The Ultimate Couch To 5K Training Plan

The Ultimate Couch To 5K Training Plan

Every Saturday morning, more than 250 000 people line up to partake in their local 5K Parkrun. If you’re ready to become a 5K runner but you aren’t very fit, you’re in luck. The Couch to 5K plan was designed specifically for you. 

What does the Couch To 5K training plan look like?

To answer this, I’ve copied the basic plan from C25K® (the official couch to 5K app) into the table below. It gives a full breakdown of the weekly training schedule. 

Couch To 5K Plan

How long does the Couch to 5K plan take?

The current plan takes 8 full weeks. Your total mileage increases gradually each week, which gives your body time to adjust to the training load. When race day arrives, you should be fit, ready and confident. 

How does the Couch to 5K plan work?

The Couch to 5K plan requires you to train 3 days a week, for 8 weeks in total. By the end of the 8th week, you will be ready tackle your 5k race or Parkrun. 
 
You don’t need to be fit when you start the program. You don’t even need to be able to run a single kilometer when you start the program. In the beginning phases, it recommends a combination of walking and running, which is why it is so accessible to most people. 
 
So to summarize, the plan involves 24 training sessions,  spread out over 8 weeks. Each week becomes a little bit more challenging, involving more running and less walking. By the final week, you should be ready to cover 5km’s without stopping. 
 

What's the best Couch to 5K app?

The best Couch to 5K app is definitely C25K®. It’s the original Couch to 5K app, and it has been tried and tested by millions of users. 
 
With that being said, if you would like to know the best running app, you might want to check out this article. There are other running apps that are more well rounded, but not as good for getting you ready for a 5K specifically. 
 

How much does the Couch to 5K app cost?

Fortunately the official C25K® app is FREE 🙂 

Can you follow the Couch to 5K plan on a treadmill?

You definitely can, but there’s a catch. You need to set the treadmill to a 1% gradient (incline). This is the best way to emulate running outdoors.

It’s also a good idea to do some of your training outdoors, especially during the later parts of the program, when you start covering more miles during each training session.

Can you listen to music while doing Couch to 5k?

Technically you can, but there’s a small issue. The C25K app doesn’t allow you to access the music stored on your phone. Instead, it only allows you to access Zen Power Playlists, which involves a monthly fee of $4.99. You have been warned.  My recommendation is to steer clear of Zen Power Playlists at all costs. 

What if the first week of training is to tough for me?

A couple people have voiced this concern when reviewing the C25K app on the Google Play store. If jogging for a minute is a stretch for you, don’t worry. 
 
The best thing is to give yourself 4 extra weeks to develop the mobility and stamina needed to jog for a 60 seconds or more. If you reach this milestone in less than 4 weeks, you are ready to start the couch to 5k training plan. 
 

Is there anything else you should know before starting?

I would strongly recommend downloading the app rather than trying to follow the training plan manually.  

The app will make the training process so much smoother, removing the need to memorize any information or clutch a piece of paper while you run. 

Aside from that, it would be a good idea to invest in an entry level pair of running shoes. When your weekly mileage starts to increase dramatically (after you’ve finished the training plan), you can think about getting a more expensive pair of running sneakers

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