Should You Do Couch to 5K? Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes

Has is Indy so quick to leave temples? He runs races on the weekends.

If you’re looking to run your first 5K, you’ve come to the right place. 

In today’s guide, we’ll cover common questions – and 5 mistakes – about the Couch to 5K program:

This is the type of stuff that we cover in our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program: helping many of our clients prepare for upcoming races and 5Ks. We’ll teach you many of the same tips in today’s guide, so you can rock your competition safely. 

What is Couch to 5K? Why is the Couch to 5K Plan so popular?

These dogs are ready to leave the couch and run a 5K...really.

“Couch to 5K” is a free program that takes people from their couch to running a 5K race in 9 weeks.

5K is short for 5 kilometers, or 5,000 meters or 3.1 miles.

This running program was invented by Josh Clark of CoolRunning WAY back in the day.

What's older, this clip or Couch to 5K? Hard to tell.

It has since been co-opted and copied by every running blog out there, so we’re going to be referring to a generic “Couch to 5K” program when we talk about it.

(When people ask the question “How long does it take to complete Couch to 5K,” it really depends on which program they pick. 

It might be 6 weeks, or 12 weeks, or 9 weeks. The original Couch to 5K plan created by Cooling Running took 9 weeks).

Here’s the Couch to 5K plan a nutshell:

The program utilizes an uber-popular concept called interval training – moving at different speeds throughout a running session – and lays out exactly what to do every day for 6-12 weeks after starting.

What's cool about Couch to 5K is each day you know exactly how you should be training!

By varying your pacing, your body is forced to adapt to different speeds, your heart and lungs have to adapt to various levels of strenuous activity (and get stronger/healthier as a consequence).

As a result, you actually burn more calories and get better prepared for a race then compared to just training at a constant speed.

In other words, interval training rocks and should be used by anybody who wants to get better at running.

Over the weeks, Couch to 5K slowly ramps up the amount of time you spend running and cuts back the time you spend walking until you’re at the point where you can actually run a 5K without stopping.

Mr. Gump ran like 1,000 5Ks when he crossed America.

“STEVE, I’M INTRIGUED. WHY IS COUCH TO 5K SO DANG POPULAR?”

#1) It’s simple and clear. Print out a PDF or download an iPhone app and for the next 9 weeks you simply do what it tells you:

Today, do this.

Tomorrow, do that.

Repeat.

We’re all busy. Most of us lead hectic lives. And programs that tell us EXACTLY what to do allow us to follow instructions without needing to figure it out ourselves.

Not that us nerds overanalyze things to the point of giving ourselves anxiety attacks

#2) Most people think running = weight loss. If you’re brand new to health and fitness, and you’re trying to lose weight, you’re most likely overwhelmed at what you should start with and how you should train.

Are you gonna go sign up for a gym membership, hire a trainer, and start doing squats and deadlifts?

Rebel Leader Steve showing how to do a 420 lb deadlift at the gym.

As much as I would WISH that was the answer (it’s probably the fastest path to changing one’s physique), it’s often a bridge too far for many folks.

So a majority of newbies equate running with weight loss (which MIGHT be true, but MIGHT not, I’ll explain here), and decide to start with a jog around the block.

#3) Couch to 5K is not overwhelming. It’s a free program (or inexpensive app), and it’s very approachable.

Programs like P90X and Insanity are designed to appeal to people that consider themselves hardcore (whatever the hell that means).

Couch to 5K appeals to people who are overwhelmed at the idea of doing P90X or Insanity or mustering up the courage to go to Crossfit.

Couch to 5K makes you think “maybe I can actually do this…” which is the most important part of any fitness journey: starting.

Homer wants to eat donuts so he is doing Couch to 5K. Is he doing it right?

#4) Everybody wants to “have run a 5K.” If you’re new to health and fitness and working on setting a good obtainable goal, “run a 5K this year” is a great place to start.

  • It’s a short enough distance that with some training you can pull it off, even if you have to walk some or all of it.
  • There are 5Ks practically every weekend, many of which raise money for charity or are themed in a fun way,
  • It’s an amazing activity to do as a group with friends.
  • Humans are wired for achievements, progress, and gratification – 5Ks are perfectly designed for that.

