5K Best couches to run apps on

Main points

  • Motivation and tracking apps are a great way to start your running journey.
  • Nike Run Club, 5K Runner and C25K Trainer can help guide you.
  • Have fun listening to stories while improving your fitness with apps like Zombies, Run! and more. 5K training.

Getting fit isn’t easy. It’s been proven that exercise is good for your mental health, but it’s also good for your body. So, how do you get off the couch and move by running? That’s where the Couch to 5K Run app comes in.


How to pair Bluetooth headphones with a Garmin watch

Pairing Bluetooth headphones with your Garmin watch is quick and easy.

There are many apps to help you on your running journey. These apps provide training plans to help you know how long to run, how often to run, and when to recover. Most also feature guidance and motivation while running, giving you tips on how to succeed and pushing you to keep going even when you don’t want to. I’ve rounded up the best options to get you started and take you from the comfort of your couch to a 5k run.

1 nike running club

A power-packed, versatile app.

The phone rests against the running shoes, displaying the Nike Run Club app.

Nike Run Club (NRC) is a feature-rich and easy-to-use app with tons of features and programs. Its 5K training plan is geared towards beginners but is suitable for all runners. The eight-week program runs five times per week. To keep things interesting and maximize training results during your training program, it offers a range of run types, including speed runs, long runs, and recovery runs. If you pair it with a compatible device, the app can also track your train, recording your route, miles, average pace, elevation and heart rate.

The guided run through the NRC app provides motivation and instructions throughout, which I found very engaging and helpful. It keeps me entertained while running, especially when paired with the suggested playlist. This way, I’m not thinking about the pain of running and can distract myself from the process.

If you successfully complete the 5K and want to keep going, the NRC has some other programs, including the longest marathon distance. In addition to this, there are over 300 guided runs to choose from. I particularly like the “Run Again” option. The best part about NRC? Every part of the app is completely free.

2 5K runners

A simple option with built-in walking times.

The 5K Runner app appears when the phone is held against the running shoes.

The 5K Runner: From Couch Potato to 5K app is an eight-week training program that runs three times per week. One of the reasons this app stands out is that it’s based on walking time. Each run has segmented walking and running times and guidance on when to do which exercises. As you build fitness, your running time and overall activity duration will increase over the eight weeks. This slow build is great for those who are new to running, as rushing in too quickly can lead to injury.

Unfortunately, this app doesn’t grow with you and is limited to an eight-week 5K plan. The same company also makes a 10K version, but it’s a separate app. If you want more than four guided runs, you also have to pay a subscription fee, which is unfortunate. But if you need additional guidance and are just starting out with limited physical fitness, the 5K Runner is a great place to start.

3 C25K 5K training machine

A slightly more serious app to keep you up to speed.

The phone is resting against the running shoes to display the C25K app.

The C25K app is a feature-rich app and an eight-week program (feeling a trend?). Like the 5K Runner app, it runs three times per week and provides guided walk and run times to help ease you into your training. It’s compatible with a range of GPS apps, or you can use your phone’s GPS if you don’t have another app. You can also pair it with MyFitnessPal and music apps, including Spotify and Apple Music, so you can still hear your trainer’s voice in your playlists.

You’ll be able to track calories and distance for each workout, have light and dark modes, and Apple Health integration. Like other apps on this list, you basically just press start to get started. It requires a subscription once you’ve completed four runs, but with all the features and the ability to use more apps made by the company with a single subscription, it might be worth it depending on your preferences and needs.

4 Sofa to 5K

More creative fitness apps.

The Couch to 5K app appears when the phone is held against the running shoes.

The Couch to 5K app is a 9-week program that requires you to train three times a week for 20 to 30 minutes each time. There are four unique trainers to choose from, and live audio prompts will guide you through your training sessions.

Couch to 5K is compatible with music apps so you can listen to music and hear coaching cues. The app also supports GPS so you can calculate distance, pace and map routes. You’ll also get treadmill support for manual workout input, and you can track your progress with total distance and average pace.The cost of the application 5 USD Available for download, there are also 5K to 10K follow-up apps available when you exceed your 5K goal.

5 Zombies, run! 5K training

This narrative running experience allows you to forget about exercise for a while.

Zombies are displayed on your phone, run! The app leans on running shoes at the same time.

Zombies, run! The 5K Training app is for those who want to improve their fitness levels but also have fun doing it. It’s designed as an eight-week training program and provides instructions for when to walk, run, jog, or stretch for each workout. What makes it stand out is that it has a story to follow, making your runs more interesting. Think of it as an interactive audiobook that takes your mind off the pain so you can feel lighter.

You’ll receive a training progress report, and the zombie story will continue throughout the program to keep you entertained while you run. Like other Couch to 5K apps we’ve listed, the Zombies, Run! 5K Training app is compatible with the Music app so you can hear cues in your playlist, and it’s also compatible with Apple Health.

Zombies, run! 5k training


Q: What’s the best way to start running?

One of the best things about running is that it’s so approachable and easy to understand. However, it’s all too common for new runners to run too hard, feel pain while running, and decide it’s not for them. The key to any form of fitness is to slowly work your way up to harder workouts, which include running. Jumping too fast may result in injury or too much pain to continue.

If you’re new to running, don’t be afraid to walk to work. Most of the apps above will advise you to do this, which is why they’re great for beginners or people getting back into running after a break. When you run, pay attention to your pace and don’t try to overdo it, especially at the beginning of a training program. Finally, make sure to stay consistent. Otherwise, you’ll lose it as you build up your fitness and start over from step one, or see no progress at all. Consistency is key.

Q: What does it take to start running?

The only thing that really matters when starting to run is a good pair of running shoes that fit you. Proper shoes are often overlooked by new runners, but they can have a significant impact on your run. Keep in mind that finding the right pair of shoes can take some time. I’ve worn many pairs of shoes that caused calf cramps or shin pain or my heels slipped too much. I highly recommend finding a specialty running store near you and working with someone to find the best shoes for your feet and type of running.

Any other gear other than shoes is basically optional. A fitness tracker or smartwatch makes it easier to track your progress, but the most important apps only work on your phone. For truly fine-tuned training, a heart rate monitor is ideal, although it’s by no means necessary.

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