So you are sitting on your couch and considering how to get into shape. Maybe you have decided the best way would be to have a goal, and maybe you have decided you want to be able to run 5km.

What a great place to start, 5km is a very achievable goal and easier than you might think.

So where to begin, well if you are reading this then you have already started the process. What is your motivation? Think about why you want to do this, as it is what you are going to need to keep in mind in order to keep going when you feel like giving up. Motivate yourself to workout the easy way.

Right, now that you have your reasons we can get started. We will be starting gradually, there is no set speed that you will have to run at, the pace is whatever you feel comfortable with and a speed that allows you to run for the amount of time specified even if it is just a bit speedier than a walk. If you are struggling to run for the indicated time then slow your pace down and you should be able to run for longer. Where I have written ‘run’ it is just the terminology I have chosen to use it could be written as jog… everybody’s pace is different and once you start you will begin to find your own pace.

If you find any week particularly hard then repeat that week before you move on to the next week in the program, just because it is a 9 week program it does not mean that you have to do it in 9 weeks. The idea is that you build up gradually at a speed that is appropriate for your level of fitness and to do it without injury.

A little reminder, if you haven’t exercised in a while or have any health issues, heart issues etc. get advice from your doctor before you start the exercise program.

The hardest part is going to be getting out the door, starting is always the biggest hurdle but once you overcome it you may be surprised to find yourself looking forward to your next run. You only need a couple of things to get you going; a sports bra (for the ladies), a comfortable pair of running shoes and something you can keep track of times with.

The following program is designed for beginners and incorporates warm up and cool down times, don’t forget to stretch after each workout.

Rest Days: Take days off from running in between the workouts, these don’t have to be no workout days, you could do strength training, yoga, pilates etc. but also schedule in 1-2 full rest days each week to allow your muscles to recover and prevent injury.

From Couch Potato to 5k Workout

 Workout 1Workout 2Workout 3
Week 1Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
60 sec run
90 sec walk
Repeat 8 times
Cool down: 3 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
60 sec run
90 sec walk
Repeat 8 times
Cool down: 3 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
60 sec run
90 sec walk
Repeat 8 times
Cool down: 3 min walk and Stretch
Week 2Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
90 sec run
2 min walk
Repeat 6 times
Cool down: 3 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
90 sec run
2 min walk
Repeat 6 times
Cool down: 3 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
90 sec run
2 min walk
Repeat 6 times
Cool down: 3 min walk and Stretch
Week 3Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
90 sec run
60 sec walking
3 min run
2 min walk
Repeat 3 times
Cool down: 3 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
90 sec run
60 sec walking
3 min run
2 min walk
Repeat 3 times
Cool down: 3 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
90 sec run
60 sec walking
3 min run
2 min walk
Repeat 3 times
Cool down: 3 min walk and Stretch
Week 4Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
4 min run
2 min walk
4 min run
60 sec walk
Repeat 2 times
Cool down: 5 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
5 min run
2 min walk
5 min run
90 sec walk
Repeat 2 times
Cool down: 5 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
6 min run
3 min walk
5 min run
90 sec walk
Repeat 2 times
Cool down: 5 min walk and Stretch
Week 5Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
8 min run
5 min walk
8 min run
Cool down: 5 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
8 min run
3 min walk
8 min run
Cool down: 5 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
10 min run
5 min walk
8 min run
Cool down: 5 min walk and Stretch
Week 6Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
10 min run
5 min walk
10 min run
Cool down: 5 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
10 min run
3 min walk
10 min run
Cool down: 5 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
12 min run
3 min walk
10 min run
Cool down: 5 min walk and Stretch
Week 7Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
15 min run
3 min walk
10 min run
Cool down: 5 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
20 min run
Cool down: 5-10 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
22 min run
Cool down: 5-10 min walk and Stretch
Week 8Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
25 min run
Cool down: 5-10 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
26 min run
Cool down: 5-10 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
27 min run
Cool down: 5-10 min walk and Stretch
Week 9Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
28 min run
Cool down: 5-10 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
29 min run
Cool down: 5-10 min walk and Stretch
Warm Up: 5 min brisk walk
30 min run
Cool down: 5-10 min walk and Stretch

Exercise Disclaimer

In the interest of your safety, it is important to check with your physician before beginning any exercise program and to exercise according to your fitness level and capabilities. If you have any questions, please seek the guidance of a health professional.

Running 5k is a great start, once you complete this think about your next goal, do you want to keep running 5k and improve your speed, maybe you want to run 10k?

Go for it, anything is possible, just keep going…

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