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A "Jogcast" for New Runners

Posted Jun 21, 2007 (updated Jul 6, 2008)

Robert Ullrey's podcast

In 1996, I wrote a training program for new runners named "The Couch to 5K Running Plan," a nine-week program that gradually introduces running into your life. By the end of the two months, the program has you comfortably running 5K distances three times per week.

A decade later, "C25K" remains perhaps the most popular get-started program for beginning runners on the web. Hundreds of thousands (!!) of runners have used the plan to change their lives one step at a time. I can't even begin to describe how great it feels to have helped so many people in this small way. Humbling.

How cool is this: The running plan has found a new medium in a great podcast series by Robert Ullrey, who also created a gorgeous blog to share his own experience with the running plan. Robert produced the podcast last summer to give runners a music soundtrack for their workout, along with cues about when to run, when to walk, when to pick up the pace, tips on your form, etc.

The podcast is one of those forehead-slapping ideas of such blinding usefulness that you can't believe nobody did it before. The great thing about it is that you never have to look at your watch; Robert's high-production-value audio lets you know where you are in the program with encouraging reminders sprinkled throughout the high-energy music track.

The podcast is one of those forehead-slapping ideas of such blinding usefulness that you can't believe nobody did it before.

When I first wrote about the Nike+iPod sports kit, I noted the addictive power of your own personal statistics, how inspirational it can be to track your steady progress. That's particularly true for new runners, but with an important caveat: Tracking your progress during the run is no fun at all for beginners.

When you're starting out, running is unfamiliar, uncomfortable. The program gets you through this as painlessly as possible, but it relies on run-then-walk intervals (run 60 seconds, walk 90 seconds), and that means a lot of watch-gazing. Watching a second hand tick while you're doing something uncomfortable tends to make the whole thing even more uncomfortable.

The podcast fixes the problem. The times are given to you as you need them, no need to obsess about the seconds. You can focus instead on the surroundings, on the music, on your own motion. You can revel in the times and statistics after the run when you'll actually enjoy them.

And great news: People are really using the podcasts. As I write this, Robert's podcast is ranked #14 in the health category at iTunes. Congrats to Robert Ullrey on a great idea, great execution, and the well deserved success of his podcast. If you're considering a new running regime, I highly recommend it: Robert Ullrey's Podcast for Running.

Special bonus trivia

I wrote the training program for my original running site, Kick! (still visible via the Wayback Machine), which subsequently got folded into Cool Running, where the "couch-to-5k" lives now. Cool Running was the guinea pig for the original prototype of Big Medium. The system that I built to manage that site eventually emerged as Big Medium (the site still runs an early version of the software).

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Comments

7 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Jun 21, 2007 1:59pm [ 1 ]

I loved this plan. I followed the plan two years ago, and was comfortably running a 5K in about 10 weeks. It changed how I felt about interval training.

Josh
Jun 21, 2007 2:26pm [ 2 ]

Great to hear, Deane! And hey, quite a coincidence that you should comment just now -- I was literally in the middle of adding a comment at Gadgetopia when you popped in.

Tim
Jun 22, 2007 9:20pm [ 3 ]

Hi

I'm from Melbourne, Australia. I've never ever been a runner. I hated it. I just finished the C25K running plan and now I'm running 30 mins three times a week. I've never been this fit in my life. Thank you so much

Nana
Mar 12, 2008 3:16am [ 4 ]

Nana here from Venezuela. Just wanted to let you know that I found out about the C25K after finding Robert's podcast @ iTunes; and felt like letting you know that the program has reached new horizons! hehehe... Caracas... Venezuela... South America.

Thanks so much for such an awesome plan!

Ale
Nov 2, 2008 2:48pm [ 5 ]

Thanks for the motivation. I just finished week 6 and am amazed that I could do it!

R.E.
Jul 31, 2009 8:10am [ 6 ]

I just started running three weeks ago and have just been adding a minute each weekday. I am up to 15 minutes. I still do 20 min. of eliptical as a warm up. I just found this program and would like to try it. Where should I start now that I am already running 15 minutes?

Jenn Braden
May 2, 2010 2:31pm [ 7 ]

Great article! I stumbled across the Ullrey podcasts and they were the reason I was able to do the program! The alternating, gradually increasing intervals of the workout were just perfect and I found myself making progress almost without noticing! The podcast is a perfect fit and allow you to put all of your focus into your run.and is a "must have" if you want to complete the C25K.

I've been done with the C25k for about a month, am consistently running 30-35 minutes/3 miles three time per week and my first 5k is in two weeks!!!!

Thanks, Josh, for making this program available to the world. :) It's amazing and I am 100% percent a believer...I've told everyone I now about it!!!

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