A NEW free running programme to help wannabe runners is being launched this month in Bromsgrove.

Couch to 5k is designed to get people to ditch the couch, and take up regular jogging in 2013.

The programme has been specially designed by the NHS, and is being supported by Bromsgrove District Council.

Run by a professional running instructor, it uses the latest technology to motivate anyone who wants to participate in the nine-week course.

The programme aims to have participants comfortably running five kilometres within nine weeks, and graduates of the course are directed to other local running groups, including parkrun, so they can choose to continue their healthier lifestyle after Couch to 5k.

Bromsgrove District Councillor Michael Webb, responsible for sports and leisure, said: "This programme has been a hit up and down the country.

“One of the interesting things is how each week you can download podcasts to your phone or music player, to listen to while you jog. It’s perfect for beginners."

The series of downloadable podcasts which accompany the course are designed to structure each run with music and coaching to develop running technique, speed and stamina over time.

The downloads are available for free from nhs.uk or online through iTunes.

The course is launching in Sanders Park, off Kidderminster Road, on Saturday, January 12, from 11.30am.