GOING for a run may seem like a next to impossible task but what if you could complete a 5K run in just nine weeks?

The NHS have introduced the ‘Couch to 5K’ program – a training plan that helps you to work up to running 5000 meters in nine weeks with the assistance of podcasts.

The nine week program is designed for even the most amateur runners, with a different plan every week which slowly builds the runners stamina, strength and fitness.

Joanne Owen, 47, a health nurse who is also currently taking part in ‘couch to 5K’ said: “As a health professional, I know there are many benefits of exercise, physical benefits as well as mental benefits.”

She continued, “It helps with depression, reduces the risk of heart disease, chronic illnesses and you sleep better!”.

With heart disease being responsible for around 73,000 deaths in the UK each year and strokes occurring around 152,000 times each year in the UK, finding ways to reduce the risks of them is crucial, and according to the NHS, running is the perfect way to do it.

The program works through an app which you can download on to your mobile phone, you then choose a mentor who helps to guide you through your walk or run, giving you encouragement throughout.

Joanne said: “When you start, you choose your mentor, mine is Michael Johnson, the Olympic sprinter and they give you brief information about the program and then start you off on a warm – up walk and give you constant prompts and loads of encouragement.”

Couch to 5K is designed to slowly increase the amount of time you can run for, starting off with running for 60 seconds in the first week and working up to running for half an hour (the equivalent of a 5K) by the end of week 9.

couch to 5k image
Couch to 5K app

The app is completely free and is designed for everyone as an easy way to workout, improve fitness and work around any lifestyle. By running at intervals for three days a week, it is easy to plan around work life and social life. By using to couch to 5K you will not do too much exercise as it plans to work you out just enough so you can feel the benefit of the run.

Joanne said: “I would absolutely recommend it, for a complete novice it is a really good way of getting you into a healthy lifestyle.”

If you beat the 5K and are interested in some new challenges, visit http://www.parkrun.org.uk/worsleywoods/ for weekly runs through a number of parks in Manchester.

Also visit https://runtogether.co.uk/ to find a running group near you.

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