aNewDomain — Unless someone is chasing me or I’m about to miss a bus, I don’t run. I’m always up for a nice walk, but if your morning plan involves running I’d much prefer to sit on my porch with a cup of coffee and wave as you careen past me. With that said, a huge number of my friends are runners. Yes, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the idea of strapping on the shoes and getting out there, but I’ve decided to see if maybe running could be for me, too. Of course, I know I’m going to need some help with this.
That’s where Couch to 5K comes in.
The most daunting thing about any new fitness practice is how far away the end goal seems. If you’re someone more at home with Netflix than running shoes, the idea of actually running for more than three miles is enough to keep you parked on the couch. Okay — it’s enough to keep me parked on the couch.
Couch to 5K by Active Network takes you from wherever you are and gets you ready to run your first 5K. I’ll admit — I was skeptical about the idea that it can get anyone ready to run, but I have several friends that swear by its success. My friend Claire used this app to get started as a runner and has since completed several 5K races and several longer ones. She says of the Couch to 5K app:
It is awesome. The premise just works. Trust the system and your body will follow. If you look ahead at future weeks you will think ‘no way can I run for ___ minutes without stopping,’ but by the time you get there you just can.”
Couch to 5K has all the features you’d expect from a fitness tracking app — the app will calculate distance and pace, map your routes, log your workouts, give you the option to share your progress on social media and let you listen to your playlists using the in-app music player. You can select from one of their virtual coaches and hear audio cues to guide you through your workout. It will actually silence your music to make sure you hear the audio cues, which is a nice feature.
The most appealing part for me? Many people who don’t describe themselves as runners found this to be an incredibly successful system. The trainers at Active have developed the training plan to make it gentle enough that novice runners won’t get hurt, but substantial enough that, according to everyone I talked to, you really can run a 5K after completing the nine week program. Plus, it only takes 20-30 minutes three times a week.
Sign me up.
Screenshots by Becket Morgan
Featured image: Couch and TV by Andrew Watson via Flickr