Feb 2016 20

Time to get fit

By: Dave Wheeler

With the silly season of New Year's resolutions out of the way, and the signs of spring on the horizon, now's a great time to think about getting fit.

If you've been meaning to get fit for a while, but keep putting things off, have a look at the NHS Couch to 5K programme.

Whilst there are plenty of "get fit" programmes around, the Couch to 5K plan is well thought out, effective, and above all safe.

 

Couch to 5K

The Couch to 5K is a 9-week programme to get people up from behind the desk, the driving wheel or the TV and get them out running 5K.

It's a slow-build programme. It assumes that you haven't done anything for quite a number of years. The thing I like about that is that it's safe for everyone. People getting into running after a long break are at risk of 2 specific injuries which can stop you exercising for a very long time:

The NHS Couch to 5K plan builds up slowly specifically to avoid these problems.

The idea is to start out with a mix of walking and running 3 times a week, building up running 5K, 3 times a week.

The plan looks like this:

Week 1

Brisk 5 mins walk to warm up the muscles, then alternate 1 min running with 1½ mins walking, for a total of 20 minutes (i.e. 8 sets of run/walk). Do this routine 3 times in the week.

Week 2

Brisk 5 mins warm-up walk, then alternate 1½ mins of running with 2 minutes walking, for a total of 20 minutes (if you make it 21 mins, then you can get 6 sets of run/walk). Do this routine 3 times in the week.

Week 3

Brisk 5 mins warm-up walk, then, 2 repetitions of: 1½ mins running, 1½ mins walking, 3 mins running & 3 mins walking. Do this routine 3 times in the week.

Week 4

Brisk 5 mins warm-up walk, then 3 mins of running, 1½ mins walking, 5 mins running, 2½ mins walking, 3 minutes running, 1½ mins walking & 5 mins running. Do this routine 3 times in the week.

Week 5

1st run of the week: brisk 5 mins warm-up walk, then 5 mins running, 3 mins of walking, 5 mins of running, 3 mins of walking & 5 mins of running.

2nd run of the week: brisk 5 mins warm-up walk, then 8 mins running, 5 mins walking & 8 mins of running.

3rd run of the week: brisk 5 mins warm-up walk, then 20 mins running, with no walking.

Week 6

1st run of the week: brisk 5 mins warm-up walk, then 5 mins running, 3 mins walking, 8 mins running, 3 minutes walking & 5 minutes of running.

2nd run of the week: brisk 5 mins warm-up walk, then 10 mins running, 3 minutes walking & 10 mins running.

3rd run of the week: brisk 5 mins warm-up walk, then 25 minutes running with no walking.

Week 7

Brisk five-minute walk, then 25 minutes running. Do this routine 3 times in the week.

Week 8

Brisk five-minute walk, then 28 minutes of running. Do this routine 3 times in the week.

Week 9

Brisk five-minute walk, then 30 minutes of running. Do this routine 3 times in the week.

 

Some extra tips for new runnners

  1. Stretch after every run. You don't need to overdo it - just stretch the muscles that you know will ache the next day.
  2. Stick to the plan. Don't skip ahead because  your find it easy in the first couple of weeks. To avoid injury, your muscles need to get used to exercise again, and it takes a while.
  3. Don't carry a water bottle. You're not running for long enough to need water. If you carry a bottle, you'll set up an imbalance as you run resulting in hip rotation as your arm swings across your body with the weight of the bottle - you'll end up doing more harm than good.
  4. Run through puddles, don't jump over them. If you jump over puddles,  you're in danger of stretching out your muscles under load further than they can cope with which could  lead to a muscle tear.
  5. Don't wear earphones. You want to be able to hear traffic approaching from all directions. 

 

What next: Parkrun

Once you've got yourself running 5k, why not think about doing Parkrun?

Parkrun is a national movement of timed 5k runs held at 9 o'clock every Saturday morning.

Local Parkruns include:

with others planned soon.

 

You'll have gathered, I like the Couch to 5K programme. It's suitable for anyone and if you stick to the plan, it'll get you fit and active in a safe way.

As ever, if you think I can help with your sports massage needs, give me a call.,