person running 5k
September 8, 2022

Couch to 5K: Kickstart Your Running Routine

If you’re looking to lace-up and get running but not sure where to begin, then download a Couch to 5K app and consider yourself officially at the start line. Stick with it and in just nine weeks, you’ll be racing past the finish line as you graduate as a 5K runner. 

The Couch to 5K plan — often abbreviated to C25K – will have even the slothiest sofa lovers up and running in no time. Plus, with a whole army of apps to choose from, often narrated by some of the world’s best-loved celebs, you’ll feel like you’re being cheered along by your coolest best friend. 

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What is Couch to 5k?

Couch to 5K is a running program for complete beginners. It was developed by a guy called Josh Clark who was himself, a running newbie. He invented the Couch to 5K plan to get himself running. 

After publishing the C25K program to his website, couch potatoes across the world began to adopt the plan and it went viral. Today, there’s an estimated 50 million runners who have completed the popular running program. With its ability to seriously kick-start a running routine for even the most slovenly of couch potatoes, it’s no surprise the 0 to 5K method has become so popular. 

How does Couch to 5k work?

The Couch to 5K plan works by offering a gentle introduction to getting the body moving. The classic Couch to 5K schedule consists of three runs each week for nine weeks, with a rest day in between. The runs are really easy to begin with and gradually increase in intensity, as you’re s-l-o-w-l-y  eased from sofa to 5K running superstar. 

You’ll start in week one with eight, 60-second runs; each one broken up with 90 seconds of walking in between. From there, the app (if you choose to use one), will guide you through as you gradually build the walks into runs. By the end of week five, you’ll have your first, uninterrupted 20-minute run and by week nine, you’ll be completing 30-minute runs. 

Promising to keep you engaged from first step to final cool-down, there’s a different schedule for each of the nine weeks; gathering in intensity as you build your way up to becoming a fully-fledged 5K runner. Each Couch to 5K session gets you moving with a brisk, five-minute warm up. 

Stretching is always recommended before and after each time you train for Couch to 5K.

Who is Couch to 5k for?

The Couch to 5K program is for anyone who wants to learn how to run 5K - that’s 5000 metres, or 3.1 miles. Maybe you’re a complete beginner and need the motivation to get started? Couch to 5K is for you. 

Perhaps you used to run all the time, but now feel out of practice? Download a Couch to 5K app and get back into running. Using an effective mix of walks and gentle runs, a C25K plan is accessible for every level of runner. 

What are the benefits of the couch to 5k plan?

The Couch to 5K program comes with a host of benefits. As you build up to completing 5K runs, you’ll mix running and walking. These spurts of interval training are great for boosting your heart and lung health as well as your overall physical health. 

Once you’re a confident 5K runner, your runs will boost your cardiovascular health, strengthen your muscles and burn calories. Plus, if stress relief and happy hormones are on your agenda, the Couch to 5K program ticks all these boxes, too. We never met a post-run endorphin we didn’t like!

Note: Once you’ve caught the 5K running bug, it can be addictive. You’re likely to want to carry on to 10K runs and beyond. 

How long does it take to complete a Couch to 5k?

Each Couch to 5K training session lasts between 20 to 30 minutes (don’t forget to factor in time for stretching). You’ll be training for three days a week, over nine weeks. After that, you can consider yourself 5K-ready. 

Why is the Couch to 5k plan so popular?

There’s so many factors that have led to the popularity of the Couch to 5K plan. First off, it’s accessible. All you need is a decent pair of trainers and you’re ready to go. Beginning with bite-sized running intervals, anyone can attempt it and it can actually get pretty addictive.

Secondly, thanks to its unstructured approach to training, the C25K method offers an easy way to achieve the 5K running goal; you’re literally guided along the route, every step of the way. It’s foolproof. 

Thirdly, it doesn’t take much time. There’s no excuses. With each session lasting around 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week, a Couch to 5K training plan can slide pretty easily into even the busiest schedules. 

And finally, there’s a solid goal at the end of it. Who doesn’t want to smash a goal? There’s a great sense of achievement that comes with completing the Couch to 5K running program, as can be noted from the popularity of this viral training method.  

What should I do after the Couch to 5k program?

Got the bug? If all that running has got you craving more, we’ve rounded up three ideas on what to do once you’ve celebrated your 5K runner status. 

