From Couch to 5K


According to The Nielson Company, last year 69% of people said they planned to set New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get fit. Many 
of us have that extra ring, tire, muffin top or a little bit of excess around the mid-section they would like to remove, and one-in-three Americans 
is considered obese as defined by the Center for Disease Control. Running has always been an easy way to start getting into shape. All you need is a pair of shoes and a road or trail.

Running and walking are two of the top ten ways to lose weight, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Thanks to wearable tracking devices that keep us accountable and makes exercise more fun, a couch to 5K program is easier than ever. Armed with your trusty fitness tracker, discipline and a little help from the UF Health Sports Performance Center, succeeding in 2017 is a sure bet.

Keys to Your New Training Plan

When starting any new fitness plan or workout, it is always good to check with your doctor to make sure your body is healthy for exercise. Going from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active lifestyle has many benefits, but there are also risks from going too hard too fast that could cause harm.

While there are many types of training plans available, they all take in to account the same basic factors: intensity, duration and frequency.

Intensity is defined by how hard the workout is perceived to be. Many times a scale of perceived exertion is used. These scales range from 0-10 or 6-20, or by heart rate, which is also a good indicator of how hard the body is working.

Duration is simply a measure of how long the workouts are, either in total exercise time, or total miles completed. The ACSM recommends 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise per session, which will vary based on exercise per session, which will vary based on exercise intensity and experience.

Frequency is the number of times exercise takes place per week. The ACSM recommends three to five sessions per week to stay active and healthy.

Don’t Over Do It

When starting any exercise plan, make sure you’re not too quick out of the gate. Start with lower intensity exercise for shorter durations and frequencies, and gradually increase these over time. It is important to only adjust one factor at a time and only by about 10 percent of the previous week’s training load. This is to keep you from feeling overworked and reduce the risk of injury.

When it comes to exercise intensity, don’t be afraid to take walking breaks during the workouts. Set intervals of walking-to-running and stick to them throughout the entire exercise period. Over time, gradually adjust the ratios of walk-to-run to incorporate more running with less rest.

Where do I start?

Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail.” Having the right program is vital and at the UF Health Sports Performance Center, we have been working with the Florida Track Club to build an effective system that evaluates all body types and lifestyles helps individuals set realistic goals and moves people forward into racing…or simply on their way to healthier life. In order to give yourself the best chance of success ask the experts at the UF Health Sports Performance Center to customize a plan for you.

We have assembled a specialized team of physicians, exercise physiologists, physical therapists and certified coaches to help you achieve your goals. Our experts have years of experience coaching and training. No experience is necessary. All you need to do is sign up and be willing to run.

The performance center staff works with the Florida Track Club to help them reach their goals and we can utilize the latest technology to help you too. Fine tune your running form, track your body composition, calculate your resting metabolic rate, and test you maximal oxygen consumption with a VO2 max test.