- Posted by Laura
- On 10th May 2018
- 0 Comments
Do Couch to 5k the Right Way
There are a huge variety of Couch to 5k programmes available online and offered by gyms and personal trainers, but in principle they all offer the same thing: a roughly three – month plan for beginners to go from no running to being able to complete a 5km run.
What makes Couch to 5k plans so valuable is they provide a realistic, gradual structure that minimises the risk of injury, which is the main setback that will prevent beginner runners from making progress.
A great place to start is the NHS Couch to 5k website, which has a vast resource of reliable Couch to 5k articles, advice and guides.
Why do you need to take running slow?
Running is a high impact activity that places a huge amount of force through your body. With each strike, your foot hits the ground with five to nine times your body weight. If your joints and muscle aren’t conditioned for these loads, it’s easy to wear them out faster than they can recover.
Tendons are particularly vulnerable to injury as their dense tissue takes longer to repair than capillary – rich muscle. As your muscles adapt faster than your tendons, it’s easy to feel capable of running further than your body actually can. Even proathletes are guilty of this mistake.
By following a very gradual programme that starts with walk – jogging before progressing to uninterrupted runs – with plenty of rest days in between – your body has enough time to repair between runs, allowing you to progress smoothly towards your goal without injury.
What makes a good Couch to 5k programme?
What you do in between your runs is just as important as what you do when you’re running.
An ideal Couch to 5k programme will include full body strength training and stretches between running days to condition underused muscle and lengthen post – run tightness.
This will both reduce your risk of injury and speed up your recovery time.
Body weight exercises are more than enough to develop the strength and flexibility you need, so you don’t need to join a gym if you just want to complete a Couch to 5k programme. If you’re a complete beginner to both running and exercise, it’s best you stick to body weight exercises either way.
Single leg squats are particularly valuable to runners as it trains your gluteus medius muscle, which provides stability to your hips while you run. You can read more about the role of this muscle and how to train it by reading this blog by Andy.
You can find plenty of resources online for correct technique for body weight exercises, but it’s highly recommended that you receive guidance from a professional such as a physiotherapist or a personal trainer. Nothing beats a second pair of well – trained of eyes to make sure your technique is correct.
What are the benefits of the CGP Couch to 5k Programme?
We offer a complete Couch to 5k programme at CGP, which can be supplemented with as much or as little additional support as you need.
The main benefit of doing your Couch to 5k with us is that we can tailor the intensity of your programme and your exercises to your specific strength and ability levels, while also taking into account your injury history or any other medical conditions.
Should you start to develop any pain or tightness during your training, we’ll be able to react immediately with advice or treatment to intervene against potential injuries.
We’ve helped people from all walks of life and injury histories achieve running goals they never thought possible.
And with Mark, our in – house sports massage therapist, and Brian, our in – house Pilates instructor, we can provide everything you need to strengthen your body and help it recover to really make the most of those rest days. Regardless of whether you do your Couch to 5k with us, with someone else or by yourself, we recommend getting a full body check up with us before you start. This allows us to identify any potential problem areas in your body and prescribe specific exercises to address them.
We can also analyse your running technique and take a look at your shoes to make sure you’re starting on the right foot.
If you want to learn more about our Couch to 5k programme, please get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Kong, Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist