5x week running programs?
November 13, 2010 5:29 PM   Subscribe

Couch to 5k - 5 times a week?

Hi all,

I'm trying to find a good running program that's structured like the couch to 5k running program, but that's slightly shorter and more often. In essence, I'm trying to build it into my before-work routine, where I can head out first thing in the morning, get a quick run in, and get back. I feel like I'm more likely to stick with it if it's an every day occurrence.

Is this a wise move, or are the rest days in between the difference between injury and not?
posted by felspar to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
If you're straight from the couch, 5 days a week might be too much. I wasn't that out of shape, and I still needed the rest days.
How about simply going for a walk during that time slot on your "off" days? You'll get some exercise in, and you'll keep the routine going, but won't stress your body too much.
posted by OLechat at 5:38 PM on November 13, 2010

Best answer: 2nding the walk, and if you want to get your heart rate up you could do plyometric/agility/conditioning drills like squat jumps, backwards/sideways sprinting, knees high, kick backs, burpees, jumping jacks, jump rope, agility running around obstacles... the list goes on and on.
posted by acidic at 5:43 PM on November 13, 2010

I've just finished the first week of Couch To 5K, and I've really needed those rest days. I don't know if they're the difference between "injury" or not, but they're quite possibly the difference between "being motivated to complete the program" and "quitting after week 2 because you're an achy mess". I've finished each workout so far without breaking much of a sweat or getting to the "wall". The next day, I've been sore and have enjoyed the rest; I find that it helps me get motivated for my next session.

In the past, I've tried the "getting a quick run in every day" and have failed due to generally being in pain and not having a good time at all. The every day part was especially onerous. Also, most cardio exercise plans I've seen recommend 20-30 minutes of raised heart rate per session. So I'm not sure a shorter run would really do much for you.
posted by Sara C. at 5:53 PM on November 13, 2010

Response by poster: A walk in that time slot is actually a great suggestion. My hope with a 5x schedule is shorter workout times without impeding my progress. Even 20 mins vs 30 mins in the morning is a huge difference when it comes to talking myself into getting out the door
posted by felspar at 5:53 PM on November 13, 2010

20 mins vs 30 mins

You'd be building up to a different level of endurance and the whole process would take much longer (to reach a 5k). If you care about saving time, run according to the suggested distance rather than the suggested time. And run fast!
posted by acidic at 5:59 PM on November 13, 2010

Not to babysit the thread, but if you're concerned about "talking yourself into getting out the door" in general, the every day plan is probably bound to fail. The first morning you're sore, or you had a late night, or the weather is shitty, you're going to tell yourself, "Oh, it's just one 15 minute walk. What difference is skipping one day going to make?" And then you're not going to do it.

One idea - the C25K program incorporates a 5 minute warm-up walk and a 5 minute cool down walk. Could you fold one or both of those into some other aspect of your morning routine? For instance my "5 minute cool down" is usually just walking home from wherever I am at that point in the session. If it takes 3 minutes, or 7 minutes, or whatever. I also start my 5 minute warm-up from the time I put on my shoes. So a minute of that walk might be finding my keys and walking down the stairs of my building. I'm physically up and moving at a brisk pace - good enough for me.
posted by Sara C. at 6:01 PM on November 13, 2010

The #1 beginner injury among runners is overtraining - too much too fast. This includes both frequency and distance. If you try to cheat you'll end up injured, and then you'll be further behind than if you'd just followed the program :)

So if you feel like you must do something, then walking as others have suggested is a great idea. You can also cross-train (swimming, bicycling, tennis, weight circuit, etc).

The other approach is to focus more on intensity with short sprints and interval work - you don't have to run long distances to run long distances. But designing your own program is really hit-or-miss w/o a lot of experience. See if you can already developed training programs, or just stick with the Couch to 5k program. It's only a few weeks, and once you have your running legs you slowly increase your frequency to run every day.
posted by jpeacock at 6:06 PM on November 13, 2010

FWIW, I've been doing a 30 min jog 4x/wk (including a weekend day) for about a year now and it feels about right - in fact, when my schedule is going well and I don't miss any days for a few months I give myself some time off or I get too worn out. Cut yourself some slack and start with every other day and build in some room to work up to more. I think you're right - even just walking on alternate days would be helpful. My personal note would be to add in some weight training, muscle burns more energy and helps combat flab.
posted by cestmoi15 at 6:18 PM on November 13, 2010

Best answer: For my first year of getting off the couch, I ran every single day. For one mile. Before work, before eating, but after coffee. By the time I could keep a pace up for the whole mile (a few weeks in) I got very mild splints, but ran through them. I never did warm ups, never pushed past a mile, only missed a few days because of the flu. This may be awful advice in general, but it worked for me. From various other habits, good and bad, I knew I had to address it every day.

After it had been a year, a worked in two mile runs. Once three mile and longer runs got easy, I found I had to schedule in breaks. Four years later, I run 12 to 17 miles a week, sometimes a 7 mile run an a bunch of shorter runs, sometimes split more evenly. I've never had a injury, a take a day or two off if I still feel worn out later in the day. I've built up very, very gradually. My first two years were definitely jogging, not running- 12 minute miles, rarely more than 2 miles a run. Only now am I trying to improve my speed.

So it could work. I worked for me. Stay in touch with how you are feeling, and take it very gradually.
posted by bendybendy at 7:35 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do the program as planned. I found yoga on my off days to be good, once in a while. You do need the 30 minutes. It's about endurance.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:19 PM on November 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses all. I've come up with a plan of alternating between running in the morning, and doing strength exercises.
posted by felspar at 11:04 PM on November 13, 2010

Best answer: When I did couch-to-5k (over a year ago and still running 3x/week!) I found that the 200 sit-ups and 100 pushups programs fit nicely in between running days.
posted by mkdg at 12:50 AM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

please don't do this alone. you're a novice and if anyone ever could use the help of a running coach who could show you how not to hurt yourself and tell you how much running is right for you, it's a novice.

I say this as a person who did exactly what you are setting out to do. I thought I was a pretty decent runner after a year, did four 5ks and then stumbled upon my current trainer. I had no idea how many mistakes I was making and how much easier I could have had it. he has also cut my PR by north of 20%.

so again: please let someone who knows what they are doing show you how to do it right. in person.
posted by krautland at 1:10 AM on November 14, 2010

Response by poster: @mkdg: That's exactly what I'm planning to do :)
posted by felspar at 1:30 AM on November 14, 2010

What mkdg said worked just dandy for me. Prev.
posted by R.Stornoway at 1:12 PM on November 14, 2010

I'm working through C25K with a friend (key) and we're running in the evenings (also key). On non-running days, I try to get to the swimming pool to do some laps, which is good for muscle soreness (hellooo sauna) and general activity levels.

I'm crap in the mornings and find it tough to work up the willpower to make a cup of tea, never mind bounce out of bed three days a week. It's something I don't like about myself and I've managed to drag myself out running in the past, even managing to keep it up for a few weeks. But the new routine with my friend (who I used to live with but hadn't seen regularly for about six years and am now seeing three or four times a week) and evening runs is fantastic. It's gone from an irksome chore to something I look forward to.

So, consider that you might not be a morning person either. And that, when it comes to running, repetition, distance and pace are important. Three sessions of 30-40 minutes a week where you get a sweat up are going to do more for you than five or six or even seven 15 minute brisk walks.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:07 AM on November 15, 2010

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