If you’ve seen the abbreviation “C25K” you might have wondered what the heck it meant. It is some kind of secret code? What language is it? Wait, is it similar to Y2K? If you’re anything like me, you probably Googled it and had an embarrassing aha moment. Admittedly, when I first saw C25K, I had no idea what it meant. (Yes, I’m a runner…I swear!) I Googled it. When I realized it’s meaning, I crawled back under the rock I had crawled out from and swore I’d never tell anyone that I hadn’t known. Until now…
C25K simply means “Couch to 5K”! A 5K is equivalent to 3.1 miles. If you’re a new runner and you’re just not sure where to start, I would highly suggest a C25K program to give you some guidance and help you achieve your goal of crossing that 5K finish line. Sure, you can go it alone and just start running. Often though, without any plan, people try to run too far, too fast, too soon and end up with a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to running. They stop as quickly as they started. I don’t want that for any of you because I know YOU CAN DO THIS!
There are a variety of C25K apps available and many of them are free. If you’re old school like me, you can jump online, Google “C25K program”, find one you prefer, and print the training schedule to hang on your fridge or your desk at work, wherever you can refer to it, and then enjoy crossing off every workout you complete along the way. Also, several recreation departments and gyms offer C25K programs, but there is usually a fee. I suppose one benefit of those programs is you are with a group, holding you accountable to show up for that weekly group workout. Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing. My suggestion is to find a few friends or colleagues who will do the C25K program with you so you can hold each other accountable to get the work done. NO EXCUSES!
My favorite program is The Couch-to-5K Running Plan from Cool Running. This plan is the original C25K program developed in 1996 by Josh Clark who wanted newbies to enjoy running instead of seeing it as painful and impossible. This program includes a workout three days each week. It combines walking and running to ease you into the training. This way, you’re guaranteed to not go out too fast or try to push yourself too far, too soon. There is a warmup included with each workout and you make the choice whether you want to run based on distance or time. For example, in Week 4 you can choose to either run for 0.25 miles OR to run for 3 minutes as one part of your workout. The only exception to this is if you are using the mobile app in which case you must use the time option. Both the distance and time option are essentially equal from a training perspective, but from a mental perspective you may prefer one or the other. One of the best features is that each workout is only about 20-30 minutes long so you don’t have to try and make time for a super long workout three days a week. You CAN make 30 minutes for yourself to do this! If you do, the program will have you achieving your goals in just 9 short weeks. That means if you start on this coming Monday, you will be running your first 5K race Memorial Day weekend. Imagine how fantastic you will feel crossing that finish line, covered in hard earned sweat, feeling like you just conquered the world! Not to mention you’ll probably be heading to a cookout with friends and a few cold beverages to celebrate!
So what are you waiting for? You’ve got the weekend to find your program, download the app or print your schedule, commit, and convince at least one lucky friend to join you on this adventure! Believe me, you will NOT look back!