4 Week Running Plan – Fast-Track Beginners Running Program

4 week beginners running plan

This running plan is for beginners to go from 0 to running 30 minutes nonstop – in 4 weeks (for a comprehensive weight loss plan see here).

WHO SHOULD FOLLOW THIS RUNNING PROGRAM?

This plan is suitable for beginners who are fit and have exercised before (e.g. cycling, rowing, etc.), but are novice runners. Therefore, you should be able to walk briskly for 30 minutes several times a week before you start this program. If you can’t, start with the 10-week plan for beginners.

If you are already able to run, then join the program at the appropriate level. However, consider that being able run for 10 minutes nonstop once a week is easier than running it 4 times per week. Therefore, be objective. This program is only 4 weeks long anyway. That’s nothing. Hopefully you’ll be running regularly lifelong.

Your aim is to make small, consistent steps, not huge leaps. Running isn’t something you learn and the next day you can run. Progression is gradual. Your body has to adapt to the high-impact of running. This doesn’t happen instantly. With every run, your joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones get stronger and more robust. You slowly adapt and improve your running style to be more efficient and rhythmical. It is then that you really start to enjoy running.

RUNNING INTENSITY

During the running phase of the workout, you should be running at moderate intensity. This corresponds to about 70% of maximum heart rate and you should be able to pass the “talk test”. Passing the “talk test means that you are able to speak in sentences, if running with a running partner. However, if you can only answer in one word grunts you are running too fast. On the other hand, you should not be able to carry on long conversation and give paragraph style answers.

RUNNING & RECOVERY

4 week running plan for beginners

Try to allow for a day of recovery between your running workouts and avoid running 4 consecutive days. It is during recovery that your body adapts to the stress of the workout by getting stronger and fitter. This goes for your leg muscles, as much as for your heart and lungs. This is why you want to progress slowly, because you need to stress your body with small stresses. You body recovers, adapts, becomes stronger. This is progression. However, if you place too great a strain on your body, you become tired, sore and risk injury. As you become increasingly athletic, your body becomes accustomed to the cycle of stress and recovery and you require less time to recover from your previous run. Also, check out the infographic on running form.

the RUNNING PROGRAM

This is a 4-week run/ walk plan consisting of 4 workouts a week. If you only manage to fit 3 workouts into one week, add it to the following week. If you move on to the next week but don’t feel able to do the workout, stay on the previous level until you’re ready. Don’t worry about it. Listen to your body and go at your own pace. Some people will repeat a workout early on and then whiz through the rest without problem, others may find the fourth week more challenging and some may have no problems at all. Everyone is different.

Don’t forget to stretch before and after your workout. Also, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have a medical condition.

WEEK 1

Warm-up
Walk
Run-Walk Plan
Cool-down
Walk
Total Duration
1st
10 min
1 min run, 1 min walk (5x)
10 min
30 min
2nd
10 min
1 min run, 1 min walk (7x)
5 min
29 min
3rd
10 min
2 min run, 1 min walk (5x)
5 min
30 min
4th
5 min
2 min run, 1 min walk (7x)
4 min
30 min

WEEK 2

Warm-up
Walk
Run-Walk Plan
Cool-down
Walk
Total Duration
1st
5 min
3 min run, 1 min walk (5x)
5 min
30 min
2nd
5 min
5 min run, 2 min walk (3x)
4 min
30 min
3rd
4 min
5 min run, 1 min walk (4x)
2 min
30 min
4th
5 min
8 min run, 3 min walk (2x)
3 min
30 min

WEEK 3

Warm-up
Walk
Run-Walk Plan
Cool-down
Walk
Total Duration
1st
5 min
10 min run, 5 min walk, 5 min run
5 min
30 min
2nd
5 min
12 min run, 3 min walk, 5 min run
5 min
30 min
3rd
10 min
15 min run
5 min
30 min
4th
6 min
18 min run
6 min
30 min

WEEK 4

Warm-up
Walk
Run-Walk Plan
Cool-down
Walk
Total Duration
1st
5 min
20 min run
5 min
30 min
2nd
5 min
22 min run
3 min
30 min
3rd
3 min
25 min run
2 min
30 min
4th
2 min
30 min run
2 min
30 min