Metros’ Couch to 5k

NEXT COURSE: Starting April 2019 is sold out.

What is Couch to 5K?

The NHS Couch to 5K plan is designed to get you off the couch and gradually work you up to running 5K or for half an hour, in just nine weeks.

Couch to 5K is a running plan developed to help absolute beginners get into running, and was developed by a novice runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his fifty-something mum get off the couch and start running too. The plan involves three runs per week, with a day of rest in between, with a different schedule for each of the nine weeks.  See schedule here – Couch to 5K 2019 programme.

At the end of the programme all participants are encouraged to take part in the 5K parkrun in Harrow Recreation Ground. You will be well supported by members of Metros running club who will also be taking part.

How does Couch to 5K work?

Probably the biggest challenge a novice runner faces is not knowing how or where to start. Often when trying to get into exercise, we can overdo it, feel defeated and give up when we’re just getting started. Couch to 5K works because it starts with a mix of running and walking, to gradually build up your fitness and stamina. Week one involves running for just a minute at a time, creating realistic expectations and making the challenge feel achievable right from the start.

Who is Couch to 5K for?

The NHS Couch to 5K organised by Metros running club is for everyone over the age of 18yrs, whether you’ve never run before, or if you want to get back into being more active.

How do I know if I’m fit enough to start this course?

If you have any health concerns about beginning an exercise regime such as Couch to 5K, discuss it with your GP first. You are responsible for your own health needs.

What are the benefits?

There are plenty of benefits from getting into running. For starters, it’s an easy way of improving your physical health. Running regularly will improve the health of your heart and lungs and give you more stamina.

Taking part in the NHS Couch to 5K organised by Metros running club will give you an idea as to how supportive it can be to belong to a group of like-minded people. As the Metros website states, “Metros is a road-running club that supports the running aspirations of people of all ages and abilities.”

 When does it start?

The next Metros Couch to 5K course starts on in April and ends in June. The sessions will be held three times each week – on Saturday mornings at 9.15am and Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

What do I have to do to complete the course?

You need to be committed to taking part in half hour training sessions three times each week for 9 weeks. Volunteers from Metros running club will support you all the way, walking and running alongside you. You will never get left behind. If you cannot make one of the sessions, you will need to make your own arrangements to complete any runs you have missed. Your commitment is to run 3 times per week to keep up with the plan.

How much does it cost?

The cost of the nine week course is £25. This includes membership of Metros running club which lasts until the following February. The £25 will need to be paid before you start the course.

How many people will be in the Couch to 5K group?

We are accepting applications for 20 beginner runners for this course. Places will be offered on a first-come first-served basis.

Can I wear headphones and listen to music whilst I run?

No. Headphones are not allowed at our sessions as you need to listen to instructions. In addition, when jogging in the streets you need to be able to hear traffic and other sounds that enable you to stay safe.

How should I prepare for taking part in Couch to 5K?

You would be wise to invest in a decent pair of running trainers. Ladies may want to buy a sports bra to keep them comfortable when jogging. No other special gear is needed.

We also recommend you prepare by practising brisk walking to start improving your stamina. This means walking to the point where you feel slightly out of breath.  Start with just a few minutes and aim to be able to walk briskly for 25 minutes by the time the programme starts.

There is plenty more information about the NHS Couch to 5K course on the NHS website which can be found here.

 What do people say who have already taken part in the Metros’ Couch to 5K?

‘The Couch to 5k really represents a wonderful achievement for me. I never thought I could run and I always gave up when I tried to do it alone but I’ve learnt that I can do it. I’ve also made some great friends who, like me, have made running part of their life now.’ (M.C.)

‘Would recommend to others, learnt I could run and keep doing it (it feels odd if I haven’t run at least once a week). Made a whole bunch of new friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.  And it gives me ‘ME’ time.’  (D.O.)

‘The couch to 5k program was an amazing journey which turned a run phobic person like me into someone who genuinely enjoys running now. The support and help that the Metros members gave us is what propelled us to the finish line and I would recommend the program whole heartedly to anyone who wants to run but doesn’t know where or how to start. ‘ (P.C.)

‘The couch to 5K was great, it provided a supportive framework for people to grow their confidence with running at a measured realistic pace. No unnerving pressure!’ (B.S.)

‘Taking part in Couch to 5k in 2017 has been an amazing experience.  I completed the course and ran my first parkrun in May.  The whole team at Metros were incredibly welcoming and supportive and I know I would not have completed the course if I had tried to do it on my own.  I have also made a great new group of friends and now that I’ve started I can’t stop running!’ (J.S.)