woman on the couch when should be running

The Couch to 5KM Routine

You might have noticed the joggers at the park and thought, “Wow, they make that look so easy,” and wondered if picking up a running regimen is the right choice for you. However, if you’re completely new to running it wouldn’t be advisable to lace up your sneakers and head out for quick half marathon. Perhaps the better choice would be to begin a Couch to 5K routine which introduces novice runners to the world of distance running. Here’s what it is and why it might just be the right choice for you:

What is a couch to 5K?

There are lots of apps and websites that will teach you how to do a Couch to 5K routine but the basic concept is the same throughout all the options. Each one will coach you through the process of becoming a distance runner by using slow and fast-paced intervals. At first, your entire workout will consist of majority walking with short intervals of running mixed in. Slowly, you will add more and more running while simultaneously shortening your walking intervals. Before too long, typically about 9 weeks, you will have been coached into the ability to run an entire 5K distance without necessarily needing walking breaks.

What are the pros?

One benefit of doing a couch to 5K is the end goal being within sight. You aren’t preparing to run a marathon or beat any particular time. You are simply aiming to complete a distance at more than a walk. This is perfect for beginner runners to ease into longer running routines without fear of injury or burnout. Another benefit is the relatively small time commitment necessary. Typically your workouts will only last about 30 minutes and should be done about 3 times per week. Perhaps the best benefit is the potential to for you to become a regular runner. Couch to 5K plans are designed to make running enjoyable and have been known to create running addicts.

What are the cons?

If you’re already pretty fit, you might find this program too easy. These programs assume a sedentary lifestyle predates the onset of this running regimen and therefore take their time getting you running. If you aren’t new to fitness but are new to running, you might consider a more challenging regimen. Alternatively, the other downside applies to those who do have a sedentary lifestyle. Whether you’ve been nursing an injury or simply have a desk job and never found time to workout before, following this program can prove too difficult for some. Remember, you can always choose to repeat a week’s worth of workouts if you feel the program is going too fast.


The important thing is that you’re taking the necessary steps to become a healthier and more fit you. There’s no harm in trying a new program that interests you. Whether or not you become an avid runner at the end doesn’t really matter as long you come out healthier, more fit, and with some improved perspective.

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Carlee Holden

Carlee Holden is a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor based in Edmond, Oklahoma. She spends her days balancing life with her husband, two beautiful daughters under the age of two, two German Shepherds, client training, fitness classes to teach, writing about fitness and wellness, and of course attempting to stay fit and well herself! Carlee’s passion is helping people of every fitness level understand the best ways to improve their fitness and quality of life.

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