How to Start Running Consistently
“Running and exercise are good for you”. You’ve heard that time and time again, but the question is how do you start? Below I have outlined a two week “ramp-up” program followed by a 10 day rotation that will help you get started with running and help you stay motivated. If this program appears too advanced for your current fitness level or you would like to understand more of my training philosophy, consider reading my hub titled “How to Start a Consistent Jogging Routine”.
Start Running Today!
Running Shoes and Equipment
As you will notice this plan covers everyday of the week and during the first two weeks involves a significant amount of walking. Please do not let the bother you. Walking mixed with running, especially as you work to gain endurance, is a really healthy combination. Be sure to finish each day with at least five minutes of stretching. Be sure to stretch all major muscles in your lower body. This will help you stay flexible and can greatly reduce the chance of getting injured.
Day 1: Start by running easy for 4 minutes, walk for 2 min, and then continue running for 4 min followed by a 2 min. Repeat this cycle one more time so that your total time comes to 18 min.
Day 2: Run for 5 min, walk for 2 min. Repeat cycle 2 more times for a total of 21 min.
Day 3: Run easy for 2 min, walk for 1 min. Then run at a faster pace for 1 min and walk for min. Repeat this fast 1 min, walk 1 min cycle 8 times.
Day 4: Run easy for 10 min, walk for 3 min, run easy for another 9 min, and walk for 2 min.
Day 5: Run for 4 min, walk for 1 min. Repeat cycle 4 more times.
Day 6: Walk at a good pace for 25 min. Finish this recovery day by running 8 light 80 meter strides. These should be at about 85%; you should push yourself a bit, but this should not wear you out.
Day 7: Run for 8 min, walk for 2 min., run for 7 min, walk for 3, run for 6 min, walk for 2. Congratulations, you have finished week 1!
Day 1: Run easy for 4 min, run for 3 min, walk for 1 min, run for 5 min, walk for 1 min, run for 5 min, and walk for 1 min.
Day 2: Run for 6 min, walk for 1 min. Repeat cycle 2 more times.
Day 3: Run easy for 4 min, then run at a faster pace for 1 min, walk for one min. Repeat the fast 1 min, walk 1 min cycle 8 times.
Day 4: Run easy for 15 min, walk for 3 min, run easy for 12 min, and walk for 2 min.
Day 5: Run for 5 min. Walk for 2 min. Repeat cycle 3 more times.
Day 6: Walk at a good pace for 27 min. Finish with 8 light strides at 80 meters.
Day 7: Run for 10 min, walk for 2 min, run for 8 min, walk for 3 min, run for 7 min, walk for 2 min.
8 Day Cycle:
Day 1: [middle distance] Walk for 2 min, then jog for 1 min. Repeat this cycle for 25 min. Stretch for 3 min.
Day 2: [long] Run easy for 40 minutes. Be sure to stretch very well afterwards. Also try to get a healthy snack, drink, or meal consumed within 20 minutes of finishing your run.
Day 3: [recovery] Walk at a good pace for 26 min. Run 8 light strides at 75-100 meters.
Day 4: [interval] Run easy for 5 min. Then run at a faster pace for 4 min. Rest by walking easy for 90 sec. Repeat this 3 more times and cool down with an easy run or walk for 4 min.
Day 5: [middle distance] Run easy for 11 min, walk for 2 min, run for 9 min, walk for 2 min, run for 7 min, walk for 2 min.
Day 6: [short & hard/tempo] Run easy for 3 min. Then run at a faster pace for 15 min. Cool down by running easy or walking for 4 min.
Day 7: [recovery] Run easy for 10 min. Walk for 10 min.
Day 8: [fartlek] Run easy for 3 min. Run at a faster pace for 90 sec, walk for 1 min. Repeat this 7 more times. Cool down with a easy run for 3 min.
Do You Run?
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Last Words and Training Tips
When running, go at a comfortable moderate pace unless instructed to go at a faster pace, in which case you should be challenging yourself and will have a slightly increased heart rate. When a workout involves walking, try to keep a good pace unless instructed to intentionally walk easy and in that case your recovery from the running is very important and you need to go slowly to get the necessary rest. I would encourage you start an exercise journal where you can log your running and other positive lifestyle habits such as nutrition and diet. Also, an important key to motivation is that you set goals for yourself. Consider registering for a local 5k or 10k road race or other fitness event in your community. If possible, try to find others to run with since always running alone can be difficult at times.
In conclusion, try not to get in the mindset of having the “perfect plan”, remember that consistency and discipline are key. There are 101 ways to get fit, but it really comes down to devotion and effort. In truth, often the work that you put in can be just as satisfying as the results that come from the work.
Remember that all exercise is done at your own risk. Consult a doctor if you have any health concerns.
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