Health & Fitness Six weeks is all it takes: this plan will take you from couch to 5K in 42 days

18:50  28 july  2022
18:50  28 july  2022 Source:   runnersworld.co.uk

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If you are wanting to go from the couch to 5K and run your first 5K, you've come to the right place. Follow this beginner's 5K training plan to help prepare yourself for your first race.

Training towards a 5K is a great goal for beginner runners. Now that parkrun – the free weekly 5K – is available in locations across the UK, it's never been easier to test yourself over the distance in a welcoming, inclusive environment. This schedule has been designed to get you round your first 5K. It will take six weeks, starting with short run/walks. If you find this too easy, or are already used to running for up to 30 minutes a few times a week, take a look at our intermediate 5K training plan.

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The history of the Couch to 5K plan

The Couch to 5K training plan, which is perhaps the most famous plan to get new runners up and running, was devised by American Josh Clark in the mid-1990s. He wasn’t even a runner at the time – following a break-up with his partner in his early 20s, he took up the sport, and he’s said in interviews that he found it ‘punishing and painful’. But then, he says, it started to feel good – ‘physically, mentally and even spiritually’.

During this period, he created a plan to help his mother take up running. He wanted to avoid, what he told the BBC, the ‘dreary, horrible ramp-up’ that came with running and instead introduce it in a more gentle way so that you can see the rewards running brings much sooner.

The result was the Couch to 5K plan, which he put on his website in 1996. He says word began to spread, and communities grew who were referencing the benefits and success of Couch to 5K, and by the mid-2000s it was rocketing in popularity. Since then, he estimates tens of millions of people have benefitted from the programme – even the NHS recommends it.

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Is it normal to feel pain during running?

Some discomfort is normal when you start training, but real pain isn’t normal. If something feels so bad that you have to run with a limp or otherwise alter your stride, you’re probably injured. Stop running immediately, and take a few days off. If you’re not sure, try walking for a minute or two to see if the discomfort disappears. If it doesn’t disappear, consult your GP. Contrary to what some people suggest, you cannot "run off" an injury.

What running shoes are best for beginners?

If you're new to running, the chances are you'll be looking to invest in a pair of running shoes that will get you moving (no, those old Converse won't do). The key thing consideration here is comfort; save the carbon-fibre shoes for when you're further along your running journey. We've rounded up the best running shoes for men and women here, but here's our award winners:

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Our beginner 5K training plan:

5K beginners run walk plan 5K beginners run walk plan

On race day: You will probably find that you can run at least 20 minutes before you need a break, but whatever your plan, start slowly and don't wait until you are exhausted before taking some one-minute walk breaks.

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