Running goals for beginners – 10 ideas to inspire you

If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably decided to take up running but don’t know where to start or what you should be aiming for. You might have outcome goals such as losing weight, toning up or improving your health. Knowing what you want to achieve is a good start, but you need to set out how you’re going to achieve it. This post gives you 10 running goals for beginners ideas, suitable for both treadmill and outdoor running. You can download a printable with charts to track whichever goal you choose – see the end of the post for how to get the download link.

Running goals for beginners printables

10 running goals for beginners

#1 Aim for a distance

Running goals for beginners distance

This is a popular goal. Choose a distance that you want to aim for and then build up to it. One of the best ways for beginners to increase running distance is with walk/run intervals. There’s a chart on the download to track your progress, or you could try this beginners program:

Start to run PDF printable

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#2 Aim to run for a specific amount of time each week

Running goals for beginners time

When you’re just starting, the most important thing is to just get into the habit of regular running. A good initial goal therefore is to run for a set amount of time each week, without worrying about how far or how fast you run. You can track your weekly minutes using the chart on the download. A good starting point would be an hour a week – split into 3 x 20 minute runs.

#3 Aim for a specific number of steps each week

Daily steps goal

If you have a step tracking app, you might prefer to aim for a weekly step count. 1000 running steps would be a good starting point.  There’s a chart on the download to track your steps.

#4 Do a running challenge

Rather than setting your own goals, you could try a running challenge:

Starting to run - running challenge for beginners PDF

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#5 Run every day

Daily run challenge

Another way to do a running challenge is to just aim to run for a set number of minutes each day for 30 days. You can use the chart on the download to tick your minutes off each day.

#6 Burn a set number of calories every week

Calories burned running

If one of your objectives is to lose weight, then you might find it motivating to set a calories goal. As a rough guide you should burn around 250 calories in 20 minutes slow running. So a good starting point would be to aim to burn 750 calories in a week. You can use the chart on the download to keep track of your weekly calories.

#7 Achieve a specific speed

Time distance

You could also set a speed target. To achieve this, you can either run your chosen distance as fast as you can each time, or you could use sprint training.

For example, suppose you set a goal to run a 3 miles in 30 minutes. To achieve this, you could run at a steady pace for 30 minutes every time. As you get fitter, you would be able to run faster and work towards your goal of covering 3 miles. Alternatively, you could split the 30 minutes into intervals, where you run as fast as you can for a set interval, then jog slowly to recover ready for the next sprint interval.

Whichever method you use, you can use the chart on the download to track your progress.

#8 train for an event

Charity events make good goals, because there is a set distance and date. They are also fun, community events and have the added objective of raising money for a good cause.

#9 Improve your Personal Best every week

Running goals for beginners personal best record

This is a less specific goal, but is good because it focuses on weekly improvement. You need to decide on a distance that you’re comfortable with. For beginners, anywhere between 2-5km (1-3 miles) would be good. Now cover this distance and time yourself. It doesn’t matter if you combine walking and running. You just need a starting point. Your goal is simply to improve on your time every week.

#10 Hill run goals

Running goals for beginners hill runs

If you like a bit of variety, set yourself hill targets. Find a hill that will take you about 30 seconds to run up. Or, if you’re using a treadmill, run on a gradient of  8% for 30 seconds. Your weekly goal is how many times you want to run up the hill. Make sure you have warmed up by running on the flat first. When you reach the top of the hill, do a slow jog or walk down to recover and repeat. On a treadmill, bring the gradient back down to 0% and walk or jog for 30-45 seconds until your heart rate has recovered.

Get the running goals for beginners printables

Sign up for My Fitness Planner updates and get the free printable download link e-mailed to you:

After you sign up, you’ll get 3 e-mails:
The first will ask you for a one-click confirmation of your subscription
Once you’ve confirmed, you’ll get a second e-mail with a link to your download and a separate welcome e-mail

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Running goals for beginners PDF printable
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