Taking the first steps to run doesn’t have to be scary, and this running plan for beginners will help you start your journey and importantly stick with it. 

If you are new to running or thinking about giving it a try, running is one of the most natural things the body can do and wants to do – so don’t let self-doubt or fear stop you from your first run.

Running is of the only sports and activities which you can do practically anywhere, be that in a big city, up in the mountains or the beautiful countryside. All you need is a pair of trainers and off you go.

This simple running plan has been designed to help beginners start running, and for anyone looking to add more structure to their runs.

First, mark down three months on a calendar and plan a run three times per week, every other day works well (i.e. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday).

Commit to thirty minutes in each session.

5 minute warm up

Start every running workout with five minutes of walking to prepare your body for running. Start out at an easy effort and progress to a purposeful walking pace by the end of the five minutes.

Run and walk guided by your body

Alternate running until you hear your breath, and walking until you catch your breath for a total of 20 minutes.

No formulas or intervals—run by your body and breath.

Begin with 15 to 20 seconds of running and 2 to 3 minutes of walking until you catch your breath. No worries. That may be where your body is at fitness-wise right now. Go with it, tune into your body, and avoid pushing to go longer.

The next workout may be close to the same as well

But a few weeks down the road, that 15 seconds will grow to 30 or 45 seconds or even a minute, and the time it takes to catch your breath will drop.

That’s when it starts to get fun, because you feel the difference as you go.

Stick to 20 minutes

Keep the total time of the running portion of the workout to 20 minutes until you build up to running 20 minutes total. That is, maintain the total time of the workout and allow your body time to adapt to the demands of running until you go farther.

You’ll recover faster, enjoy the workout a lot more, and progress to running more efficiently. It may take you several months to run 20 minutes, but once you’re there, you’ll be able to add on more time. (25, 30, 35 minutes…)

Finish happy

Let’s face it: If it hurts, the chance of us repeating the activity again are slim to none. When you stick with a plan that is based on your body and avoid pushing for a certain time or pace, you end up finishing happy. And when you’re happy, you want to do it again and again. Running happiness leads to consistency and develops into habit.

Cool down

This will become habit over time. Finish with a five-minute cool down. Invest five minutes to cooling down and gradually bringing your body back to its resting state. Like the warmup, it bridges the gap between running and reality and aids in the recovery process.

As the weeks go by, you’ll notice being able to run longer and cover more distance. Eventually you’ll be able to run all twenty minutes!

When that day comes, pat yourself on your back, and begin to progress your running time by adding five minutes to your workout every 2-3 weeks. For instance, running 25 minutes three times per week for 2-3 weeks and then progressing to 30 minutes.

Tune into your body along the way, it’s the best coach you’ll ever have.