Free Running Program for Beginners | Run 5k in 9 Weeks!

running on the beach

One summer I set a goal for myself to run 5km. Basically, I set this goal because all my friends loved running but I, on the other hand, found it very boring and would be out of breath in a minute. I knew my endurance was horrible and everyone else seemed to love running, so I figured setting a goal to run 5km by the end of summer ( a 2-month goal) would be very beneficial.

I knew that I needed a structured plan to reach my goal. For running (especially if you hate it), it is necessary to have a running program designed to reach your goal at a specific time because otherwise, you won’t run as often or for as long as it is necessary for your goal. I didn’t know much about running or how to create my own running plan. I also knew that I needed something to keep me on track and motivate me to actually run.

Being a complete running beginner, I had no idea how to create my own running program so I downloaded the free app Couch to 5k (disclaimer: this is by no means a sponsored post). This is one of the best free training apps/ programs that I think I have ever come by. It is divided into 9 weeks with 3 running sessions per week, usually around 30 minutes. The reason why Couch to 5k works so well is because it completely eases you into running. It doesn’t just say run 1 km like some programs, instead, it says to run 30 seconds. Then you would run for 30 seconds until the app made a beeping sound and told you your next instruction such as walk for 30 sec.

I know from experience that this app was truly made for beginners. At first, I literally could not run for 2 minutes! I know it doesn’t sound hard but those two minutes felt like forever if I had to run. Luckily, Couch to 5k was designed for people like me (who have horrible endurance) so the first few “runs”, you are actually walking more than running.

Although, if you are not a complete beginner, you can always skip through the first few days or weeks until you get to a session that is challenging enough for you, and then continues from there.

couch 2 5k review
Here is a sample session from week 1, day 1. The full session outline is located at the top of the image.

The intervals continue like the example above until eventually, you are running more than walking and then finally just running in the last week!

Yes, it is possible to train for a 5k quicker, if you are really determined you can run 6x a week or even twice a day! But, that is not a realistic goal for a beginner and you would also have a big probability of overtraining. If you really want to reach your goal, I strongly urge you to try Couch to 5k  as everyone can make enough time to run 3x a week for just 30 min!

Another thing to mention is that the app will actually send you notifications if you skip several days of running. Kind of annoying but also really good at motivating you to run and making you feel guilty for not being too lazy to run! Also, you receive a motivating quote after the completion of your session which is also nice 🙂

I hope to hear from you once you run your first 5k and start training for a 10k?


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