Buffer

Running Workouts for New and Returning Runners

Elvis Elvis

The running workouts found here will help you reach your first big running milestones. Anyone can run, but getting started on the right foot is the key to unlocking a successful and enjoyable long-term relationship with the sport.

Of course, where you start depends on your current level of fitness. Pushing yourself too hard, too fast can lead to discomfort, injury
and frustration, and have you ditching the running shoes before you know it.

To combat this follow one of the running workouts below: The New Runner Workout or The Fit Beginner Workout. These running workouts are designed with the new (or returning) runner in mind and will gradually take you to 60 minutes of continuous running.

Your challenge is to make it through the first six weeks which are the hardest. These beginner’s running workouts will help you do just that by starting slowly to minimize discomfort during the most difficult weeks.

If you have been exercising consistently for three or more months consider yourself a fit beginner. Returning runners, choose the program that best fits your current level of fitness.

Running Workouts for New and Returning Runners

Remember, in either case your body isn’t used to running (even if you’ve run before) so make sure to start slowly and build gradually to avoid discomfort and injury. Good luck!

Running Workouts

To begin, familiarize yourself with the training notes below. The running workouts that follow will reference these terms so don’t simply skip over them!

  • Pace Run at a pace that allows you to comfortably maintain a conversation.
  • Run/Walk You might begin by running 5 minutes and walking 1, or running 1 minute and walking 3. The point is, you should do what feels right for you. If you’re having trouble determing what is right for you try this: After warming up run until you want to stop, then walk until you’ve caught your breath. Time both segments (running and walking) and use this as your starting point. After week 3 add 30-60 seconds to the running segments. If you wish you can continue using walk breaks indefinitely or you can phase them out.
  • Cross-Training Other forms of exercise such as biking, playing your favorite sport or strength training.
  • Strides These are intervals of 10-30 second pickups (faster running at about an 80 percent effort) done during your run. You should return to your normal running pace for at least 2 minutes between strides.

The New Runner Workout

Monday Tuesday Thursday Saturday
Week 1 Cross-training
or rest
5-min walk, 15-min run/walk,
5-min walk (25 min total)
5-min walk, 15-min run/walk,
5-min walk (25 min total)
5-min walk, 20-min run/walk,
5-min walk (30 min total)
Week 2 Cross-training
or rest
5-min walk, 15-min run/walk,
5-min walk (25 min total)
5-min walk, 15-min run/walk,
5-min walk (25 min total)
5-min walk, 20-min run/walk,
5-min walk (30 min total)
Week 3 Cross-training
or rest
5-min walk, 15-min run/walk,
(increase running segments by 15 to 60 sec every week from here),
5-min walk (25 min total)
5-min walk, 15-min run/walk,
(increase running segments by 15 to 60 sec every week from here),
5-min walk (25 min total)5-min walk (25 min total)
5-min walk, 25-min run/walk,
(increase running segments by 15 to 60 sec every week from here),
5-min walk (35 min total)(30 min total)
Week 4 Cross-training
or rest
5-min walk, 20-min run/walk,
5-min walk (30 min total)
5-min walk, 20-min run/walk,
5-min walk (30 min total)
5-min walk, 30-min run/walk,
5-min walk (40 min total)
Week 5 Cross-training
or rest
5-min walk, 20-min run/walk,
5-min walk (30 min total)
5-min walk, 20-min run/walk,
5-min walk (30 min total)
5-min walk, 35-min run/walk,
5-min walk (45 min total)
Week 6 Cross-training
or rest
5-min walk, 25-min run/walk,
5-min walk (35 min total)
5-min walk, 25-min run/walk,
5-min walk (35 min total)
5-min walk, 40-min run/walk,
5-min walk (50 min total) or a
5-K race at an easy pace
Week 7 Cross-training,
15-min run, or rest
5-min walk, 25-min run/walk,
5-min walk (35 min total)
5-min walk, 25-min run/walk,
5-min walk (35 min total)
5-min walk, 45-min run/walk,
5-min walk (55 min total)
Week 8 Cross-training,
15-min run, or rest
5-min walk, 30-min run/walk,
5-min walk (40 min total)
5-min walk, 30-min run/walk,
5-min walk (40 min total)
5-min walk, 50-min run/walk,
5-min walk (60 min total)

The Fit Beginner Workout

Monday Tuesday Thursday Saturday
Week 1 Cross-training 30-min run
(with walk breaks as needed)
30-min run
(with walk breaks as needed)
30-min run
(with walk breaks as needed)
Week 2 Cross-training 30-min run
(with walk breaks as needed)
30-min run
(with walk breaks as needed)
30-min run
(with walk breaks as needed)
Week 3 Cross-training 30-min run (if using walk breaks, reduce time or frequency) 30-min run (if using walk breaks, reduce time or frequency) 40-min run (if using walk breaks, reduce time or frequency)
Week 4 Cross-training 30-min run 30-min run 45-min run
Week 5 Cross-training 30- to 35-min run 30- to 35-min run, with five 20-second strides (if using walk breaks, walk for 15-30 sec after strides) 50-min run or a 5-K race
at an easy pace
Week 6 Cross-training 30-min run 30- to 40-min run
with four 30-sec strides
55-min run
Week 7 Cross-training or
30-min run
30-min run 30- to 40-min run
with five 30-sec strides
60-min run
Week 8 Cross-training or
30-min run
30-min run 30- to 45-min run
with six 30-sec strides
65-min run