3 running ideas for after you've completed the Couch to 5k:

  1. Sign up to a 5K race. Put your training into practice in a more competitive setting by signing up to a 5K race. 
  2. Increase your number of runs. One of the most common ways to take your training to the next level after completing the Couch to 5K, is to simply add more  runs each week. Why not try training for four or five days? 
  3. Bridge to 10K.  if you love the structure of the Couch to 5K program, then the Bridge to 10K method is the perfect way to pick up where you left off. It’s designed to guide you from 5K to 10K in six weeks. 

Ready to run 5k? Make it official with a 5k race near you.

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From Pro Triathlete to Coach: Colin's journey with Triathlon

Professional Triathlete turned Coach Colin Norris is here to share his journey within the world of triathlon in our new series Take on a Tri, where Colin will be sharing everything you need to know about Triathlon from "How to balance life and training" to "how to best minimize your chance of injury". Before we jump into the series we wanted to get to know more about Colin's journey in the world of triathlon, what he learned during his time competing around the world, and what made him transition to the world of coaching.

Professional Triathlete turned Coach Colin Norris is here to share his journey within the world of triathlon in our new series Take on a Tri, where Colin will be sharing everything you need to know about Triathlon from 'how to balance life and training' to 'how to best minimize your chance of injury'. Before we jump into the series we wanted to get to know more about Colin's journey in the world of triathlon, what he learned during his time competing around the world, and what made him transition to the world of coaching

When did your love for sport begin?

Growing up, I was a runner, mainly competing in track and cross country. Unfortunately, I was in the same cohort as Mo Farah, who won every race there was! After some troubles with injury, I transitioned from running to swimming in my late teens before leaving sports entirely until I entered the world of work in my early 20s.

What brought you back to sports and ultimately led you to triathlon?

As soon as I started working and tried to sit down for longer than 5 minutes, I quickly realized I needed to burn off some excess energy. I rejoined my childhood track group at Blackheath Harriers in South London. Soon after, by pure chance, I met Trevor Simmons, a sports massage therapist who had already caught the triathlon bug. Given my running and swimming background, Trevor suggested I give triathlon a try!

How did you first manage the transition to training for a tri?

Trevor and I quickly formed a close bond, and he offered to coach me for free with the aim of racing the London Triathlon in 2011. We trained intensely for six months, and although short on cash, I managed with the cheapest bike and borrowed gear from Trevor (luckily we were the same size). I finished 2nd overall, which buoyed my enthusiasm for the sport. We immediately booked future races, and my fire for triathlon was lit.

When did you decide to pursue triathlon professionally?

After finishing 3rd in my age group at the amateur World Championships the following year, I started to believe that with more time to train and recover, I could be faster and maybe even transition to the pro ranks. However, as my training increased, my work performance declined but fortunately, my manager supported my decision to leave corporate life and pursue professional triathlon.

How did your first professional season go?

At the end of 2012, I quit my job, took a loan from my mom’s partner, and moved to Lanzarote where Trevor was based. Despite his warnings about the loneliness and financial difficulties, I relied on naivety, belief, and enthusiasm to get through those tough early years. Trevor and his friend Alan Ingarfield set my training for the following season, using an unorthodox approach to keep it fun. This included long hikes with kettlebells, sea swims without goggles, and running up and down volcanoes. Living on £10 a day, I was wholly committed to triathlon. The 2013 season involved racing 70.3s in Europe with varying success and many mishaps, but ended on a high note with a 2nd place at the National Champs in Scotland, securing my pro license.

Were there any challenges you faced transitioning to Pro?

Reality set in quickly as I ran out of cash and moved back to London, taking various jobs to support my training. During this time, I started coaching a few athletes, building on everything Trevor had taught me. With further mentorship from Mike Trees and Luc Van Lierde I was able to join the ITZU triathlon team, a Belgian professional team that Luc was coaching at the time. This gave me access to all of the resources I needed to really focus on racing to my full potential.

Can you share some highlights from your professional career?

In 2018, I had my best season yet, with five top-6 placings, competing against top athletes like Ali Brownlee, Javier Gomez, and Jan Frodeno. My professional racing career concluded at Ironman Israel in 2022. Though I didn't win a major race, I was considered one of the fastest runners in 70.3, with over 30 top-10 placings at the professional level.

How did you transition into coaching full-time?

I set up APB Coaching in 2015, building on my mentorship from Trevor, Mike, and Luc. My goal is to help athletes get the best from themselves while managing the competing demands of their family and work life. We've built a network of top practitioners in nutrition, physiotherapy, bike fitting, sports psychology, swimming, running, and strength training to support our athletes, from first-timers to National and World Championship medalists.

