Learn to Run Couch to 5K

Before you embark on any learn to run program it’s important to get the go-ahead from a medical professional. Once you are clear to begin a new activity there are some important things to consider before you start

Proper shoes/ gait assessment

  • It’s important to have a professional assessment done on your gait and foot type so you can have the best shoes for your foot and stride type.
  • Improper or worn out footwear is one of the leading causes of typical injuries in runners.
  • Many people put off buying “good shoes” until they are sure they will enjoy running, and then end up injured and think that they can’t run.
  • It’s also important to consider what kind of surface you plan on running on as there are different shoes made for trail and road running, for summer and winter conditions.

Warm up

  • A proper warmup is key to preparing your muscular and skeletal system for the task of running.
  • A good warm up consists of some brisk walking and a series of dynamic stretches. It doesn’t need to take any longer than 10 mins, and should be done at the start of any run.
  • A warm up is also a good time to do any form drills you may need to do to correct specific imbalances in your stride.
  • A few easy Dynamic stretches to do are: Walking lunges, arm circles, leg swings, air squats and your ABC form drills.


  • Cooldown is just as important as warming up, you can’t expect your body to go from running to sitting with no adjustment period in between.
  • A Cooldown will help your body return to its normal state post run and will help prevent injuries and tightness.
  • A Cooldown should consist of a bit of easy walking and some light static stretching.
  • A few easy Static stretches to do post run are: standing quad stretch, sitting forward bend, cobblers pose and calf stretches up against a wall.

Good form

  • Running with proper form helps with injury prevention and energy efficiency while running.
  • A professional can do a gait assessment for you to give you tips on how you can improve your form that are specific to you.
  • Some generalized tips to keep you running in good form: Run “tall” with you spine aligned and back straight, look ahead of yourself, keep your arm swing controlled but not tensed, keep your stride short so that you land under your hips on your mid-foot, don’t stride out ahead of yourself, lean forward from the ankle, try to use your entire leg to drive forward not just your calf/ankle.

Hydration and nutrition tips

2 hours before a run or workout try to drink 2 glasses of water and have a light and balanced meal.
Everyone’s hydration and nutrition needs will differ based on their body type, goals, activity level and sweat rate among other things. If you are at all concerned with your specific hydration and nutrition it’s important to contact a dietitian or nutritionist for advice.
Within an hour of finishing your run you should have another small well balanced meal to replace depleted stores and aid in muscle growth, as well as drink a glass of water with electrolytes in it to replace what you’ve sweat out.
During your run sip on water as you feel you need it, you don’t need to eat during your run until you are doing longer distances

Plan - Coach Brittney’s Couch to 5k.


  • This plan is created for someone with 4 days per week to run.
  • It is important to follow the plan as directed so your body has time to adjust to the physical demands of running without over working it and leading to injury
  • If at any time during your run you feel pain, it is important to stop and seek medical attention before returning to your plan
  • Each run should be preceded with a proper warm up and followed with a proper cooldown. 

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