Training Plan

This 9-week running plan is an evidence-based training program developed by the National Health Service (NHS). This specific program was designed for beginners to gradually build up their running ability so they can eventually run 5km without stopping. You are free to use this program, download apps like C25k, or request a training plan from a health professional, such as a physical therapist, on your health journey!

Our in-person sessions are only for 6 weeks so we encourage you to finish the last 3 weeks on your own!

*The content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers.

Week 1

"For your 3 runs in week 1, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk. After this, you will alternate 1 minute of running and 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes."

Run #1: (5:00 brisk walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)

Run #2: (5:00 brisk walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)

Run #3: (5:00 brisk walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)(1:00 run)(1:30 walk)

Week 2

"For your 3 runs in week 2, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk. After this, you will alternate 1-and-a-half minutes of running with 2 minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes."

Run #1: (5:00 brisk walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:00 run)

Run #2: (5:00 brisk walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:00 run)

Run #3: (5:00 brisk walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:30 run)(2:00 walk)(1:00 run)

Week 3

"For your 3 runs in week 3, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 2 repetitions of 1-and-a-half minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running, and 3 minutes of walking."

Run #1: (5:00 brisk walk)(1:30 run)(1:30 walk)(3:00 run)(3:00 walk)(1:30 run)(1:30 walk)(3:00 run)(3:00 walk)

Run #2: (5:00 brisk walk)(1:30 run)(1:30 walk)(3:00 run)(3:00 walk)(1:30 run)(1:30 walk)(3:00 run)(3:00 walk)

Run #3: (5:00 brisk walk)(1:30 run)(1:30 walk)(3:00 run)(3:00 walk)(1:30 run)(1:30 walk)(3:00 run)(3:00 walk)

Week 4

"For your 3 runs in week 4, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 3 minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 2-and-a-half minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, and 5 minutes of running."

Run #1: (5:00 brisk walk)(3:00 run)(1:30 walk)(5:00 run)(2:30 walk)(3:00 run)(1:30 walk)(5:00 run)

Run #2: (5:00 brisk walk)(3:00 run)(1:30 walk)(5:00 run)(2:30 walk)(3:00 run)(1:30 walk)(5:00 run)

Run #3: (5:00 brisk walk)(3:00 run)(1:30 walk)(5:00 run)(2:30 walk)(3:00 run)(1:30 walk)(5:00 run)

Week 5

"A brisk 5-minute walk, then 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, and 5 minutes of running."

Run #1: (5:00 brisk walk)(5:00 run)(3:00 walk)(5:00 run)(3:00 walk)(5:00 run)


"A brisk 5-minute walk, then 8 minutes of running, 5 minutes of walking, and 8 minutes of running."

Run 2: (5:00 brisk walk)(8:00 run)(5:00 walk)(8:00 run)


"A brisk 5-minute walk, then 20 minutes of running, with no walking."

Run 3: (5:00 brisk walk)(20:00 run)

Week 6

"A brisk 5-minute walk, then 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 8 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, and 5 minutes of running."

Run #1: (5:00 brisk walk)(5:00 run)(3:00 walk)(8:00 run)(3:00 walk)(5:00 run)


"A brisk 5-minute walk, then 10 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, and 10 minutes of running."

Run 2: (5:00 brisk walk)(10:00 run)(3:00 walk)(10:00 run)


"A brisk 5-minute walk, then 25 minutes of running with no walking."

Run 3: (5:00 brisk walk)(25:00 run)

Week 7

"For your 3 runs in week 7, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 25 minutes of running."

Run #1: (5:00 brisk walk)(25:00 run)

Run 2: (5:00 brisk walk)(25:00 run)

Run 3: (5:00 brisk walk)(25:00 run)

Week 8

"For your 3 runs in week 8, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 28 minutes of running."

Run #1: (5:00 brisk walk)(28:00 run)

Run 2: (5:00 brisk walk)(28:00 run)

Run 3: (5:00 brisk walk)(28:00 run)

Week 9

"For your 3 runs in week 9, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 30 minutes of running."

Run #1: (5:00 brisk walk)(30:00 run)

Run 2: (5:00 brisk walk)(30:00 run)

Run 3: (5:00 brisk walk)(30:00 run)

Congratulations, you did it!!! Give yourself a huge pat on the back and celebrate your dedication and perseverance. Next stop, Move Forward 5k/10k!

How to Stretch After a Run

Tips on Progression

  • The program is designed for beginners to gradually build up their running ability so they can eventually run 5km without stopping.

  • The pace of the 9-week running plan has been tried and tested by 10s of thousands of new runners.

  • You can, however, repeat any one of the weeks until you feel physically ready to move on to the next week.

  • Structure is important for motivation, so try to allocate specific days of the week for your runs and stick to them."

Rest Days

  • Rest days are critical. Having one between each run will reduce your chance of injury and also make you a stronger, better runner.

  • Resting allows your joints to recover from what is a high-impact exercise, and your running muscles to repair and strengthen.

  • Alternatively, you could do Strength and Flex on your rest days. This is a 5-week plan designed to improve your strength and flexibility, which will help your running."

Aches and Pains

  • "Some new runners starting the program experience calf pain or sore shins (sometimes known as shin splints).

  • Such aches can be caused by running on hard surfaces or by running in shoes that do not have enough foot and ankle support.

  • Always do the 5-minute warm-up walks as instructed in the podcasts before each run, and check that your running shoes are offering good support.

  • For more information on preventing and treating injuries, read the NHS page on sports injuries.

  • You will have good runs and bad runs – accept it, and do not spend too much time analyzing the how and why. Even a bad run is good for you.

  • In the event of a serious injury CALL 911

  • If you have a preexisting medical condition, get clearance from a health professional before initiating exercise

  • If you would like a tailored exercise prescription or treatment of an injury, see a licensed physical therapist

All information on this page is derived from the NHS Couch to 5k training program