A training programme for beginners
Before you start
This training programme is designed for a complete beginner to get from couch potato to running 10-20 miles a week, over a period of six months.
Before you start this training programme, you should have:
- checked whether you need advice from a doctor;
- bought yourself proper running shoes and, if you are a woman, a sports bra (see Chapter 3).
In addition, you should remember that:
- it is a good idea to find a mate who wants to do this with you, so that you can encourage each other; alternatively, start going along to a local running club;
- set yourself a goal – such as a 5km race – which you can work towards;
- the first few weeks of this programme may well seem rather boring and easy, but you should resist the temptation to go any further or faster so that you avoid injury. This programme lays a solid foundation for safe, healthy running in the future;
- if you find that you are not enjoying it for the first few weeks, stick with it. It often takes 3-4 weeks to really get into running (or to get back into it). For most people, there will suddenly come a time when you realise that it has become easy, and that you really enjoy it.
About the programme
The numbers shown in the table are minutes a day. (They are not miles!). These are intended to give you an idea of how long you should be exercising. It does not matter how fast you go at this stage.
The training programme begins with just walking for the first three weeks. Don’t take this too easily: it should be brisk walking, so that you are breathing heavily and perhaps sweating a little. The purpose of the three weeks of walking is to stimulate your bones, muscles and joints to adapt to the exercise, so that they are ready for when you start running.
Over the next three weeks, we add in an extra 5 minute run for each week, for the last five minutes of the walk. Then over the next two months, the amount of running gradually increases, and the walking reduces, so that by week 16 you can do two 30 minute runs.
It is a common mistake to try to run too fast. Remember the talk test: you should be able to maintain a conversation easily, in complete sentences, on all these runs. If you are too out of breath to speak easily, you are running too fast.
Table 2.1 Training programme for a complete beginner
Legend: W10 = Walk for 10 minutes. R10 = Run for 10 minutes.
these are minutes, not miles!
|Week 1||Walk for 20 minutes every other day|
|Week 2||Walk for 20 minutes every other day|