The Beginner's guide to running


Running is very healthy for you. It not only strengthens your heart but it also “trains” your blood vessel lining. This lining known as the endothelium becomes more flexible and less rigid with exercise. This means your heart won’t have to work as hard to do its job of pumping blood throughout your circulatory system.

Running is also good for your skin, it stimulates circulation, transporting nutrients and flushing the waste products out. You will likely reduce your subcutaneous fat and will experience clearer skin.  Running decreases your bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases your good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering your blood pressure, all very heart healthy benefits.

A big red valentines shaped heart with a heart rhythm pulse in the middle

Running is enjoyed by many and many people can start a new running program today; however, there are some people that need to consult with a Dr. before beginning any running program.

In “The Beginning Runner’s Handbook” by Ian Macneill and the Sports Medicine Council of British Columbia there is a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire, or PAR-Q for short.

It is highly advised you take this questionnaire before taking on a running program if you suspect you may be qualified.

Three Rules of Exercise 


Be moderate. If you run hard for at least three months, say everyday, for 3 to 6 miles per day you are likely going to get injured. Make sure to build up to a higher pace and follow the running routine I’ll outline at the end of this webpage. Don’t overdue it! While the cardiovascular system can take it, the musculoskeletal system can’t adapt that quickly to the increased stress and will be liable to break.

Be consistent. Instead of training excessively a few times per week or one time per week, be consistent and train lighter, returning to the gym sooner. It will pay off in the long run and you’ll be more likely to stick to your exercise routine as a result.

Make sure to give your body time to rest. It is important for your body to recover from each workout or stressful event placed upon it. For beginners it is important that you have three workout sessions per week with a day of rest between each workout session. This will also allow for one two-day in a row rest period per week. Make sure to stick with that plan until you are sure your muscles/bones/ligaments and tendons can handle more.

When I first got into running I didn’t gradually build into it and I was seriously hurt. I ran about six miles a day without a rest period between days for a total of about 40-50 miles per week. I did this for about 3.5 months in a row before I got injured. I ended up hurting my left hamstring and associated muscles at a couple different points and couldn’t run for about a year and a half afterwards. Don’t make the mistake I did!

A young man and young girl running outside on the beach peacefully

Warming Up is Important 


Before I introduce a beginner’s guide to get into running, that is a 13-week run/walk program I want to cover the importance of warming up. World-Class athletes know they must warm up before starting to workout. Cold muscles don’t work as well and are more likely to get injured.

A warm-up should last about 5 minutes and should get the flow of blood moving throughout the body. A slow jog followed by light stretching is good. Muscles to stretch are the hamstring, calf, hip flexor and lower back muscles. Hold each stretch for about 10 seconds and repeat two to three times per muscle group. Don’t stretch too vigorously because this can be worse than running with cold muscles.

A man and woman on a grass field stretching out on a sunny day before a run

Cooling Down Is Also Important


Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes after your strenuous exercise. Do light work and light stretching to bring your self back to idle speed. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat two to three times per muscle group. Muscles get tight during exercise and unless you stretch them out after-words, they’ll remain tight.

Stretching will serve a second purpose by increasing your range of motion but remember to take it easy, there is no rush to push the limits of your flexibility! Remember, if you are hurt, you’ll make zero progress towards your fitness goals.

A red-haired man cooling down in front of a blowing fan

  13- Week Walk/Run Program 


This program is 13 weeks in duration and is for those that want to want to become runners. It is the absolute beginner’s point as far as running is concerned. It isn’t too much nor too little. You shouldn’t get hurt. Make sure to do your 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down with each session.

Week 1: 

Session 1 (36 Minutes) Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 12 times.
Session 2 (27 Minutes) Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 9 times.
Session 3 (33 Minutes) Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 11 times. 

Week 2: 

Session 1 (44 Minutes) Run 2 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 11 times. 
Session 2 (30 Minutes) Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 10 times. 
Session 3 (40 Minutes) Run 2 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 10 times. 

Week 3: 

Session 1 (50 Minutes) Run 3 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 10 times. 
Session 2 (36 Minutes) Run 2 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 9 times. 
Session 3 (45 Minutes) Run 3 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 9 times. 

Week 4: 

Session 1 (40 Minutes) Run 3 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 8 times.
Session 2 (28 Minutes) Run 2 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 7 times. 
Session 3 (35 Minutes) Run 2 minutes. Walk 3 minutes. Do this 7 times. 

Week 5: 

Session 1 (40 Minutes) Run 3 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 10 times.
Session 2 (30 Minutes) Run 2 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 10 times.
Session 3 (36 Minutes) Run 3 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 9 times.

Week 6: 

Session 1 (48 Minutes) Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 8 times.
Session 2 (36 Minutes) Run 2 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 12 times.
Session 3 (40 Minutes) Run 3 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 10 times. 

Week 7: 

Session 1 (55 Minutes) Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 5 times. 
Session 2 (40 Minutes) Run 3 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 10 times. 
Session 3 (48 Minutes) Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 8 times. 

Week 8: (Easy Recovery Week) 

Session 1 (44 Minutes) Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times. 
Session 2 (32 Minutes) Run 3 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 8 times. 
Session 3 (42 Minutes) Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 7 times. 

Week 9: 

Session 1 (58 Minutes) Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 20 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes. 
Session 2 (44 Minutes) Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times.
Session 3 (48 Minutes) Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 3 times. 

Week 10: 

Session 1 (61 Minutes) Run 30 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 30 minutes.
Session 2( 44 Minutes) Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times.
Session 3 (47 Minutes) Run 20 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes. 

Week 11:

Session 1 (61 Minutes) Run 40 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 20 minutes. 
Session 2 (44 Minutes) Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times. 
Session 3 (47 Minutes) Run 20 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes. 

Week 12 (Easy Week)

Session 1 (50 Minutes) Run 50 minutes.
Session 2 (33 Minutes) Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 3 times. 
Session 3 (42 Minutes) Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes. 

Week 13 

Session 1 (40 Minutes) Run 40 minutes. 
Session 2 (33 Minutes) Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 3 times. 
Session 3 Event: See you at the finish line (Try to run your first 10k race). 

A green road sign that has the words

If you complete the 13 week program and are enjoying yourself and your new level of fitness and want to take things to a higher level see “The Beginning Runner’s Handbook” by Ian Macneill. 


› Beginner's Running Program
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I’m a U.S. AirForce Veteran, College Graduate with 352 credits mixed by undergrad/professional and graduate school. I am an Entrepreneur and enjoy sharing my interest and love for fitness and Entrepreneurship with everyone. I have lofty, obtainable goals for my website. 

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