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Our Couch to 5K Running Challenge

Our Couch to 5K Running Challenge

While staying pretty close to home this year, we needed a way to stay fit without a gym. We decided to try a C25K app. Check out our Couch to 5K Running Challenge.

We have been trying to stay fit. Last year, I had been swimming regularly. It’s a low-impact form of exercise that I find works really well for me. However, our gym, like most things this year, has been closed. Fortunately, our home base is in a neighborhood that enables us to get outside to exercise by walking and running. So that we could continue our fitness journey, I suggested we try a Couch to 5K Challenge.

The good part about a running workout is that you can do it almost anywhere. Whether you are in a campground, state park, or staying close to home, you can usually find a place to run. It doesn’t require a gym and only requires minimal equipment like a good pair of shoes. When I used to travel a lot for work, I’d pack a pair of shorts and running shoes to get a run in before or after work.

For our current challenge, I found a C25K app that seemed to have good reviews and we decided to give it a try. Before I go too far with describing our 5K running challenge, I should note that this is intended for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Before you begin any exercise program, please consult with your doctor.

Active Couch to 5K App

For our 5K training, we used the Active Couch to 5K app. It’s available on both IOS and Android. A one time purchase of $2.99 enables you to use the app for up to six family members. It doesn’t have and doesn’t require any in-app purchases. Know that if you don’t want to use an app, there are other options. Search online for C25K or Couch to 5K running programs and you will likely find a system you can try. You’d just need to track your run times and distance manually.

The idea of a C25K is to take someone who doesn’t currently run and train them to be able to run a 5K in nine weeks. The app tells you when to walk and when to run. In the beginning, you do a 30 minute routine that combines walking and running. For example, it will tell you to walk for 1.5 minutes and run for a minute. Each week, you run for a bit longer.

The app we used provides a coach to help guide your workout. There are several available and we tried each one. Depending on what you like, you might select Sergeant Block who acts like an Army drill sergeant. Or, you can choose Constance, a women who has recently completed her own Couch to 5K challenge. Johnny Dead is a zombie that will chase you for your tasty brains. And, there are several additional coaches to choose from. While the coaches provide a bit of inspiration during your walk run routine, you can also play music from your own music library.

Active Couch to 5K Coaches C25K App Review
C25K Coaches

At the end of the run, you’ll get to log your workout. You can see a list of the workouts you have completed. The app may even give you a badge. Though we noticed that there were more badges during the early parts of the training program. It might be nice to get a big more reinforcement when the runs get more challenging.

Active Couch to 5K Badges C25K App Review
Couch to 5K Badges

At first, the program didn’t seem too difficult. In the later weeks, there is a 5 minute warm up and cool down but the middle portion is all running. Toward the end, we just had to push through.

In the end, we successfully completed the challenge. I could feel myself getting stronger each week; able to run longer without a break. While challenging, it is possible to train for a 5K in nine weeks.

What’s Next in Our Couch to 5K Challenge

We finished our 5K. It feels great to have gone through the program and run a 5K. Our next step is to do the program again. That’s right. We cleared the data and started over again. Hopefully this time we can get a bit faster while we continue to improve our endurance.

Once races start again, it would be fun to do a 5K race. These happen frequently and are often done to raise funds for some good causes. I’m looking forward to trying one soon. I’ve also thought about all of the fun places where you can run a 5K like Disney World or a cruise ship private island. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Even during the current coronavirus situation, some groups have been organizing virtual 5K runs which might be fun to join. You usually pay an entry fee and send in a screen shot with proof of your run. Part of your entry fee is a contribution to the organization and they’ll send you a t-shirt.

Depending on how our running goes, we may consider doing the Active 5K to 10K program. It would be great to be able to go just a bit farther.

5K Running Equipment

You don’t need much equipment. A good pair of running shoes and suitable clothing. If you choose to use a C25K program, you’ll need a smart phone to run the app.

There are some things I have found can be helpful for a running fitness program. I’ll share a few of our favorites. The products mentioned in this post available at Amazon and other retailers. Note: these are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase by using the link there is no additional cost to you, but we earn a commission that helps enable us to continue sharing helpful information. The items linked here are similar to the ones we use.

Running Shoes

To ensure you prevent injuries, you need a good pair of running shoes. It’s hard to know which ones are best as everyone has somewhat different needs. A local running store can be a good source of guidance. I recently visited our local running store. They provided me with an evaluation that included video recording me running on a treadmill and using a device that measured my arch. I then received a recommendation for several pairs of shoes that would work for my stride and arch.

In my case, I ended up with an interesting looking pair of New Balance shoes. Judy did the same evaluation and ended up with a pair of Brooks. My visit to the running store was a great experience and was very helpful. Check out if you have a store like that near you.

Running Socks

I highly recommend good socks for running. There are many styles available including several good brands that are Made In The USA. I have had good luck with several brands of socks including Point6, Smartwool and Wigwam. Judy likes Thorlos and Smartwool. Whichever brand you buy, consider looking for a combination of padding on the ball and heel as well as a support area for the arch. Wool is a good choice and doesn’t get as hot as you might think it would.

Here are a few options to consider.

Massage Tools

When doing exercise like a running program, you may get sore muscles. Having tools to help massage your legs and feet can be useful. I have found that foam rollers, a foot roller and a product called “The Stick” can all be helpful. Here are the items I have used. Consider what works for you. Again, you may want to consult with a health care provider and a trainer to ensure you get the advice you need to stay healthy

Thanks For Reading

Thanks for checking out our Couch to 5K Challenge. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful. If you are looking for some strength training, too, check out Judy’s post 5 Favorite Kettlebell Exercise Moves.

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