Five-Week Couch to 5k Training Plan + Running Food

couch to 5k training plan running

5k training plan print out

For the past few months, I’ve been sharing my journey back to running.

I stopped running entirely after getting injured during my half. I feared that I’d start training again and the injury would come back forcing me to stop. The thought of failing at something I used to love made me not even want to start up again. It’s been over a year, but getting back into my running routine felt right this time. Running is something I like to do to calm me down, ease my anxiety, and to better my health. Being able to put my headphones in, lace up my tennis shoes, and walk out the door to run for a run has felt very rewarding. I have been feeling so much happier, thanks to the endorphins, and I’m finally feeling myself again. I know I’ll never be a competitive runner or enter any races, but being able to run for myself is the best feeling.
My couch to 5k training plan running 3 miles run fitness calendar schedule printout taralynn


I knew I had to have a plan this time. I decided to write a schedule that I knew was realistic for me and fit my style of running. Before you print out my running schedule, know that I am not a professional, and you should consult with your doctor, or a certified trainer before attempting any new fitness regimens. I’m just sharing the plan that worked for me. We are all different, so what works for me, may not work for you!

I’ve been working on a YouTube video that I filmed during my five weeks, and I hope to have that up sometime! I didn’t do too well organizing the clips, so it’s taking me a good amount of time to go through them and put them in the timeline where they belong. I have more sit-down chats about running in the video, so it’ll be a good one.

12 Week Half Marathon Training Plan + Eatsย 

NYC Half Marathon Recap

My Relationship With Running

My couch to 5k training plan running 3 miles run fitness calendar schedule printout taralynn

Even when I’m not training, I’ve always been able to run one mile. In PE, we learned that most healthy people should be able to run a mile. If you’re not there yet, it’s something you can quickly and easily work on. You can try running one minute on and one minute off until you reach a mile. Add 30 seconds to your running minutes each day to work your way up to a mile. Once you can run a mile comfortably, you can start this plan!

Week one was pretty tough. Just because I was able to run a mile didn’t mean that the mile felt great. I was definitely out of breath, and my legs felt extremely heavy. I run in a very hilly neighborhood, but I think that helped me build a lot of endurance. Now, when I run on flatter trails, it feels great.
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The goal was to run every other day while adding .1 miles to the run until I reached two miles. When I hit two miles, I added .2 miles to the run until I hit three on the fifth week. This was the plan I created and followed 90% of it. There were days when I didn’t stretch; days I did tennis instead of strength training, and days where I maybe added an extra minute of running. But overall, it was the structure I needed. This is the plan that helped me build back my endurance forย rerunning a comfortable three-miles.

I’ve been on eight 3-mile runs since week five, and they are getting easier each time. Feeling proud of myself after a run is the best part. I think there’s part of me that still thinks “I can’t do it.” It’s defeating that mindset that means the most.

I’m currently on a new five-week plan to build up to five miles (I’ll share when I complete!)

Strength training

my strength training lasts about 15-20- minutes, and it consists of short circuits with weights in my living room. My dumbells and kettlebells are my favorite investment!


I make sure to stretch ten minutes after I run or do strength training. I can always work on improving my consistency with this! I’ve googled good stretches for IT bands and try to replicate those.


I make sure to hit 6k-10k steps on the days I’m not running by walking alone. Since I have two dogs, this isn’t hard for me to reach because of the mileage we walk together. I’ll even stretch after a walk while my legs are warmed up.

