Go From Couch Potato to Runner with Couch-to-5K App

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m no runner. When I met my husband, he told me that he wanted to run a 5K that summer (which, I have to admit right now, never happened). Trying to impress him, I told him I wanted to as well. He then suggested a podcast he had heard of called Couch to 5k — because he probably guessed I wasn’t a runner. I found the podcast online somewhere and uploaded it to my mp3 player. I probably used it for about 2 weeks, and then life got in the way for awhile. While I continued to run, I kind of gave up on the podcast. After I got pregnant, I pretty much never ran because I was sick just about the whole 9 months, and since giving birth, haven’t really gotten back into it.

So when my sister suggested that we run together, I mentioned the couch-to-5k series. At first, I started searching for the podcast online, but then I decided to see if there was an app created for it. And lo and behold, there is, for both the iPhone and Android phones. You’ll have to fork out 1.99 (or .99 for the iPhone), but I think it’s worth it.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Couch-to-5k (otherwise called, C25k) program, here’s a little description from the website, written by the creator, Josh Clark:

C25k, is a fantastic program that’s been designed to get just about anyone from the couch to running 5 kilometers or 30 minutes in just 9weeks. With the help of the Couch to 5k program, in less than seven months, I went from a 47 year old, 104kg, 30 cigarettes a day sort of guy to an 82k, 0 cigarettes, running 45 to 40 kilometers a week sort of guy. Ten months after finishg C25k I completed my first marathon. Since then I have run another 5 marathons, as well as 8 ultra marathons including a 100km race. . . Its secret is that it’s a gentle introduction to getting the body moving, starting off alternating between walking and running small distances, and slowly building up until after 8 weeks, you’re ready to run 5 kilometers or 30 minutes non stop.

Although I have never completed the program, I definitely did notice my endurance building during the time I did it. I’m excited to use this new app though and see if it can help motivate me even more. Even though I haven’t had time to use it yet, I figured I’d do a little overview of it.

First off, I love the color schemes. I don’t know why, but the colors of an app really matter to me. The color scheme depends on which “trainer” you select. Here are the three options:

I decided to select Constance for the time being…though if I need a little more tough love, I may select another one. Each of the workouts is led by whichever trainer is selected, and the color scheme changes accordingly as well. Below is the one for Constance. It’s light and easy to look at. The other ones are a bit more intense, but they are still nice.

The above picture is also the front screen of the app. It shows up with whatever date you are on, and you can skip ahead (or go backwards) if needed. Your “trainer” gives a bit of advice or encouragement at the bottom of the screen. The top of the screen features a status bar, to show how far into the program you are.

Once you click on “Go To Workout”, you will be brought to this screen:

At this point, you can choose to listen to music that is already loaded on your phone, or enable GPS. I love the GPS feature, because I always like to see where I ran, and how long I ran for. One thing I wish was included is the background music that was on the original podcast. It just seems like you are told every so often when to change up the pace. It is nice that you can use your own music, but I really enjoyed the pace of the music on the podcast.

Once you press start, this screen pops up with the time left, which stage you are at, distance, and average pace. It’s easy to read, and you can pause the workout if you want to.

There is another tab called “Log” where you can select a smiley (or sad) face depending on how the workout made you feel, plus write down some thoughts from the workout. You then have the option to post to Facebook or Twitter, if that’s your style.

Next, there is a tab with 5k events near you. It lists all the ones that are coming up and some even give you a discount for registering on select races.

Finally, the settings tab lets you adjust certain futures such as the trainer, voice volume and music options.

Overall, I like this app a lot, from the limited exposure to it I’ve had. Once I’ve used it for a few weeks, I’ll be back with my experience, but for now, I’m excited to use it.

Download here for the iPhone (.99)
Download here for Android (1.99)

About the author

Katie Clark

Katie Clark

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

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