Running schedule for beginners – 8 week program

Although you need to push yourself to work hard in order to get fitter, trying to do too much at once is never a good idea. It’s much better to start running at a level you’re reasonably comfortable with and build on that.  In this way, you’ll be more likely to stay motivated and less likely to get injured. This is a 8 week running schedule for beginners, designed to gradually build up running stamina.  The aim is to go from being a non-runner to being able to run for 15 minutes comfortably. It uses a combination of walking and running, with the proportion of running increasing each week.

Running schedule for beginners PDF

Info 20 min beginner

What you’ll need to start running

Comfortable clothes that you won’t overheat in:  Leggings are better than track bottoms, because you can get very warm in track bottoms.  If it’s cold, wear a top that you can easily take off and tie around your waist as you get warmer.

Training shoes: you need shoes that are comfortable and well-fitting, which will cushion some of the impact of running.

Water – always take a water bottle with you and take frequent sips.

The benefits of regular running

  • Improves heart and circulatory system health
  • Helps with weight loss/weight control
  • Increases energy levels
  • Helps to reduce anxiety, stress and depression
  • Strengthens leg and core muscles
  • Maintains flexibility of muscles and mobility of joints
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Reduces risk of osteoporosis

Safety considerations

Please read these guidelines about exercise and health before you start.  You should also consider your personal safety when running and make sure you run somewhere that is safe.

Buying a treadmill for home use

Now that folding treadmills are widely available, having a home treadmill doesn’t mean you need a dedicated workout space. You can fold your treadmill up and store it out of the way between workouts. If you’re thinking of buying a home treadmill, here are some points you should consider:

  • If you’re going to be using the treadmill for running, avoid very lightweight models that are only suitable for walking speeds. Also, a cushioned running/walking deck will help to absorb impact.
  • Dimensions: there’s a slight variation in dimensions between models. If you’re tall, you might prefer a longer walking/running deck to allow for a longer stride. Obviously, the treadmill needs to fit in your chosen storage place when it is folded away.
  • What sort of a console do you want? Is it important to you to have a multi-feature console with a choice of preset programs, or will you be happy with something simple that just lets you set speed and incline? Extra functions add to the cost of the treadmill, so think about whether you really need them.
  • What is the incline range? Some treadmills only have a limited incline range. Models that offer up to 12% give you more options to vary your workouts and to challenge yourself more as your fitness improves.
  • Maximum speed – if you run fast, or plan to do sprint intervals, you should bear the maximum speed in mind. For walking, or average speed running, any treadmill will be fine.


Running schedule for beginners

In order to progress each week, ideally you should run 3 times a week on non-consecutive days.  If you’re not able to run 3 times a week, you may need to spend more than one week on each schedule.

Week 1

The first week of the program is mainly walking. There’s a total of 2 minutes running.

Running schedule for beginners week 1

Week 2

In week 2, the run intervals increase to 2 minutes, with the recovery walk in between going down to 4 minutes.

Week 2

Week 3

It’s 4 minutes of everything for week 3.

Running schedule for beginners week 3

Week 4

The run intervals go up by 2 minutes each this week, with all the walk intervals getting shorter.

Week 4

Week 5

For the second half of the program, we’re working towards 15 minutes of continuous running, so the first run interval continues to get longer, while the second one gets shorter.

Running schedule for beginners week 5

Week 6

Up to 10 minutes continuous running for week 6.

Week 6

Week 7

We’re nearly up to 15 minutes of continuous running now.

Running schedule for beginners week 7 1707

Week 8

Finally, the 1 minute recovery walk becomes another minute of running.

Week 8

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