Beginners Training Schedules

Build from nought to 30 minutes in just eight weeks

beginners training plan

Whatever your level of fitness you should comfortably be able to build from nothing to running continuously for 30 minutes in the space of eight weeks. All you need to do is make a commitment to run at least three times a week and follow this simple run-walk programme which will gradually ease you towards the goal.

A few things to bear in mind:

  • Allow at least a day between runs when you begin.
  • If in doubt, slow down. You should be able to hold a conversation while you run. Respecting your body is the best route to progression.
  • Walk purposefully, and be strict with your run/walk timings.
  • Don’t be afraid to repeat a week, or drop back a week. Everyone’s different.
  • Take heart - you will get there!

The Schedule

  • Week 1 Run one min, walk 90 seconds. Repeat eight times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 2 Run two mins, walk one min. Repeat seven times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 3 Run three mins walk one mins. Repeat six times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 4 Run five mins, walk two mins. Repeat four times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 5 Run eight mins, walk two mins. Repeat three times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 6 Run 12 mins, walk one min. Repeat three times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 7 Run 15 mins, walk one min, Run fifteen mins. Do three times a week
  • Week 8 Run 30 mins continuously.

The Result

Congratulations! You’re a runner! What next? How about a 5K (3.1-mile) race?

Beginner Six-Week Schedule | Intermediate Six-Week Schedule | Your First 5K (non-subscriber preview)

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Discuss this article

I just wanted to see if there was anyone out there that has done this same Getting Started schedule and if they can share my confusion at how week six seems to suddenly jump to twelve minutes extra running. Infact, there is more running in week six than there is in seven and eight. Is there a particular reason for this or is it a mistake?
Posted: 03/07/2009 at 13:30

Just taken a look at it and yes, there does seem to be a bit more running in wk 6 in total (36 mins overall), but in the gneral scheme of things, the progression through the weeks doesn't seem too much of a jump. I guess for a beginner, that jump from run 8/walk 2 to run 12/ walk 1 might seem a little tough.

 If you have trouble with it, maybe add an extra week in with, say, run 10/walk 90 secs or something similar.

Posted: 03/07/2009 at 14:04

I can do the jump from eight to twelve. It's just doing the twelve three times that I'm wary about. I'll give it a go on Monday and if it seems considerably more difficult than the 8/2 then I'll try what you suggested. Tah
Posted: 03/07/2009 at 14:13

If you struggle, add a week and do 2 x 12's and 1 x 8?.

You don't have to stick to the schedule religously, there is scope to mould it to suit.

See how you get on with 3 x 12, you might be suprised.

Posted: 03/07/2009 at 14:19

No worries - best of luck. Unless you'er training for a specific event on a given day, I personally would take these schedules a guidelines rather than gospel as everyone is different.

Posted: 03/07/2009 at 14:20

I'm somewhat taking this particular one as gospel because it has worked incredibly well up to this point. I've told myself that once I can get up to thirty minutes of continuous running then I can start looking into moulding my own schedule, but until then, its important for me and the kind of personality I have, to stick rigidly to a schedule, hence the panic..
Posted: 03/07/2009 at 14:23

You really aren't going to loose anything at all by sticking an extra week inbetween, like I said, try the 3 x 12 out first before you hit the big red panic button, you might find it easier than you imagine, and if you do need to stick an extra week in,relax, its no biggie.
Posted: 03/07/2009 at 14:33

i have a gut feeling that i'll be able to do the 3 x 12 because this morning i was almost gliding through the last eight. the less said about the first eight the better though..
Posted: 03/07/2009 at 14:36

is this normal? to be finding the first part of runs the most difficult?
Posted: 03/07/2009 at 19:27

yes very normal! I think my first ever post on here some years ago was to the effect that for the first 5 mintues I felt like giving up, but got on okay after that. It gets a bit better - I think because you expect it and don't think you can't run, just because you feel bad to start with.

My take on it is that your body is suddenly under some exertion and wants you to stop. Then when it finds out you aren't stopping, it just gets on with it and paces itself. (not v. scientific!)

Posted: 03/07/2009 at 19:51

Its to do with how the body adjusts to exertion, something about anaerobic this and oxygen debt that, don't worry about it, it affects us all, just adjust your pace for the first part of your run.
Posted: 03/07/2009 at 20:49

I am 53 and had not done any fitness routines since my late 20's and I have followed the eight week programme and in the begining it was hard and I thought I would never complete a 30 min run. but with a bit of perseverance and grit I can now run for 30min's and run just over 3 miles. so in short stick with it and you will win out.


