running training plan

Before you start

If you haven’t exercised for a while then it is important to introduce exercise gradually. Start by introducing exercise into your daily routine and look for every opportunity to increase your physical activity levels. You could walk to work, or start using the stairs instead of the lift. Even getting up to turn over the TV instead of using the remote control can make a difference.

It is also a good idea to mention to your GP that you are embarking upon an exercise programme. Most GPs will be delighted that you are taking care of your health, but a quick visit gives you and him / her an opportunity to highlight any concerns. This is especially true if you are:

      • Over 40 years old
      • Overweight
      • Have a history of heart disease in the family

Getting into the habit

If you are new to running or a beginner, then the first priority is to get into the running habit. Start by deciding when you are able to run and commit to spend that time running. Write it down on the calendar or in your diary if it helps. It is easy to let other things take priority if you don't make a commitment to exercise.

Start slow and progress gradually. If you try to do too much too soon you may struggle and lose the sense of enjoyment that running brings.

Don’t try to run before you can walk!

Many people find that it helps to start their runs with a brisk walk, in fact you might not be able to run at all to begin with. Break into a slow jog if you feel like it and walk again when you tire. Keep this going for your designated run time and, over the next few weeks, gradually increase the time spent running and decrease the length and frequency of walk breaks. For example – you might find that you can run for 1 minute and walk for 2 minutes initially. After one week try reducing the walk to 1 minute, and then increase the jog to 2 minutes, and so on. Continue like this until you can run for 30 minutes continuously. Take note of how good you feel and notice the positive effects that are taking place.  You could also take a look at our ‘Training Plans’ section.

Get kitted out

Unlike many other sports or exercise activities, getting started doesn’t require great expenditure. Nevertheless, it is vital that you invest in a decent pair of running shoes if nothing else. Ideally, you should visit a sports shop with assistants that know enough about running that they can advise you on the right pair of shoes for you. What suits one person may not suit the next, and the wrong pair of shoes can result in a multitude of problems. Be guided by what feels comfortable, check for any pinch points or pressure points. But, don't just stand there or walk around. These shoes are for running so run about, jump, hop. Feel how stable you are in the shoes when moving dynamically. If you are unbalanced in the shop, you will be even more so when running and this increases injury risk.

Women also need to invest in a sports bra. If you are A or B cup a compression bra will suit you. If you are C, an encapsulation style bra is probably more appropriate. If you are a D cup or above, look for a style that offers encapsulation and compression (you need both).

You can run in whatever you feel most comfortable in, but you might want to consider avoiding seams that could rub and fabrics that hold a lot of water. Cotton t-shirts are fine to a point, but may become uncomfortable if you get very hot and sweaty. There are lots of specialist running clothes available if you choose to invest, and it will improve your overall running experience if you feel comfortable in what you are wearing.

Be Safe — Be Seen

It is absolutely vital that you invest in visibility clothing if you are going to be running in the dark. It is very easy these days to get hold of a visibility vest and some armbands. Make sure you are visible in the daylight too. If you are running on the road, run so that you are facing on-coming traffic, and consider the position of the sun. If you are running along and your shadow is in front of you, the sun is behind you and the driver of an oncoming car may struggle to see you.

Keep Track

Many people find that keeping a running diary is a great training tool. You can plot progress and, over time, you will start to see trends in the way you feel, or how your body is acting. By having a history to turn to, you can more easily plan for the future. Keeping a training diary will keep you motivated. You don’t need to spend much money – an exercise book will do. Alternatively, you could start an online or computer-based diary, and those of you who choose our training schedules will benefit from this facility.

Above all — Enjoy!

Whilst running is great for our physical health, it is proven to have benefits for our mental health too. It is bound to feel difficult sometimes -- it is good to push yourself beyond your comfort zone -- but your running shouldn’t make you miserable. If it does then it’s likely you are doing something wrong -- setting unrealistic goals, or doing too much too soon. Don’t give up -- contact us and we’ll try to put some enjoyment into your running training.

Search Running Training Plan

Train your brain so can run faster and for longer

Brain Training for Runners

hypnosis head

Find out more

Running to Lose Weight?

Do it the right way

Learn more

Articles from Running Press

Negative Split Marathon

Should you attempt a negative split marathon? Is the negative split the best way to run a marathon? The data suggests not. It might be far better to accept some slowdown during the second half. What i ... read more

How to plan a running interval session

We’ve updated our page on interval session planning. The page includes a downloadable table for anyone who likes to devise their own training schedule. Simply select your current fitness level u ... read more

5k in under 25 minutes Training Plan

Reading time: 10 minutes How to run 25 minutes for 5k Who is this training plan for? It’s for anyone who is keen to run under 25 minutes for 5k and wants a sub 25 minute 5k training plan. Of course, ... read more

Top Four Reasons Why Diets Fail

The beginning of another new year and with it are the resolutions that are going to make us fitter, healthier, wealthier, less cluttered, more organised, etc, etc, the list goes on. Of course, one of ... read more

5k in 18 Minutes Training Plan

Reading time: 14 minutes Running under 18 minutes for 5k This training plan is rather different from some of the other 5k training plans . Running an 18 minute 5k is very demanding and a one-size plan ... read more