Couch to 5K Runner Smartphone Application
You’ve definitely maybe heard of the supremely popular running app Couch to 5K Runner, but I very much doubt you’ve heard of the guy who thought up the idea way back in 1996. No? Thought not.
Meet Josh Clark… He’s not the beautiful model that’s in our featured image. She’s an employee no doubt of Active, the fitness company that bought the rights to the app and helped make it blow up globally. C25K has literally taken the running world – or the lazy, overweight sector of the running world, to be more precise, by storm. People have just clicked with it, pardon the pun.
Continuing the history lesson, Josh Clark enlisted the help of his mum, who gladly signed up as his first Beta tester. Something that she was immensely proud of, apparently. Likewise Josh was thrilled because it was really important to him that he shared his love of running with his mum.
The principle behind Clark’s idea was bridging the gap between walking to jogging and eventually to running. From my own perspective, he seems to have done this with a view to eliminating pain and discomfort so people don’t give in. He also gave the app – or programme, as it wasn’t even software back in 96, never mind an application – a really cool name in Couch to 5K Runner.
What the name did above all else is say to people: it’s okay to be a couch potato. There is no shame in being overweight, especially when you are using your will power and drive to get back in shape and recover your fitness levels to something you can be proud of.
I guess it’s a bit like reverse psychology. Instead of promoting the athletic side of running and asking people to catch up, your starting off slow, heavy and unmotivated, but with the goal of incremental improvement that is genuinely achievable.
When people are achieving they’re going to feel better about themselves than if they’re continuously comparing themselves to a catalogue model or Olympic athlete, which is a goal nobody is going to achieve apart from another athlete.
It’s great for Josh Clark – and the rest of the running world – that this approach not only worked, but stoked the fires of runners everywhere. Such is its popularity there are endless different versions of this app, some better than others, but I’ve found the two most downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Running Can’t be Trademarked, it’s in Our DNA
Like anything popular, there seems to be a bit of rivalry, most likely unfriendly, due to the immense amount of money at stake. There has been a few copy-cat apps popped up, but apart from being morally wrong, they don’t seem to be breaking the law or any copyright infringement.
From where we’re sat, the original app, which is now owned by Active has a 9 week programme. The secondary version, among many, seems to be going with 8 weeks to try and give a little variation. Does it matter? No, not in the slightest. Running is the winner when ever something inspires a generation to get out and about. So in the end it’s taken 1 man to move a nation.
No Gold Medals, Just Food and a Runner’s High
Monetary concerns aside, it doesn’t matter one jot what the software companies are doing. You can’t trademark running, it’s a part of our DNA. That’s what makes it so special and gives it the capacity to bring us together in a medieval, yet modern way of socialising. Imagine chasing an antelope around for 6 hours, 25,000 years ago. There would be no gold medals, just food and maybe that other thing we crave – runner’s high.
Although Josh Clark might not have made millions out of his original idea, he’s certainly touched millions of people. That to us is worth more than the green stuff that’s only good for fancy cars and fast lifestyles.
It’s something that will live with him forever. No doubt out of the many millions of ex-runners who have taken the sport back up, plus the newbies who he helped get started, there are plenty of inspiring stories and even lives saved due to extreme weight loss stories. It sounds a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s a certain fact that it’s the plain and simple truth.
Running has won, but the people have won as well and all for the cost of a pint of beer – or less.
Such is the Apps Status – Even the NHS are On Board!
You can check out the NHS week-by-week schedule, where they go the full 9 yards.
Whereas Jordan himself started out running with the usual infliction of shin splints, plus boredom and sore muscles. He has used this worst-case scenario and flipped it on its head.
Instead of savaging yourself, you go out and take it bit by bit, step by step. How can you lose when you set baby goals? All you need to do is be persistent and motivated and you have every chance of completing the 9-week course, but more importantly continuing afterwards as well.
That is what matters, because you don’t want to be healthy for 9 weeks; you want to be healthy for the rest of your days.
Couch to 5K Weekly Schedule
Information below taken from the NHS Website.
- Week 1: For your three runs in week one, you will begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then alternate one minute of running and one-and-a-half minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.
- Week 2: For your three runs in week two, you will begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then alternate one-and-a-half minutes of running with two minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.