Thursdays & Saturdays

I play tennis and sand volleyball. Playing a new sport is great for endurance! I won’t worry too much about getting my walking steps in if it lands on a sports day.
running training 5k breakfast pre-run fuel healthy My couch to 5k training plan running 3 miles run fitness calendar schedule printout taralynnMY FAVORITE RUN DAY BREAKFAST

If you find something that works for you when it comes to the fuel and digestive department, stick to it! My breakfast for run days is almost always a bowl of protein oats! I feel my best when I run an hour after eating these oats. I digest it well, and it doesn’t cause any discomfort during my run. It’s crazy that food can make or break a run, so if you find something that works, stick to it!ย favorite post run snacks fuel 5k training plan simply taralynn My couch to 5k training plan running 3 miles run fitness calendar schedule printout taralynn

I love to have a snack after running! I’ll usually drink water for about 45-minutes after a run and then have a carb + protein source to refuel. ย I try to plan my runs to finish a little before lunch, but if not, I stick with a snack.

homemade gluten free vegan almond butter banana bread

energy balls

protein muffinsย My couch to 5k training plan running 3 miles run fitness calendar schedule printout taralynn

I refuse to run without headphones! Music is one of the best ways to get my energy levels up when it comes to running, and I hate hearing myself breath.

Shoes are everything! I highly recommend getting professionally fitted for running shoes. This can save you from unwanted injuries. Getting the socks with the running tabs will also help you from sliding and getting the blisters on the back of the heal.

I’ve never been one of those people that can run in shorts, so leggings with pockets to hold my cell phone is a must. Oh, and a visor, sunscreen, and sunglasses because I don’t want a sunburn!

I can’t live without my water and hydration tablets! I drink half a tablet water before my run and half after my run.couch to 5k training plan running

I hope this post gave you some inspiration to get out and start running!

If you print out the running plan, take a picture, and tag me in it so I can share! โ™ฅ๏ธ

Questions or you!

  1. At this very moment, can you run at least one mile?
  2. What has stopped you from running in the past?
  3. If you do run, what is one thing you cannot run without?

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  • Megan

    Hi Taralynn! I love catching up with your blog and love that you are getting back into running! As a long time runner, one thing that I’ve always struggled with is choosing to drink that morning cup of coffee before my run or save it for later. It’s so hard to not have that cup with breakfast! Especially if you aren’t running until later in the morning. Knowing you are also a big coffee lover, what do you do?

    Reply to Megan
    • Taralynn McNitt

      The first thing I do in the morning is to drink coffee. I know I can’t run without it lol I can’t even walk my dogs without getting tired/headaches. I’m sure I could do it if I spent some time getting used to it, but I actually do ok with coffee as a pre-workout. I read that coffee is actually an ok pre-workout, and recommended by a lot of running coaches. As long as you’re already properly hydrated from the night before, you will probably be fine!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Elle

    So excited for the video!

    I just got back into running from just letting busy life put it on the back burner. I love this!

    Reply to Elle
  • Maureen

    Thank you for your running plan!! My last 1/2 marathon was in 2014 and Iโ€™m really looking forward to getting back into it.

    1. Yes! (But itโ€™s not fast or pretty.)

    2. I scaled back from running because I was getting a lot of knee pain & needed to focus more on stretching

    3. I NEED to stretch before & after running, and I love to do yoga/strength training and walk on days I donโ€™t run. I also love my flip belt to hold my phone & house key because (unfortunately) not all of my leggings have pockets. =(

    Love your protein oats recipe! Thank you for sharing!! ๐ŸŒธ

    Reply to Maureen
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is awesome, Maureen!

      That’s exactly how mine was as well!

      I did the same, luckily, I haven’t had one pinch of knee pain this time around.

      I have to be better about stretching as well!!

      xo xo Glad you love that recipe!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Beverly

    Does your phone ever weigh your leggings down while running?? It might just be me but I figured I’d ask. I love having my leggings with the pockets for that reason but I find that doing that seems to make my leggings get weighed down while I’m running.

    Reply to Beverly
  • Kelsie

    Hey, Taralynn!
    Would we be able to get your Runkeeper username to add you as a friend?! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Kelsie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Kelsie! I don’t share my Runkeeper just because it shares the location. I am looking for some kind of app that works with the apple watch that i can share ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    Love this plan!

