A Beginners Guide to Getting from Couch to 5k


Taking yourself from couch to completing a 5k can be a monumental task for some. Simply acknowledging the fact that you need to do something about your fitness is a ‘win’. The next step is lifting yourself off the couch and donning a pair of trainers and stepping out.

People decide to hit the 5k trail for a variety of reasons, some feel that raising money for charity is a very wholesome reason to begin running. Others have been informed by their GP that they need to up their exercise, whilst for other beginner runners it could be simply a case of garnering more energy through fitness, endorphins are the currency the exercising feel good factor after all.

No matter what the reason, to go from non-starter to novice to new 5k finisher it needs to be done in steps. The NHS is a hive of information on starting the process, they even have a couch to 5k in simple steps guide on their website. Whilst that website lays out a simple training plan, there are countless bloggers and vloggers documenting their road to 5k progress, some are very witty indeed and will help you realise you’re not alone. This hilarious gif story talks of the mental stages a jogger goes through including doubt, dread, driven, confident all the way up to unstoppable! It’s do-able (is that a word?!) by anyone, some may achieve the milestone quicker than others but a couch to 5k is realistic providing you have the motivation.

And then there’s your kit. Here are a few pointers on the basics you’ll need to head out that front door feeling confident, comfortable and committed to the cause!

  1. A comfortable pair of trainers. They don’t need to cost the earth, nor do they have to be a certain brand. Try a few pairs on, taking the socks you’re likely to run with and try them out. Some specialist running shops even have a treadmill for you to try them out.
  2. Running kit – top half. Loose fitting is fine, especially if you’re self-conscious. Dependent on the time of year a simple cotton t-shirt is all you need. No running vest required yet folks. In winter time, why not try a gilet to keep your core warm?
  3. Running kit – bottom half. The ladies may prefer full or three quarter length lyrca, this industry has ballooned in recent years, enjoy a perusal of Amazon and you won’t be disappointed. Meanwhile, for the gents a pair of non-chafing running shortswill ensure there are no discomforting excuses as you begin to lap the park.
  4. A stopwatch. Again this doesn’t need to be a GPS, heart monitoring model that NASA would be proud of. Just a simple stopwatch to track your progress. Do the same routes each day and log your times. It’s amazing how quickly you’ll begin shaving off a few seconds each day.
  5. A Jogging Partner – obviously you can’t buy a human being but finding a partner, even if you think they’re on a par with Mo Farah and you’ll be left lagging behind, a running partner can spur you on, encourage you and share in your success. Whilst not strictly ‘kit’, a partner is part of your team.

So there we have it. Running is one of the most natural things that a homo sapien can do and as life seems to be getting more sedate in this ever increasing digital age, and obesity, type 2 diabetes and waistlines are on the increase, set yourself a goal of reaching 5k…lace up those trainers and off you go (walking is fine to begin with, no shame in that!)