running.

Run 3 - A brisk 5-minute walk followed by 20 minutes of running with no walking!

week 5 - couch to 5k programme

Week 6

3 Runs

Run 1 - A brisk 5-minute walk followed by 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 8 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running.

Run 2 - A brisk 5-minute walk followed by 10 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, and 10 minutes of running.

Run 3 - A brisk 5-minute walk followed by 25 minutes of running with no walking!

Week 7

3 Runs

A brisk 5-minute walk followed by 25 minutes of running with no walking!

Week 8

3 Runs

A brisk 5-minute walk followed by 28 minutes of running with no walking!

Week 9

3 Runs

A brisk 5-minute walk followed by 30 minutes of running with no walking!

Always Warm-Up

It may be tempting to skip the brisk five-minute walk at the beginning of your runs but warming up is the most efficient way to avoid calf pain and sore shins.

As well as always warming up, you should ensure you have a good pair of running shoes that offer ankle and foot support.

Stay Motivated

Running a 5k race requires commitment, and the key is to just keep going and gradually improve your running ability. To stay motivated, try to maintain a structure that works for you and dedicate a specific day for your runs.

Struggling with the step up? Do not hesitate to repeat any of the Couch to 5K weeks until you feel able to move on and take your running up a notch.

On your journey to completing a 5k race, you may experience a bad run from time to time, but getting up and active is the most important thing.

Make the Most of Rest Days

Rest days are important. Try to ensure you have one rest day between your runs to reduce the risk of injury. Making the most of your rest days will make you a stronger runner in the long term as it allows your joints and muscles to recover from the high impact exercise.

Eat Well

If you’re taking on the Couch to 5K challenge to help you lose weight or transform your physical appearance, then it is essential that you also improve your diet to see any results.

Eating well is essential for fitness, and a good nutritional strategy along with physical exercise is the best and safest way to change your body shape.

Run a 5k Race with ACE Races

Ready to make the move from Couch to 5K?

Enter a virtual 5k race and join our supportive ACE Races running community today!

Check out our range of virtual 5k races and use any fitness tracker, app, or treadmill to record your completion time and distance. Send a screenshot or photo evidence to results@ace-races.co.uk and we’ll send you a custom-made and collectable medal in the post to recognise your fantastic achievement.

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