Going from your couch to running 5km

You want to start running, but don't know where to start? Here's your 7-week plan to run 5kms with just 30 mins a day.

Typically, humans tend to be rather sedentary, with office jobs that often require stretches of up to 10 hours of sitting and this has a negative effect on the body; muscles tighten,  and imbalances occur which result in the inability to move efficiently. 

Before you put on your shoes and venture out for your first run, try these 3 tests to determine your readiness to run:

The Stamina Test 

Are you able to walk 3km in 30 minutes or less?

If not; start walking 15-20 minutes 3 times a week. When you are comfortable walking at a steady pace, add 10 minutes until you are able to comfortably walk for 45 minutes. Then work on speed and getting yourself to 3 km in less than 30 minutes. 

The Flexibility Test

Lie flat on your back with your legs straight, keeping both hips with equal weight on the floor raise the left leg to your chest (keeping it as straight as possible) if you are able to keep the leg straight and the leg raised to a 90-degree angle you are good to go. 

If not; You can still run, although it is advised to keep working on your flexibility daily; keep doing this hamstring stretch and incorporate other stretches such as hips, claves, chest and back. Having limber muscles are crucial to preventing injury and will result in a better stride. 

The Strength Test

Complete 2 rounds of 30-second planks 

This will determine your core strength. The strength of your core will ensure you are running with the correct posture and reduce the risk of lower back pain usually caused by running with a weak core. 

Complete 2 rounds of 20 squats and 10 push-ups.

This will determine your overall strength, ensuring there is enough strength in the legs as well as general endurance. 

So, you’ve completed your readiness to run tests, now, let’s look at getting you from your couch to running 5kms. 

Here is your 7-week plan to run 5kms in 30 minutes:

Aim to complete 3 runs a week, if this is too much for you ensure you are completing at least 2. Doing 3 runs a week helps to ensure the muscles are cardiovascular system is able to adapt effectively to the required workload. 

Week 1: 

Start with a 5-minute brisk walk

Repeat the cycle of 60 second run (at a comfortable pace) and a 90-second walk for a total of 20 minutes. 

Week 2: 

Start with a 5-minute brisk walk

Repeat the cycle of 90 second run (at a comfortable pace) 2-minute walk for 20 minutes.

Week 3: 

Start with a 5-minute brisk walk

2 rounds of a 3-minute run, 90-second walk, 5-minute run and 2.5-minute walk.

Week 4:

Run 1: 

Start with a 5-minute brisk walk

5-minute run, 3-minute walk, 8-minute run, 3-minute walk, 5-minute run

Run 2:

Start with a 5-minute brisk walk

10-minute run, 3-minute, 10-minute run 

Run 3:

Start with a 5-minute brisk walk

25-minute run

Week 5:

Run don’t walk for 25 minutes

Week 6: 

Run 28 minutes 

Week 7: 

Run 30 minutes 

Strength Routine

Bulgarian Split Squat (3 sets x 8 reps) Lunges 

Lateral Box Squat (3 sets x 8 reps) 

Side Plank (3 sets x 30 sec)

Single-Leg Hip Thrust (3 sets x 8 reps)

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