Couch to 5K is a program that individuals follow to go from zero running to completing a 5-kilometer or 3.1-mile run, so it does not adequately train runners for a marathon, a 26.2-mile run. However, it offers a good start to new runners who may eventually begin marathon training.
In the Couch to 5k program, individuals train three days a week for nine weeks, 30 minutes at a time. Each session alternates intervals of running and walking until the participant eventually runs the entire 30 minutes or 3.1 miles. The program believes its slow approach reduces the chance of injuries and helps new runners reach their goals. The creators and fans have developed phone apps, podcasts and message boards to support those attempting the Couch to 5k program.
CoolRunning.com originally created the program. Since its inception, the site created other variations of the program, such as Bridge to 10K and Pooch to 5K. The Bridge to 10K helps graduates of the original program complete a 10-kilometer run, while the Pooch to 5K modifies the program for those wanting to run with a dog. There is also a version of the program for treadmill users. The site also lists running events and includes training programs for those looking to run a half or full marathon.