So in completing Couch to 5K, you train and get to see yourself progress weekly, you get to finish a race and feel a  sense of accomplishment, and you go home with a medal you can hang on your wall reminding you of the proud moment.

Humans are wired for achievements like these trophies, which makes running a 5K awesome.

Plus, it might get you in shape!

Maybe…we’ll explore in just a moment.

If you are trying to get in shape, I’ll mention our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program. I know of no better way to transform yourself than through the help of an expert who knows exactly what to do. We’ve helped hundreds of people run their first 5K and helped others train for triathlons!

Does Couch to 5K actually work? Will I lose weight Doing Couch to 5K?

This LEGO wants his ice cream so he's jumping on a treadmill. Smart strategy?

“Steve that’s all fine and good. But what do you REALLY think about running 5Ks and Couch to 5K?”

Okay you got me. I got thoughts. I also got jokes (they’re bad).

RANT INCOMING!

Consider this a "warning" on an incoming rant about C25K.

Will the Couch to 5K program help you run a 5k? YES! If you actually stick with it for the entirety of the training program.

Will the Couch to 5K program help you lose weight? MAYBE.

Is Couch to 5K a program that will get you healthy permanently? MAYBE.

Will Couch to 5K make me sexy and look damn good in a bathing suit? MAYBE, but probably not.

Here’s the truth about Couch to 5K: It’s the same truth with popular programs like P90X or Insanity or any other structured workout program:

It totally works and will help you lose weight if you do two things:

  1. You actually complete the program, AND
  2. You fix your diet.

MISTAKE #1: Couch to 5K totally doesn’t work and won’t help you lose weight if you do two things:

  1. You actually complete the program, BUT
  2. You don’t fix your diet.

As sexy as it is to think that just going for a run will help you lose weight, the data doesn’t back it up. In fact, as Time Magazine rightly pointed out years ago and got yelled at for telling the truth, exercise alone won’t make you lose weight.

I believe that to be especially true when exercise is only steady-speed cardio.

Homer is doing Couch to 5K...week 1.

In fact, many people gain weight after starting an exercise routine and get completely demoralized.

What gives?

As we say here at Nerd Fitness, you can’t outrun your fork, and nutrition is 90% of the battle.

If you go for a mile run and then stuff your face with extra calories “because you earned it,” you’re going to gain weight.

It’s not because you have a slow metabolism, I promise. It’s because you’re consuming too many calories.

This is Common Mistake #1: not fixing your nutrition if you’re running for weight loss!

If this were a movie, nutrition would be Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible and exercise is that funny sidekick who helps Tom. Let’s be real here, Tom is doing all of the heavy lifting to make that movie what it is.

Tom Cruise is the heart of Mission Impossible, like nutrition is the heart of weight loss.

Couch to 5K helps people run a 5K.

That’s it.

It’s not designed to help you lose weight or build a body you’re proud of. It’s also a temporary program that lasts a certain number of weeks until you run your 5K.

For Couch to 5K to be successful for you long term, and for it to help you lose weight, it needs to be the catalyst that causes you to build a consistent long term habit of exercise and changes how you think about food.

Remember: you never get to be “done”, so you need to enjoy the journey and look forward to exercising daily.

You also need to train the right way to build the type of body you want! And eat the right way.

That’s priority numero uno.

The Tick knows you can't outrun a bad diet, even with Couch to 5K.

I know nutrition is a really challenging, complex, controversial topic (Keto? Paleo? Ah!), which is why we make it stupidly simple for smart, good looking, modest people like yourself.

In addition to our online coaching program that guides you on making healthier food choices, we also created a free 10-level NF Diet blueprint you can hang on your fridge next to your Couch to 5K PDF.

Print it out, hang it on your fridge, and follow the instructions to level up every 2 weeks! You can get yours free when you sign up in the box below:

Now that we have the “will I lose weight?” stuff out of the way, I have two BIG questions to ask you:

Do you like running?

Are you healthy enough to run?

