I've always fancied being a runner, but I had no idea where to start when it comes to long-distance running and approaching the trendy 5K races. When I stumbled across the C25K (Couch to 5K) app ($2.99) in the Android marketplace, I was immediately intrigued by the name. Had it been called "Training for a 5K" or something else boring to do with running, I probably would have passed it up. Envisioning me sitting on the couch eating potato chips while my svelte friends were running along the nature path was just the motivation I needed to get off the couch and start running.
Basically, you start the training app, and begin your nine-week training for a 5K. The nine-week series is broken into three weekly runs. You do a five-minute warm-up, then your C25K trainer (you can pick a woman or man's voice) tells you with a voice cue when to run and when to walk, and then you finish with a five-minute cool-down. So you don't have to constantly look at a stopwatch to figure out your run/walk intervals, the app also alerts you when you're halfway through your training. The smart button locking system is a little hard to figure out at first, but does keep you from accidently shutting down the app while running. Another fabulous feature of this app allows you to listen to your own music by creating a playlist within it.
At the end of your run, you're automatically prompted to enter a journal for how you felt during the day's training. The app builds to your runs incrementally, so if you're feeling quite challenged by a particular day or week, you can easily choose to redo that training. Simply slide the selector to the run you want to repeat.
With this training app, you can also hold yourself accountable by sharing runs on Facebook and Twitter with your personal trainer, family and friends.