What can the LDT Community expect from the Take on a Tri series?

I'm here to answer any questions and educate the audience about all things triathlon. Drawing from my experience as both an amateur and professional athlete, as well as a coach, I aim to provide insights and support to help you achieve your triathlon goals. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced triathlete, I'm excited to be part of your journey and help you succeed.

Quickfire Questions

1. Favourite event you’ve ever done

Alp d’ Huez long course triathlon 

2. In one word what motivates you?

doubt 

3. Favourite hype-up song for training?

Bicep - Glue 

4. Trainer of choice 

new balance fresh foam 1080

5.  Favourite pre or post-workout snack?

Jacket potato cheese & beans

Things I’ve Learned Training for My First Ever Ultra

Training for my first ultra-marathon has been a transformative journey, full of valuable lessons and unexpected joys. From embracing early bedtimes to prioritizing recovery baths, I've learned to balance a demanding schedule with the physical and mental demands of ultra training. If you're considering this incredible challenge, prepare for an adventure that will test and reward you in ways you never imagined. 

Training for my first ultra-marathon has been a transformative journey, full of valuable lessons and unexpected joys. From embracing early bedtimes to prioritizing recovery baths, I've learned to balance a demanding schedule with the physical and mental demands of ultra training. If you're considering this incredible challenge, prepare for an adventure that will test and reward you in ways you never imagined. 

You will be tired a lot of the time.

  • Training for an ultra puts your body through a lot. Coupled with a demanding job, a 9pm bedtime became non-negotiable for me to be able to perform well.
  • Recovery baths with Epsom salts on weekends have been essential, along with yoga sessions after my long runs so I can still (just about) touch my toes.

You will need to change your diet - protein is your friend.

  • Following a 90% vegetarian diet, I struggled to get enough protein. Protein shakes have helped me feel fuller for longer and aid recovery. The best (or least bad tasting) ones I've found are from Form and Huel Black Vanilla flavor.
  • While I love baked goods, I didn’t want to rely on them post-runs. Greek yogurt with berries and some peanut butter became a handy go-to snack.

You can’t do it all. And that’s OK.

  • You’ll miss social events, have to go easy on the booze, and prioritize early bedtimes over watching the latest Netflix craze since you'll need to squeeze in long runs before work.
  • I stripped down my daily life to work, exercise, and rest/chill time. After long runs, weekends left me exhausted, so I only arranged a few low-key social events. It’s not forever, and my friends have been really supportive of my goals.
  • As your training progresses, your body adapts and it does get easier.

It pays to make your runs more enjoyable:

  • Listen to podcasts you love.
  • Go on runs with friends, your partner, or a family member.
  • End your long weekend runs somewhere great. Gails Dulwich has been a staple and has taken an embarrassing amount of my paycheck every month.
  • Make sure you mix it up!

You don’t need to stick rigidly to the training plan.

  • Strength training twice a week has been a key component of my regimen.
  • I also use a Peloton bike for cross-training.
  • In my opinion, my dedication to strength training was one of the key reasons I was OK on race day and I’ve been able to stay injury-free.

Your body will change.

  • Your feet, for starters, will suffer (I’ve lost three toenails and counting). I look at them fondly as battle scars (and thankfully, I have a very good local pedicure spot!).
  • My legs and core have never been stronger!

Gear I found really helpful:

  • A range of trainers, including cushioned ones and good trail shoes.
  • A running vest is KEY. I highly recommend the Salomon vest for its options to carry fluids in a camel pack as well as bottles, plus lots of pockets for snacks.
  • Good running socks - your feet go through a lot. Treat them well.
  • Epsom salts - as mentioned, they became part of my post-long run ritual every weekend.
  • Snacks you enjoy and can eat while running - I refused to ‘endure’ taking on that many calories with things I didn’t enjoy eating. This should be something you look forward to on your runs so find fuel that you like to eat!! 
  • Running sunglasses - they might be a placebo, but they make me feel like I look the part.

On race day

(FYI, I did Race to the Kings - a 50km coastal loop and could not recommend it more to anyone trying out an ultra for the first time.)

The saying is so true: If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.

Remember to enjoy the experience! 

  • Ultras have much less of a time pressure compared to road races I’ve done previously, and for good reason. You are already superhuman for tackling a distance of this magnitude—you don’t need to prove anything else.

Enjoy your surroundings!

  • Most ultras are set in epic scenery, and there were several times we just stopped to take in the view, snap a pic, and then crack on!

The community will carry you.

