For a long time, I wanted to find an active exercise routine that I can follow. I started asking around to see what people were up to. After a little research, I came across the Couch to 5k program. The idea sounded quite doable, so I decided to give it a try.
Given that I am the kind of person who loves new challenges, this one felt like the perfect place to begin my journey to an active body routine. However, I must admit that mostly I wanted to find out if this would actually work. There are many great testimonies online, and I wanted to find out if it would work just as well for me. Before I let you know how it went, I thought I would begin by defining what the Couch to 5K program is.
What is Couch to 5k?
Josh Clark, a famous runner, wanted to get his 50+-year-old mother started on running as well. He, therefore, developed a weekly running plan. It involves three running days with a day of rest in between and different schedules for every nine weeks.
Preparing for the Couch to 5K
To get started, I downloaded the Couch to 5k podcasts on my phone. You can do this using your computer or laptop as well, but you will need to send the audios to your phone since you will not be running with your computer. Alternatively, getting the Couch to 5K app on your phone is much easier.
Secondly, I planned out my next three months to ensure that nothing would interfere with the Couch to 5k schedule as long it was within my power. After this was clear, I ensured that my route was well-mapped and that I had all the gear I needed to make this work.
The Weekly Schedule
I will break down what happens every week, so you know what to expect.
- Week 1: I found it quite simple. You will not even feel that much strain. On the schedule is a five-minute brisk walk, then a one-minute run and finally a one-and-a-half-minute walk. This cycle is to be repeated for 20 minutes.
- Week 2: I started each day’s routine with a five-minute walk, followed by a one-and-a-half-minute run and lastly a two-minute walk. The cycle continues for 20 minutes.
- Week 3: This is where I started feeling the burn. The schedule includes a five-minute walk with a repetition of a one-and-a-half-minute run and walk, and a three-minute run and walk.
- Week 4: By week four, I had to say goodbye to a predictable routine. My three days of work out involved a five-minute walk warm-up, a three-minute run, a one-and-a-half-minute walk, a five-minute jog, a two-and-a-half-minute walk, a three-minute run, a one-and-a-half-minute walk and finally a five-minute run.
- Weeks 5 and 6: These two weeks differ from the rest since each day has a different schedule. Spontaneous people like me will love it.
- Weeks 7, 8, and 9: The rest of the days only need a five-minute walking warm-up, followed by a 25-minute, a 28-minute, and a 30-minute run for each week.
The burn was intense, especially when I went out in the first week. This is expected, especially if you are a beginner, and your body is not used to being up and active for 20 or so minutes. I found the rest days effective since they killed the everyday routine boredom, and I had more energy. I felt more cheerful after the exercise.
By the time I was getting to the sixth week, my body was already getting into the flow of running three times a week. I could also see the results in my work and every other aspect of my day. My head felt lighter, my body was more alert, and generally, it felt like finally, I had an active routine that worked. Soon I was looking forward to my running days. I even advised a friend to try it out.
Purpose and Hack It
At the end of the Couch to 5k challenge, I realized that the main thing that got me started was the purpose of doing it. If I wanted the results, then I had to put in the work. The best part is that the challenge keeps you looking forward to a new way of doing it for the first six weeks.
By the seventh week, I was already in the flow, so doing a continuous run was almost an automatic achievement. If you wonder if the Couch to 5k works, I hope my experience helped you see that it does.