App of the Week: Couch to 5K

The Good, The Bad, & How to Know if this Training Plan is Right for You.

By Heather Gannoe of Relentless Forward Commotion

If you’ve toyed with the idea of starting to run, or have a friend who has recently taken up running, chances are you’ve heard of the Couch to 5K program.   But if you haven’t: the Couch to 5k is a wildly popular training program that is designed to take a non-runner from a sedentary lifestyle to running a 5k distance race in just nine weeks. Designed by Josh Clark, and originally published on the training website Cool Running, the Couch to 5k program has claimed to help thousands of people become runners and has blossomed into a running movement of its own.  

The training plan consists of just three days of training sessions per week, for a total of nine weeks. Each session consists of running and walking intervals, measured by time or distance, progressing forward with the final goal of running either a 5k or 30 minutes, without walking. If you are thinking of using the Couch to 5k program to help get you started on your running journey, consider the following pros and cons to this plan.

The Good:

Does the thought of running for more than a minute terrify you?  Then this training program is perfect for you.  The Couch to 5k program starts off with short intervals of running combined with generous walking breaks, which is an ideal introduction to running both physically, and mentally  (for example, day # 1 includes the following:  “Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes”).  Josh Clark states in his training program: “Too many people have been turned off of running simply by trying to start off too fast. ” Having specific, short distance or time goals prevents the participant from doing too much, too soon, which in turn prevents mental burnout and injury.

There has always been a bit of a stigma behind walking vs. running, but don’t let it bother you.   Studies show that a combination of running and walking has been shown to help prevent injuries while building physical endurance and running distance, as well as helping to prevent muscular fatigue.   So you are not any less of a ‘badass” for taking walking breaks; quite the contrary, you are a smart runner!

Further, some amazing athletes are well known for their run/walk methods.  Ultra runners (we are talking the people who run 100 + miles at once!)  are notorious for it.  And most famously, this style of training has been made very popular by former Olympic runner Jeff Galloway, who uses the run/walk method to train participants of all levels to run distances up to a marathon and beyond. The Couch to 5k program is variable in the sense that participants may choose to follow the plan by either distance or time. Each training session lists running and walking intervals by time or by distance, depending on the participant’s goal. This is helpful for those who are unable to measure the distance they run, or who may have time constraints on their training sessions.

The Bad:

Though the creators of the Couch to 5k program claim that it is for almost everyone, it might not actually be for everyone. Depending on many factors, such as health conditions, or even previous fitness experience, many beginners may find the couch to 5k training program too aggressive. Many beginning runners may find certain weeks include an increase in running distance that proves to be too difficult, and that week may need to be repeated. For example, on training day number three of week five of the program, participants are suggested to run two miles straight without a walk break. This is a significant increase from the three quarter mile interval run, with  half mile walk breaks, the session before. The Couch to 5k program encourages runners to repeat a week if necessary. However, the claim of getting participants off of the couch and onto running a 5k in only nine weeks may become frustrating to some who find they need to repeat a week.

On the other hand, some beginning runners may find the Couch to 5k program not aggressive enough. The Couch to 5k program discourages participants from skipping ahead, which can also prove to be frustrating for those who feel they are capable of doing more.

Conclusion:

Overall, the Couch to 5k training program is a very basic training guide that can be utilized by almost anyone. Even if the full nine week training program is not ideal for all participants, the Couch to 5k program may prove to be a useful starting point for someone looking to start running. The training plan can be found free on the Cool Running website and through the Facebook support page.  In addition, Couch to 5k apps are available to download to your smart phone or tablet, to help you keep track of your training.

Couchto5K is available to download for $2.99 for iOS and Android.

Do you have a favorite running app? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Tips & Tricks: This iOS trick no one told you about might keep you from losing your mind

 

By Zack Epstein of BoyGeniusReport

When Apple released the first iPhone over 10 years ago in 2007, one of the phone’s main draws was its simplicity. The biggest smartphone platforms at the time were Symbian, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry OS, and they were each overcomplicated messes. “iPhone OS,” as it was called at the time, was a breath of fresh air that made using a smartphone fast and easy. That theme continued to be one of the iPhone’s biggest selling points for years, especially when Apple first introduced the App Store. Installing third-party software on smartphones had previously been a nightmare that involved hunting apps down on websites, downloading them to a PC, and installing them using a sync utility. How crazy does that sound by today’s standards?

As Apple continued to add more and more new features to the iPhone over the years, much of the platform’s simplicity was lost. Now there are so many features that it’s impossible to remember even half of them. It’s gotten to the point where some less savvy iPhone owners aren’t even aware that key features exist. There’s no easy solution, but we always try to share useful tips and tricks as we come across them, and we’ve got a great one for you today.

Some functions in iOS are more user-friendly than others, and rearranging apps definitely isn’t one of the better ones. The concept is simple enough — long-tap on any app icon to enter “jiggle mode,” then drag and drop icons wherever you want — but it’s messy and frustrating in practice. Move too close to a corner and the page will accidentally switch, and forget about trying to drop an app into a folder. Just look at the video from this post on Reddit:

 

Thankfully, there is a better way and it might just keep you from losing your mind while trying to move apps into folders. As a commenter in that thread explained, it’s simple but it involves two hands. As you tap and hold on one app to drag it around, simply tap on the folder you’d like to drop the app in with a finger on your other hand. The folder will open while you’re still holding the app icon, and you can easily let go to place it in the folder.

This trick works on the iPhone and on the iPad, of course, and it’ll save you a ton of frustration.

Do you have a favorite trick for iOS that keeps you from pulling your hair out? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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