How to build up your running as a beginner

We outline how you can build up your running as a beginner. What do you do once you have completed the Chatty Sparkly Walk to Run or the Couch to 5K programme?

Know your starting point

When you start a running programme with a goal in mind it’s important to start from where you are now. As a beginner your goal may be to run 5k but you don’t expect to be able to do that straight away. Similarly, if you are running twenty miles a week and you decide to aim for a marathon you wouldn’t immediately jump your training up to 80 miles a week.

Whatever your goal you need to start from where you are now. It is easy to let your enthusiasm run away with you. Just take a breath and register where you are starting from. Then treat your body carefully with a gradual build up.

Building up as a beginner

As a beginner you are likely to have completed our Walk to Run programme or a Couch to 5K programme. You can probably run/walk for around 40 minutes twice a week. What do you do next?

Step 1

If you are not running for the whole 40 minutes then keep going with your two runs until you find that you can run non-stop during that time. There is no need to increase the amount of running you do just yet. Keep it Chatty and you will soon find that you don’t need the walk breaks anymore.

Step 2

Once you can run continuously for the 40 minutes then you are ready for the next step. Ideally, if you have the time, you can then add a third run into the week. Start with just 20 minutes and increase it by 5 minutes a week until to reach 35 or 40 minutes. You will be doing two 40 minute runs and one 35-40 minute run. Keep this going for a week or two before moving to the next step.

Step 3

You are now ready to build up to an hour of non-stop running. Add 5 minutes every week to one of your 40 minute runs. Running continuously for 60 minutes is the gateway between being a beginner and an ‘improver’. You will see your fitness improve dramatically once you can run non-stop for the magic hour!

If you don’t have time to run three times a week skip step 2 and build up to 60 minutes instead. You can always add a third run in later.

Don’t forget to Sparkle

Include Sparkles in one of your 40 minute runs. You can find out how to do the ten second faster Sparkles here. You can either Sparkle on the run or stop and do Sparkles in pairs.

Keep it Chatty

Remember to keep all runs Chatty. If you are new to Chatty running you can find out how to run Chatty here. It may be that before you focus on building up your running you need to slow it down in order to reap all the benefits of running Chatty.

Listen to your body

If at any point it feels a bit much and you are loosing vitality don’t rush to add 5 minutes a week. Have a week or so where you keep things the same. It’s quite normal for you to find that as you build up in step 1 you feel like you are going backwards because on one run you find you had to take some walk breaks that you weren’t needing before. It may be that you are tired from work, haven’t drunk or eaten enough. Don’t worry if the odd run feels harder. Take note never push through tiredness.

What about Parkrun?

Parkrun’s are perfect for beginners as there is no pressure. You can run Chatty and enjoy the event with friends as long as you are careful not to get carried away with the pace of others. run at your own comfortable Chatty pace. Parkrun is a very social way to get a third run in and if you keep it Chatty you will notice your improvement over the weeks as your pace naturally gets faster.

Join our Facebook community to connect with other beginners.

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