Everyone can try running with a little bit of help

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Following on from last week’s exercise guide on walking and running, I thought that today, I would explain what the Couch to 5K scheme is and why it could be perfect for you.

It is a great idea for anyone who seriously wants to start getting fit but is nervous because they are not used to following an exercise regime.

It’s also great for people like me who start with the best intentions in the world but struggle to maintain the motivation and stick to it simply because it feels too hard!

Couch to 5k even has an inspiring story behind it.

It is a plan developed by novice runner Josh Clark to help get his mother off the couch and confident about running.

It is easy to follow and starts with a mixture of walking and running.

And it gradually builds fitness in manageable chunks.

The sessions are narrated by the form of a podcast explaining exactly when it is time to run and when it is time to walk. There are also musical podcasts to help you keep your rhythm.

They will take you on three runs per week leaving a day’s rest in between.

Three runs per week may sound like a lot but consider this....in the first week the runs are only ONE minute at a time!

Does it not suddenly sound so much more achievable?

There are sufficient podcasts for six weeks – that’s plenty of time to build a fitness regime into your every day life.

Weeks five and six are designed to get you running for longer periods of time so by the end of week six you will be a fully competent runner.

However there are some things you will require before you get started so follow the checklist below and by the end of it you will be ready to run. Honestly.

1) Firstly, you will need to be able to download the podcasts onto an MP3 player or a mobile phone that allows you too so that you can listen to them as you are running.

2) When are you going to run it is very important that you make sure you can fit it in with your lifestyle right from the beginning.

If you can’t, you are less likely to maintain it. So perhaps get up a little earlier, run during a lunch break, after work, or once the kids are at nursery or school.

3) Think about where you can run before you take a single step. Perhaps invest in a map of your local area – you might find some perfect spots you didn’t even know were there, like a nice park, or you might rediscover a favourite spot along the beach. If you do like gyms then perhaps you can even run there?

There are internet-based programmes that can help you plan a route and stick to it. Plus you may even be able to run some errands on the way back.

Remember, some areas are not as safe at certain times of the day, so think safety before you settle on a location, or invite a friend, a partner pr the kids to join in and get fit together.

4) Think about what you’re going to wear. You will be most comfortable in something that will keep you warm and give you support.

Your footwear is very important so if you do not have a pair of comfortable trainers then you can usually get some for about £30 in a local sports shop. There is no need for expensive running shoes.

5) Visit the NHS website and search Couch to 5K and download those podcasts...you are ready to run.