If you’ve never heard of the Couch to 5K running program, check out this link for the program description. In a nutshell, it is a run/walk interval training program designed to take a person from a couch potato to being able to run for 30 minutes straight in roughly 9 weeks. I say “roughly 9 weeks” because you are encouraged to repeat a week if either you were unable to complete it or don’t think you’re ready to progress to the next week. I can personally vouch for the success of this program, as I have followed it almost every spring for the past 5 years to get myself back into shape after a winter of hibernation. Besides “it’s OK to repeat a week,” the other piece of advice I would give is to think of a run interval as “a slow jog, barely not walking” since most people have a tendency to run too fast when they are starting out.
If you plan to follow the Couch to 5K program, the easiest way to keep track of the run and walk intervals is with the C25K mobile app for iPhone. Here’s how it works:
You listen to your music (or the soon-to-be-released FitMKE podcast) and listen for the interval alerts. The alerts are three bells followed by instructions such as “Warmup,” “Run” or “Walk.” Besides those three, there are additional alerts that can be set up in the Settings. These include “Halfway Point,” “Last Run,” and “Run time left.”
All you have to do is start the program and press “Go,” the program keeps track of the rest (what day you’re on, what interval you’re on, etc). Repeating a workout is easily accomplished as well.
This mobile app doesn’t have any of the fancy GPS mapping that can be found in other offerings, but it does offer Facebook and Twitter integration. The $2.99 price tag might keep some users from buying as well. While I would’ve rathered seen this as a $0.99 app, the time and effort it saves convinced me to buy it.
Overall, this app is a recommended buy. If for no reason but that it eliminates the need to worry about carrying a stopwatch and writing down or memorizing the interval patterns for the day’s workout. However, I can only give it 4 out of 5 stars due to the cost and lack of GPS tracking.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Device(s): iPhone and iPod Touch only
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