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Dublin: 14 °C Saturday 2 August, 2014

How to get from the couch to the start line of a 5k in eight weeks

The Life Style Sports Run in the Dark is eight weeks away. Ultra marathon runner John O’Regan plots out a plan to get beginners from the couch to the start line in two months.

Image: Steve Takes Photos via Creative Commons/Flickr

THE TRICK FOR any beginner at the start is to not overdo it. The days on our plan are well spaced out but if you miss a session, don’t sweat it.

You need to fit the exercise around your life, rather than vice versa. So you do what you can do.

Try not to bunch a few days together; if you do three days in a row of exercise and then take three days off you’re not really getting the balance of training, rest and recovery times which are important and you’re not fully getting the benefit of the work you’re putting in.

At this stage I’d say go easy on the stretching — the intensity we’re doing here doesn’t really require you to warm up too much beforehand. When you get back in it’s a good idea to do a few warm-down stretches but that’s about it around now.

When you’re out there, don’t push through the pain – stay at a comfortable level for your abilities right now. This is a step-by-step process. We need to get fit before getting fitter.

At this time of year, with the fading light, the responsibility is on all of us to make ourselves seen so dress accordingly.

It might be a good idea to get a pal to go through this programme with you too; at this level what’s called a conversational pace is best — so if you have a friend with you and you’re chatting away, you’ll know if you’re going to hard if you can’t continue to chat comfortably.

If you’re on your own you might think, you’re going too slow and end up going too fast maybe.

Week 1:

Session 1: 5 Min Brisk Walk.  (60 secs Run / 90 secs  walk, Repeat for 20  mins). Walk to finish.

Rest day

Session 2: 5 Min Brisk Walk. (60 secs Run / 90 secs  walk, Repeat for 20  mins). Walk to finish.

Rest day

Rest day

Session 3: 5 Min Brisk Walk. (60 secs Run / 90 secs walk, Repeat for 20 mins). Walk to finish.

Rest day

Session 4: Rest or Active Recovery. Cycle / Swim / Brisk Walk.

See the full 5k programme here or the 10k here for more advanced runners.

John O’Regan is a renowned adventure runner and the Life Style Sports Run in the Dark’s expert coach.

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