The Beginners Plan to Start Running
Follow the plan below and with as little as one hour per week, you can join the 'I Used To Hate Running Team'. This is a very easy running plan, we promise.
Be sure to complete at least 3 days of the program per week. Four or five days of work will get you there faster. However, this program should get you to a stage where you enjoy running with only three days of work per week. Make sure you have at least one rest day per week, two or three days rest may be a little better. Rest helps your body recover.
Week 1 (Days are not consecutive, take rest days)
Day 1 – Walk whichever of the four distances (or times) you are comfortable with - quarter mile, half mile, mile or two miles (or 4 minutes, 7 1/2 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes). Do not worry at all about the time it takes (unless you are using time, instead of distances). We hesitate to have you keep track of the time and distance at all. Your goal is not to cover the distance in any particular time, but by keeping track of your time and distance, you’ll be able to see your improvement over time. If you want to run some, great. Minimum suggested time 15 minutes.
Day 2 – See day 1, but run for short periods during your walk. Keep the running portion short and speed slow. Maybe you only run 10 steps one time during your walk. Or maybe you can run for a few minutes at a time or for the entire fifteen minutes. Use the guide we mentioned earlier. If at any point you think 'I hate this', stop running and walk. Minimum suggested time 15 minutes.
Day 3 – This is your long day. Increase the running and walking distance / time – either the number of times you run in this session, the distance you run. You are in control. Remember what is physically happening to your body. It is getting used to the increased work load. Every time you stress your body, it is getting stronger. Minimum suggested time 30 minutes.
Other days in week - You can use these as rest days, additional training days or days to cross train.
Week 2 –
See Week 1, but keep increasing the duration or distance of the run / walk while also increasing the running portion of your workout. Remember, if you think I hate running, start walking. If you hate the walking and don’t want to continue, we have to apologize for wasting your time over the last week. Go enjoy some other activity.
Week 3 –
See week 2, but if you are feeling tired, it is OK to take a step back this week in terms of your workout to let your body recover. If you feel strong, keep adding to your distance. Make sure you do at least 3 days of work though. Not that you are there yet, but most marathon training programs have two hard weeks followed by an easy week for recovery, so don't be afraid the use week 3 as a recovery week, with less work.
Week 4 and beyond
If you decreased your work load in week 3, come back strong and keep increasing your running. By now, you should be well beyond where you started. Compare your time or distances covered. You should see an improvement – even if it is small. Continue to increase your work load slowly but surely. You’ll be running a 5K before you know it.
FOR MORE ADVANCED RUNNERS (that are still part of the 'I hate running' crowd) - Follow the basic concepts of the Beginner plan above, but add in a lot more running. But never forget, if you think 'I hate running', walk.
Follow the 'I Used To Hate Running' plan for a month or so and you'll enjoy running - because you are now in shape to run. Soon you'll be running a 5K. And if you can run a 5K, you can add increase your training a little and run a 10K. If you can run a 10K, you can run a half marathon. If you can run a half marathon, you can run a marathon. You may not believe this now, but we have seen it over and over again.
Don't worry if you don't plan on ever running a marathon.
We're not saying, we're just saying....
As a rule of thumb, never increase mileage by more than 10% (weekly or daily). However, if you are starting with a small distance, you may be able to increase by much more than 10% (for example, if you are running 30 seconds at a time, doubling that to 60 seconds is fine.) If you are running 5 miles, don't jump to 10.