Start 2023 with the Couch to 5K in 10 weeks

December 30, 2022

Most want-to-be runners make the same mistake youth runners make when it comes to getting started – they go too fast too early. The following is a program my friend Bob Porter and I designed in 1992 that has been very successful for many locals who made the transition from a walker to a runner. Many runners still use this program today, as it is a great one for the beginning runner.

This program is designed to take the walker or non-jogger to a slow, continuous 30-minute jog (equal to a 5K) in just 10 weeks. Call it a trot, call it a jog, even a run; the bottom line is that you are able to complete the 3.1-mile distance without stopping. The program is designed in minutes, not miles, which most runners seem to enjoy better. The program has you working out four days per week with plenty of rest in between sessions. 

Before you begin, get a complete physical and make sure your body is cleared for this challenge. Get your legs ready with six days of walking followed by a day off before you begin. For each week of the program, try to keep your four workout days consistent such as Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday.

Following your pre-conditioning walking week, you are ready for week one of the program. Good luck, and 10 weeks from now will place you on the starting line at a local Seashore Striders event in March. See you there!

Week 1 - Walk 4 minutes and jog 1 minutes. Repeat five times. 25-minute workout.

Week 2 - walk 3 minutes and jog 2 minutes. Repeat five times. 25-minute workout.

Week 3 - walk 3 minutes and jog 4 minutes. Repeat four times. 28-minute workout.

Week 4 - walk 3 minutes and jog 6 minutes. Repeat three times. 27-minute workout.

Week 5 - walk 2 minutes and jog 8 minutes. Repeat three times. 30-minute workout.

Week 6 - walk 2 minutes and jog 12 minutes. Repeat two times. 28-minute workout.

Week 7 - walk 2 minutes and jog 14 minutes. Repeat two times. 32-minute workout.

Week 8 - walk 1 minute and jog 14 minutes. Repeat two times. 30-minute workout.

*Week 9 - walk 1 minute and jog 15 minutes. Repeat two times. 32-minute workout.

Week 10 - jog 30 minutes. Congratulations! You are no longer a walker.

*Note:  After completion of week 9, if you feel tired and not ready for your last week, repeat week 9 of the training and move on when comfortable.

Ten Golden Rules

1. Begin at the doctor’s office with a complete checkup before you start.

2. Get proper equipment, most importantly a new pair of correct running shoes.

3. Keep a log that will track your progress and condition, and direct your future.

4. Never push too early. Going too fast is the most common mistake.

5. Know and listen to your body with common sense.

6. Four feet are better than two. Train with a partner or group of runners.

7. Develop your training routine with times and locations that are best for you.

8. Eliminate aches and pains with proper warm-up/cool-down stretching.

9. Avoid a quick injury with three basic rules: avoid worn shoes, uneven surfaces and training too far, too fast, too soon.

10. Set no limitation for yourself, and don’t underestimate your potential ability.

Just about 10 weeks from the new year locally in Rehoboth Beach are the 17th annual Shamrock Shuffle 5K scheduled for Sunday, March 5, and the ninth annual Lucky Leprechaun 5K scheduled for Sunday, March 12, giving the new runner two local races to choose from. If the 10-week program is going well for you, you can test your fitness during week six with the Valentine’s Run 5K Sunday, Feb. 12. Seashore Striders events are being added weekly, so keep checking

Race into the New Year

The 19th annual Race into the New Year 5K is the final event of 2022, as it kicks off from the Rehoboth Boardwalk at noon, Saturday, Dec. 31. There is a kiddie dash just before the 5K race that will take runners out to North Shores and back. Go to for race information and to get registered for the event.

Farewell to 2021

As we close out 2022 and look forward to 2023, I close with my 1,560th column in the Cape Gazette. Happy New Year to all my Cape Gazette running and racing readers.


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