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Beginner's guide to running, part four

A running training programme to try

If you're struggling to work out a running routine that suits you, why not try our seven-week training programme which should allow you to run continuously and comfortably for at least 20 minutes. It could help you get on the road to running success and a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Follow the training regime below and you should find yourself able to run continuously and comfortably for 20 minutes in seven weeks time. But be patient. You will probably find you improve in leaps and bounds over the first few sessions, especially if you’ve been sedentary for a while – but don’t expect your progress to resemble a line graph – mini plateaus and setbacks are all par for the course.

For now, the name of the game is steady, comfortable running. Judging pace is a skill you’ll learn along the way – it isn’t something you’ll know how to do on your very first run, and the tendency is nearly always to go too fast. A good guideline for determining the right pace is the talk test. Are you running at a pace at which you could still hold a conversation (albeit a slightly breathless one)? I’m not talking full analysis of last night’s TV, but you shouldn’t be running so fast that you can only gabble out the odd word between gasps of air. If you’re on your own, try singing an easy song under your breath to monitor your pace.

Be flexible when running
Try to remember, this – nor any programme – is not set in stone. If you don’t feel ready to move up to the next week’s schedule, repeat the previous week’s – and if by week seven you don’t feel able to run for 20 minutes without stopping, don’t worry. Give yourself a little longer to reach this goal. Similarly, if the sessions feel too easy for you, try moving a week ahead. But don’t run more than four days a week, even if you’re feeling great. It takes time for the joints, muscles and tendons to get used to running, not just the heart, lungs and brain.

Whether it’s in six, ten or 16 weeks’ time – if you remain consistent, persistent and motivated, you will soon achieve that non-stop 20-minute running goal. Once you do, spend a few weeks building on it, gradually edging the length of time up to 30-40 minutes (and basking in the glory of having become a runner). Then you will then be ready to introduce other elements into your training, such as speed work, hills or interval sessions. The world will be at your feet…

 

Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Monday Walk for 2 mins, run for 1 min
6 times
(18 mins)
Walk for 2 mins, run for 2 min
5 times
(20 mins)
Walk for 1 mins, run for 3 min
5 times
(20 mins)
Walk for 1 min, run for 5 mins
4 times
(24 mins)
Walk for 1 min, run for 6 mins
4 times
(28 mins)
Walk for 1 min, run for 8 mins
3 times
(27 mins)
Walk for 1 min, run for 9 mins
3 times
(30 mins)
Tuesday              
Wednesday Walk for 2 mins, run for 1 min
6 times
(18 mins)
Walk for 2 mins, run for 2 min
5 times
(20 mins)
Walk for 1 mins, run for 3 min
5 times
(20 mins)
Walk for 1 min, run for 5 mins
4 times
(24 mins)
Walk for 1 min, run for 6 mins
4 times
(28 mins)
Walk for 1 min, run for 8 mins
3 times
(27 mins)
Walk for 1 min, run for 9 mins
3 times
(30 mins)
Thursday              
Friday Walk for 2 mins, run for 1 min
6 times
(18 mins)
Walk for 2 mins, run for 2 min
5 times
(20 mins)
Walk for 1 mins, run for 3 min
5 times
(20 mins)
Rest Walk for 1 min, run for 6 mins
4 times
(28 mins)
Walk for 1 min, run for 8 mins
3 times
(27 mins)
Walk for 2 min, run for 12 mins then rest for 1 min and repeat.
(30 mins)
Saturday              
Sunday 30 min brisk walk 35-min brisk walk 45-min brisk walk 1.5-mile (2.4km) timed run. Choose a pace that’s slightly harder than usual but not all-out. Record your time. 1 hour brisk walk including 8 x 3 minute jogs Walk for 8 mins, jog for 10 mins then rest for 2 mins. Repeat
(40 mins total)
Run for 20 mins!

 

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