How Long Should I Run As A Beginner

When you’re just starting out with running as a beginner, there are certain things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it is important to understand that everyone’s running capabilities and goals are different and unique. That being said, there are some general guidelines that can help ensure you make the most of your time out on the road.

Let’s take a look at the recommended duration and frequency of runs for beginners:

Start with a 10-minute walk

If you’re new to running, it’s important not to do too much too quickly. Increasing your distance and/or speed too quickly can lead to injury. A good way to start is with a 10-minute walk. You can gradually increase the time and speed each time you go out, with a focus on consistency – running regularly, three or four times a week – will help you progress safely and enjoyably.

Once you feel comfortable walking for 10 minutes, mix in some short bursts of running – starting at just 30 seconds at first – with 30-second breaks in between. Try this several times over the course of your walk, eventually increasing the duration of your runs until you reach two or three minutes at once. At that point, it’s probably safe for you to try running for five continuous minutes without stopping. From there, add one minute each week until you eventually reach longer distances without taking breaks.

Beginning runners should always make sure they are well hydrated before starting their run and during their workout if necessary – especially during hot or humid weather – as dehydration can have serious repercussions on our bodies while running. It’s also advisable to invest in proper footwear to help protect feet and ankles from potential injuries related to long-distance running or extreme terrain changes (like uphill climbing).

Once your body becomes fit enough to run continuously for 20 minutes without feeling exhausted, you can adopt more challenging goals via more intense elements like:

  • Sprinting intervals;
  • Adding distance;
  • Targeting specific areas like leg strength;
  • Incorporating hills into your training;
  • Aiming for a faster pace; and
  • Forming longer term goals such as race distances (5Ks or half-marathons).
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Increase running time gradually

If you’re a new runner, getting into a running routine should happen gradually. Running demands intensity, requires proper technique and involves disciplined training strategies. Taking too large of a leap in increasing your running time can result in injury and discouraged motivation. The best way to ensure long-term success as a runner is to establish a gradual increase in running time over the course of time.

How to Increase Running Time Gradually

  1. Start with shorter runs: Start with runs that are shorter than the overall goal time you eventually want to reach. For example, if your goal is to eventually run 5 miles (8 km), you should begin with 2-3 mile (3-5 km) runs instead of focusing on the initial goal distance right away.
  2. Map out a timeline: Establish a timeline for gradually increasing your distance and duration over several weeks or months depending on how frequently you’re able to run and how quickly you can adjust as you become more experienced. Make sure that this timeline accommodates the amount of rest days needed for recovery so that your body has adequate time to rest between efforts.
  3. Increase effort off the track: Cross-training activities like strength training and stretching will help build muscles and develop good technique on the tracks for higher power output each session; this will help increase overall distance and running time over time. In addition, focusing on sleep, eating habits, hydration routines as well as supplement usage can help contribute to success as well!

Begin with intervals of walking and running

When you’re just starting out, it can be helpful to begin with a combination of walking and running. As a beginner runner, your general guideline should be to start running for a few minutes, then walking for several minutes. Work your way up slowly until you can run for 30 minutes at a time without stopping or needing to take a break.

Most experts agree that the best way to improve is by gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your workouts. You can do this by adding 1-2 minutes of running each week, until you feel comfortable enough with your endurance and strength to begin running for longer distances.

In addition to intervals of walking and running, another great tip as a beginner runner is to use intervals of slow and fast running as part of your overall exercise program. This approach will help build endurance without risking injury or burnout. For example, you might jog slowly for three minutes followed by jogging more aggressively for one minute, and then repeating this cycle several times during your workout session. These interval runs are also known as “fartleks” which come from the Swedish word meaning “speed play” – they are designed around periods of faster-paced running that serve as breaks between slower-paced jogging sessions.

Fartleks may also include intervals like sprints mixed in with slower jogs as well if desired; these intervals should become more intense over time as you gain strength and stamina through consistent training. Working together with these different types of training will help improve your overall fitness level along with helping you reach specific goals like finishing a 5K race or eventually becoming an elite marathoner!

Distance Goals

When beginning a running program, creating distance goals can help you stay motivated and track your progress. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to set realistic goals that will help you build up your endurance. Depending on your current fitness level, you can adjust your goals to be as challenging or achievable as you like.

Let’s look at some of the safer and healthier distances you should aim for when beginning a running program:

Aim for one mile in 10-15 minutes

If you are a beginner runner, it’s important to start off with realistic goals that you can build on as your strength and endurance improve. Aim to run one mile in 10-15 minutes when first starting out. This is a goal that is in reach for most people and will provide you with a sense of accomplishment as your fitness increases.

As you become better conditioned, gradually increase the time and distance of your runs. Research shows that running more than four miles per day can create an excessive amount of wear-and-tear on the body, so be sure to increase mileage gradually over time. To avoid overtraining, consider alternating between intensity (e.g., hill sprints) and recovery days (e.g., tempo runs).

