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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Couch to 5k Training Programs

couch to 5k

For those of you out there that feel like you can’t run more than a couple blocks without stopping, cramping or panting, there is a fun solution to becoming a stronger and more confident runner. Couch to 5k training schedules get you moving and in 5k-ready shape in just nine weeks! Get off the couch with the training app from and move from the couch to the finish line by spending just 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week, for nine weeks, working towards your goal of running 3.1 miles.

The first two weeks usually start out with a warm-up walk and then alternating running and walking for 60 and 90 second intervals. The number of seconds spent running slowly increases into the third week, usually by jogging for 90 seconds, walking for 90 seconds, jogging for three minutes and walking for three minutes. If this sounds complicated, don’t worry because there is music and an encouraging voice telling you what to do the whole way through. In the beginning, it may even feel too easy, but it is definitely a healthy approach if running is not part of your regular exercise routine.  For those of you that are less tech savy, you can download a pdf version of the training program here.

By week six and seven, the schedule has you jogging for five minutes, walking for three minutes, jogging for eight minutes, walking for three minutes and jogging for five minutes. Week eight is where you become a real distance runner, completing a five minute warm-up walk and a 2 ¾ mile jog. By week nine, a 5k will feel natural and you will be feeling optimistic about keeping it up and working in a 30 minute jog to your schedule three times a week.

Another important aspect is logging your workouts and tracking your success on social media in order to get encouragement and feedback from friends. This is a great way to see your progress and hold yourself accountable for going on runs and staying on the training schedule.

Another great way to start running is to join a group of people who share your same goals. Foot Traffic offers a lot of options for meeting up with runners of the same level and going on runs, usually around Portland neighborhoods! For example, at the Northeast Portland store, runs take place on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and all abilities are welcome.

Time to get running!