Do you even like running?

Sonic runs 5Ks before he runs 5Ks.

Bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman said it best: “Everybody wanna be a bodybuilder, don’t nobody wanna lift no heavy ass weight.”

In other words: “Everybody wants to be in shape, and look great, but nobody wants to put the work in to actually GET in shape and look great.”

And yup, getting in shape is tough; if it were easy we’d all look like Captain America and Wonder Woman.

Instead, 70% of America is overweight and 30+% are obese. Crap.

Which brings me back to the most crucial question of this entire 5K process:

Do you even LIKE running?

Batman has to fun whether he likes to or not...part of fighting crime means running 5Ks (ish).

The world is split into three groups:

  • People that like running and want to run.
  • People that don’t like running but eventually learn to love it.
  • People that don’t like running and will never like running.

Here’s that Ronnie Coleman quote, slightly adapted: “Everybody wants to have run a 5K, but many people don’t actually enjoy running.”

Running a 5K is a great achievement and a worthwhile fun goal, but it’s only one way of thousands to “get in shape.”

Many people feel like Andy Dwyer in Parks and Rec when they go running.

An image showing a damaged character from running too much while training with Couch to 5K.

Some people love that feeling of anguish or pushing beyond the limits, and that’s awesome!

But for everybody else, they make Mistake #2: they force themselves to run even though they don’t like it!

So before you start Couch to 5K, think of it as a science experiment:

“I hypothesize that following Couch to 5K will help me run a 5K. I also hypothesize I’ll enjoy the process, enjoy how I feel after a run, enjoy running a 5k, and/or enjoy the achievement of having run a 5k.”

And that’s all this is: an experiment to see if running is the type of exercise you want to continue doing consistently for the next few years.

If 2 weeks into Couch to 5K you’re miserable and hate it: fantastic!

You just discovered that you hate running and are now free to NEVER RUN EVER AGAIN FOREVER. It doesn’t make you a failure.

It means your science experiment produced a result that you can now use to inform future exercise decisions.

Treat your Couch to 5K experience as an experiment to see if you enjoy running.

Again, it doesn’t make you a failure.

It just means you found a type of exercise that doesn’t work for you.

If you discover you LOVE running and how it makes you feel: fantastic! You can now make running part of your regular exercise routine. Combine this with a good nutritional strategy, and you will build yourself a runner’s physique. And you’ve found something you can do for the rest of your life.

If you are running to prove something to yourself, because a friend is doing it, because you’re raising money for charity, or anything else: fantastic! Do Couch to 5K and then decide after if this is the strategy that you enjoy and want to stick with permanently.

Don’t make Mistake #2: If you’re ONLY doing this to lose weight and it’s making you miserable, quit. Don’t run. Ever.

No, you don't have to run if you don't like it. We promise.

Instead, pick an exercise you actually enjoy. But not because the exercise is going to help you lose weight – because doing an exercise you love is a constant reminder of “I’m making healthier choices, and thus I should probably eat healthier!”

If weight loss above all else is your goal, I’d recommend our Beginner Bodyweight routine you can do at home and combine it with our “beginner’s guide to healthy eating.” I can promise that if you read those strategies and start to implement them in your life, you’ll see results without ever having to set foot on a treadmill.

Phew! Okay, that covers “do you actually LIKE running?”

There’s another massive question you should be asking yourself before you start…

Are you healthy enough to run a 5K?

Being chased by zombies is a good way to get you off the couch and running a 5K.

Just because you WANT to run doesn’t mean you SHOULD necessarily start running just yet.

It could be a fast track to injury, disappointment, and misery!

Those are literally three of my least favorite things. The fourth being brunch. [1]

You won't find Steve chugging mimosas at brunch like this lady.

Back to your health: are you physically ready to run?

If you’re at or close to your goal weight, then starting a running program is a good idea.

Read the section below on “How to not get injured doing Couch to 5K” and get started.

If you are obese or very overweight, I think (power) WALKING a 5K is a great goal for the immediate future.

