Motivation can be hard. But, with the Couch to 5K, I found it was less of a problem than other fitness programmes I’ve tried. First of all, the podcast in your ear (which you can choose to be a fitness instructor or a celebrity) is very encouraging, keeping you on track and giving you tips along the way to improve your running technique. You can also set up digital reminders, through the Couch to 5K app, to trigger you into action at the right time for your next run.
In terms of difficulty, week 1 has really short bursts of running and builds up gradually, for example to 20 minutes running at the end of week 5. The shock and joy I felt when I realised I could run solidly for that long, however slow, was wonderful self-motivation to keep going and reach my ultimate goal of 5K. The pace that Couch to 5K increases your stamina, to me, is perfect as in the later weeks, I know longer felt much strain when increasing running time compared to the first few weeks.
Accountability is a great form of external motivation, which works well for me. In my case, my sister was also taking part in Couch to 5K so the competitive drive came in, which prevented me falling behind in my plan too often. Try challenging a friend or family member to take on Couch to 5K too and check in on each other’s progress in a fun and positive manner.
You’ve got to take on Couch to 5K because you want to and make it enjoyable. Apart from the fact you will feel good mentally and physically once you have been physically active outdoors, you can reward yourself after each successfully completed run e.g. by having a bath or relaxing with a good book and a hot drink. In fact, you could integrate what you enjoy into each run by listening to music, an audiobook or a podcast while you run. To really have a sense of achievement once you have completed the programme, have something to work towards like a Parkrun or a charity fundraiser.