Posted: 04/07/2009 at 23:21

I did it!! And in the process clocked up 3.36 miles. Wow
Posted: 06/07/2009 at 10:43

Well done. Onwards and upwards from here !

Posted: 06/07/2009 at 10:53

Well done!

Posted: 06/07/2009 at 10:54

Cheers guys
Posted: 06/07/2009 at 10:56

I'm half way through week two of this schedule and already find that after four of my seven 2 minute runs I sort of hit a wall and can't imagine I'm going to make it. But then somehow I do, and my body feels as though it's accepting what's going on, and I guess that's what getting fit actually feels like. Also telling yourself "just two more to go" helps mentally.

Looking at the weeks to come I'm very excited even though I know it's designed to never let up on the effort (or pain!)

Posted: 19/08/2009 at 10:21

I've just started week one having not done any running before. My husband is a marathon-runner/ironman/freak so I have plenty of encouragement and help but it's so good to hear about other people who are starting from scratch like me!
Posted: 21/08/2009 at 19:12

My wife got as far as week 3 about 7 years ago. We recently bought a treadmill and she's used it a few times.

I'm going to suggest she starts this schedule and see how she gets on...

Posted: 24/08/2009 at 13:50


I've just started week one having not done any running before. My husband is a marathon-runner/ironman/freak so I have plenty of encouragement and help but it's so good to hear about other people who are starting from scratch like me!"

My OH is a running nut too, but I haven't actually told him that I have started (only last Friday)! (And don't intend to either until I can run for at least 30 mins without stopping!)
Posted: 24/08/2009 at 14:33

Like your style! Let me know how you get on!
Posted: 24/08/2009 at 23:13

Hello Peeps its great to hear how other people get on.  I have been running a while so its hard to remember what starting out is like so its great to be able to see how everyone is progressing, my mum has just started to have a go at running.  We are up to run number 5 now taking a day rest between runs and she has progressed from 8 - 45second jogs with about 2mins walk to 12 - 1min 25sec jogs with 2mins walk recovery.  She has never run before and is enjoying the challenge and we are just taking each run as it comes.  I am really pleased for her and enjoying our runs together alot.  Keep up the good work will let you know how we get on.     
Posted: 26/08/2009 at 18:49

I did this one and oh my gosh I can run 25 minutes without wanting to keel over. 5 minutes of stretching has helped me to run further for longer. I just completed the 5K Women's Challenge recently and ran for 33 minutes before I slowed down and power walked the rest. I finished 4 minutes faster than I did last year. It did, however, take me a whole week to recover. I did a run today and ran 25 minutes straight and feel so motivated to keep going until I can comfortably run 30 minutes three times a week. The ultimate aim for me is to run for 45 minutes and complete a 10K. I think this training programme is brilliant because I wasn't really a runner and didn't enjoy it until I came across this. I've been running for a year now and I feel great.
Posted: 14/09/2009 at 23:25

I just did this, well 6 weeks of it, and then jumped into a 5km and did it in under 26 mins, I hadn't run for 4 years and it was really achieveable so I didnt get demotivated at any stage
Posted: 15/09/2009 at 13:03

Well done for doing it under 26 minutes, that is excellent. Keep up the good work. How far do you run when you are training?
Posted: 15/09/2009 at 15:26

Thankyou, well done to yourself too!!
I've only managed 4km in training so far, but I don't really have any interest in any longer distances than 5km, as I'm more built for speed than long distance. Its more about getting fit though than times and distance for me

good luck on completing a 10k
Posted: 15/09/2009 at 15:44

I'm going to try starting this program from next week though may have to add an extra week at the beginning due to being really unfit.
Posted: 25/10/2009 at 22:31

You will do it Ruth. You may find that you can still do it in 8 weeks. and when you run for 10 mins straight for the first time you will punch the air. Good luck with it.
Posted: 26/10/2009 at 00:30

For what it's worth, I've just finished this 8 week program and decided to change week 6 to 2x12 mins, instead of 3. Don't think I could have managed to go from 3x8 to 3x12, but by doing two sets I was actually running for the same time as the week before, just in longer sets. After this the move to week 7 (2x15 mins) was pretty easy, and finally 30 mins straight.

