Do you want to become more active and just don’t know how to make it happen? Have you dreamed of completing a 5k (3.1 miles) and want to make it a reality?
Then this ten week program is for you!
Even if you’ve been inactive all or most of your life, that doesn’t mean that you have to stay that way. It just means that you have to go about the process slowly so as to not put yourself in a position where you take on too much all at one time and risk either injury or just giving up.
And, even if you’ve been slightly active or have exercised on and off, this is still a program that will work for you. Simply pick up wherever your current level of activity is and go from there.
Ready to begin? Let’s go!
Step #1: Get Medical Clearance
This is the most important thing you can do. In fact, it’s a mandatory thing if you’ve been relatively inactive. There’s no point in going out there and hurting yourself in the name of health.
Make an appointment with your family doctor and let them know that you’re interested in getting healthy. In fact, print this out and take it with you so that he or she can look over what you’ll be doing.
Get the go-ahead before you start this. I’m not a doctor and I don’t know your medical conditions. So, don’t proceed until you get the green light from someone familiar with your medical history and health status.
Step #2: Get the Right Gear
Again, we want to avoid any unnecessary injury, so you want to make sure you have the right gear. First and foremost, you’ll want the correct shoes. Take the time to go to a sporting good or shoe store and find someone that can help you pick out walking shoes that will give you the right support.
Also, you’ll want to make sure your clothing fits whatever climate you’ll be in. If you’re using a treadmill, you’ll just want something that is lose fitting and wicks away moisture. If it’s cold and you’ll be outside, prepare to dress in layers. In warmer climates, dress so as not to overheat your body.
If you have some extra cash, you may want to invest in a heart rate monitor or pedometer to see how you’re doing. There are tons of great little gadgets out there to choose from. So, if you’re a person who needs to see progress to stay motivated, check some of them out!
Step #3: Decide Where to Begin
Okay. You’ve prepared yourself and now you’re ready to go. Where do you begin? As I indicated above, start wherever you are most comfortable.
This program was designed for the true couch potato, so if you haven’t exercised in a real long time, start at the beginning.
However, if you’re already doing a little bit now and just want to keep up the progress, start at whatever level is closest to where you are currently at.
Take a look at the training program and select a spot. If you find that it’s too hard or too easy, you can always re-adjust as necessary.
Step #4: Begin the Training Program
Once you know where you’re starting, it’s time to take action. If it’s easier, print out the calendar and mark off the days or add it to the calendar that you already keep. It doesn’t matter how you keep track, as long as follow the regimen.
Remember that these are just basic guidelines and everyone moves at a different pace. So, if you need to slow it down, slow it down. Or, if you feel comfortable and want to pick it up, jump up a level or two. Do whatever feels right for you.
And, if something doesn’t feel right, then stop.
You’re going to have some discomfort when you push yourself to new fitness levels, but there is no point in risking injury. If you hurt more than you think you should or have any medical concerns at any point, then seek medical attention. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Step #5: Celebrate Your Victory
If you keep at it and follow the guidelines (whether at the pace dictated or your own), you will eventually complete a 5k. At that point, you should be very proud of yourself and celebrate such a great accomplishment!
Have an idea in mind at the very beginning as to how you’re going to celebrate this terrific feat. Are you going to take a mini-vacation, buy yourself a new workout outfit or treat yourself to some time at the spa? Pick something important to you and celebrate once you reach this goal! You’ve earned it!
Couch to 5k Training Program:
Day #1: Walk 5 minutes at a leisurely pace
Day #2: Walk 5 minutes at a leisurely pace
Day #3: Rest
Day #4: Walk 5 minutes at a leisurely pace
Day #5: Walk 5 minutes at a leisurely pace
Day #6: Rest
Day #7: Walk 5 minutes at a leisurely pace
Day #8: Walk 10 minutes at a leisurely pace
Day #9: Walk 10 minutes at a leisurely pace
Day #10: Rest
Day #11: Walk 10 minutes at a leisurely pace
Day #12: Walk 10 minutes at a leisurely pace
Day #13: Rest
Day #14: Walk 10 minutes at a leisurely pace
Day #15: Aim to walk ¼ mile total (either get a pedometer or map it out with your vehicle)
Day #16: Rest
Day #17: Walk ¼ mile
Day #18: Walk ¼ mile
Day #19: Rest
Day #20: Walk ¼ mile
Day #21: Walk ¼ mile
Day #22: Rest
Day #23: Walk ½ mile
Day #24: Walk ½ mile
Day #25: Rest
Day #26: Walk ½ mile
Day #27: Walk ½ mile
Day #28: Rest
Day #29: Walk ¾ mile
Day #30: Walk ¾ mile
Day #31: Rest
Day #32: Walk ¾ mile
Day #33: Walk ¾ mile
Day #34: Rest
Day #35: Walk ¾ mile
Day #36: Walk 1 mile
Day #37: Rest
Day #38: Walk 1 mile
Day #39: Walk 1 mile
Day #40: Rest
Day #41: Walk 1 mile
Day #42: Walk 1 mile
Day #43: Rest
Day #44: Walk 1 ½ miles
Day #45: Walk 1 ½ miles
Day #46: Rest
Day #47: Walk 1 ½ miles
Day #48: Walk 1 ½ miles
Day #49: Rest
Day #50: Walk 2 miles
Day #51: Walk 2 miles
Day #52: Rest
Day #53: Walk 2 miles
Day #54: Walk 2 miles
Day #55: Rest
Day #56: Walk 2 miles
Day #57: Walk 2 ½ miles
Day #58: Rest
Day #59: Walk 2 ½ miles
Day #60: Walk 2 ½ miles
Day #61: Rest
Day #62: Walk 2 ½ miles
Day #63: Walk 2 ½ miles
Day #64: Rest
Day #65: Walk 3 miles
Day #66: Walk 3 miles
Day #67: Rest
Day #68: Walk 3 miles
Day #69: Rest
Day #70: Walk 3.1 miles = 5k!
Once you complete this program, your training regimen should not stop there. The more you challenge your body, the greater your health and fitness results will be!
To advance your fitness level, either work to increase your pace and do the distance in less time, or consider jogging or running your 5k as the next goal. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you keep progressing.
The best way to integrate these advancements into the program is to do it slowly so that you don’t risk injury. Walk faster or jog for a minute or two and then go back to your normal pace for a minute or two. Once you’re comfortable, then start to increase the amount of time you are at the faster rates.
Remember that you’re trying to make yourself healthier and stronger. If you push yourself too hard and hurt yourself, you’re defying the whole purpose. So, go slow and you’ll make progress in a healthy, safe manner.
Now, get off the couch and make the magic happen!