Walker to Runner in 10 Weeks

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

Take Note!

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.

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18 Responses to Walker to Runner in 10 Weeks

  1. james 31 January 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    how often a week would you run?

    • Avatar of Runners World
      Runners World 31 January 2012 at 1:43 pm #

      3 to 4 times a week…

    • Wilfred vd Merwe 3 September 2012 at 2:57 pm #

      3/4 times a week

  2. Dibuseng 2 February 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    can i walk twice a day for 30 min sessions each?

  3. Gary 29 August 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Your training programme does not indicate if I need to have water and take it with me or how do I get used to the taking in of water so that I can get used to the water tables at races. Or should I try and not take water and train with out water.

    • Avatar of Runners World
      Runners World 29 August 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      Hi Gary,
      This training programme is only for 20 minutes. You shouldn’t need to take water with you, but if you feel like you need to drink while running, then take some water with you. Listen to your body: drink to thirst, not according to water availability.

  4. maureen 30 August 2012 at 10:36 am #

    Is there a difference between running and jogging? If i follow this programme will jogging serve me well?

  5. johan 10 September 2012 at 10:12 am #

    I want to start running,i only want to do 5km and 10km’s,how do i pick the right running shoes?

    • Gary 14 September 2012 at 4:09 pm #

      Go to the running shop in Lynwood just a couple of blocks from the freeway West and they will put you on a treadmill to check your pronation of your feet. important that you get the right shoes otherwise you could end up with injuries arising from the incorrect gait.

  6. Gary 14 September 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Walk run initial routine is good and the best way to restart after being away from running for nearly 5 years. I would prefer to do this wearing my sunglasses. I cannot read my watch without reading specs on. Is there a timing device where one can set it off at intervals as per the programme for walk Run

  7. Jacquelise 17 January 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    I’m really proud.. I’m gay and I’m gonna run !!! :-)
    To feminism! Girlz girlz girlz… :-)

  8. Su-mari 18 February 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    I just love this program! On week 6 and going strong!

  9. Gary 10 April 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Ones focus is not always good when exercising and focusing on a watch is not always possiible when you are short sighted. What devices are there that can be adjusted to the differing 1minute 2 minute time slots etc. See my comments of 14 September 12 No one has responded.

  10. Sandra 12 April 2013 at 9:04 am #

    Yes I’m with Gary, I’l also like to know if there is a device that one can set for the time slots??

  11. Charmaine 20 April 2013 at 8:07 am #

    Hallo Gary

    did the program, my husband is running comfortably but I am struggling. We have done 6 x 5km fun runs but I struggle.

    By struggling I mean not really running comfortably and running slow times.

    We started the program in January and have been running 6 days a week – what follow up program can I follow to strengthen my run?

  12. Lauren 25 April 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Week 1: Run 1 min, Walk 2 min (Repeat x7)presumably this is 1 session, would you do this 3/4 times in the first week then?

  13. Vaishnavi 21 May 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    I have just started running but there are no trails around here to run on, only roads/ tarmac or hard surfaces. Any specific tactics that you would suggest? I have signed up for my first 10K in July.

  14. Jandri 16 September 2013 at 7:24 am #

    Hi there

    I start running on a tredmill . What pase would you prefer to start running on ? 7 or 8 or 9 ?

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