How to Train for a 5k Run:
Couch to 5k Plan

If you have never run before, taking up running can seem like a scary prospect, especially if you have been unwell, feel out of shape, or if you are unfit.
Don’t worry as we have created a plan that’s ideal for beginners who have never ran before in their lives!

How long should you train for a 5k run, jog, or walk?

While more experienced runners may need less time to prepare for a marathon or even a 5k jog or walk or run, beginners are advised to start training eight weeks prior. The Very Pink Run Couch to 5K plan will help you to gradually build up towards the big event!

Eight-week training plan

The Very Pink Run Couch to 5K is a running plan for absolute beginners. It was developed by Olympian and Very Pink Run Patron, Sonia O’Sullivan who wanted to help Breast Cancer Ireland and our community of supporters and survivors to get off the couch and start running!

“Remember, this is a run but you can walk or wheel and get just as much enjoyment but you will enjoy it best if you prepare and know what you are capable of.” Sonia said.

So, how does the Couch to 5k plan work? Getting started is often the biggest challenge a new runner faces. However, if you give yourself plenty of time, ideally over a 2 to 3 month period, you can comfortably run a 5k.

Start by mixing some walking and jogging to build up the fitness but don’t do too much too soon.

Eight to six weeks before the run

Week 1 involves running for just a minute at a time, creating realistic expectations and making the challenge feel achievable right from the start. Go for a 1.5km walk or jog.

It’s a good idea once you make the commitment to write down a plan, tell your friends and family so you are accountable.You will need to set aside some time at least 3 days per week where you can take time to prepare and feel yourself improve each week.

The same time on the same days each week will help build a routine that will help you get used to and look forward to the challenge each week.

Make use of the weekends, get out for an hour on one day of the weekend, run, walk or a combination.

Five to three weeks before the run

Increase the distance that you’re walking or jogging to 2.5 km, and on some days, 3.5km. Increase the frequency of your running as well, instead of the usual jog or walk.

Follow the same pointers as the previous weeks and don’t forget to eat balanced, nutritious meals and hydrate with water and electrolyte drinks.

Two to one week before the run

Increase the distance of your jogs and runs up to 3.5 km up to 5 km. In the last week, make sure that you also rest plenty. Exchange one of your walks to a rest day to make sure you won’t over exert yourself on the day of the run..

Also make sure you have everything prepared for the day of the run itself! Your accessories, your outfit, your trainers, etc.

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