12 tips and tricks to complete your Couch-to-5 Km (C25K) programme

Four months ago I started the C25K programme and in the midst of numerous business trips, sickness and excuses, I finally finished the nine-week programme last night. Even today, 24 hours later, I still cannot believe it is true (especially I had the heart surgery 3 years ago). Looking back, I find there are 12 things that helped me a lot to accomplish this. So, here you go.

1. Set you goal, run for distance or run for time – while the objective of the programme is to run 5 kilometers in 30 minutes, but it is clear that these are two different goals. So if all you want is to run 30 minutes non-stop, feel free to adjust the speed / goal to suit yourself – be it 4 kilometers or even 3 kilometers.

2. Repeat certain sessions if needed – Each week of the programme is composed of three sessions. If you find difficulties to complete one session or another, don’t rush to the next session according to the programme. Instead, repeat that particular session until you find you’re comfortable to advance to the next one.

3. Find a good running track – If you don’t feel comfortable jogging on the street / sidewalk, try treadmill in gym. There is no such thing as perfect running track.

4. Breathing with your belly – Believe it or not, the best way to breath while you’re running / jogging is to breath with your belly. Here is one resource to tell you how to do belly breathing.

5. Good running shoe – no doubt a pair of good running shoe is important. What really important is make sure the sport shoe you have is good for running, not for tennis, basketball etc. And the pair I have is from Nike with Nike+ Sensor.

6. Good Podcast / Application – No matter how you like to run, running without music for 30 minutes is a very boring exercise. So I will recommend installing some iPhone Applications or download some Podcasts to help you. I employed Podcasts approach and I like the ones from Robert Ullrey a lot.

7. Get your gears always ready – One of the best way to motivate yourself to run is to have everything ready all the time, such that you pack and go to gym easily. The gears include running shoe, T-shirt, shorts, pulse rate monitoring watch / belt, small towel, bottle of water etc. etc.

8. Don’t run in consecutive days – Be sure to space out the three sessions throughout the week to give yourself a chance to rest and recover between efforts. Once you find that the exercise is a painless one, you will like it more.

9. Track your progress – Another motivation is you can see your own progress everytime you finish your run. So don’t just track how long / far you run, but also your weight, your muscle tone etc. Check off each day as you finish the workout, and you will be surprised how much you can achieve.

10. Join the Couch-to-5K running plan Fan page in Facebook and the C25K.com – you will get lots of tips and tricks there, and most important of all, you will get lots of supporters there.

11. Spread the word – I found that if you keep telling your friends how good the running plan is, and tell them your progress; it increases your commitment to your goal.

12. Read a book about running / jogging – Lastly, it is a mental game from couch to 5 Kilometer, read a book about running will definitely help you to prepare for it. The one I read was What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Murakami.

Hope these tips and tricks will help you as well to graduate from the programme in 9 weeks !!

Nike+ Sensor