How to beat the Couch to 5K programme on a treadmill
The biggest challenge facing new runners, is knowing where to start. You’re ready to feel challenged, but set off too quickly and you’ll soon be back to square one. That’s where the Couch to 5K running programme shines. Designed to ease beginners into distance running, Couch to 5K will have you running solidly for 30 minutes after just 9 weeks, a milestone that may seem out of reach for newbies, but one you’re eager to reach once you’re in to the swing of things.
Obviously, it’s the UK, so it’s unfortunately very unlikely we’ll get perfect running weather 3 times a week for 9 weeks. Thankfully, the Couch to 5K programme is just as easy to complete on a treadmill as it is pounding the pavements. Here’s some tips to help you reach the Couch to 5K finish line on a treadmill…
Download the right Couch to 5K app
Okay, this might seem obvious, but there’s more than one app to choose from here. They’re all mostly the same programme, just make sure you pick one that doesn’t use GPS to track your distance or pace - you won’t be moving anywhere on the treadmill!
Find the right speed for you
It might take some trial and error, but it’s important to know what speeds work for you during the running and brisk walk sections. You should be moving at a speed at which you can still hold a conversation. And remember, there’s no such thing as ‘too slow’, in fact, the slower the better, especially at the beginning of the programme – the focus here is on building stamina, not speed, although this will naturally come with time.
Set your intervals
If you’re lucky enough to own a treadmill that will let you programme your own custom intervals, then automating the change between walks and runs is definitely worthwhile, meaning you can solely focus on putting one foot in front of the other. If not, you’ll just have to listen out for the instructor in your ear to tell you when to slow down and speed up, but you’ll quickly get the hang of this as you progress.
Introduce hills into your run
Unlike running outside, where you’ll be constantly changing elevation and terrain, a treadmill offers a completely flat, cushioned running surface to virtually eliminate any injury risks. Whilst this is great for longevity, you’ll find you’re not expending the same amount of energy when on a treadmill. One way to combat this, once you’re settled in to the Couch to 5K programme, is to incorporate some hills into your run with your treadmill’s incline – providing yours has this feature. Just changing to 3%-6% incline at points throughout will make your session more challenging, and will more accurately replicate the outdoors.
Repeat difficult weeks
The goal is to run for 30 minutes, or 5k, in 9 weeks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take as long as you need to reach the target. If you’re finding a particular week difficult, repeat it as many times as you need until you’re ready to move on.
Running can be difficult, and getting started is the hardest step. In the Couch to 5K app, you have that extra helping hand to pull you on to your treadmill and get moving. With these tips, and the motivating trainers that guide and support you through every run, you’re truly set up for success, no matter your starting point. If you’re looking for a machine to complete the programme with, we’ve got you covered with our range of treadmills that are perfect for the home.