Couch to 5k apps

I decided to redo the Couch to 5k training plan. I can already run a 5k, but I’m incredibly slow. I thought doing the program again and doing the running intervals at a faster pace might help.

Last time I did C25K, I kept on track with a podcast. Since I’d rather run to my own music instead of someone’s techno selections, this time I looked for apps. I only tried two, because they seemed pretty similar and I don’t feel like the others that exist would be much different.

The Couch to 5k app from is the first one I tried. It’s the nicer looking of the two. You pick a trainer, which is a bit cutesy for my taste. Each time you’re supposed to walk or jog, the trainer interrupts your music to tell you what to do.

That’s the part I had trouble with: I couldn’t hear the trainer! There’s also a vibration setting, but it didn’t work for me. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m playing music through Spotify rather than through the app, but it was kind of a problem. I’ve since discovered that I didn’t have the alerts volume of my iPod all the way up (I don’t allow things to give me audio alerts, so I didn’t even know there was a special volume control just for that). That might help, though I’m skeptical that it’ll help that much, if having the volume set above halfway meant hearing absolutely nothing. (And I just checked, and the cue was a quick “Jog!” which would be easy for me to miss.)

After that I tried the Couch to 5k app from Zen Labs. It works pretty much the same way–you scroll to the workout you want to do, tell it to start, and then do what it tells you. It has the same audio problem, but the music cuts out for a longer time than with the other app, so I use that as my cue (and if there’s no traffic I can sometimes hear the audio). Since I’m either walking or running, it’s pretty clear that I’m supposed to do the other one even without the voice to tell me.

One problem I have with this app is it doesn’t always record that I did the workout. So I have to use my brain to remember what week/day I’m on. I’m ok with that.

Even with the audio issue, this is nicer than using a podcast where someone else has selected the music, or trying to time myself with my watch and staring at my wrist every 10 seconds. Who knows if it’ll actually make me faster. So far I’ve done the running intervals faster than my usual slog, but I’m only on week 3 so they haven’t been very long. I’ll know more in a couple weeks. Part of my problem is I get distracted by whatever I’m thinking about and forget I’m supposed to be pushing myself. The app’s reminders help with that.

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