Couch 2 5k: Week 1: Start Walking

This week as part of BeneFIT Physical Therapy’s “Couch 2 5k” series we are going to talk about something basic, but very important nonetheless: WALKING.

Hopefully you have been able to head over to a local running store to purchase new shoes if needed. If you are not sure if need new kicks take a look at last week’s sneaker post to find out. If you still need help finding shoes Dr.Ireland recommends specialty stores  Jackrabbit in Morristown, Runner’s Haven in Randolph, and The Sneaker Factory in Basking Ridge. Any of these places are staffed with people happy to get the right sneakers for you. The last thing we want is for you to start off on the wrong foot with the wrong shoe! We could go on and on with puns with this but we’ll stop before we have a foot in the mouth!

As it is winter, many of us have become couch amoebas and doing a good job blending into the furniture, putting off our exercise goals in the same list as “Spring Cleaning.” However training for a 5k isn’t as simple as just sorting junk and throwing away or donating used things, it cannot be done in a day, or even really a week. That’s why we’ve spread this series out over 14 weeks to get you from walking to jogging to even running, progressing from shorter to longer distances. Remember as we discussed in last week’s sneaker post, a 5k is a little over 3 miles. That may sound like nothing to some and a lot to others. So starting with a walking plan now you should have enough time to get ready for the 5k of your choosing

Step 1

Pick the days of the week that you know you will have time to exercise. Ideally, we want to start with three to four days to get out there. One of the days should be a day and timeframe that can become your longer distance day for the week. For example,” as Dr. Ireland said, “I’m doing M,W,F with my long day on Saturday mornings”. Whatever the days and times make sure they fall easily into your daily schedule.  As we saw in how to make a habit we need to reinforce the habit of exercise by scheduling it during a part of the day that makes sense, isn’t forced, and takes the least amount of time to create.


Step 2

Now that we have the days of the week figured out, the next step is to…..Start walking!  Keep the duration short for the first week, aim for 10 minutes if this is the first time you have started a walking program.  If you know 10 minutes would be a breeze than shoot for 20-30 minutes.  Whatever the time frame, aim for that duration each of your walks.  For this week don’t worry about any longer distances, just get into the habit of walking on the days you said you were going to.



Keep an eye out on our socials as we will be posting things to help you out along this journey. If you plan on walking outside, check out our post about Map My Run to see how you can personalize the app to create a walking/running loops based on distances and time and check out mapmyrun’s blog for great running and walking tips. Be on the lookout for future posts on proper road safety, stretching posting walking, and how to properly layer!


If you are starting this program on a treadmill, don’t worry about the distance yet, focus more on the duration that you are walking on the treadmill. Keep in mind that the 5k will be outside so start with that in mind by having the treadmill set to a hill program right from the get-go! This way the treadmill will increase and decrease it’s incline as if you were walking outside.


Want to stay motivated? Ask a friend to go for a walk.  Or join a walking or jogging club; there are even some indoors in the winter that go at a set time on a certain day of the week. Have a walking group you’d like to let others know about ? We would love your feedback !  swans in February on icy lake

Where do you like to walk/jog/run in the area? Do you have any tips to share? E-mail us at or connect with us @BenefitPTnj on Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Vimeo for workout tips and videos. We would LOVE  to hear from you!


Remember, throughout this Couch 2 5k series, we are offering free screenings at both our Chester and Bridgewater, NJ  locations. We look forward to seeing you! For Chester call : (908)-879-5700. For Bridgewater: (908)-203-5200.