It worked for me anyway.
Posted: 13/11/2009 at 16:33

As the ad says "Impossible is Nothing". Well done Ian.
Posted: 14/11/2009 at 18:02

I'm not completely sure of where I should start with this. I have a healthy weight and am reasonably fit (usually do aerobics, but starting to get bored of the same DVD) and am starting running, I can run for about 4-5 minutes straight, so should I start on Week 3 or 4? 

Posted: 28/12/2009 at 11:43

Thanks a lot for this. The comments also motivated me to do the running. Will start next Sunday and I hope I can make it til the 8th week.

Posted: 02/01/2010 at 04:50

Hi all,
         Just found your site while looking on the nett for a running program, and yours seems the easiest I can find, but at 49 years young and 97kg's never done any exercise since I left school, I can not even do yours,
         But having just gone through major surgery for prostate cancer in January this year I am determined to do the great north run and raise funds for the prostate charity,
        I have started walking 50 paces and jogging 50 paces, I can do this for 0.4 of a mile only, at the moment, and I am doing it every other day, I have up until September to get fit and up to speed. I will be at Newcastle for the run in September, may see you their.
Posted: 14/03/2010 at 10:00

Hey Mick,

Good for you!  Hope you're feeling ok and taking it nice and easy!  I've been away from running for about 3 years now and am just starting to ease back into it very slowly by walking loads.  I have a knee injury (which pales into insignificance after what you've been through!) which means I'm going to have to take it very carefully (my osteopath blanches every time I mention running) and extremely slowly, so I'll be thinking of you while I'm out walking. I remember when I first started running (some fool entered me for the Race for Life) three years ago, I could manage about 30 seconds of running before I thought I'd have a heart attack, but after 6 weeks I was running for 30 minutes without a problem! Amazing!  I expect to be much slower this time round, but hopefully I'll get there and so will you.  You are an inspiration and I wish you all the best!

Posted: 05/04/2010 at 21:51

Going to start this on Monday! Signed up for a Half-Marathon on the 34th October and have done no training what-so-ever. I'm not really unfit though, so I'm going to start at week 3 and see how I go from there. Then I'm using the following guide to get into shape for October once I can run 30 minutes continuously.

Posted: 07/05/2010 at 23:08

34th October?  Lol is that on Venus?
Posted: 08/05/2010 at 08:54

Woops, 24th October

Going well so far, about to pop out for my first 'run 5, walk 2' session.

Posted: 16/05/2010 at 13:50

I am really enjoying this programme. I started training in march after seeing some people doing the Reading Half that I thought to myself "If they can do it...I could do that." I was however 23 1/2 stone so a bit of a hurdle lol.

I have a rowing machine so 10 mins on level 1 and being knackered built up to 10k in 40 mins on level 7 of 8 and weight dropping to 20 stone. I started the 8 week plan at 19st 7 at the start of July and thought I was going to die in the first week but plodded on and built up the mins following the routine. I found a park where hardly anyone goes and is on grass so my joints can get used to the workout...more effort required but less impact.

I'm starting the 30 min runs next and after that will be roadwork of 2x 20min/2x23min...up to 2x 45 min whenevr that is lol.

If you are doing this programme then keep it up. You will have good days and bad, but some will be excellent!

I'm now 18st 6 and dropping 2-3lbs a week healthily and feel more alive than is soooooooo worth it (",) 

Posted: 22/08/2010 at 08:10

Well done Hypermonkey, congratulations on the weigtloss and running.  I started a beginners programme in April and can now run 4 miles continuosly (albeit very slowly), and have lost 2 stone.  I want to do the Reading Half next year too - might see you there!
Posted: 25/08/2010 at 10:06

Well done to you's a great feeling isn't it (",)

I've still got a long way to go until the half...but still going lol.

I'm doing the Run 10k at Blenhiem on the 26th Sept and the 30 min run and increases recommended  wouldn't get me to the level I needed so am continuing to increase my mins, 18 run with a minute recovery (x2) this week, 21 (x2) next, 24 (x2). 27 (x2), and 30 (x2) on the week of the run. This hopefully will be enough to get me round.

From then I think I can look at 45, 55, 1hour runs and increase. I run at 6mph solidly atm so will look at the more advanced plans later.

Keep it's well worth the pain (",) 

Posted: 26/08/2010 at 10:36

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