More Training : Beginning Runner's Guide - 30/30 Plan

About the Beginning Runner's Guide - 30/30 Plan Program

Many people ask questions about beginning to run on my online forums. They want to know how to start running. They want a training program. They want information about shoes and equipment. They worry about sore muscles. Here’s a simple 30/30 plan to get you going, featuring 30 minutes of exercise for the first 30 days.

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At a glance


Author: Hal Higdon

Length: 5 Weeks

Typical Week: 1 Day Off, 6 Run

Longest Workout: 30 minutes

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Hal on his Beginning Runner’s Guide – 30/30 Plan Program

Introduction: Running continues to grow in popularity. More and more people are taking up the sport. More people are running 5K races. More are running marathons. An even larger number simply run for fitness and never go near a starting line, or win a race T-shirt.

There are many good reasons. Running is simple and inexpensive. It’s a good way to lose weight. It makes you feel good. Running is good for your health. You’ll look better and have more energy if you learn to run.

Many people ask questions about beginning to run on my online forums. They want to know how to start running. They want a training program. They want information about shoes and equipment. They worry about sore muscles.

Every runner experiences what might be described as “Start-Up” problems. Many have “Restart” problems. Former runners (who stopped, for one reason or another) want to get back to their old running routines. They too need help.

Here’s a simple 30/30 plan to get you going, featuring 30 minutes of exercise for the first 30 days. It is a routine similar to one that the late Chuck Cornett, a coach from Orange Park, Florida, used with beginning runners.

1. Walk out the door and go 15 minutes in one direction, turn around, and return 15 minutes to where you started: 30 minutes total.

2. For the first 10 minutes of your workout, it is obligatory that you walk: No running!

3. For the last 5 minutes of your workout, it is obligatory that you walk: Again, no running!

4. During the middle 15 minutes of the workout, you are free to jog or run–as long as you do so easily and do not push yourself.

5. Here’s how to run during those middle 15 minutes: Jog for 30 seconds, walk until you are recovered, jog 30 seconds again. Jog, walk. Jog, walk. Jog, walk.

6. Once comfortable jogging and walking, adapt a 30/30 pattern: jogging 30 seconds, walking 30 seconds, etc.

Follow this 30/30 pattern for 30 days. If you train continuously (every day), you can complete this stage in a month. If you train only every other day, it will take you two months, a 30/60 plan. Do what your body tells you. Everyone is different in their ability to adapt to exercise. When you’re beginning, it is better to do too little than too much.

If you continue this 30/30 routine for 30 days, you will finish the month able to cover between one and two miles walking and jogging. You are now ready to progress to the next stage of your training as a beginning runner. For the next step upward in training as a runner, check out my Novice 5K program.

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