From couch potato to 5km

Some people are naturally more active than others – you know – the ‘fitness fanatics’, ‘gym bunnies’ and ‘outdoor types’. Also, they frustratingly appear to possess that mystical thing called a ‘fast metabolism’.

And then you get the rest of the world – those who aren’t very active because they don’t like exercise, or they just can’t seem to find the time to establish an exercise routine. Does this sound like you? Fear not – there are a lot of people in the same boat. If you’re ready to take action, one of the best things you can do is to get up and get moving today! You don’t even need to join a gym. In fact, all you need is a decent pair of running shoes, comfortable clothing and a bit of dedication to take you from couch potato to jogging 5km a day.

The key is to start out slowly and pace yourself. This 8 week walk-to-run programme is intended for absolute beginners, so while you will be pushing yourself, you won’t be killing yourself while you try to reach your goal.

Here’s the plan:

  • 1st Week: Walk briskly for 4 minutes and run for 2 minutes. Repeat 3 times.
  • 2nd Week: Walk briskly for 4 minutes and run for 2 minutes. Repeat 4 times.
  • 3rd Week: Walk briskly for 4 minutes and run for 3 minutes. Repeat 4 times.
  • 4th and 5th Week: Walk briskly for 4 minutes and run for 4 minutes. Repeat 4 times.
  • 6th and 7th Week: Walk briskly for 4 minutes and run for 5 minutes. Repeat 4 times.
  • 8th Week: Walk briskly for 4 minutes and run for 6 minutes. Repeat 4 times.
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Remember to start each session with a 5 minute brisk walk to warm up, and a 5 minute walk and gentle stretch at the end of your session to cool down.

We know it’s not always easy to stay motivated, so in order to keep on track why not try the following:

  • Set small goals that are attainable in the short term, and then reward yourself when you reach a goal. Set the next goal soon to keep yourself motivated.
  • Sign up for a 5km race once you’ve completed the 8 week programme. Bear in mind, your goal is to finish the run – the time you do it in isn’t that important.
  • Once you have done your first 5km race, you can start to increase your running time and decrease your walking time by a minute each week, until you are able to run for 9 minutes without stopping. Do sets of running for 9 minutes and walking for 1 minute and gradually increase the number of sets.
  • Get a running buddy or join a running club; it really helps when you have someone running along with you.

Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone is different and if you find the programme takes you 10 or 12 weeks to complete, then that’s fine. The fact is you’re moving your body and keeping active, and that will go a long way to making you healthier and stronger.

Brought to you by Momentum Health.