Couch to 5K program trains new runners to run 3.1 miles

Allison Speir

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 If you have been wanting to try running but cannot seem to find the motivation, this virtual program might be perfect for you. Every Friday afternoon, a UCCS running group meets from the comfort of their living rooms.  

     The Couch to 5K program, organized by the UCCS Recreation Center, is back this semester in a virtual format. Each Friday, students, staff and UCCS Campus Recreation members gather to create running plans and hold each other accountable to their running goals. This program is geared toward new runners and anyone who is looking to get into shape with the support of a group and an experienced trainer. 

     Aspiring runners are able to access and participate in this program from any location. Due to the ongoing pandemic, many UCCS students are learning remotely outside of Colorado, so the program gives participants the flexibility to stay in shape from wherever they may be and when their schedule allows. 

     On Fridays, participants log onto Microsoft Teams and are greeted by program facilitator Carlie Grabenstein, an experienced runner and trainer with the UCCS Recreation Center. They discuss their running plan for the rest of that week and how much they plan to run that Friday. Each participant completes their run for the day and rejoins the Teams call after running. Then, they discuss how the exercise felt, and if they see or feel any improvement in their running skills.  

     In the past, this program has been conducted in-person. Cynthia Lewis, the fitness coordinator of this program, explained, “This program has been challenging to transition to an online format but we love that this format enhances accessibility to participants.  

     “We understand that many people interested in this program are maxed out on virtual video platforms, which may be creating an additional barrier in accessing this program. We are looking forward to transitioning back to an in-person format over the summer!”  

     Lewis said the main goals of this program are to “provide a space for new runners to learn and reach their goals with guidance from a more experienced runner and help the runner learn how to set goals around running, what to wear in various weather, how to address any barriers, how to fuel for energy and recovery and connect with community resources.”  

     Lewis believes this program is a great way to hold participants accountable for reaching their fitness goals. At the culmination of the program, participants will have the option to participate in the annual Bash the Bluffs 5K on April 24.  

     The Couch to 5K program is support-oriented, and its goal is to help the UCCS community reach their fitness goals and get into better shape. Participants will work closely with Grabenstein to create a personalized running schedule and plan to be prepared to run the 3.1 miles.  

     If you are interested in learning what running is all about, you can register for the Couch to 5K program on the UCCS Campus Recreation website. This group meets Fridays from 4-5 p.m. over Microsoft Teams. For students, staff and UCCS Campus Recreation members, this program is free of cost.  

Image courtesy of Mountain Lion Connect.