4-Week Beginners Running Plan

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This running plan is for beginners to go from 0 to running 30 minutes nonstop – in just 4 weeks.

Who Should Follow this Running Plan?

This plan is suitable for beginners who are fit and perform cardiovascular exercise regularly (e.g. cycling), but are novice runners. You should be able to walk briskly for 30 minutes several times a week before you start this program. If you can’t, start with the 10-week running plan for beginners.

If you are already able to run, then join the program at the appropriate level. However, consider that being able run for 10 minutes nonstop once a week is easier than running it 4 times per week. Therefore, be objective. This program is only 4 weeks long anyway. That’s almost the blink of an eye! Hopefully you’ll be running regularly lifelong.

The goal is to make small, consistent steps – not huge leaps. Running isn’t something you learn and the next day you do. Progression is gradual. Your body has to adapt to the high-impact of running. This doesn’t happen instantly. With every run, your joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones get stronger and more robust. You slowly adapt and improve your running style to be more efficient and rhythmical. It is then that you really start to enjoy running.

Running Workout Plan

This is a 4-week run-walk plan consisting of 4 workouts a week. Each workout is about thirty minutes, including warm-up and cool-down.

  • Warm-up before and cool down after each workout with walking. Don’t forget to stretch before and after your workout.
  • If you only manage to fit 3 workouts into one week, add it to the following week. If you move on to the next week but don’t feel able to do the workout, stay on the previous level until you’re ready. Don’t worry about it.

Listen to your body and go at your own pace. Some people will repeat a workout early on and then whiz through the rest without problem, others may find the fourth week more challenging and some may have no problems at all. Everyone is different.

Week 1

#Warm-upRun-WalkCool-down
110 min1 min run, 1 min walk (5x)10 min
210 min1 min run, 1 min walk (7x)5 min
310 min2 min run, 1 min walk (5x)5 min
45 min2 min run, 1 min walk (7x)4 min

WEEK 2

#Warm-upRun-WalkCool-down
15 min3 min run, 1 min walk (5x)5 min
25 min5 min run, 2 min walk (3x)4 min
34 min5 min run, 1 min walk (4x)2 min
45 min8 min run, 3 min walk (2x)3 min

WEEK 3

#Warm-upRun-WalkCool-down
15 min10 min run, 5 min walk, 5 min run5 min
25 min12 min run, 3 min walk, 5 min run5 min
310 min15 min run5 min
46 min18 min run6 min

WEEK 4

#Warm-upRun-WalkCool-down
15 min20 min run5 min
25 min22 min run3 min
33 min25 min run2 min
42 min30 min run2 min

Running Intensity

During the running phase of the workout, you should be running at moderate intensity. This corresponds to about 70% of maximum heart rate and you should be able to pass the “talk test”.

Passing the “talk test” means that you are able to speak in sentences, if running with a running partner. However, if you can only answer in one word grunts you are running too fast. On the other hand, you should not be able to carry on long conversation and give paragraph style answers.

Recovery

Try to allow for a day of recovery between your running workouts and avoid running 4 consecutive days. It is during recovery that your body adapts to the stress of the workout by getting stronger and fitter. This goes for your leg muscles, as much as for your heart and lungs.

It is the reason you should progress slowly, as you only want to stress your body in small increments. Your body recovers, adapts, becomes stronger. This is progression. On the other hand, if you place too great a strain on your body, you become tired, sore and risk injury.

As you become increasingly athletic, your body grows accustomed to the cycle of stress and recovery and you’ll require less time to recover from your previous run.

Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have a medical condition.

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Comments

65 COMMENTS

  1. Love this programme! I’m not managing to get to the gym 3 – 4 times a week, so I repeat the level a couple of times before I move on and I have still managed to improve and even push myself further in just 3 weeks. No weight loss, but my thighs are looking so much better already. Any tips for sore knees? I am running on a treadmill, as outdoor running is not safe in my area, and I’ve heard treadmills are easier on the joints. Is there any truth in that?

  2. After following the program to the T, here I am now, three months after, 44 years old with the same waist I had in college, with a ten month old baby, fit and strong as ever and with the toned body I always dreamed of (without exercising, of course). I look better than most of the girls I see at he gym that are less than half my age.

  3. Hi, I just discovered your website and all of my questions that I’ve had for years were instantly solved, thank you guys so much! I was wondering what would I achieve by following this 4-week running plan? For example, after 4 weeks, would my thighs and legs start to slim down? I have been doing Pilates and other “muscle-targeting” workouts for a while, causing me to build more leg mass when I wanted to slim down. Would following this plan help slim down my legs and thighs?

    Thank you so much,
    Claire

  4. Hello,

    I just completed the last day of the program today. I never thought I could do this. I feel great.
    Thank you so much for this plan. You have explained it so simply and it is actually possible to follow this plan.

    Many thanks,
    Neha

  5. Hi
    I am actually signed up to walk a half marathon in a month but would like to do your month training schedule so I could run at least the beginning of the walk. I am 60 years old and very fit- swim a mile a day- but dont run. what distance can I expect to run after this month? Thank you!

  6. Hi
    I am actually signed up to walk a half marathon in a month but would like to do your month training schedule so I could run at least the beginning of the walk. I am 60 years old and very fie- swim a mile a day- but dont run. what distance can I expect to run after this month? Thank you!

  7. Hi,

    I’m really loving this program – I feel like it’s exactly the right pace for me, and I haven’t been getting too bored. I’m in Week 3 now, and still going strong, but I have a question. Lately I’ve been having some pain in my knees. Do you have any tips for stretches or warm-ups that might help with this? I think my form is ok, and I try to run on softer surfaces like dirt roads or grass, rather than paved roads.

    Thanks again!

  8. I have always been into sports, but was NEVER a runner and I wanted to lose a few pounds, so I thought I would give this a shot. It was a rocky beginning for me, and during the first two weeks, I would repeat the same one twice before I would move on to the next day/phase. My body was just so sore, mostly in my hips, since I wear a duty belt at work. The nights I would work after a run it would feel twice as heavy as it normally does. Anyways, the third week, I was following the schedule spot on. And I finally did it, I can run 30 minutes without stopping! I noticed I am not losing any weight, but a couple of co-workers have made comments already! I have been keeping it up every other day to run 30 minutes. The other day I threw in a quick 15 minute run on my break day. How many days a week is it safe to run, without too much wear and tear on your body? I would eventually like to try a 5K just for the hell of it, so I am working on my times, but I was just wondering what was too much, so I don’t over do anything. Thanks for this simple schedule! It has helped me a lot!

  9. Hi I have successfully completed the 4 week programme and I am now running 30 minutes – thank you it has been great.
    I was wondering do you have another programme to follow on from the beginners programme? I really enjoyed following the weekly sessions and would now like to follow another one to improve my speed and stamina and maybe compete in 5k races?
    I hope you can help!

    Deborah

  10. I just started running as a part of my weight loss plan, it kinda grows on me.
    Nice plan, I might give it a try next week.

    Thanks,
    Cristian

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