If you’re looking to get started with running, then this beginner training schedule is the perfect place to start. As a new runner, it’s important that you build up your endurance.
If you push yourself too hard too quickly, you run the risk of injuring yourself. This training program features gradual increases so that you can ease yourself into it, and keep yourself from getting discouraged.
At the start of this program, you will only need to run for one minute at a time. This is because the best way to build endurance is to use the run/walk method, which alternates intervals of running and intervals of walking.
As you progress through the program, you’ll build yourself up to running continuously for 20 minutes within 30 days.
This is the beginning of your journey! Remember to be patient with yourself and take it slow. This isn’t about getting fast results, but building up your endurance.
Before you begin, start with a 5-10 minute warm with a brisk walk. You can then start your run/walk intervals.
Start running at an easy pace for 1 minute, then walk for 5 minutes. Repeat this 3 times.
During the walking intervals, make sure that you’re not taking a relaxed stroll. The idea is that you should pump your arms so that your heart rate can stay elevated. This ensures that you’re still getting a good cardiovascular workout, which will make it easier to transition back to running.
Take a brisk walk for 5-10 minutes to warm up. Run at an easy pace for 1 minute, and then walk for 4 minutes. Repeat 3 times.
Start to work on using proper running form.
Start with a warm up. Once you’re ready, begin running at an easy pace for 2 minutes, then walk for 4 minutes. Repeat 3 times.
Remember to work on deep belly breathing so that you can avoid getting side stitches. To do this, make sure that you breathe in through your nose and mouth in order to inhale the maximum amount of oxygen that you can before exhaling through your mouth.
Rest or cross-train (an exercise or activity that isn’t running).
If you don’t want to take a full rest day, the alternative is to do 30-45 minutes of low-impact cross-training activity. Typical cross-training activities include walking, swimming, cycling, rowing, elliptical trainer, yoga, Pilates, and strength-training.
Cross-training days are considered rest days as they give the muscles and joints that are used in running a break, which will reduce the risk of injury or muscle strain.
After a warm up, run at an easy pace for 3 minutes, and walk for 3 minutes. Repeat 3 times.
You’ve made it past the hard part; getting started. Now it’s time to keep increasing your running time and decreasing your walking intervals.
Warm up. Run at an easy pace for 4 minutes, then take a walking interval for only 2 minutes. Repeat 3 times.
Rest or cross-train.
Warm up. Run for 5 minutes, keeping that easy pace, then walk for 2 minutes. Repeat 3 times.
Warm up before you begin running at an easy pace for 6 minutes. Once again, your walking interval will be 2 minutes. Repeat 3 times.
Here is where it gets slightly different. After warming up, run at an easy pace for 7 minutes, and then walk for 2 minutes. Afterwards, run again for 7 minutes.
Rest or cross-train.
By the third week running should start to feel a little easier. However, if you find that you’re still struggling, don’t worry too much. As long as you remain consistent, you will start to see improvements pretty quickly.
Warm up. Run at an easy pace for 8 minutes, then walk for 2 minutes. Repeat only twice.
Warm up, then run at an easy pace for 10 minutes, followed by a 2 minute walking interval. Repeat twice.
Rest or cross-train.
Warm up. Start running at an easy pace for 12 minutes, followed by a 2 minute walking interval. Then run for six minutes.
Following a warm up, run at an easy pace for 13 minutes, then walk for 2 minutes. Finish by running at an easy pace for a further 5 minutes.
You’re three quarters of the way through the program, and right now you should be feeling pretty good about the progress you’ve been making. In this final week it’s all about making minor increases in your running intervals.
Begin by warming up, then start running at an easy pace for 14 minutes. Walk for 2 minutes, and finish by running again for a 5 minute period.
Rest or cross-train.
Warm up for 5-10 minutes. Run at an easy pace for 15 minutes, followed by a 2 minute walking interval. Run for a further 4 minutes.
Warm up. Run for 16 minutes, then walk for only 1 minute. Finish by running at an easy pace for 4 minutes.
Rest or cross-train.
Warm up for 5-10 minutes beforehand. Run at an easy pace for 18 minutes, followed by a walking interval of 1 minute. Finish by running at an easy pace for 3 minutes.
You’ve made it to the final day! Start by walking for 5 minutes to warm up. Run for 20 minutes with no intervals. End by walking for a further 5 minutes as a cooldown.
It’s important that you warm up and cool down for 5-10 minutes before every run to help eliminate the chance of getting side stitches, and to loosen up your muscles and joints.
Before you begin your running journey, there are a few things you need to consider.
Running Clothes and Accessories
You need to make sure that you’re wearing decent shoes and clothing. Your running shoes don’t have to be the most high-end shoes, but you want them to be comfortable and supportive.
Wearing inappropriate or poorly-fitted shoes will hurt your feet when you run by causing blisters. Wearing ill-fitting or unsupportive shoes can also lead to developing long-term injuries, especially in your knee and ankle joints.
When it comes to clothes, try and avoid anything cotton (including socks). As you’ll sweat, you want to keep dry and comfortable. You also want to avoid cotton to prevent chafing.
As this program includes a lot of walking intervals, it’s best if you wear a watch to help you keep track of how much time has elapsed.
Finding a Running Route
The great thing about running is that you can do it just about anywhere. Just make sure that the place you choose to run is safe. Try to run on wide roads that don’t have much traffic. Parks and trails also make nice running spots.
Keep Track of Your Progress
By noting down how far you went and how long it took you after each run is a great way to stay motivated. At the end of each week you can see just how far you went, and the results will often shock you in the best ways.
Running is more than just running itself. As we have already noted, part of the challenge is to run/walk. By interspersing running with walking breaks you are able to gradually build up your endurance. This is what allows you to run longer distances over quicker times.
The goal with cross-training is to raise your heart rate whilst doing cardio, without putting stress on your running muscles. Cross-training can be anything you’re comfortable with.
When you walk on rest/cross-train days, these can be easy, light walks, as you’re supposed to be in “recovery” from running days. You will use similar muscles, but they won’t be stressed as hard.
It’s important to rest, that is why there are so many rest days included in the program. You need to give your muscles a break, and your aerobic system time to strengthen.
Pushing your body too hard can cause injuries that have lasting effects. Take these rest days as an opportunity to prepare for your next run.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to focus on deep belly breathing as this will help eliminate the risk of developing a stitch. Remember, breathe in through your mouth and nose, and exhale from your mouth.
When you’re at the running intervals it’s important to control your pace. Remember, it’s a run, not a sprint, so keep a steady pace, and monitor your heart rate.
You can actually use your breathing to help control your pace. Whilst running, you should be able to maintain a conversation. If you are breathing too hard to talk, you are going too fast.
Eating and Hydration
If you like to run in the morning, make sure you eat a light breakfast before you begin. This can be some fruit, oatmeal, or a breakfast bar.
As a new runner, it’s pretty common to feel lightheaded if you’re running without any fuel in your system, so it’s important that you don’t run on an empty stomach.
If you’re running later in the day, have something light to eat about an hour before you run. Again, you want to make sure you have some fuel in your system.
After running it’s important that you drink water to hydrate, but avoid sugary drinks like energy drinks. These are just empty calories, and the workouts in this program aren’t so intense that you’ll need to refuel with energy drinks.
Once you’ve completed the program, take some time to appreciate your accomplishment and what you have achieved!
If you feel motivated to do more, you should now be in a great shape to start tackling long distance running, such as the 5k. Make sure you follow a training plan again, as pushing yourself too quickly can cause injuries which may mean that you need to take a break.