Get Into Running: Beginner Running Plan for Non-Runners

Get into running: Beginner running plan for non-runners

My relationship with running has always been touch and go. I enjoy running, but I’ve never been consistent with it, which is a shame because running comes with some huge benefits. Like fabulous muscle definition for a start. You also feel fitter and healthier overall, and your cardio fitness goes through the roof. 

I’ve found that when I’m on a running program, it makes other things I love doing, like biking, hiking and paddling, a heck of a lot easier and more fun. There’s nothing like the feeling of being able to do what you love faster and longer with less effort. Even if you don’t fall in love with running itself, it’s a great complement your other activities or just a healthy lifestyle in general.

Running is also one of the easiest sports you can get into. It’s doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment, gym memberships or travel. All you need is a pair of running shoes and the outdoors.

If you’re new to running, I highly recommend starting with a plan, like this one. I’ve battled running injuries for years because I didn’t use a structured plan. I ran too far too frequently without gradually working up to it. Running is actually very high impact and hard on the body. Even if your cardio is really strong, you can’t use that as your gauge to keep going until you’re wrecked. That’s what I did, and it’s a great way to get injured and turn yourself completely off running. Learn from my mistakes and don’t approach running that way.

Today I’m going to share my Beginner Running Plan for Non-Runners. This plan is great if you are brand new to running, or if you take long breaks between consistent running (like I do) and don’t want to get injured. The plan runs for 7 weeks and the goal is to get you running 30 minutes straight, or about 5km, by the end of the program.

There are some important things to get ready before you start the program that I cover next, but if you’ve got itchy feet and you want to dive into the program, you can skip the Pre-Run Checklist by clicking here to jump to The Plan, although I strongly recommend you read the Pre-Run Checklist first. Let’s get started!

Pre-Run Checklist

Running Shoes

Before you start running regularly, make sure you have the right shoes for your feet. Go to a shop that specialises in running shoes that can do a foot assessment for you. Everyone’s feet and running style are different. You might need motion control, or maybe a neutral shoe is better for you. The experts at these shops will recommend the right shoes for your unique feet. Even better, pay a visit to your physiotherapist and get a run assessment and shoe recommendation from them. They can also watch how you run and advise on ideal running technique so you can avoid injury before it becomes an issue.

Make sure you have the right running shoes for your feet before you start a running program.
Running Pace

You don’t need to run fast when you first start running. Keep your pace comfortable and steady. You’re building new muscles and developing cardiovascular endurance, so be gentle to your body while this is happening.

Keep a comfortable and steady pace when you first start a running program.
Food

It’s very likely that you will get more hungry when you incorporate running into your life. Like, ravenously hungry. You don’t really need to do anything special here though. Just listen to your body. Eat healthy, wholesome food when you feel hungry. It’s a good idea to have a recovery snack after a run too, like a banana, yogurt, or peanut butter on toast.

Timing the food you eat before a run is key to enjoying the run. Try not to eat a large meal before a run, and I personally don’t eat anything an hour before I start. A bit of trial and error will happen with pre-run eating, but you will know what your body likes and what it doesn’t pretty quickly. 

Eat wholesome and healthy food to fuel your new running program.
Hydrate

It’s very important to be hydrated before your run and to re-hydrate after. You lose a lot of water when you sweat. Even if you’re not visibly sweating, water will be evaporating out of your body as it heats up and literally lets off steam that you can’t see. This one is very simple really. Drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Drink about 500mL of water leading up to your run, but don’t drink too much 15 minutes before or it will be sloshing around in your stomach. You will want to drink about 500mL of water after, and then sip water as you normally would from then onwards.

Hydrate by drinking plenty of water before and after your run.
Warm-Up

I did not warm up before runs for a long time. This was a very bad move that led to a lot of injuries. Including a five minute warm-up before my run was seriously life-changing. You need to get the blood circulating to your muscles and joints, and get everything warm and ready for impact. This can be as simple as starting your run with an energetic five-minute walk. Personally, I like to do 10 burpees, 10 jumping jacks and 15 leg swings in all directions to get the blood flowing. 

Make sure to warm up for at least 5 minutes before every run to avoid injury.
Save Stretching for After Your Run

You want your muscles to be as strong as possible for your run. Static stretches, like calf and hamstring stretches, are fantastic after your run, but they cause your muscles to loosen and release, which is no good before your run. Treat yourself to long luxurious stretches after the hard yards are done. 

Save static stretching for after your run.

The Plan

Here it is! Follow this running plan to get into running. It’s a sport that could really enhance your life and bring you a lot of health, happiness and joy. 

The plan runs for 7 weeks and will have you running 30 minutes straight by the end, which is about 5km depending on your speed.

Each week you will gently and gradually reduce the amount of walking you do and increase the amount of running. You have the option to do run/walk intervals, or if you feel up to it, you can run the entire time when you feel ready.

Week 1

Number of runs this week: 3

Pre-run warm-up: 5 minutes of brisk walking

Run/Walk Intervals: 2 minutes walking for 12 minutes total per session (Option to run for the full time if you prefer).

Run length: 12 minutes

Post-run cooldown: 5 minutes of walking. Stretches, e.g. calf, hamstring, quads, hips.

Week 2

Number of runs this week: 3

Pre-run warm-up: 5 minutes of brisk walking

Run/Walk Intervals: Alternate 3 minutes running, 2 minutes walking for 15 minutes total per session. (Option to run for the full time if you prefer).

Run length: 15 minutes

Post-run cooldown: 5 minutes of walking. Stretches, e.g. calf, hamstring, quads, hips.

Week 3

Number of runs this week: 3

Pre-run warm-up: 5 minutes of brisk walking

Run/Walk Intervals: Alternate 4 minutes running, 2 minutes walking for 18 minutes total per session (Option to run for the full time if you prefer).

Run length: 18 minutes

Post-run cooldown: 5 minutes of walking. Stretches, e.g. calf, hamstring, quads, hips.

Week 4

Number of runs this week: 2

Pre-run warm-up: 5 minutes of brisk walking

Run/Walk Intervals: Alternate 8 minutes running, 3 minutes walking for 22 minutes total per session (Option to run for the full time if you prefer).

Run length: 22 minutes

Post-run cooldown: 5 minutes of walking. Stretches, e.g. calf, hamstring, quads, hips.

Week 5

Number of runs this week: 2

Pre-run warm-up: 5 minutes of brisk walking

Run/Walk Intervals: Alternate 10 minutes running, 3 minutes walking for 26 minutes total per session (Option to run for the full time if you prefer).

Run length: 26 minutes

Post-run cooldown: 5 minutes of walking. Stretches, e.g. calf, hamstring, quads, hips.

Week 6

Number of runs this week: 2

Pre-run warm-up: 5 minutes of brisk walking

Run/Walk Intervals: Alternate 15 minutes running, 3 minutes walking for 36 minutes total per session (Option to run for the full time if you prefer).

Run length: 36 minutes

Post-run cooldown: 5 minutes of walking. Stretches, e.g. calf, hamstring, quads, hips.

Week 7

Number of runs this week: 1

Pre-run warm-up: 5 minutes of brisk walking

Run/Walk Intervals: 30 minutes of running.

Run length: 30 minutes

Post-run cooldown: 5 minutes of walking. Stretches, e.g. calf, hamstring, quads, hips.

Congratulations!

You’re a runner now! Running for 30 minutes non-stop is something to be proud of. You could easily enter a 5k race with all of that fitness and endurance you’ve gained. Why not make that your next challenge!

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