Many of us aspire to be as fit and healthy as the runners we see triumphing in the London Marathon, but few of us have the discipline and dedication to make it happen! Don't get us wrong, it's not easy but with these essential tips by your side, you're one step closer to achieving your running dream! Read on and check out our top running gear picks along the way as inspired by Couch to 5k!
But wait, what is Couch to 5K?
Couch to 5K is a running plan for absolute beginners originally created by Josh Clark in 1996 to get his 50+ year old Mum off the couch (or sofa) and into running. Over recent years, the NHS has been promoting the plan and has released a podcast to motivate users.
The plan involves 3 runs a week, with rest days in between, continuing with gradual changes over a total of 9 weeks, eventually building you up to complete 5k with no breaks. The plan is often used to enable weight loss by building up fitness, helping users see results quicker.
How does Couch to 5K work?
When we get the urge to alter our lifestyles and get more active, we often throw ourselves straight into the deep end and overdo it, usually ended up in giving up. Couch to 5K uses running and walking to ease you into running, building your fitness and your stamina over 9 weeks. People often use Couch to 5K to help them run a half marathon or marathon!
STEP 1: GET THE GEAR YOU NEED
While you may hesitate to spend money on a hobby you haven't actually started yet, being dressed properly can have a massive impact on your running sessions. From tops and shorts to running shoes with top technology, MandM Direct has everything you need to kickstart your running career for less! Come and shop big brands in sporting royalty, such as:
If you’re looking for more information about running gear, check out our blog post. We have even more tips, tricks and advice:
STEP 2: PLAN AN EASY START
The number one error to make when it comes to running is going from 0-100 too quickly. Your best bet is to plan out 30 minutes a day for three to five days a week. If you try to do too much too quickly, you can bet you'll be in for some injuries. Go slow, to begin with, and gradually pick up speed, peppering in walking breaks for when you run out of breath. The more you run, the more your stamina will build and you can go faster for longer, eliminating those walking breaks and extending your run time overall.
STEP 3: DON'T PUSH TOO HARD
When starting out, small aches, pains and stitches are to be expected but you need to know how to deal with them. Tiredness and small aches come with the territory and your body will become more used to dealing with these the more you run. If you start notice sharp or acute pains in certain parts of your body it is best to rest until the pain goes away - running on injuries could make them much worse. Stitches are a common nuisance to any runner but they can often be remedied by bending over and exhaling hard. Get started at a slower pace to reduce as the pain subsides. To avoid stitches, avoid eating solid food before a workout and always remain hydrated. Remember running is a marathon, not a sprint (unless you are sprinting of course).
STEP 4: EAT RIGHT
No matter your lifestyle, running is a great hobby both in terms of fitness and enjoyment but if you improve your diet, you are sure to see even more benefits to your running sessions from weight loss to stamina gain. Getting plenty of protein to rebuild muscles is essential and from there, aim to stick to healthy foods that are high in energy. Fruit, vegetables and whole grains are the best way to go.
STEP 5: VARY YOUR EXERCISE
To get a real leg up in your running, embrace a varied range of activities. Swimming, cycling and hiking are all great exercises that will strengthen your muscles throughout your body and build your stamina. If you're a weightlifter, stick to lighter weights that will not leave you fatigued when it comes to cardio!
STEP 6: RUN THE 5K!
Keep up this discipline of training at your own pace and you'll be ready to hit the track in no time! Just like your training, take the race at your own pace and don't give up! Use the NHS Couch to 5k advice to ease yourself into it. 5k is an achievable distance, even for a beginner, and with a worthy cause behind you, you'll be even more motivated to succeed! Setting a goal of the 5k is a great way to motivate yourself to keep in shape, and once you've caught that running bug, you won't be able to stop! Remember to pick up all the running gear you need for less at MandM Direct!
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