Find the Beginners Running Program For You to Kickstart Your Running

The beginners running programs of are a good way to start your running life. Safe, yet they make you fitter and deliver the wanted results.

I have got three running training programs for beginning runners.

All three of them are run/walk programs.

There is a reason for that:

I am a strong believer in the tortoise and the hare story.

I want you to start off slow and easy with your running program. I don't want you to get injured.

These are not the right programs for you, if you have a fair amount of experience with other sports. When you already have a certain level of fitness and can cover say 15 minutes of non-stop running, then these programs might be a little too easy.

However, I do get many happy users from these beginner running programs. These programs are perfect for you, when you have not run before and you can currently not run very far without stopping. There is not a lot of running involved in the first two, three weeks. Yes, this is true. That's exactly the power of these programs. Start off easy and build up from there.

running quote

So what if a running program takes a few weeks longer?

As long as it is safe with a minimum risk of overtraining. These programs will still make you run:

  • 15 minutes within 8 weeks - Beginners Running Program 1

  • 20 minutes within 10 weeks - Beginners Running Program 2 

  • 30 minutes within 12 weeks - Beginners Running Program 3

  • That's non-stop running. So at the end of the programs you'd be able to run 15, 20 or 30 minutes without stopping.

    I have had many people write to me after completing the running programs saying "I didn't think I had it in me. I didn't think it was possible. Yet, I followed the program and I could do it after all. Thanks so much, etc., etc...."

    beginner running programs infographic

    Ready for the next step?

    After being able to do 30 minutes non-stop, you might want to look into the following programs:

    Other Running Programs to Explore

    heart rate monitor running programs
    10k running program
    half marathon running program

    How To Pick the Right Schedule...

    It is hard to define what the most suiting beginners running program is for you. Think about what you want to achieve and by when. How confident are you? How fast do you need to see results?

    Do you want to run a 5k race in about three months time? An excellent goal I have to say. In that case the Beginners Running Program 3 is a fantastic program. It is setting you up for running 30 minutes non-stop which would generally get you reasonably close to a 5k distance.

    You could also start off with Beginners Running Program 1 or 2 and, when you are finished, continue with program no. 3. You wouldn't have to start all the way at the beginning of Program 3. You'd be able to start in week 6 (if first doing program 1) or week 7 (if first doing program 2).

    Whatever you do. Just pick one. The most important thing is to get you started. Start building the foundation for a healthier and happier life!

    beginners running program
    Embarking on a running program often leads
    to other, healthier lifestyle choices!

    How Do I Read the Schedules?

    OK. Suppose a workout is something like this: 3 x 5 min walk, 2 min run. Then this means you need to walk 5 minutes, then run 2 miniutes and repeat that sequence three times. So walk 5, run 2, walk 5, run 2, walk 5, run 2.

    How Fast Do I Walk?

    A walk in these running programs is a brisk walk. Not running, not speed-walking, but a brisk walk. So, try to not completely come to a stand-still or give in to your fatigue and start slumping through your walk. You will feel much better doing a brisk walk and you'll recover all the same.

    beginners running program

    How Fast Do I Run?

    This is very important. Many beginning runners run much and much too fast. I want you to run at a pace at which you would still be able to hold a conversation.

    This is often referred to as "easy pace" or "conversational pace" and is the biggest part of any sensible running training program you will use in the future. So, take it easy, cowboy or cowgirl... :)

    What If I Want to Run More or Less Than 3 Times per Week

    Running More
    This is definitely possible. You could step it up to 4 or 5 times of running per week. You have different options available to you, when you want to do that.

    Option 1 - Repeat certain workouts in a week, e.g. run the first workout twice, the second workout twice and the third workout once in a week, totalling five workouts. Option 2 - Progress faster through the program by just continuing the workouts in order. So, you could do the 3 workouts of week 1 and workout 1 and 2 of week 2 in one week.

    The world really is your oyster!

    Just make sure to not overdo it completely. I am a big fan of combining your running with alternative activities. E.g. do your 3 runs per week with at least one day break in between (e.g. Tue, Fri, Sun). Then do a brisk walk or exercise bike or weights on two or three other days.

    The real risk with going from zero running to five workouts in the week is that you'll get yourself injured. So stay sensible and keep that tortoise and hare story in mind. Don't fall victim to the "Too Much, Too Soon"-problem and get yourself injured.

    Running Less
    This is possible too. I have had people do these programs with 2 runs per week. In week 1 they do workout 1 and 2 of week 1. In week 2 they do workout 3 of the first week and workout 1 of the second week. And so on.

    If you are planning to do this, then I would strongly recommend combining this with cross-training. You need training stimulus at least three times per week to build up a level of fitness. The risk with only doing 1 or 2 workouts per week will be that you will hit a point where you can't progress anymore. So, keep this in mind.

    Warming-Up and Cooling-Down?

    beginners running program

    When you are walking or running at a very easy pace, then you can get away with not spending a lot of time warming-up.

    I am saying, you can get away with it, I am not saying it is the best way. The best thing to do would be to start with a dynamic warm-up. To read more about what to do before your run and after your run, check out my running stretches page.

    OK, I think that's about all you need to know at this point before starting with the running programs. Anything unclear?

    Then see the Running Programs FAQ below to see answers to questions or to ask your own question.

    BRT Newsletter

    Have a Question about the Running Programs ?

    Do you have a question about the running programs on this site?

    Ask it and I will tell you what you need to know!

    Make sure to add a little bit of detail in your question. It is generally very hard to answer questions that are only one or two lines long. Those types of questions usually get deleted.

    What Other Visitors Have Asked

    Click below to see questions from other visitors to this page...

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    • Beginner Running Tips

      Are you a beginning runner? Then this is your best starting point. Many tips and running programs on offer, dedicated to you.

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