Couch to 5k: Beginner Tips

Last week, I started couch to 5k to push myself and to push my body. Below I have included some tips as well as some results that have helped me push myself and to gradually learn how to run effectively.

1. Don't Stop

When the going gets tough and you think "I don't want to do this" or "I'd rather be sitting at home watching Love Island" still push yourself to get your gym clothes on, to step outside the front door, to walk into the gym, to clock in, put your items in the locker and stand on the treadmill. Making and breaking these steps into smaller tasks will help you to push yourself to go as going to the gym will feel less daunting.

2. Find Your Jam

Previously when going to the gym, I have found podcasts to be motivating and enlightening. However, more recently I have been listening to music which actually really helps to get my rhythm and to focus on something I am familiar with and like the sound of. Check out my last blog post for some music inspiration!

3. Keep Hydrated

The way Couch to 5k works is that you follow instructions from a leader on the BBC Sports app (which you can download on iOS and Android). So the leader will tell you when to walk and when to run. After each run, I slow down to a brisk walking pace and take a couple sips of water. They don't have to be big gulps of water but taking it slow will allow you chance to refuel ready for your next run

4. Focus on Breathing

I do find running quite tricky at times as I can get into a panic that I am not breathing correctly or that I am going to get cramp in my legs if I carry on but actually, 9 times out of 10, I am perfectly fine and it is my mind that is playing tricks on me. Therefore, when I run, I focus on my breathing and nothing else. I manage to get my head in the zone and concentrate on taking a deep breath in and a deep breath out. Controlling my breathing has therefore allowed me to be less panicky and to feel more in control when I run.

5. Stretch

Make sure after your session to stretch out your legs. I usually complete the 5 minute cool down walk and then I put pressure against the wall stood up and do a standing lung to stretch my calves. I also do calf raises and toe touches (if that's what they're called!!) as this allows pressure and muscle tension to be relieved