Couch to 5k Week 5 : Sprinkle In More Dashes

Week 5: Sprinkle In More Dashes!


We have now sprinkled walking and dashes of jogging through week 5 of your program! Hopefully walking every day is becoming more of a habit, getting easier to accomplish, and is something that you are looking forward to doing.   

Registering for your first 5k now can be a huge motivator for you to stick to your training and follow through!  We are sponsoring a number of 5ks throughout the season near our BeneFIT Physical Therapy locations. However, whether you’re participating in a race in Bridgewater or  Chester, NJ or out of town with family and friends, THIS Couch to 5k program is designed to help you get ready for ANY 5k of your choosing.

Izzy's Infantry runners

Register now for your race! Mark your ical or Google calendar or tell Alexa to save the date, and set a reminder 3 weeks before the event. Get a big wall calendar and hang it in your kitchen or a daily planner. Whatever your organizational method, making a commitment is the simplest step. Now that you’re signed up, you can plan your time accordingly and create some excitiement motivation to kick up your routine a notch! 


Month 1 Planning

As we have discussed in our science of goals and habits blog posts, defining a goal with a set date a time frame helps us achieve goals as well as form healthy habits, like walking every day. Over time these walks become easier, an accomplishment you can proudly add to your routine,  perhaps even after your first 5k. 

 We’re 5 weeks into our Couch to 5k walking program, but it’s a rolling curriculum so you can join in at any time! Check out posts 1-4 and most importantly start incorporating more walking and then jog/walking into your weekly routine. Set aside one day for your Long Walk which will help you get used to walking longer distances, progressively and gradually up to 5 kilometers (It’s ok you still have months to increase your endurance if you’ve been hibernating this Winter!)

One way to measure your progress so far is timing your walks and writing out the days you walk.  Then check and write down anything that you notice about how you feel, when you get tired, and listen to your body’s natural cues. Keep track of your times and progress either with technology or ye old pen and notebook. Big wall calendars work too. Again, mark on the calendar the date of your event! You can draw stars, smileys, or color that wall calendar if you like! Set a phone alarm the day before too, as sleeping through an event you’ve planned for so long for would be very disappointing. Try getting up at the time you need for the day of the race the day before too, if it’s much earlier than your usual waking time.

As a reminder, BeneFIT’s first 5k this Spring is Chester’s Spring Stampede on Saturday,  May 16, 2020.  The following weekend, we are sponsoring Izzy’s Infantry Charge Towards a Cure in Bridgewater on Saturday, May 30, 2020.  By signing up now for the 5k you are making a commitment to attend the event and help everyone stay motivated! Use the code BeneFIT for $5 off each invidual registration fee! Groups can use the code too, with each person in the group getting $5 off. Register by April 3 to be guaranteed an official race T-shirt!

Below are links to registration for both events and important deadlines and location details.

****Here is the link to register directly to Izzy’s infantry******


**** Here is the link to register directly for the Spring Stampede ****


This week lets focus on…..increasing short bursts of intensity.


Last week we talked about your first BIG increase in intensity by adding short duration episodes of jogging into your walk.  

This week we want to increase those opportunities of jogging during your walk.  If over the past week you were able to jog a short distance once or twice then this week, then we want you to try to increase those episodes by at least double! If you are looking for more of a challenge feel free to increase those episodes to even more than double!

For anyone taking advantage of the nicer weather and walking outdoors, look at those landmarks you used from last week.  As a reminder to using telephone poles, pick one further from the other.  Once you pass the first telephone pole, pick up your walking pace or start jogging until you cross the second telephone pole. After crossing the second pole, return to your usual pace. 

Now we deviate from last week by aiming for adding 4 to even 8 of those jogging intervals during your walk! Want to challenge yourself?  Try to switch back and forth between walking and jogging at every telephone pole or driveway you pass!

For our indoor walking treadmill warriors, keep up the 30 second jogging intervals as discussed last week, but add MORE in!  See if you can do a 30 second jog every 1-2 minutes throughout the duration of your walk.

 BE CAREFUL! On the treadmill holding your finger down too long on the Increase Speed Button can result in a significant quick jump in speeds; much higher than anticipated!


To avoid this, check out your treadmill settings ahead of time; not all machines are like the others. Test out how speed increases manually while you are walking. Start at a slow speed and gradually increase it to a speed you can comfortably jog at. 

Now we’re dashing through our walk with more jogging bursts! However it’s still vital to continue to hit those long walks once a week. 5k success comes from building up long walk endurance. Continue adding a couple more minutes to your walks each week. On those long walks don’t be afraid to sprinkle in a lot of jogging dashes! Exercise to your ability and if you can, make each long walk more challenging. 

Some Tips 

Keep checking in at on our Social Networks as we continue to post content aimed at helping you out along this journey. Connect with us @benefitptnj on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We would love to hear from you! Tell us what you’ve found helpful in this program and share how you’ve stayed motivated! You can also e-mail us at Send us your suggestions!

As the weather is getting warmer and perfect for outdoor walks, check out our post on hydration. Dehydration is the enemy of walking long distances! You lose energy and can feel lightheaded. Water is essential! Make sure you drink water ahead of time and carry water to sip with you when you’re going on a walk longer than 20min, or less depending on your health needs.

Revisit our post on stretching post walking to prevent injuries and sore muscles. Dressing for the part is just as important, check out our post on layering and check out the weather forecast before your run outdoors. 

 When you finish exercising inside and its chilly outside, make sure you dress warmly when you go back out even if you feel hot from your exercise. If possible change out of sweaty clothes before going back outdoors.

Exercising outside on sunny but windy spring days? Try wearing a scarf, hat and/or sunglasses, with a light jacket.  Don’t forget the sunscreen! Even if it’s more sunny than “hot” we are still at the mercy of UV-Rays. Don’t forget your nose, ears and the back of your neck! These are common places we get unexpectedly burned on sunny days. 

If you are using a treadmill more than walking outside, keep in mind that the 5k will be outside and most treadmills will offer a hill program that should help you get used to the varied terrain!

Finally, Swing by the clinics with your old shoes or sneakers as we are having a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls with an additional $1 donation going to local chairites in both the Chester and Bridgewater Areas.  At Soles4Souls, they turn unwanted shoes and clothing into opportunity by keeping them from going to waste and putting them to good use – providing relief, creating jobs and empowering people to break the cycle of poverty.

Remember, starting any exercise or fitness training is taxing on the body. Before beginning any new physical activity you should consult a healthcare professional to ensure you can start the program.

If you have any questions or concerns about starting our outlined Couch to 5k walking program, or find yourself more sore than usual while training, please contact our Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700) location to schedule a FREE medical screening. 

Our highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy in Bridgewater and Chester offer free screenings for your BeneFIT. Until next week, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be at that 5k goal!