Couch To 5K On A Treadmill

A 5K race takes place outside, so it's natural to want to train outdoors. However, the reality is that you're not always able to. This could be due to bad weather, a lack of places to run, or maybe you just feel more comfortable on the treadmill. 

Whatever the reason, a treadmill is actually a great way to train for a 5K outdoors or indoors on your treadmill. It allows you to run within a controlled environment without putting too much strain on your legs. But how do you prep for a 5k on a treadmill? Keep reading, and you'll find out!

Schedule

First and foremost, you'll need to schedule your next five to 12 weeks, depending on your level. Whether you'll run a marathon or 5K, training for a race takes time. Your body must be prepared, or else you're setting yourself up for failure. 

Gradual Increases Are Key

No matter your level of fitness, shocking your body with a new training schedule at too high a pace will do you no good. 

Walking will be your best friend for the first week or so, especially if you're a beginner. Focus on gradual increases from walking to slight jogging, to running. 

Increase your speed for a few minutes and recover with walking. As you progress in your training, increase your running time until you feel comfortable.

You can find a suggested training schedule further down in this article.

Training

When training for a 5K, it's essential to keep your workouts versatile. Even if you do enjoy running on a treadmill, doing the same exercises for five weeks will become boring. 

If you need a treadmill for long-distance running, here are two good machines:

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

Below is a short overview of different treadmill routines that can help you while training for your 5K.

Inclines

Most 5Ks are done on flatter surfaces, so you won’t be preparing to climb Mount Everest. However, incline training is very beneficial, even for a flat race. 

Setting your treadmill to an incline position can help build your speed and muscle strength and give you a longer stride. If you do incline training you will be able to run faster on a flat surface while reducing your chances of injury. 

Sprinting

Sprint intervals will help build up your fitness level. You can begin with a walk or jog for a few minutes before increasing the speed. Remember, the sprint should be at a hard effort level, which you can recognize by your breathing. 

Run at this pace for half a minute or so before resuming a slower pace. Repeat this a few times before finishing with a cooldown.

Pyramid

A pyramid workout consists of gradually increasing and then decreasing the intensity or length of your intervals.

You'll run for one minute, rest one minute. Run two minutes and rest two minutes. Repeat this until you reach the "top." Then repeat the same intervals, starting from the top, and declining to the bottom.

How fast should you go?

When you run a 5K race you'll likely want to finish as fast as possible. However, during training it’s important to sometimes go at a slower pace and run further, to build up your stamina.

Cross-Training (CT)

On CT days you can choose any exercise other than running. This could be cycling, elliptical or other activities, such as yoga or Pilates. This will switch up your running routine so you won't get bored.

Strength Training

Even though you don't run with your arms, strength training will benefit you. It doesn't have to be long or too intense, but a few push-ups or pull-ups will do you good.

Rest

I can't stress enough the importance of rest. If you were to run intensely every day for five weeks, you'd feel the hurt. However, don't slack away on your couch just yet. Instead, take a walk or do some light cross-training. 

Nutrition

What you'll eat in the weeks leading up to your race, including on race day, will have a significant impact on your performance. 

According to RunnersWorld, you should try to stay away from carbs, especially in the days close to your race. Yes, carb-loading is recommended before a long race; but 5K is only 3.1 miles, so carbs will just slow you down. They may even make you sick.

Instead, treat yourself to unprocessed foods, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. On your race day, avoid high fiber foods and go for something lighter. 

Remember to drink plenty of water. It is recommended to sip small amounts throughout the day and during training to avoid a sick stomach.

The couch to 5k plan

Below is a basic six weeks C25K training program for beginners. You can also check this HIIT treadmill workout plan for beginners. Or this stationary bike HIIT workout if you have the luxury of owning a stationary bike as well. 

Week one

Day

Workout

1

5- minute run, 1-minute walk. Repeat three times.

2

Rest or cross-train (CT).

3

6-minute run, 1-minute walk. Repeat three times.

4

Rest.

5

7-minute run, 1-minute walk. Repeat three times.

6

Rest or CT

7

Rest!

Week two

Day

Workout

1

7-minute run, 1-minute walk. Repeat three times.

2

Rest or CT.

3

8-minute run, 1-minute walk. Repeat three times.

4

Rest.

5

9-minute run, 1-minute walk. Repeat three times.

6

Rest or CT

7

Rest!

Week three

Day

Workout

1

10-minute run, 1-minute walk. Repeat two times.

2

CT.

3

12-minute run, 1-minute walk. Repeat two times.

4

Rest.

5

13-minute run, 1-minute walk. Repeat two times.

6

Rest or CT

7

Rest!

Week four

Day

Workout

1

15-minute run, 1-minute walk. Repeat two times.

2

CT.

3

17-minute run, 1-minute walk, 7 minutes run.

4

Rest.

5

19-minute run, 1-minute walk, 7-minute run.

6

Rest or CT

7

Rest!

Week five

Day

Workout

1

20-minute run, 1-minute walk, 6-minute run.

2

CT.

3

24-minute run.

4

Rest.

5

26-minute run.

6

Rest or CT

7

Rest!

Week six

Day

Workout

1

28-minute run.

2

Rest or CT.

3

30-minute run.

4

Rest.

5

20-minute run.

6

Rest.

7

Race Day!

If you want to get a more in-depth understanding of a 5K training program, this video might be helpful:

Conclusion

A treadmill is a great tool to use while preparing for a 5K. It allows you to train in stable conditions and a controlled environment. You can simply adjust the settings and focus on your running.

Remember to pace yourself and increase the intensity gradually, so you avoid shocking your body. Stay on a balanced nutrition plan and make sure you drink enough water.

If you have further questions or if you're an experienced runner and want to share your knowledge, please leave a comment below.

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1 thought on “Couch To 5K On A Treadmill”

  1. A very interesting article! Generally, we all believe that for training for a 5k race, we need to train outside. Although I have a treadmill, I never came across any such article that guides how to train for a 5k on a treadmill. I usually use a treadmill when there’s bad weather outside or for jogging. But this article gives a detailed breakdown on treadmill workouts. Thanks a lot for sharing this Koen 🙂

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