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Couch to 5K programme

A structured programme designed for people new to running, wanting to return after injury or a period away from running or simply wanting to try a new way to keep fit and healthy

Couch to 5K programme: FAQ

What is Couch to 5K?

The Couch to 5K is a structured programme based on running science aimed at complete beginners, people who want to return to running after a period away through injury or personal choice and for anyone wanting to find a new pastime or way to stay fit and healthy.

How long does the programme last?

The programme lasts for eight weeks and aims to take total beginners from a standing start to being able to run five kilometres without stopping.

It's tried and tested to do just that and Desford Striders have a proud record of taking people from being complete novices to committed race runners.

Do I need any experience of running to take part?

No. The programme is aimed at complete beginners. If you have never run a step in your life we guarantee you will be able to take part and, with some perseverance and effort, will be able to run five kilometres non-stop by the end of the programme.

You will be supported all the way by members of Desford Striders, many of whom joined the club after completing the programme themselves.

When and where does the next programme start?

Our most recent Couch to 5K programme was in winter 2024 but the next one is already being planned. We'll give more details when we're ready to launch the next one, as it's the perfect time to take on a new challenge! The format is as follows:

Each week there will be an organised Thursday evening run at 6pm accompanied by a team of volunteers from Striders. You'll need to get in two extra runs each week and if you want to do one of those with other people going through Couch to 5K, there will be an accompanied Monday evening run at 6pm. A Saturday morning run at 10am will be introduced as the weeks go by. 

All the runs will set off from Desford Striders' HQ at Sport in Desford, on Peckleton Lane, and will always be run with safety in mind on footpaths, public bridlepaths and quiet back streets. There is no running on main roads.

How much does it cost to take part?

The eight-week programme costs just £10 (an administration fee) and there are no hidden extras.

We hope all participants will consider joining Desford Striders at the completion of the programme, when the £10 fee will be deducted from the membership fee.

How does the programme finish?

The traditional end to a Desford Striders Couch to 5K programmes sees the club take over the organisation of a parkrun at Braunstone Park, with all the participants graduating by completing the 5K course. A huge team of Striders are normally there to support participants, either by running themselves or marshalling the course.

Every participant will receive a commemorative medal and we hope will want to continue running as a member of Desford Striders.

Will there be extra support available?

As well as the weekly Couch to 5K session at Sport in Desford, all participants are encouraged to run twice each week, either by themselves or with other runners, to build fitness, stamina and endurance.

As the distance run increases, extra sessions will be available starting from Sport in Desford, supported as ever by members of Desford Striders.

How do I join up for Couch to 5K?

We first hold a Couch to 5K introduction evening, when we will explain all you need to know and what to expect over the 8 weeks of the programme. Pay your £10 entry fee and you're part of the team!

There won't be a run on that first evening but you will go away knowing just what the programme has in store and just how much support and encouragement you are going to get from members of Desford Striders, many of whom started running with the club after taking part in Couch to 5K themselves.

If you're keen to get started and can't wait for our next Couch to 5K programme, please ask for further details on joining us by emailing our Membership Secretary on

What happens after the Couch to 5K programme ends?

We sincerely hope all participants in the Couch to 5K programme will consider joining Desford Striders to continue their running in a happy and supportive club.

We are a friendly club and welcome runners of all abilities, so there is no need to feel nervous about joining. We have countless members who started running on the Couch to 5K programme and who can share their experiences with you and answer all your questions.

If we get enough graduates joining, we will put on a special follow-on 5K to 10K programme, which will allow graduates to further improve their running and increase their distance, before making the move to join regular social runs, fitness sessions and club runs on weekday evenings and weekend mornings throughout the year.

What do I do if I have questions about joining the Couch to 5K programme or about running generally?

If you have any questions - or worries (which we understand may be natural!) - before joining up for the Couch to 5K, please use the Contact us form on our website to ask or visit our Facebook page and comment on one of the numerous posts about the programme. Alternatively, you can email us on and we will get back to you with the answers.

During the programme itself, you will be surrounded by members of Desford Striders, many of whom have completed the Couch to 5K programme themselves and can answer your questions and give you first-hand experience of what to expect. 

We appreciate that joining the programme could be a big step for you to take and we will help you every step of the way - literally! We want you to succeed just as much as you do yourself.

If you have a question, no matter how silly it may seem, just ask us!

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