With the days getting longer and lighter, now is the perfect time to get outdoors and do something physical. While those who have office or desk-based jobs experience sitting for long period of time, whether it’s while working, commuting or when you get home from work, it can sometimes be tough to muster up the motivation and get up on your feet.
As proud sponsors of Jersey Spartan Athletic Club, we’re encouraging everyone to get outdoors and a great way to do this is through the Couch to 5K initiative.
For those who need a bit of support, the club runs a 9-week Couch to 5K course with the next one running later in the year – for anyone who missed out on last month’s.
The aim is to help improve your mental health and physical wellbeing and the programme takes people from being a non-runner, sat on their sofa, to their first-ever 5k event. There is no need to be afraid of joining as this course is for all adults, from beginner to confident runner. All you need is reasonable health and the determination to succeed.
Why should you get involved in Couch to 5K?
For many beginning a fitness journey can seem like a daunting prospect, particularly if you feel unfit. For others, it is sometimes difficulty fitting exercise into a busy work schedule and knowing where to start. Sometimes this can lead to many giving up before they have even started.
Couch to 5K is ideal for those working out for the first time and can help take the pressure off finding time to exercise. You will have coaches, who will create a plan and support you on your first day of running.
You won’t be on this journey alone, as you will join a group of like-minded individuals who will have similar goals and fitness levels as you. Training as a group can help encourage and motivate you over the course.
What are the benefits?
From making friends to improving your fitness levels, there are many benefits to taking part in the Spartan’s Couch to 5K.
Running is a great way to improve your health and fitness, particularly of your heart and lungs. As it is a weight bearing exercise, it can also help to increase bone density for some people.
Not only is running good for your body; it is also great for your mind. Research has shown that running can reduce stress, as well as boosting confidence and self-belief. A recent study undertaken by Asics during the pandemic even found that 82% of UK runners say running helped to clear their mind, and 78% felt saner and in control because of it.
The course, when combined with a healthy diet, can even be used as part of a weight loss plan. With support from UK Athletics licensed running coaches, you will also be left with knowledge and skills to take with you once the course is completed.
How does the Couch to 5K plan work?
This is a 9-week plan that involves three runs a week. There will be rest days in between for you to relax and recover. To keep you on your feet, the schedule is different each week and gradually builds up your fitness and stamina until you can run a 5k – without stopping!
At the heart of Couch to 5Kis interval training. This means that your workouts will involve a mixture of running and walking intervals. In the first week participants will run for a minute at a time, creating realistic expectations and making the challenge feel achievable right from the start. As the plan progresses, the running intervals get longer, and the walking intervals get shorter until race day when the goal is to run a 5k.
Once all attendees have run their 5k together, there will be a celebration for everyone’s achievements.
We spoke to Chairman of the club Rebecca Orpin, who shares her top tips to help you prepare:
- Your runs should be at a conversational pace – imagine talking to a friend while running. Any faster is too fast, slow and steady wins the race
- Do not push yourself too hard too soon. As a new runner, you should not plan to run the entire distance in one go. That is why breaking it down into intervals and walking in between sets is key
- You will surprise yourself with what your body is capable of. It may seem hard at the beginning, but with determination you will be able to finish the course
Find out more details about Jersey Spartan’s Couch to 5K, by visiting: www.jerseyspartan.com/event/couch-5k-course/. If you are already a runner, why not volunteer to help support the Lead Coach?
Follow the Spartan’s Facebook page for details of the club’s next course.
As a sponsor for the Jersey Spartans, FCM recognises how vital clubs are in building healthier, happier and safer communities.
Without the help of sponsors, local clubs would struggle to support individuals and cement their place within their area. We encourage all businesses to get involved, if possible, and enable these organisations to help change people’s lives.”