Couch to 5K – It’s Totally Doable
Walk, skip, run – whatever you got – do it!
The benefits of walking are HUGE! Movement in general is critical to our health. Have you heard the news? Sitting is the new smoking!
Disclaimers: If you have a health condition, please get clearance from your medical professional(s) before proceeding. Also, be sure to have properly fitted walking shoes.
- Walk 15 minutes day at a comfortable pace – don’t overdue it!
- Keep it to approximately 5 days this week.
- Stay off your phone and other electronic devices. Keep your upper body upright and check out the world around you.
- Increase your walking to 20 minutes a day – keeping in mind the pace and physical limitations.
- If you experience shin splints, know that it is common for beginners. But, you can minimize them by stretching before and after each walk. Again, also make sure your shoes are newer (without a lot of miles) and fit properly.
- If comfortable, you may pick up the pace a bit here. If you’re walking a 20-minute mile, see if you can make it a 19-minute mile. Listen to your body and know your limitations and when you can kick it up a notch.
- Increase your walk time to 25 minute stints. Keep it to 5 days a week but vary up which days.
- Allow your body to rest those 2 days a week. Rest days are just as important as the walking days.
- Now it’s time to start thinking distance. Continue to walk 5 days a week. Make 4 days a 30-minute walk and increase the 5th day to 40 minutes. This may still be at an easy pace. We’re going to distance, not speed.
- Be mindful of your nutrition (quality foods and calories) and hydration, especially if you tend to sweat and/or get overheated.
- Now let’s look at speed a bit more closely. On your shorter walk days (4 days a week at 30 minutes per day), see if you can increase your speed a bit. Maybe take off another minute per mile?
- Keep Day 5 your long day – now 45 minutes at an easy pace.
- Keep a journal and note how you’re feeling before, during, and after walking. How is this changing your life?
- Start increasing your miles. Continue 4 days a week at 30 minutes per day.
- Day 5 now increase to 60 minutes at an easy pace. You may have a rest day after Day 5.
- Care to add intensity? If so, start to vary your pace – one mile at an easy pace and then the next at a bit faster pace.
- Consider adding hills/inclines to change the intensity.
- Higher intensity walking builds aerobic fitness.
- Vary your route – explore new areas.
- If you haven’t already, consider registering for an upcoming 5K walk.
- Commit to the walk and take in the energy of the other walkers BUT keep it to your pace. It’s easy to be excited and walk faster than you’ve trained.
- Continue your 4 days of 30-minute walks and 1 day of a 60-minute walk – for your health and to stay in shape (no shin splints!) for additional walks.
You have months of warm weather ahead. How will you stay committed to yourself and your movement routine? Consider a walking/accountability buddy.