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Running for beginners (how to succeed with couch to 5K – Part 2 of 2)

Hi and welcome back to the second part of “how to succeed with couch to 5K”.

In this part we´ll be going through weeks 5 to 9 of the programme and I´ll be giving you more essential tips to ensure you complete the programme successfully.

So in week 5 there are 3 different runs.

In run 1 as always we start with a brisk 5-minute walk to warm up, then it´s two repetitions of 5 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking and then 5 minutes of running to finish.

In Run 2, after the warm up it´s 8 minutes of running, 5 minutes of walking and 8 minutes of running.

And for run 3, after warming up as usual it´s 20 minutes of running, with no walking.

Now, as I mentioned in the first video and blog post, I would always finish each of these runs with 3 minutes of walking to cool down and bring your heart rate down safely.

Now so far we haven´t actually talked specifically about the walking and running, in particular the speed of each.

So, put simply you should walk as if you need to get somewhere quickly, so no strolling and when you´re running don´t go too fast.

Especially at first we´re only aiming for jogging and you should be able to maintain a conversation as you do this.

For tip number 7, you should expect that due to exercising more you will be hungrier than usual.

Prepare for this by planning to maintain a healthy and nutrient dense diet that will keep you well-fuelled and able to cope with the added demands of the exercise.

Also have plenty of healthy snack ideas prepared to avoid eating rubbish if and when hunger strikes between meals.

Just because you´re exercising more doesn´t mean you can eat absolutely anything.

Get the diet aspect right and not only will the running be easier, but you will feel infinitely better in yourself with more energy and you´ll also maximise the potential weight loss gains as a result of the exercise.

Click on the button below to sign up for a FREE VIDEO that shows you 3 healthy snacks that are really easy to make and ideal for those moments when you need to fill a little hole, so be sure to check it out.

In week 6 there are 3 different runs again.

For run 1 we warm up as usual, then it´s 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 8 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running to finish.

In run 2, after warming up it´s 10 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and then 10 minutes of running to finish.

And finally run 3 is 25 minutes of running with no walking once you´ve warmed up of course.

Once again I would finish each of these runs with 3 minutes of walking to make sure that you cool down safely.

Tip number 8 is listen to your body and be flexible with the programme if necessary.

If, for example, one of the runs feels too hard then adapt the times to a level that suits you better.

You can either reduce running times and increase walking times, or else repeat the previous run´s workload until you feel able to progress to the prescribed amounts of walking and running for that particular run.  

For your 3 runs in week 7 you begin, as always, with a brisk 5-minute walk to warm-up, then it´s straight into 25 minutes of running.

Again, as usual, I would finish each of these runs with 3 minutes of walking to cool down safely.

Tip number 9. Rest and recovery are an important and integral part of the programme.

As I will be explaining a bit later, stretching after each run is essential to minimise the inevitable soreness and stiffness, especially at the beginning of the programme.

You might also want to consider doing some additional flexibility work on your rest days.

There´s another buton below that you can click on to sign up for access to another free video of a simple yoga and core strength routine that will help you with this.

In week 8 your 3 runs are again all the same, beginning with the usual brisk 5-minute walk to warm up, then 28 minutes of running.

Again I would finish these runs each time with 3 minutes of walking to cool down safely.

Tip number 10, don´t be too down on yourself if it feels hard sometimes and you feel like quitting.

Accept that you will have off days and “bad” runs but don´t dwell on them, they are still doing you good even if it doesn´t feel like it at the time.

This is when a training partner is priceless so you can keep motivating each other to keep going.

For your 3 runs in week 9, you will begin with the brisk 5-minute walk to warm up and then 30 minutes of running and by now you should be completing your 5K route during those 30 minutes.

If not then I´m sure you will only need to run a little bit longer to complete the 5Ks by which time you have achieved your goal.

Congratulations and well done you.

Hopefully you will now feel ready for even longer runs or else you can continue with the 5Ks and try to reduce your time by running a bit faster.

Tip number eleven is something I recommend you do at the end of every run and that´s to spend at least 5-10 minutes stretching and getting some water into you to aid your recovery.

So here´s what I do. Let´s start with your calves.

So make sure that both feet are facing straight forwards, bend the front leg and keep the back leg straight, pushing back through the heel, so you get a stretch through the calf, that´s the lower leg. Hold it there for 30-60 seconds before changing over and doing the same on the other leg.

So take the outside leg up, bring the knees together, and then just gently ease forward at the hips to get a stretch the quadriceps, that´s the front of the thigh. Again hold that for 30-60 seconds and then, when you´ve done that, do exactly the same on the other leg. Make sure that the knees stay in line together. And then just gently ease the hip forward. Don´t pull too far back on the foot, it´s just a gentle easing forward of the hips.

OK and finally bend the legs, take one leg out in front, weight supported on the bent leg, Your bottom goes up and away from the feet and we gently reach forward towards that straight-legged foot and hold for 30-60 seconds. Relax, change legs, bend the knees, weight supported on the bent leg, bottom pushing up and away from the foot, gently reach forward, hold that position again for 30-60 seconds.

And finally tip number 12. Go to the NHS website (click the button below) and download the podcast for each of the runs onto your phone, especially if you´re going to be doing the programme on your own.

For each run you get to listen to motivational music and then there´s the voice of Laura who takes you through the warm up and tells you exactly when to walk and when to run, so that you don´t have to worry about it. Genius no?

So whether you´re doing the programme alone or whether you´d just like to share the experience with a community of like-minded people, check out my Facebook page for details of the couch to 5K group that you can join to share your experiences and help keep you motivated.     

So there you have it, couch to 5K explained, 12 tips for beginner runners and plenty of additional resources to ensure you complete it successfully.

I hope you´ve found this blog post helpful and informative? If so then share it with someone who you think would get value from it and leave me a comment below. Happy running and bye for now.

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