Taking up running has many benefits. Plus, running is entirely free— no equipment needed—bar some decent shoes. And scores of people are lacing up their trainers and taking up running. Roughly 42 million people in the US alone pound the pavement at least six days a year—a sharp 70 percent increase in the last decade, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. Enter the C25K plan.

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It has been followed by thousands and thousands of people all over the world since its introduction in The philosophy behind the idea is that running does not need to be painful and time-consuming: it can be rewarding and the 5K training program will deliver results that you, the participant, can really see. The designer of C25K, Josh Clarke, was determined that no-one would share the agony he went through in his first few months of training.

Their bodies rebel, and they wind up miserable, wondering why anyone would possibly want to do this to themselves. The program has been designed for people who are maybe embarrassed to go out for a run, who have not been physically active since high school, and who do not want to join a manic exercise group that leaves you feeling sick and exhausted after each session.

The bottom line is, you want to get fit, but you want to feel comfortable and in control while doing it. If this sounds like you, then read on. CC Image courtesy of John Loo on Flickr The premise behind the 5K training program is simple: to introduce you to regular jogging sessions that do not push you so hard that you get injured, or put off exercise for ever.

The 5k training program is based on nine weeks of gradual progress that will help you transform from couch potato to a person who is confident running 5K. In fact, the 5K training program could be called a walking and jogging program, as it allows you to vary the pace to suit your fitness levels. If you visit running forums, you can read the experiences of thousands of other runners who have started exactly where you are.

There are people who just decided that they needed to get more active in their lives, there are people who needed to change their lifestyle for health reasons or to lose excess weight and there are people who felt that their lives were spiralling out of control and they needed something that would get them grounded again.

Whatever your reason, the 5K training program will get you on track to a healthier, more active lifestyle. The running forums will also give you ideas for varying your training by visiting different running locations and terrains — if you get fed up with pounding the tarmac, you might decide to visit the beach or a forest trail. The forum will give you all sorts of new ideas, posted by people who have been there before you.

Once you have embarked on the 5K training program you might find that you cannot keep to your commitment to run three times a week. This might be due to work pressures, you might find that you are struggling to find time, or you might fall ill and be unable to run at all — none of this matters.

You can stretch the program out to last as long as you want it to. If you miss a week, that is fine, just move your schedule back. If you feel you are being pushed along too fast then repeat a week. The beauty of this 5K training program is that there are no set rules. Each session should last for minutes, this amount of time spent exercising will help you reduce your weight, tone your muscles and get you fit. You can approach the 5K running program in two ways: you can run for a time or you can run for a distance.


5k Training Programs

This plan is designed for runners of all ages and all abilities. But check with a health care professional before undertaking any exercise program. The good thing about doing it on a treadmill is that you have a timer on the console in front of you. Running outside you would need a stop watch and you would have to keep looking at it to see what the times are.


How the Couch to 5K Running Plan Works

The plan has worked for many thousands of people because of the following features: It starts off slow, but gets the couch potato running 3. It starts with a gentle combination of walking and jogging and works up to all running. Each workout takes only 20 to 30 minutes, three days a week. Then, lace up your running shoes make sure they fit well and hit the road. Plan to take a day off between each workout and give yourself two days to relax after the third workout each week. Advertisement Each workout begins with a brisk, 5-minute warm-up walk, and stretching is recommended before and after each session.

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