If you're reading this post, then congratulations.. you're looking to improve yourself, and that's what I'm here for. By following this 6 week beginners running program, you can start running and dramatically improve your fitness and running ability. You won't be winning marathons, but you'll be noticeably better and more fit. So are you in? Let's do this!
You can skip straight to the actual running program if you want, but I highly recommend taking the time to read the article. You have a goal, and you landed here.. so soak it all up if you have the time.
Who am I To Write a Beginners Running Program?
I don't usually feel it's necessary to add a section like this.. but, when it comes to taking advice on anything fitness related.. I think I'd want to know who I'm taking the advice from. My Author Bio is at the bottom, so feel free to check it out.
Now let's get on to more interesting topics...
Why This Program is Better Than Others
There are many ways to reach a goal, and many different approaches to start running. When I searched on Pinterest and google for "beginner running program," I found a bunch of programs using nothing but intervals.
Every program I saw was: Day one, run 4 minutes, walk 2 minutes, repeat 5 times. Day two, run 5 minutes, walk 2 minutes, repeat 5 times...
This approach can work to some degree, but it is one dimensional and not a well thought out program. This program will build your aerobic power and capacity, strength, and endurance. It will improve your fitness on a much broader scale, using different methods and building you up over a 6 week period.
Common Mistakes New Runners Make When They Start Running
First things first, let's discuss a few common mistakes people make when they start out with a new goal of starting to run. It usually looks something like this:
First, they think about starting for a long time. Then they finally get out there and start running. Having no program or strategy, they try to run too much, and end up either giving up, burning out, or getting injured. Or, they forget their orginal motivation and lose the desire.
The most common mistakes I've seen
- Running too frequently: You have to build up to higher volumes of any physical activity so your body can adapt to it. More is NOT better.
- Doing the same thing every time you work out: Variety is necessary to improve your aerobic fitness and work capacity. Repetitive stress injuries are a real thing.
- Not having enough desire, or having unclear goals.. They go hard for a couple weeks, then fizzle out.
- Trying to do too much, and losing motivation when they see no progress: Progress = Motivation. Read that again.. small goals are achievable and add up to big goals. You don't get from A to B overnight. Seeing progress is the most motivating thing that can happen. This running program is built around that concept.
3 Things To Do Before You Start Running
- Write down your "Why." In one sentence.. Why do you want to start running? Having a why can be the difference between quitting and winning.
- Have you failed in the past? Why? Write down what you'll do this time when you are in that same situation.
- Commit to finishing the 6 weeks. Finish what you start, no matter what.
The 6 Week Beginners Running Program
Here is your 6 week beginners running program. There are a few terms you might want to get familiar with. Nothing too complicated.
Long Slow Distance (LSD): An easy run or cardio session. You should be able to carry a conversation. If you cannot run for 20 minutes, then walk fast. You can also use any cardio machine.. elliptical, stair climber..etc..
Continuous High Intensity: Run for the prescribed time at as fast a pace as you can maintain for the whole time (8 minutes for week 1).
Max Reps: As many as you can do with good form. If you can't do a push up, do them elevated.. like on a table or a bench.
Intervals: Periods of higher intensity followed by periods of low intensity. Basically, sprinting then walking. When walking, focus on breathing and recovering. When sprinting, work as hard as you can. The biggest improvements will come from these sessions.
Rest: Relax, go for a walk, light stretching.. no training.
Week 1: Start Running
Week 1 starts off with a test. Go out and run a mile and a half and see how long it takes. Don't stress about it. If it's slow, that's fine. If you have to walk part of it, that's fine too. Just get it done, record the time, and take a victory for the day.
**Tip: Save these pictures so you can easily pull them up and know exactly what you'll need to do each day. This is why I chose to use this format, and I hope it is helpful.
Week 2: Getting in the Zone
Hope you're rested from the weekend. Remember your Why. Each training day completed is a small victory. Do your best, and don't worry about your performance.. as long as you're putting in effort, it's a victory. You'll notice We're adding just a little bit each week. That's called progression.
We're introducing intervals in Week 2. Just run fast for 30 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds. Keep moving.
Week 3: Movin on Up
More of the same. Push on, have fun. Have faith. Your fitness is improving and you're almost halfway through the program.
Week 4: The Crucible
I'm calling week 4 the crucible because this is around the time a lot of people quit. They get sidetracked, make excuses or forget their original motivation. Don't be that person. Finish what you started. This is the last week before we move to 4 training days/week. Remember your Why!
Notice the intervals have changed to 60 second sprints with 120 seconds walking.
Week 5: Almost There
2 weeks left in the program. We will now begin training 4 days per week. Adding an additional day is a big step in a program. You can reap more benefits from the additional training, and can do so without running yourself into the ground... because you've earned the work capacity.
Week 6: The Home Stretch
Your final week. If you made it here, I salute you. I get goosebumps when people have the discipline and heart to see things through. The last week will be the hardest, but you should be ready for it by now.
If you finished this 6 week program, I have no doubt that you've made some big improvements to your overall fitness and in your running ability. After a good weekend of rest, Retest yourself in the 1.5 mile run.
The next thing you MUST do is let me know the results!
If you'd like to learn more about training and fitness, I have a few articles that I think would benefit you a lot: I love the science of strength and conditioning and how the body adapts and improves.. it's all really amazing.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, I'd love to hear about it. Follow this blog and I can promise I'll do my best to get you quality content that can help you continue to improve your fitness and get to that best version of you!
Thanks for being here!