With the start of a new year, it seems like just about everyone sets goals to be healthier. Whether you vow to start on your health and fitness kick on January 1, or a day (or few after) once you polish off the rest of the holiday goodies and binge watching Netflix, it can be a bit difficult to actually get off that couch.

This is true whether you are new to the whole running scene or have logged in quite a bit miles in your shoes and have taken a hiatus.

And no matter how motivated you are today, it’s staying motivated tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, and that day after a set back like eating a whole pizza that’s the real challenge.

It’s easy to give up or make excuses when you are feeling too tired, too hungover or just over it, but sticking to the program doesn’t have to be hard. One of the ways to hold yourself accountable is following a set schedule to get your feet wet (yes, even those who have logged many miles before).

One of the most successful programs to get you up and running is the Couch to 5K plan.

Developed by Active, the Couch to 5K app brings the user their scheduled runs to their fingertips, with their own personal trainer in their ear.

The idea is to get the user off the couch and crossing a finish line of a 5k (3.1 miles) in 9 weeks. To complete this goal, the user will have to do just three scheduled runs a week for a duration of 20-30 minutes. The workouts are seriously short enough to fit into any busy schedule, and if you are having doubts, know that this app follows a walk/jog method that consists of a 5 minute warmup, followed by intervals of brisk walking and jogging with a 5 minute cool down. Trust that EVERYONE who consistently follows this program will finish it able to run continuously for at least a mile.

But is it really worth it to download (and spend the $2.99) on the app?

Well, it’s a whole lot cheaper than hiring a personal trainer, that’s for sure. It’s also a lot more reliable than having your friend show up and keep you pumped during your runs. It’s also extremely convenient since the app will tell you when to walk and when to stay jogging again.

The app interface is easy to navigate so even technology challenged runners can get the hang of it—just tap on Training and “Go To Workout” to start. You will be able to see what the workout entails before beginning, and can change your music directly in the app once you are running.

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There are also bonus features like searching for a 5k event and connecting with a community of other users.

For those who are getting back into their running routines, the Log section will especially be useful to see overall progress, time and pace.

Just like the “Fitbit effect,” where users will get excited and motivated to get moving by wearing a tracker, the Couch to 5K app also has the same effect. You will want to launch the app and complete your workout each day, which helps with accountability.

Couch to 5K is available to download for iOS and Android.

(Stay tuned to read more about the app as I continue to use it to get my running mojo back post baby.)

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