Running is the type of activity that you can either love or hate. But if you’re in the camp of the latter and want to turn it around, you can! We got Matty Abel, Nike+ Run Club Head Coach for Sydney, to give his best advice for how you can go from the couch to your very first 5km.

Starting off can be quite daunting, but with a few key things in place, you’ll be running 5km in no time. The first step is commitment. Write down your goal(s) and then break them down into weekly, achievable goals – this way you can celebrate the smaller wins towards your bigger goal. An example might be: ‘This week, I commit to 2 x 30 minute walks with small jogging sections along the way.’

Next, a good running coach will always advise you to track your training. It‘s easy to forget the training you completed a few weeks earlier, but a great motivator is looking back to see how far you’ve actually come. Apps are a great way to do this. The Nike+ Run Club app allows you to track and analyse all of your training, plus, you’ve got in-ear coaching from the likes of Kevin Hart and British distance runner, Mo Farah.

So you’re all set up to go running – now what? As you’re new to this type of activity, it’s best to take things slow because your body will take some time to adapt. I’d suggest in your first few weeks to commit to 3 x 30-minute walks. If you can manage some intermittent running within that time, you’re on the right path.

If you can, work in some strength training as well. This isn’t to get big muscles, it’s to improve your overall strength and endurance, which will help you become a better runner. If you’re not a gym goer or you don’t know what to do, an app can help here as well. Within the Nike+ Training Club app, you can create both at-home or in-the-gym programs that show you how to perform each exercise correctly.

After a few weeks have passed, it’s time to increase your time spent running by adding more sessions to your week. Here’s an example of what your week may look like:

Recovery run, either with Nike Run Club or an easy jog/walk where you can still hold a conversation.

Strength training. Work on your muscles and stability away from the running track.

Rest day. This is where all the magic happens. Giving your body regular rest will do you good in the long term.

Intervals. 10 minutes warming up, 20 minutes x mixed intervals (example 3 minutes running, 2 minutes rest x 4) ,10 minutes cooling down.

Strength training (optional today) or an easy 20-minute walk or jog.

Rest day or a day to catch up on any missed sessions.

Your long run. 10 minutes warm up, pick a distance you want to achieve and go for it, with 10 minutes cooling down. Start small and build on it each week.

Remember not to stress if you miss a session or two, but try and be as consistent as possible with your training. It’s a great idea to pair up with a like-minded friend to keep each other accountable, but remember to be patient with your process – everyone progresses at different levels. As long you track your progress, work on your strength and go for different types of runs as part of your training, you’ll see results!

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