he couch to 5k app by Public Health England is truly awesome! I only wish I’d known about it when I started my running journey.

The couch to 5k app gives you everything you need to hit your first big milestone of running 5k. Although every week you will achieve something you never thought would be possible just the week before.

From the moment you download the app you can select your very own personal trainer. The choice includes Laura, Jo Whiley, Sanjeev Kohli, Sarah Millican and Michael Johnson.  My wife decided Jo would be for her, as did my colleague at work. Both said she was great, felt like she gave the right amount of motivation throughout and she had experienced what you go through as you’re running.

The app promises to have you achieving 5k by running 3 times a week for 9weeks, and if you follow the plan, and use our tips you will be running 5k at the end of the programme.

The app lets you play music whilst you run*, but importantly the app lowers the music volume when the coach provides advice and guidance.

See a future blog about running with music

TIP 1 – Run today not tomorrow

Don’t put that run off. There is never a bad day to start. If you’re feeling down, run, if you’re feeling happy, run, if you’re feeling stressed, run. Your mind and body will feel better for it.

Tip 2 – It’s always running weather.

There is no such thing as bad weather, just a different experience. If it’s sunny, make sure you are properly hydrated before you run, wear sunscreen and consider a hat or sunglasses. Try and go when it’s cooler.

If it’s raining or cold, consider some chafing cream, and a thin waterproof jacket.

Tip 3 – Take one run at a time.

Don’t worry about tomorrow’s run, just concentrate on today’s, don’t worry how you are going to finish today’s, just think about the start, and take each step, each interval, each minute, each metre as it comes. You will surprise yourself, and be proud of what you achieve.

Tip 4 – Take it slow.

Most programmes include interval training. When it says recover, do! This is your time to recover, don’t be embarrassed, don’t think you need to do it faster, these are your recovery steps, don’t forget you will have to do these for 20+ minutes, so you may find the pace easy to start with, but can you sustain it?

For general runs, go out at a steady pace, don’t go sprinting, as you’re new to running, it may only be marginally quicker, than your recovery, but that’s ok. The goal is to complete the session, not to run a part of it very fast and give up. You are running, there is no magical speed, that walk is now a run. You are a runner, and as the weeks go by, you will get fitter, stronger and faster.

Tip 5 – Rest and don’t stress

Try and have a rest day between each run, and two days at the end of the week. Don’t stress if your week doesn’t always start on the same day. My wife used the idea of rolling weeks, she would aim to have 3 runs every 7 days.

Listen to your body. Don’t go out too far too fast too soon, slowly build the mileage and speed

There is no fast forward, make sure you do every planned session if you can’t do a run for a day or two don’t think about jumping ahead.

If you can’t run for a week, let’s face it, life gets in the way sometimes, don’t worry, just consider going back a week.

Slow Down!

Slow down, no really if you want to go faster slow down. 

Whilst it can be a challenge and against our own personal ego to have a slow run, a slow run is so important to the foundations of your running. 

Don’t beat yourself up over a slow run. Don’t go out and try and get a PB each week. Running hard and fast every time is a sure fire way to get tired and fatigued legs or worse, injured. 

Remember what your long term goals are, and focus on a plan to get there. Too many times I hear people training for 5k say they smashed 9min miles, but gave up after 3k. I always ask them, what’s the goal? Is it to smash a 1k PB or to achieve a 5k, without stopping. Focus your training on the challenge ahead.  

Very rarely will you run your race pace in training. You will run long slow runs, tempo runs, speed sessions but your programme wont have you running your PB pace, run after run. 

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