However, I think Mistake #3 would be running a 5K before properly preparing your body for it! In fact, running prematurely without addressing your weight might cause damage to your joints and ligaments and cause you to backslide a whole bunch.

WHAT I WOULD DO INSTEAD: Focus on healthy eating, building the habit of daily walks, and follow a beginner strength building routine like the Beginner Bodyweight Circuit.

This will build you a solid foundation of strength, core strength, and endurance.

Download our free Bodyweight Workout Worksheet when you sign up in the box below:

Here’s why you should focus on strength and nutrition before pounding the pavement with hours of running:

  • As you begin to drop weight, a lot of the stress on your joints, organs, bones, etc. will start to decrease.
  • As you strength train, the ligaments that hold your body together will become stronger and more adequately prepared for the rigors of running.
  • As you refine your running form to minimize resistance and jarring shocks throughout your body, your body will learn to become more efficient.
  • When you start to approach your goal weight, you can start to introduce increase your speed from power walking to jogging – with correct running technique (see below) – and staying healthy.

“STEVE, I was all excited to run a 5k, and now you have me demoralized. I’m overweight but I still want to run!”

Okay okay okay, fine! I don’t want to keep you from exercising, I want to help you build momentum and make you antifragile.

Did the hulk get shredded by running 5Ks? Or was it radioactive something or other?

Obviously, you’re going to do what you’re going to do, and if running before your physically ready is what you want to do, go for it!

Just do it safely, please! Read the section below on proper running technique!

I would still advise that you focus your efforts on strength training, hiking, long walks on the beach…low impact activities that strengthen rather than deteriorate your body.

But you do you, boo.

If you want any help getting in shape to run your 5K, we got you! We help men and women and self-aware robots with our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program. We offer nutritional guidance, professional accountability, and custom workouts!

How to start the Couch to 5K Program

If you have to chase a dog, you'll be off the couch and running without even trying.

“Steve I’m in. I read all of that jazz above and I am ready to get started. Whether I’m walking or running, I want to start Couch to 5K!”

If you’re ready to do the Couch to 5K program, you can download the following which I believe is the Original Couch to 5K Program (they’ve made it quite tough to find!).

The reason it’s tough to find is they’re pushing people towards the official Couch to 5K App.

This image shows you the original Couch to 5K plan.

Here’s another which I found on Antrandado.com

This image shows you another Couch to 5K plan.

For us Nerds, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the super fun Zombies Run! app, which uses interval training combined with fun audio cues and video game mechanics throughout your running sessions.

What I would do next after downloading the program? Do the first day of training!

These soldiers are ready to start Couch to 5K. Or fight orcs, whichever happens first.

I would also recommend finding a race that’s 2-3 months from now, and sign up for it even if you’re not ready.

Recruit a friend or two to join you in training and the race!

Doing these things create immediate motivation and accountability.

It’s the strategy that Jaime from Nerd Fitness used to get herself in shape: signing up for races in the future that she wasn’t quite ready for yet.

She also strength trained and dramatically overhauled her nutrition, but she used races as great motivational events to stay on target!

Jamie used an upcoming race as motivation for her weight loss journey.

HOW TO FIND A 5K IN YOUR TOWN: Let me google that for you. Type “5K + [your town]”, and I bet there’s a 5k every weekend for the rest of the year coming up. The Couch to 5K app also lists local races for you.

To recap:

  • Pick a race that looks fun that raises money for a good cause
  • Recruit a friend or two
  • Go for your first day of running!

It’s gonna suck, and you’re going to be fine. You’ll get better!

This is exactly what I did years ago when I dressed up like a Caveman with 20 of my friends and raised thousands of dollars for kids with cancer to go to summer camp!

How to Not Get Injured Training For a 5K

This LEGO runs 5Ks while running from people who want to glue him to stuff.

If you don’t learn how to run correctly, you’re doomed to develop an overuse injury and that’s going to negate the whole reason you started running in the first place!

This is Mistake #4: Crappy running form!

When you run, you’re putting hundreds of pounds of pressure on your joints and ligaments with each bounding step down the road.

This is then repeated thousands of times over the course of training and a race.