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Zoe

    I’m fairly confident I could push myself to a mile, but it wouldn’t be pretty.
    I feel like it’s kind of a catch 22, I don’t want to buy all the things that would make running easier until I prove to myself I’m going to do it, but it’s not enjoyable without the right things. I’m the same way with biking. I really want to enjoy biking, but it’s hard to do because I desperately need a new bike seat, if not a whole new bike, but I don’t want to splurge on something I barely do, but I barely do it because it’s so uncomfortable.

    I used to run with a friend in high school, but I have never really been running by myself. I’m also afraid of being injured while I’m out and not being able to get back.

    Reply to Zoe
    • Alison

      When I trained for a half marathon I would reward myself each week of the program with a new running item and scale it up with the difficulty. Like, week one done = new leggings, week four = new shoes, etc etc. That way you have motivation to keep going and its not such a crazy upfront cost.

      Reply to Alison
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That’s how all of my first one mile runs were!

      That catch 22 is always a tough one for sure.

      Yeah, that is a scary feeling for sure! I always share my location with my family and run in places that are close to people. This may help your fear of that ๐Ÿ˜€

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lauren

    I LOVE running! I run an average of 12-15 miles per week. It helps with my anxiety like nothing else has! When I was in middle and high school and we had to run the mile my friend would very dramatically fake asthma attacks and I would just have to “help” her back to the locker room, now I run for fun. Oh the irony! I have to run with my Apple Watch and the Strava app, if my app doesn’t know I’m running then what is even the point?? Haha! I also love running with my dog, he is a little over a year old feisty westie and he LOVES running! Its the cutest thing and makes my runs so happy ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Lauren
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Lauren!

      That’s an awesome mileage number! I love that you said it also helps you with anxiety. That’s the big one for me!

      That is so funny!! My partner and I used to help each other by counting extra laps lol We hated it!

      I think it’s so cool your dog runs with you! Mine think it’s just time to play when I take them.

      ๐Ÿ’œ !

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Lauren

        I’m glad my friend and I weren’t the only ones that cheated the mile!

        My friend that I run with has a golden doodle, it took him about 4 or 5 runs to get the hang of not wanting to jump on us. He is usually content if he is carrying a ball or a stick. Also, running leashes that you can wear around your waist were a game changer, it makes it soooo much easier! We love running with our dogs because it makes us feel safer when we are out at 5:30 am and it wears them out for the day!

        Reply to Lauren
        • Taralynn McNitt

          Hahaha! I bet 50% of the kids do lol

          Ohhhh that is such a good idea about the ball! I will look into those leashes. Thank you so much for the ideas!!

          Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    I donโ€™t think many people spending all their time on the couch can just get up and run a mile. You may want to change the title to โ€œ1 mile to 3 mile training plan.โ€ Just a thought.

    Reply to Anonymous
    • Lilly

      I’m 16 and a cross country runner! I’m using this plan to get my 8 year old sister ready for her 1st 5k! She is loving it and I’m so glad this allows me to share my passion with her, Thank you so much for sharing all your tips!

      Reply to Lilly
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I explain more if you read the post.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    Injuries have stopped me in the past ๐Ÿ˜“ but I am currently following a 10k training program till June when I start training for a half marathon.

    Canโ€™t run without my watch!! Gotta know that time ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Alison

    Thank you so mush for posting this! I’ve been following you for a while now and have wanted to get in to running. Mostly so I can prove to myself I can do it! And I recently signed up for a 5k so this came at the perfect time!

    Reply to Alison
  • Amanda

    I always hated the mile in PE! I struggled with it and was so embarrassed to run with everyone. I started running with my mom all senior year and was so proud to finish the mile in my class at the end of this year.

    Reply to Amanda
  • Katie Meshko

    Oh I love this so much!! Gonna give this challenge a go! I also appreciate you sharing all your post run snacks, now I have so many good ideas ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel like I could run atleast one mile but I def want to be able to run more + do strength training. Can’t wait to try this out!

    XO, Katie |

    Reply to Katie Meshko
  • Amy

    Thank you for sharing! I’ve been waiting for this post!

    Reply to Amy

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