Couch to 5k – Yay or nay?

Today, it’s been announced that more people than ever have been downloading the Couch to 5k app during lockdown. According to the BBC, more than 858,000 people have downloaded it from March to the end of June, a 92% increase on last year (Source).

Below is a blog post I wrote for House21 about my experience of Couch to 5k. I hope it helps you decide if you’re thinking of doing it!

‘One You Couch to 5k’ is a free app from Public Health England which helps absolute beginners to start their running journey. Over the course of nine weeks, you go from running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 to being able to run 5 kilometres (or 3.1miles).

When I first started running in 2014, I used the initial Couch to 5k app created by the NHS. It helped to start my love affair with running and from there, I signed up for lots of different 5k, 10k and half marathon races.

Fast forward six years and, thanks to a back injury, I’m revisiting the Couch to 5k app. I’m very impatient and always want to be ahead of where I am. However, both my physio and my fiancé told me to take it a step at a time, literally, so I didn’t re-injure myself. So, I downloaded the app and was very impressed.

Here’s why:

It’s easy to use – You just download it for free from your IOS or Android store, open it up and start your journey.

You can listen to your own music – When the app first came out in 2012, you had to listen to the stock music that came with it. It wasn’t particularly motivating! However, now, you can play your favourite upbeat tunes as you do your miles.

You can choose your running coach – I love this feature. Public Health England are working in conjunction with the BBC so you can be coached by the likes of Jo Whiley, Sarah Millican, Sanjeev Kohli or Michael Johnson. I went with comedian Sarah Milican because she sounds super enthusiastic!

It’s manageable and you can build up slowly – For someone like me who’s impatient and wants to be able to run a 5k, like now, it helps to pace you. It breaks the journey up into manageable sections with plenty of time to get from walking to running a 5k.

Gets you out of the house – I’ve found that having three days a week to get out and build up my running is really useful. Especially being in lockdown. It helps to give structure to the days and gives me something to look forward to. It helps me manage my mental health too.

It takes rest days into account – The app is very good at telling you about having rest in between your runs to make sure you don’t go too quickly and injure yourself.

All in all, it’s a yay from me. I would highly recommend giving it a go. Imagine how pleased you’ll be at the end of lockdown when you can run 5k!

Download the ‘One You Couch to 5k’ app for free from your IOS or Android store here.’