No wonder nearly every runner has tons of stories of injuries they’ve had to deal with. It can be a brutal activity that can wreak havoc even with good running mechanics.

With poor running mechanics, the results are compounded.

Pay attention to your running technique or things can go wrong!

And not the GOOD kind of “compounded” like compound interest like you learned in 2nd grade with the story about starting with 1 penny a day and doubling it every day for 30 days.

The BAD kind of “compounded” like plantar fasciitis and stress fractures and sore IT bands and torn ligaments and crazy soreness all the time.

We don’t want that.

I’m going to get super granular into proper running technique in this section, so if you already have perfect running form, you can skip this section. But I’d still read it.

Yeah, you should probably read it.

Here are the “5 Steps to Not Sucking at Running a 5K,” thanks to my friend Jason Fitzgerald of Strength Running:

1) Lean from your ankles.

A gif showing you proper running form for your Couch to 5K (lean forward).

Lean from your ankles, and keep a straight line from your ankle, through your butt, and up to your head.

If you’re standing still with this slight forward lean, you should feel like you’re about to fall forward.

When you start running, gravity will help keep you progressing forward. A proper lean from the ankles keeps your body in alignment and loads your muscles properly and efficiently.

2) Increase your cadence. Cadence is your stride rate, or the number of steps you take per minute. It will probably seem weird at first, but you’re putting less stress on your legs with shorter foot strikes.

Your cadence should be at least 170-190 steps per minute when you’re running at an easy, conversational pace. It will probably increase once you start running faster—that’s normal.

“Steve, what the hell do I do with “170-190 steps per minute?”

Great question. Go to Spotify and look for 170-190BPM playlists, like these which I found here:

Not on Spotify? Cool. (But like, why?) To get a cadence, try running to Outkast’s “Hey Ya” and time your strides to match the beat. That’s the cadence you’re looking for:

Research has shown[2] that increasing your cadence and taking more steps (around 180 per minute) provides many of the same benefits of barefoot running: less impact shock that goes up your legs, improved running economy (or your efficiency, which means you’ll run faster with less effort!), and a reduced chance of injury.

You’ll feel like you’re taking way more steps than normal – that means you probably had poor form before and now you’re fixing it!

If your legs get to the point where they’re going this fast, let me know:

3) Foot strike at the right time. When your foot comes down and makes contact with the ground, it should be underneath your body, not in front of it.

This gif shows that your foot should be underneath you while running.

Combined with a quick cadence and a slight forward lean from your ankles, you’ll be distributing impact shock evenly—and efficiently.

This aspect of running form is often skipped over by beginning runners.

Instead of focusing on where the foot is landing in relation to the rest of the body, they focus too much on running on their forefoot. If you don’t first land in the right place, a midfoot or forefoot strike will only do more damage.

As you’re running, a good mental cue is to think that you’re just “putting your foot down” in a straight line underneath your body.

There’s no reaching or stretching your leg out in front of you. Practicing this mental cue will have your leg touching down almost exactly underneath your center of mass, distributing your weight evenly and safely.

4) Land on your mid-foot. While not as important as landing underneath your center of mass, becoming a mid-foot striker has a host of benefits.

This gif shows that your foot should come down mid-foot when you are running.

It can help you avoid a lot of injuries by absorbing impact shock and preventing a severe heel striking running stride.

Heel-striking can’t be entirely blamed for injuries and labeled “bad.”

Even elite athletes heel strike when they run races! It’s not entirely bad— especially if you’re putting weight down on your foot just after you heel strike, instead of directly on the heel.[3]

What you should focus on is having a higher cadence, landing underneath your body, and not aggressively heel striking.

Try to land with your foot flat on the ground, instead of with your toes angled upwards.[4]

5) Symmetrical arm swing. Nobody wants to look at you running if you’re flailing your arms wildly all over the place like Elaine dancing from Seinfeld.

Don't do this while running...maybe dancing...maybe. Def not during a 5K.

An ideal arm swing has your arm bent at about 90 degrees and a front to back swing (not side-to-side).

Like this gif shows, keep your arms at about 90 degrees while running.

