The best way to ease your way into running when you start as a total beginner with no running experience or fitness is to slowly transition from walking to running.
The experts at the American College of Sports Medicine say you need only 20 minutes of continuous running, three or four times a week, to begin accumulating the important benefits of an exercise programme.Pace is not important. The key is continuous movement.
Here’s the official Runner’s World Beginning-running Programme. It will get you to 20 minutes of easy running in just 10 weeks. Follow the programme below by doing the prescribed workout three to four times per week and you’ll soon be up and running.
If you’re starting from a low fitness level, we recommend you begin with several weeks of walking for 20 to 30 minutes at a time before attempting Week 1.
Also, if you have not exercised for a long time, are overweight, or have existing or family health problems, see your physician before you begin this programme.
Week 1: Run 1 min, Walk 2 min (Repeat x7) – Total Time: 21 minutes
Week 2: Run 1 min, Walk 1 min (Repeat x10) – Total Time: 20 minutes
Week 3: Run 2 min, Walk 1 min (Repeat x7) – Total Time: 21 minutes
Week 4: Run 3 min, Walk 1 min (Repeat x5) – Total Time: 20 minutes
Week 5: Run 4 min, Walk 1 min (Repeat x4) – Total Time: 20 minutes
Week 6: Run 6 min, Walk 1 min (Repeat x3) – Total Time: 21 minutes
Week 7: Run 9 min, Walk 1 min (Repeat x2) – Total Time: 20 minutes
Week 8: Run 12 min, Walk 1 min, Run 7 min – Total Time: 20 minutes
Week 9: Run 15 min, Walk 1 min, Run 4 min – Total Time: 20 minutes
Week 10: Run 20 min – Leap for joy – then leap again – Total Time: 20 minutes
Always warm up for your workout with a couple minutes of walking and/or slow jogging, and cool down afterward with the same.
If you cannot reach 20 minutes of continuous running, try to run 8 or 9 minutes, walk 1 or 2 minutes, and repeat. When you succeed at reaching the 20-minute goal – and you will – gradually increase your distance to whatever level you choose.
Better yet, move on from this programme to the other slightly more advanced programmes here on this sit, like this 5km running programme.