I know a lot of people who have had great success with the Couch to 5k program. It is structured, it is easy to understand, and it produces results. I think a lot of people love and complete this program, then fall off the face of the running earth so to say because they just don’t know what to do next. Well, you are in luck. I am going to offer you a few (of many) options for you after your initial 5k glorious runner’s high wears off.
1.) Complete the couch to 10k program. Oh yes my friends. Lovers of the 5k program will be happy to know there is also a 10k version! Double the distance? Sure! why no right? You can do ANYTHING you set your mind to do!
2.) Work on your strength. I found after running a few races that while my legs were getting stronger, the rest of my body was well…squishy. I decided to start lifting weights 3-4 times a week and I can definitely tell a difference in the shape of my body, and I think my overall strength is helping my running, and helps prevent so many injuries. Not to mention, I like flexing. Just kidding…kind of. If you aren’t a member of a gym, free weights at home will do just fine, as will kettlebells.
3.) Work on your flexibility. The same constant running motion can do a number on your body, specifically your hips. I have very tight hips and found that adding yoga into my routine to stretch out and get more flexible has helped with post run soreness and the amount of injuries I tend to get. More yoga = less injuries for me. I still feel awkward and odd in class, but I have gotten over caring about how I look because I know it’s helping me! No I can’t even touch my toes.
4.) Stop running. This is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Some people just don’t like running and would rather participate in crossfit, yoga, or a team sport after completing their 5k. That’s ok! It’s not for everyone, so don’t let anyone make you feel bad if this is your choice. Just keep moving.
5.) Sign up for another 5k. While I am sure you are pleased with your time, most people’s next thought after finishing their race is “could I run that faster?” Why not! Sign up for another 5k and set an attainable time goal. You have already done it once so you know what to expect. The next one won’t be so scary. Cross my heart. If a 5k is as far as you ever run, that is FINE! Keep running them (luckily there are usually plenty of local ones) and work on your speed and your form. Oh, and buy cute running outfits.
6.) Take the plunge and sign up for half marathon. A lot of people love the 5k and go straight to the half marathon distance (with training, of course!) if you loved your 5k and training and want more more more, then keep running! SLOWLY add more mileage every week, and after a few weeks decide if signing up for a half marathon is for you. I love signing up for a race because then I know I have to train and keep on running, I already paid for the race.
*Please note I do not recommend going from a 5k or 10 straight to a marathon without ever running a half. I know some people do it but I personally just don’t think it’s a good idea.
Whatever it is you do, don’t stop working out!! Keep moving no matter what your fitness passion or goal may be. Don’t forget to look back and smile at how far you have come! Remember, no matter how slow you run, you are lapping everyone on the couch.
QOTD: How did your running progression go? 5k to 10k? 5k to no more running? Share!
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