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Couch to 5k (C25k) in 9weeks: Original Josh Clark version (RPE Effort based)

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Couch to 5k (C25k) in 9weeks: Original Josh Clark version (RPE Effort based)


Alex Mitchell from FastFitnessTips

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9 Weeks

Plan Description

The Couch to 5K (C25K) is a beginners running plan created by Josh Clark in 1996 for those aiming for a 5k in about 9 weeks. You will be running 20 to 30 minutes, three days a week. The daily workouts start with a 3-5min warm-up walk and works up to running three miles / 5k initially alternating with walking, then without. It progresses slowly so most people can manage it; if you are willing to train ay least 3 times per week.

This is the summary from Josh Clark himself:
"It all starts with being gentle to yourself. The first week of Couch to 5K asks you to jog for just a minute at a time, an achievable victory for most of us right out of the gate. The challenges gradually increase, but in increments that are always within reach. In the process, one discovers that there’s more inside them than they realized.

Nearly all of us can run if we want to; we just have to start by walking or jogging. Speed, distance, frequency—those are all beside the point. The animating notion behind Couch to 5K is that anyone who laces up their shoes and gets moving earns the right to be called “runner”—and to enjoy the benefits in mind, body, and even self-image of finishing a run or crossing a finish line. Recognizing yourself as a runner—giving yourself permission to do this thing—is half the trick of actually doing it."


You can move any days/days-off to any other day
Where a session has multiple activities (intervals) go easy at first but try and finish strong
Initially run for time but at the end you can run against a set distance
By all means run in a group but try and stick with your pace and plan
Keep in mind you will improve if you slowly do more each week
Don't worry if you don't hit the target every time, if necessary you can repeat it

We applied the 1-10 effort scale so you know how hard to go (aka RPE / Borg scale)

Level 1: Like I I'm watching TV
Level 2: I'm comfortable and could maintain this pace all day long
Level 3: I'm still comfortable, but am breathing a bit harder
Level 4: I'm sweating a little, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly
Level 5: I'm just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily
Level 6: I can still talk, but am slightly breathless
Level 7: I can still talk, but I don't really want to. I'm sweating
Level 8: I can only keep this pace for a short time period
Level 9: This is too hard, I need to stop any second
Level 10: This is impossibly hard

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Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Run x3
01:23:00 00:37:00
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
01:23:00 00:37:00

Training Load By Week

Alex Mitchell from FastFitnessTips

Alex from FastFitnessTips

Alex is the creator and head coach at FastFitnessTips. He is a level 3 accredited coach from the UK and also MD and personal trainer. He is a qualified medical doctor at the University of Leicester UK and very experienced in scientific methods such as meta-analysis and big data. He is active on YouTube/Facebook/Instagram and Strava. He is known for his ability to apply cycling science to cycling and endurance sports. To find your optimal plan use:

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Refund Policy

This plan is protected by our Refund Policy and may, with the author's approval, be exchanged for a plan of equal value from the same author.

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