Imagine a pretend line that goes down your mid-line or center of your body. When you run, your hands should not cross over this imaginary line.

Cup your hands loosely together (no clenched fists!) and if you want to use your arms for momentum, pump your elbows, not your hands.

Once you incorporate these changes into your running form, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable and your injury risk is going to plummet.

For extra credit, learn to run softly and quietly. Foot stomping isn’t allowed and gets increasingly more difficult as you approach 180 steps per minute.

A few other things you want to keep in mind:

  • Keep a tall back, chest up. No slouching.
  • Look 30-50 meters in front of you – not head down looking at your toes.

Both are easy cues to keep an athletic posture and good running form.

Go back through and read this section a few more times. We know it’s a LOT to think about while running, but it is incredibly important. If you get a chance, have somebody film you running, and then watch your tape back to see how you’re doing.

I should note that we provide form checks to our coaching clients. Through our awesome app, you can record a video of your running form or exercise technique and send it right to your coach! That way you can know your running and training safely and correctly!

10 Tips and Tricks for Training for Your 5K

The Flash has his running technique down...and can run a 5K in less than a second.

Although the Couch to 5K Program covers specifically how you should be training, it still leaves out quite a few important things (like technique, which I covered above!).

Once you’ve picked your 5K training program, here’s how to get yourself to ACTUALLY follow through on your training!

#1) Recruit an accountability partner. Have somebody that trains with you (or at least somebody you tell about your training), so that each day you can check in with each other.

A friend can be a great asset in starting Couch to 5K.

Wanna be diabolical?

Give somebody else $100 of your money. And tell them you’ll check in with them after your training every day – if you don’t do your run, they’ll donate $50 of that money to a political cause you HATE.

While you’re building the habit of running, you need to make the pain of skipping your run greater than the pain of doing the run.

Do this enough times until you build up enough momentum and get hooked on that runners high so that you actually look forward to training.

#2) Warm-up before, stretch after. Don’t do static stretches before your runs. It’s not doing what you think it is[5]. Instead, you’re going to warm up your muscles through active movement.

  • Do a dynamic warm-up before you run. Continue this by going for a light jog, high knees, and warming up your muscles through movement.
  • Do the following cool-down stretching routine after you run. Stretching after for the win!

#3) Make it the first thing you do each day. Build the habit of doing your run first thing in the morning when life hasn’t had a chance to get in the way.

Sleep in your running clothes.

Put your alarm clock/phone across the room. Put your running shoes by the door. By hacking your Batcave, you’ll minimize the steps between you and the new habit you’re trying to build.

#4) Strength training makes running easier. Doing 1-2 sessions of strength training per week (on days you’re not running) will help you burn fat, build muscle, and stay injury-free.

Follow our Beginner Bodyweight Routine, no equipment required.

#5) Don’t worry about your shoes when you start. Wear whatever shoes you have so that you can just get started building the habit immediately. If you START to love running, read our article on proper footwear and get yourself some better kicks.

Get comfy running a little before you invest in new shoes...because you might not actually like running.

The same is true for “running clothes.” Do not let this be a barrier to entry.

Start running first and make sure you like it before you go spending any hard-earned cash on stuff you’re not gonna use.

#6) Sign up for your race as far in advance as possible. Use 20 seconds of courage if you need to, but commit to the race.

If you don’t sign up, you’re going to be much more likely to back out when life gets busy.

Go sign-up for a 5K right now! Don't be too busy like this cat.

But if you pay for it ahead of time, and get other people to run with you, you’re going to be using positive peer pressure to follow through on your commitments.

#7) Your race time doesn’t matter! Who cares if you’re the last person to finish? Like the Rock taught us, it doesn’t matter.

The Rock doesn't care what your 5K time is!

What’s important is that you finish something that you started. That’s a huge accomplishment in itself.

#8) Start a running club or join one at work – the more people you surround yourself with that are doing the things you want to do, the better. Hang out with runners that are faster than you.

You’re the average of the 5 people you associate most with, so you might as well start associating with faster, healthy runners.

