Coach Potato to Runner: C25k Plan
4 min read

Coach Potato to Runner: C25k Plan

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It's officially the new year. What comes with the new year? New year's resolutions. One of the most (if not the most) common resolution is to lose weight or exercise more. It comes naturally as we tend to overeat by tons during the holiday period. Sadly, it's not really "new year's resolution as it's more of "I will do this during January" spur of the moment. I have not heard of a single person who has gone through the whole year sticking to their resolution.

Resolution Fail and Losing Weight
One of the biggest probable reasons for not sticking to a resolution is the exaggerated goals. The bigger your goal the easier it is to fail. I'm not here to discourage you. Rather it's easier to attain a goal when it's much not too far fetched. What we want to aim for is simple short goals. Our goal is to lose weight but we'll do it a few small steps.

There are a lot of factors in trying to shed off weight. These are nutrition, digestion and of course exercise. Exercise doesn't mean going to the gym and spending 8 hours for one day a week or running for 10 kms then crawling back home. Exercise can be as simple as jogging for a couple of blocks for a few mins a few times a week. It can be as simple as choosing to use the stairs instead of the elevator. It all depends on what works for your lifestyle and schedule.

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**Forming a Habit of Cardio** Instead of thinking of losing weight as a dream, it's easier to not think about it too much. Just evaluate your weight, body, health and stamina a few times a month. Once you change your lifestyle and incorporate a few habits, your body will take care of the rest.

Cardio or cardiovascular activities range from jogging, running, swimming or almost anything that raises your heartbeats per minute. Performing cardio exercise has a lot of benefits like better heart health, reduced stress, more energy, prevention from some forms of cancer and of course shedding fat. In a general sense, your body uses up those stored burgers in your tummy and uses it to power you through the exercise.

You shouldn't dive in to any exercise immediately. You might fail because of it. You might push yourself too hard or not performing in regards to recommended time or form. You need to give a little research to reap all the benefits.

Couch to 5k Plan
Due to the sheer expense of going to the gym (here in Toronto) with my misfortune of always being a few miles away from a basketball court, I decided to try running not as an exercise but as a sport. Running is one of the easiest to sport to attempt because all you need is yourself, some shoes and a couple of streets.

I'm obviously new to running but I have tried some training plans a while back. I didn't complete a few due to my afternoon-night schedule and requirements for my last  year in school. I wanted to start small and find a plan suited for a beginner. That's where C25k comes in.

Couch to 5k is a 9 week plan from Cool Running (dotcom). It's designed to get you off the couch and building your stamina so you can complete a 5k run. The great thing about it is you only dedicate around 30 mins a day for it. Currently, I'm in the middle of the 3rd week and enjoying it.

All the research for running about c25k is already done for you. Check it out here. Need music or an audio coach? Do you prefer a plan suited for treadmills? Information on gear? Everything is already in the link. Check it out.

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**Some Advice** Just a reminder, everyone's situation is different. For me, I'm currently doing the plan in winter so I need a couple of more things like more layers of clothes, etc. You may not be able to try running if you can't run in the city. For example, snatchers could be a problem. Ask around through friends or online to get an idea on how to work around problems you might have.

Remember to start small. Don't push yourself too hard. Don't run as if your life depended on it. Take it nice and slow especially if you're new to running. Be patient and once you're more fit, you'll be faster and be able to run longer. You don't have to follow the C25k plan per second. If the plan says you should run but you're a little out of breathe, slow it down or walk the rest of the allotted time.

Get your phone or mp3 player, a good set of headphones to help you get through the run. Find music that pumps you up and you can enjoy running more. Also, you can try using an audio coach to help you out. Robbert Ullrey's podcast contains music and instructions on when to walk or run.

If you're a fan of videogames, You can turn running into a little game. If you have a smart phone, you can track your run via GPS. You can also use apps (web version also available) like RunKeeper. Improve on your stats week to week.

Good form
To help your body out, it's good to keep in mind the proper running form. Don't be stressed out if you can't follow it. It takes time. I have a terrible form and I'm trying to correct it. One of the benefits of proper form is the stress it takes out of my knees. I had some fatigue when trying out the new form. Now, it's more comfortable to run and jog long distances with the proper form.

Below is a sample video on the proper form.

Good luck! The most important step to achieving anything is to start.