  • I absolutely loved how friendly everyone was. People were chatting with one another, the volunteers were incredibly supportive, and while the route wasn’t packed with crowds, the pockets of people cheering us on felt much more personal and truly spurred me on.

For anyone who I’ve convinced to sign up for an ultra, GOOD LUCK!! It’s such an incredible experience and something you will look back on in later years with immense pride.

Explore the cities with Brooks Ghost 16

As the weather warms, we're seeing more people than ever out running with friends. If our last post about the rise of run clubs inspired you to round-up your crew and head out for a run, then we have more summer-ready running tips here. Continuing our partnership with Brooks and their new Ghost 16 running shoe – the fail-safe choice for urban explorers – we’ve created the ultimate guide for social city runners. 

As the weather warms, we're seeing more people than ever out running with friends. If our last post about the rise of run clubs  inspired you to round-up your crew and head out for a run, then we have more summer-ready running tips here. Continuing our partnership with Brooks and their new Ghost 16 running shoe – the fail-safe choice for urban explorers – we’ve created the ultimate guide for social city runners. 

Here, with help from Brooks and some of the UK’s biggest run clubs, we share the very best of where to go and what to see, eat and drink en-route. From scenic parks to steep climbs, try these routes in the Ghost 16 to experience the shoe’s perfect comfort for yourself. If you fancy trialling them, why not apply to be one of our testers? 

Explore London with the LDT Run Club

This may be a shameless plug for our own Run Club but hey, if there’s one thing we know best it’s running! Kicking off along the Mall, right next to St James’s Park, best known for being the finishing straight of the London Marathon. Snap a selfie in front of Buckingham Palace before heading north towards Regent’s Park. 

Loop the park, enjoying the super-soft cushioning of your Ghost 16s. This shoe is perfect for warm-weather days – the breathable fabric helps to keep your feet dry and blister-free, a dream combo! Finish up at one of our favourite spots, the Lucky Saint pub, where you can sip on a cold 0% lager and plot your next running adventure. 

Explore Manchester with Snappy Runners

At 5km, this is a perfect short route for a quick jog with friends. You can trust the Ghost 16’s cloud-like cushioning to tick all the boxes for comfort on inner-city runs. The shoe’s super lightweight design is perfect for this route, shared by the Snappy Runners club. 

Head to Ancoats and check out one of the many local coffee shops for a caffeine kick before your run starts! Fan favs include Cafe Cotton and Just Between Friends, but you’re spoilt for choice here. Crew assembled, make a b-line for Mayfield Park and enjoy the wide-open green space, perfect for group running. Lap the park and turn back towards Ancoats, finishing at The Crown & Kettle, an old school pub with a huge beer garden. The perfect spot to while away the rest of your day. 

Explore Edinburgh with We Run Edinburgh

We’ve traversed the flatter land of London and Manchester; now let’s put the Ghost 16s to work in the hills of Edinburgh. Shared by We Run Edinburgh, this route starts on Princes Street with views of the Edinburgh Castle. From here make your way through Meadow’s Park on the way over to the western entrance of the famous Arthur’s Seat. 

Follow the path down the backside of Arthur’s seat, following the unbroken path that is popular among local runners. As you tackle the hills you can rely on the Ghost 16’s stretchy yet supportive fit that hugs your feet as you climb. Take in the views (and a couple deep breaths) before continuing on your way towards the Portobello Promenade. Breathe in the fresh sea air and finish your route at Civerinos Pizza, for THE best pizza in the city. 

Explore Bristol with Queens Square Runners

Our final city running route, shared by Queen Square Run Club, loops around Bristol’s harbourside. Meet at Society Cafe by the Queen’s Square and enjoy some specialty coffee alongside homemade cakes. Once you’ve gathered your friends, make your way out on a loop around the harbour. 

This route can serve up some tricky terrains, featuring uneven surfaces like sunken railway lines, adding to the sense of exploration. Thanks to the Ghost 16’s resilient RoadTrack rubber outsole, you can be sure of an extra sturdy grip, leaving you to focus on the waterfront views. Finish with a well-deserved lunch from the Pump House. Their beautiful harbourside patio and seasonal menu is perfect for that post-run refuel.  

Ready to try one of these routes?

Sign up to Brooks’ 5k Strava challenges to get started. Here, you can join routes (or map your own), gain digital medals and share your achievements with friends. Even if you’re running alone, the Strava community supports and celebrates your goals. Plus, you know you can always count on the Brooks’ Ghost 16 shoe to be the perfect plus-one.

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