Get running with Couch to 5K


Taking up running can seem like a scary prospect, especially if you feel out of shape or unfit

NHS Couch to 5K will help you gradually work up towards running 5K in just 9 weeks.

What is Couch to 5K?

Couch to 5K is a running plan for absolute beginners. It was developed by a new runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his 50-something mum get off the couch and start running, too.

The plan involves 3 runs a week, with a day of rest in between, and a different schedule for each of the 9 weeks.

How does Couch to 5K work?

Probably the biggest challenge a new runner faces is not knowing how or where to start.

Often when trying to get into exercise, we can overdo it, feel defeated and give up when we’re just getting started.

Couch to 5K works because it starts with a mix of running and walking to gradually build up your fitness and stamina.

Week 1 involves running for just a minute at a time, creating realistic expectations and making the challenge feel achievable right from the start.

Who is Couch to 5K for?

Couch to 5K is for everyone. Whether you’ve never run before or if you just want to get more active, Couch to 5K is a free and easy way of getting fitter and healthier.

If you have any health concerns about beginning an exercise regime like Couch to 5K, make an appointment to see your GP and discuss it with them first.

What are the benefits?

There are plenty of benefits from getting into running. For starters, it’s an easy way of improving your physical health.

Running requires little equipment, but a good pair of running shoes that suit your foot type may help improve comfort.

Running regularly will improve the health of your heart and lungs. It can also help you lose weight, especially if combined with a healthy diet.

There’s evidence it may help increase bone density in some people, which can help protect against bone diseases like osteoporosis.

There are also mental benefits of running. Taking on the challenge of Couch to 5K can help boost your confidence and self-belief, as you prove to yourself that you can set yourself a target and achieve a goal.

Running regularly can also be a great stress reliever and has even been shown to combat depression.

Download NHS Couch to 5K

Download the free Couch to 5K podcasts.

The podcasts feature a narrator, Laura, who guides you through the session, explaining when you need to run and when it’s time to walk.

The podcasts also feature music to motivate you through the workout. They’re designed to take you on 3 runs each week, leaving at least 1 day of rest in between each run.

There’s 1 podcast for each week of the plan – except in weeks 5 and 6, which feature 3 individual podcasts.

This is because weeks 5 and 6 act as transitional weeks, which aim to progress you from a mix of running and walking into running for longer blocks of time.

How do I get started?

1. Download the Couch to 5K podcasts to your mobile device or computer. If downloading to a computer, you’ll then need to copy the podcast on to your mobile device.

2. When will you run? The best way to ensure you stick with your running plan is to carefully work out how to fit Couch to 5K into your day.

3. Plan your route. You may want to look at a map to plan your route first so you can focus on running. There are lots of great websites out there to help you with this.

4. Think about safety. If you’re planning to run outdoors, bear in mind that you may be less aware of your surroundings if you’re wearing headphones. Watch out for other pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. When running in the dark, make sure you can see where you’re going and that other road users can see you. Consider running along routes with adequate lighting or wearing reflective clothing.

5. What gear? The most essential piece of kit is a pair of running trainers. Read our guide to buying new running shoes.

One You Couch to 5K app

The One You Couch to 5K app gives you a choice of coaches and helps you track your progress.

As well as Laura who features on the NHS Couch to 5K podcasts, you can also be coached by celebrities Jo Whiley, Sarah Millican, Sanjeev Kohli or Michael Johnson.

Download the app now.

Sport Relief – where your money goes

sport relief - where your money goes

Sport Relief believes everyone deserves the right to live happier, healthier and safer lives.

However you choose to get active for Sport Relief, they use the money you raise to tackle critical issues affecting people across the UK and the world.


Helped more than 50,000 people, in the UK, living with a mental health problem.

Helped over 3.4 million people in Africa through maternal, neonatal and child health funding.

Treated over 900,000 people across Africa with anti-malarial drugs.


Thanks to the money you raise, they’re able to support more than 2,000projects in the UK and around the world.

Find out how money raised through Sport Relief 2018 will make a huge difference by visiting the Sport Relief website

Triathlon to get UFC-style makeover

triathlon to get UFC style makeover

A new global triathlon series is set to kick off in Jersey next month is to get a UFC style makeover.

The event, supported by some of the sport’s leading athletes – including Great Britain’s Brownlee brothers – as well as a major corporate backer in Royal Bank of Canada. Super League Triathlon’s sportainment-driven concept takes elements from other new and updated sports formats, among them T20 cricket and UFC. The new property is the brainchild of three men from three very different backgrounds: Belgian businessman Michael D’Hulst, Russian investor Leonid Boguslavsky and Australian two-time Ironman World Champion Chris “Macca” McCormack.


Meet a Taekwondo star

Meet a Taekwondo star

The WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix rolls into Manchester in October – win a pair of weekend passes and meet Lutalo Muhammad in person

“It’s time to remove the pretenders”

“As far as I’m concerned I’m the reigning World Grand Prix champion,” says Lutalo Muhammad.

The 27-year-old has endured a tough time with injury since his silver medal in Rio, but is now fully fit and ready to prove himself all over again.

“I wasn’t able to defend my title because of injury, but now I’m feeling amazing. There are some pretenders out there, but I fully intend to reaffirm my position and show exactly why I am the World Grand Prix champion. I’m back and ready to bust up the division once again.”

The WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix rolls into Manchester between 19-21 October, and Be Inspired readers have the chance to win a pair of weekend passes and meet Lutalo in person after his weigh-in.

For now though, Lutalo just can’t wait to put on a show for his home crowd.

“It’s super exciting competing in Manchester,” he explained. “I’ve not competed at home in the UK for a good few years now and Manchester is my adopted home, too.

“I fully intend to put in a performance. I want to perform at my best and we all know what the result will be when I do that. I’m hard at work in the gym now, preparing for what is going to be an amazing Grand Prix event.

“Taekwondo is a very, very, exciting sport. I would say to anybody, come to Manchester, get yourself a ticket and come see the very best in the world face off.”

The Grand Prix Series is vital event in the build-up to next year’s World Championships and will also feature GB stars Jade Jones and Bianca Walkden.

Weekend passes and tickets to all three days of action are on sale now.

More information about how to get involved and try taekwondo yourself can be found here.

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