A Non-Runner tries the Couch to 5K App: Review

Hey guys! Today I am sharing my review of the Couch to 5K app. There are a few different apps on the market, the specific one I used was the Couch to 5K Runner app (it’s yellow). The concept of each app is the same where they help the user go from not being able to run to running 5 km.

History with Running

Now let me give a little backstory about my relationship with running before getting into the app and the review. I was never a runner. My favourite sports when I was younger was hockey and swimming, two sports that don’t involve running. Whenever I went ‘running’ in the past it was walking with a bit of jogging. The most I’ve ever jogged I would estimate at 2 minutes.

The main reason why I never got into running wasn’t necessarily my cardiovascular abilities but the fact that I am prone to shin splints. If you don’t know what shin splints are consider yourself lucky because they are painful. They are pain that can be along the front or rear of your shin bone. I’ve been getting them for years. I usually get them when running or walking for long periods, but I’ve even got them from standing on the pool deck in flip flops for a long time.

Whenever I have tried to get into running in the past, I would do it for a week or two and then the pain would get so bad that I would stop. But with the pandemic going on I wanted to pick up running again. The nice thing is that I can do it outside and not have to deal with other people (and all the virus concerns that entails). I’ve heard many people talk about the Couch to 5K format so decided to give it a shot.

App Overview

The app is an interval training program that progressively increases the time that you run throughout the weeks. It’s pretty simple. Every run has a five-minute warm-up and cool down. Then within the main ‘run’ is a set of intervals between running and walking. The first run is 25 minutes long but only has 6 minutes of running in total. The intervals fluctuate to help increase the runner’s stamina over the week.

The app is pretty easy to use. I just swipe to pick the run and then hit “LET’S GO” to start the run. I can play my music and the app will give prompts over my music. It will let me know when it’s time to run and time to walk. It also gives little motivational prompts throughout the run as well. While running, the app tells the runner how far along they are, how much time is left and time until the next interval. The app will tell the runner when they are halfway through the run.

At the end of the run the app gave me a summary of the run included time, distance and calories burnt. It will also show a map of the route taken, distinguishing which parts were running and walking. All this data can be accessed in the History time to be referred back to.

The program is structured to be three runs a week for eight weeks. By the end of the eight weeks, you should theoretically be able to run 5km.

The app has a few free runs, but to access the full program the runner must pay. I got the premium 3-month subscription, which is $10.49 for three months (or around $3.49 per month).

My Progress

I thought I would share my progress and process using this app. My first run was on June 1 and I ran 1.7 km. My last run was October 8 (so yesterday) and I ran 4.5 km. So I took double the amount of time and was just under the 5km goal. But I am honestly SO proud of myself.

The first couple of weeks I was consistent in running around 3 times a week but I was repeating runs. I didn’t think it was smart to move onto the next set of intervals if I couldn’t finish one. So I repeated W1/D2 (week 1, day 2 – this is how they name the runs and how I will reference them), W1/D3 and W2/D3 twice. I was in pain. I went from not running to running. I found that I could have easily kept on running cardio wise but my shins were killing me so much that I had to stop. I ended up talking to my dad’s friend who is a physical therapist and he gave me a list of stretches to do before and after my runs. I also got myself a roller stick and that helps SO much.

Around week 3 my shins were starting to adjust and I was able to progress. Until I got to W4/D1. I did this run five times before I felt comfortable enough to move forward. This was the point where my cardio was the issue. It was a jump from 10 minutes of running to 14 minutes. It probably didn’t help that I also took a two-week break in the middle of this when I went to my cottage. That’s probably why it took me so many times haha.

Once I passed that W4/D1 hurtle though I had no further issues. I was able to progress throughout the rest of the program without having to repeat any runs. I also did start going back to yoga in late August, so I wasn’t running three times a week anymore. That’s probably why it took me two months to finish what should have been one month. But I wasn’t mad about my progress. I was running more then I have ever before in my life!

In my last three runs, the time and distance lined up pretty well. I was able to run 3.5km in 35 minutes, 4.0 km in 40 minutes and 4.5km in 45 minutes. So by that logic, I could probably run 5.0 km in 50 minutes. I’m not upset by the fact that I didn’t run 5km using this app because it helped me build the stamina to be able to do so. And either way, 4.5 km is still pretty good!

Would I recommend this app?

Yes, I would 100% recommend this app to anyone who isn’t a runner but wants to get into running.

If you are new to running and have no idea where to start, this is simply laid out for you. It’s easy to see what future runs will look like and it’s easy to track past progress. The app also recently got an update that will ask for your feedback after a run and will recommend whether or not to move onto the next run.

And the app worked! I liked the interval training system because it helped me move from a non-runner to a runner. I would have loved if this app was free, but I think the money I spent was worth it. I also rationalized it that I wasn’t paying for a gym membership (because there were closed and then I had my account frozen). And I think it’s important to invest in ourselves and our health.

If you are someone who is just looking for a way to track their runs then I wouldn’t recommend this app. I think there are probably better (and cheaper) running tracking apps out there.

Which leads me into:

What I’m doing next

So now what? That’s the beauty of this app that now that I’m done this program I can do whatever I want. I know the app company has a 10k program but I think that’s a little too advance for me. I think I’m going to actually run 5km and then work on bringing my time down. I would love to run a 5k next year. A few of my friends have recommended Strava, so I will be checking that out. Let me know if you would like a review of that app as well!

So guys, I just want to end this year by saying that you can do anything if you work on and believe in yourself. I never thought I could be be a runner, but then I decided to download then app and said to myself “I am going to be a runner”. You can do it guys!

xoxo

Lea

2 thoughts on “A Non-Runner tries the Couch to 5K App: Review

  1. Strava is good and all but it is really unsafe when it comes to online info. Few years ago it was the first app that I tried but when I asked me for so much unrelated info, I immediately removed it. There was a twitter post about it few weeks ago that I saw, it was about how the app new all the info and location of the users (especially because it connected to many other apps in your phone as a default) and was available to everyone. Set aside stalkers, everyone has access to it.
    If you need more info, I’ll try to find the post about these apps.

    Thank you for sharing your way and experience. 5k is really not a small number and it is important to do it properly, otherwise you get tired and demotivated (as you wrote it was happening to you 🙂 ). And I can see that the app is actually made with consultation of professionals that knew what they were doing. Thank you for sharing it 🙂

    Keep up the good work and don’t lose what you have achieved so you will be able to ace that 5k run that you plan on doing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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