- Week 3: For your three runs in week three, you will begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then two repetitions of one-and-a-half minutes of running, one-and-a-half minutes of walking, three minutes of running and three minutes of walking.
- Week 4: For your three runs in week four, you will begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then three minutes of running, one-and-a-half minutes of walking, five minutes of running, two-and-a-half minutes of walking, three minutes of running, one-and-a-half minutes of walking and five minutes of running.
- Week 5: There are three different runs this week: Run one: a brisk five-minute walk, then five minutes of running, three minutes of walking, five minutes of running, three minutes of walking and five minutes of running. Run two: a brisk five-minute walk, then eight minutes of running, five minutes of walking and eight minutes of running. Run three: a brisk five-minute walk, then 20 minutes of running, with no walking.
- Week 6: There are three different runs this week: Run one: a brisk five-minute walk, then five minutes of running, three minutes of walking, eight minutes of running, three minutes of walking and five minutes of running.Run two: a brisk five-minute walk, then 10 minutes of running, three minutes of walking and 10 minutes of running. Run three: a brisk five-minute walk, then 25 minutes of running with no walking.
- Week 7: For your three runs in week seven, you will begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then 25 minutes of running.
- Week 8: For your three runs in week eight, you will begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then 28 minutes of running.
- Week 9: For your three runs in week nine, you will begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then 30 minutes of running.
How to Progress Successfully
- The whole Couch to 5K Runner programme has been designed for people with no running experience to gradually build up their fitness and confidence levels so they can tackle a 5 kilometre run without stopping.
- A typical example of this would be a Parkrun event, which is always at 5 km.
- Should you feel like you are struggling, all you need do is rest for a couple of days or repeat the week you are struggling on to give yourself more time to complete the challenge.
- As always, listen to your body and if you feel pain or discomfort contact your doctor for a professional opinion.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of structure with regard to completing the programme. By being timely and accepting the challenge head on you will be more likely to have a positive outcome. Especially when the programme has been designed to take into account people will be overweight and are starting from a low fitness level. In other words, there are no excuses.
- Following on from above, allocate your running days and stick to them. You will always be glad afterwards! It is this continuous sense of achievement that you should build on and ride the wave to the end.
Planning Your Rest Days
- To ensure you remain injury free, plan at least one rest day in-between your runs. This will also help you run stronger and faster because it will give your muscles time to replenish your glycogen stores and repair themselves.
- Running is a high-impact exercise and your bones, joints and tendons, as well as muscles, need time to acclimatise and gradually strengthen. Doing too much too soon will put you at risk of injury.
- Shin splints are a common problem when runners do too much too soon, especially when combined with increases in age and body weight.
- The NHS have an alternative plan called Strength and Flex which you could try on your rest days. This will help your running or any other sports you participate in by increasing your body strength and flexibility.
Dealing With Aches and Pains
- The biggest enemy of new runners is either calf pain or shore shins, which are known as shin splints. It’s like a shooting pain through your shin bone when you pound the ground – and feels much worse on harder ground like the road or pavement.
- Make sure that your running shoes are in suitable condition. On average you can expect roughly between 300 and 500 miles of running, dependant on the surfaces and conditions that you run in.
- Warming up and cooling down correctly, combined with proper stretching is the best way to keep your muscles relaxed and ensure that stiffness doesn’t set in the next day. Stretching realigns your muscle fibres so they sit better in the muscle and this enables waste materials and toxins to move freely and exit the muscle, as well as enabling protein and nutrients to come the other way.
- The NHS has a page on treating sporting injuries that you might want to check out – sports injuries.
Five More Runner’s Reads
- 10 Wickedly Simple Running Pace Calculators
- 30 Ways How to Run Faster and Longer
- Treadmill Workout to Burn Fat
- Staying Motivated for Weight Loss
- Half Marathon Training for Beginners
Have You Tried Couch to 5K Runner Yet?
There’s a hectic mix of smartphone apps to choose from in every category you can think of, but especially fitness.
Just as we’ve discussed already, Couch to 5K Runner is one that people have taken to their hearts for whatever reason… every year we always get a new fad or fashion item. Think fidget spinners – well this very app is the equivalent of a runner’s fidget spinner for their smartphone.