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This Beginner Running Program Has Stood the Test of Time

This Beginner Running Program Has Stood the Test of Time

Is this a good time to start running?

Right now, health experts are encouraging solo outside exercise, for physical and psychological well-being. And assuming government authorities still allow people to get outside to exercise individually or with family members in the near future, we say, yes—now is a good time to start a running program.

The below schedule was developed in 2011 by Budd Coates and published in the Runner’s World book Run Your Butt Off! It has helped thousands of beginners get started running since it was first published nine years ago.

Here’s what you should know about the program in the days of COVID-19.

1. Don’t attempt a new exercise program if you’re not feeling well.
If you’re ill, this is not the time to introduce even small amounts of running into your routine. Get well first.

2. You have to do this alone, or with someone you’ve been living with.
No friends at this time.

3. Progress at your own pace.
This is a gentle progression from 30 minutes of walking to 30 minutes of running in 12 different stages. Yes, you can do it in 12 weeks. But you can also slow it down to take as long as you need, spending two weeks or longer on certain stages until you feel comfortable at each level.

The opposite is also true: You can skip stages or combine them and get through the program in fewer than 12 weeks if you’ve been a runner at some point in your recent past. But most people will need longer than 12 weeks, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

4. Make sure you can walk for 30 minutes at a time before trying to run.
If you haven’t been walking regularly and you attempt to go straight from a sedentary lifestyle to running, skipping the walking parts, you’ll increase your risk of injury. And the last thing you want to do during this pandemic is inflict an injury upon yourself by doing too much, too soon. So please, err on the side of caution. When in doubt, walk. And if you feel any pain, stop. You’re learning to run to make yourself healthier, not to cause harm.