#9) Don’t have an in-person running community? That’s cool! Join the Scouts Guild in the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

It’s the section of our community that does running, biking, swimming, and other distance-based activities!

#10) Hire a coach. Outside of having a group of friends or co-workers keeping you accountable, a coach who routinely checks in with you and your progress can be a godsend. We’ve helped tons of people build the habit of running!

What Do I do After the Couch to 5k?

What do you do after running your 5K? You eat!!!

You made it through the training, and you ran/walked your first 5K! I’m so proud of you.

Gold star.

A+.

So after successfully completing your first 5K, you may be wondering what you should do next. To run again or not…

Many new runners absolutely love the atmosphere at a race; the number pick- up, pre-race motivational speech, cheering crowds, and crossing that finish line.

Oh, and the post-race beer and meal is the best food and drink you’ve ever tasted.

So after the excitement settles down, you need to ask what you want to do next.

Your three options:

  1. Run Faster: Sign up for another 5K, keep training, and try to beat your previous race time.
  2. Run longer: Maybe you want to run a longer race like a 5 miler, a 10k, or go slay a bigger dragon like half-marathons or marathons.
  3. Pick a different activity: Going from Couch to 5K to Couch doesn’t help you at all. Temporary changes create temporary results.

Notice there wasn’t a 4th option, the option that usually everybody picks:

“Go back to sitting on the couch”

That’s Mistake #5: not having a plan to CONTINUE exercising after Couch to 5K!

As we say at Nerd Fitness: “Temporary changes create temporary results.”

So you have to do SOMETHING next, otherwise all that hard work and training will have been for naught! 

Want help figuring out exactly where you should go from here? I got you!

Pick the option below that best aligns with your goals and timeline:

#1) We have a bunch of NF Coaching clients that are training for 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, and tough mudders. If you want step-by-step guidance on how to lose weight, eat better, and train for races, check out our killer 1-on-1 coaching program:

#2) Good at following instructions? Check out our self-paced online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy.

The Academy has 20+ workouts for both bodyweight or weight training, a benchmark test to determine your starting workout, HD demonstrations of every movement, boss battles, meal plans, a questing system, and supportive community.

3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Sign up in the box below to enlist and get the Nerd Fitness Starter Kit, including the 15 fitness mistakes you don’t want to make and our guide to the most effective diet and why it works

4) Check out these other sweet running resources:

To recap our guide on the Couch the 5K plan, these are the 5 Mistakes to avoid:

  1. Running a 5K might be a good way to lose weight. It is entirely dependent on your nutrition. The same is true of literally ANY workout program. (Mistake #1: Not changing your nutrition)
  2. Couch to 5K may or may not be a great program for you. It depends on how much you enjoy running, and what you are hoping to get out of the program. (Mistake #2: not actually enjoying running)
  3. Make sure you are fit enough to endure the rigors of running! If you’re severely overweight, let’s get you in shape FIRST before we put stress on your knees and joints for thousands of running steps. (Mistake #3: Running before you’re ready)
  4. Make sure your running technique is solid. It’ll save you years of pain and injury. (Mistake #4: Running with improper form)
  5. Recruit a friend or find a way to stay accountable so you actually do the race!
  6. Who cares about your race time! Just completing the race should be your goal.
  7. Once you finish the race, decide if you want to keep running or if you are going to pick a different activity. (Mistake #5: Not having another goal after completing your 5K)

Okay, it’s your turn. I’d love to hear your experiences when it comes to training for a 5K, and if you enjoyed the process.

Have you DONE Couch to 5K? Did you stick with it?

What challenges did you run into along the way?

Share it in the comments below!

-Steve

PS: I’ll leave you with a final reminder of our 1-on-1 Coaching Program. If you’re blown away by the fact that you don’t have to run to get in shape, but don’t know where else to begin, we got you.

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photo credit: mripp Fun run, almostsummersky sleepy pups, BRICK 101 LEGO Sonic Tails & Shadow, clement127 Halloween is coming!!, Mabacam Speed, Photography andreas Just a Lego Minifig, Reiterlied Wandering in the North, clement127 Banquet

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