At first, your pace may feel slow but remember to enjoy the journey! Celebrate each milestone you achieve along the way—whether it’s running for longer or faster—so that running remains enjoyable for you! Over time, increasing both speed and distance will help improve overall endurance and general health levels. Regularly challenging yourself is recommended to give yourself something to try for each day or week and stay motivated while running.

Increase distance gradually

As a beginner, you should focus on taking small steps to gradually increase the distance of your runs. Even just a few extra minutes each week can help you eventually reach your goals. If running for 30 minutes feels like too much for you, start with 10 and then 15 minutes and build up from there.

The basic principles of increasing your distance are to add no more than 10% to the total amount run in any given week or session. Runners call this the “10% rule“. For example, if you’re running 5km one day, don’t try to jump all the way up to 5.5km the next time – instead aim to do 4-5km in that subsequent run and then work up gradually each week/session until you get used to running longer distances at a time and can gradually increase them further without any adverse effects over time.

Running regularly also helps your muscles become stronger, improving overall performance while reducing risk of injury – but it doesn’t happen overnight. As a beginner, consistency is key; try to establish a routine that works for you and be prepared to adjust it as needed when life gets hectic or when goals change. It’s important not only for achieving distance goals but also for ensuring that running remains enjoyable over time!

Set achievable goals

Setting achievable goals for running is a great way to maintain motivation and progress steadily in your running program. When you first begin running, start with short distances and incrementally increase as your endurance builds. Begin with a run-walk program in which you alternate walking and jogging for the same set period of time or distance. For example, you might walk for three minutes followed by one minute of jogging, repeating this cycle until your desired distance is completed.

If possible, join a local running group or hire a coach to make sure that any training runs are appropriately tailored to your individual level of fitness and ability. If creating an individualized schedule on your own, it’s important to remember that goals should be realistic and achievable. Increasing mileage too quickly can result in injury or burnout – which is why it’s always advisable to goal-set incrementally.

When setting goals while beginning to run, consider the following:

  • Establish base mileage: Before launching into longer runs or speed workouts (such as intervals), runners should first focus on establishing a base level of weekly mileage. Starting out with too much volume can lead to overtraining or injury – so aim for low-medium volumes of 3–4 miles over four days per week during the first few weeks of running.
  • Increase gradually: As you establish a base mileage and strength level, runners can increase weekly time/distance no more than 10% per week at any given time (more experienced runners may be able to push further). Gradual increases allow the body ample opportunity to recover while also allowing the cardiovascular system – heart; lungs – to adjust accordingly without putting undue stress on either system.
  • Modify workout types: There are many types of running workouts available including steady runs; intervals; hill work; etc.,as well as different lengths including tempo rhythms; sprints; long/short distance times; etc., which can provide comfortable challenges as one progresses through different phases/levels of ability. Experimenting with different pace ranges helps develop pacing rhythm while giving both mind and body adequate opportunity for rest between workouts thus preventing injuries that come from monotonous activity alone.


As a beginner runner, it is important to know how often and how far to run. Depending on your goals and history with physical activity, it will vary, but typically a frequency of running 1-3 days a week is a good start. Additionally, running sessions should last anywhere from 10-40 minutes, depending on your current fitness level.

Knowing your current level, setting achievable goals, and tracking progress are all key to success:

  • Knowing your current level
  • Setting achievable goals
  • Tracking progress

Start with two days per week

As a beginner, it is important to start with the basics and gradually increase your running frequency in order to safely build up your endurance. Start by planning two running days per week, and slowly work your way up from there. Make sure to have rest days in between running sessions, as this will help prevent injury. Additionally, include cross training activities such as swimming or other forms of cardio exercise on non-running days. This will directly benefit you when you go out for a run as well. As your fitness increases, you can work towards adding one more day of running each week until you reach five or six times a week.

To ensure that your plan works well with regular life events and commitments, it’s best to plan them according to the weekly schedule. For example: if Mondays are always busy for you, then you can choose another day of the week for a run instead of having Monday off and forcing an extra session at the end of the week which may be too strenuous on tired muscles or joints. Listen to your body always – if something starts to hurt during or after a workout, consult with a medical specialist before continuing any further activity.

Increase to three or four days per week

If you’re a beginner and want to start running regularly, your best bet is to start by increasing your frequency first. Instead of trying to run for longer and longer distances each time you go out, or running more days in a row, focus on increasing the number of days you run per week.

Aim to build up from one day of running per week to three or four days per week. As you get used to having this amount of activity in your weekly routine, then start thinking about adding an extra five minutes onto each run, so that your mileage increases over time.

This gradual approach is often easier for beginners. It will help prevent Injury and burnout, allowing you to establish the habit first before working on intensifying it at a later stage. Additionally, if during your three or four runs per week you include one session where you focus on improving speed— such as intervals or tempo runs— then this can also help increase your overall fitness gains as long as you remain consistent with it.

Take one day off per week

When beginning a running program, it’s important to start off slowly and listen to your body. Take time to progressively increase the intensity and duration of your runs while making sure to take at least one full day off per week. Doing so allows muscles to repair, rest, and prepare for the next week’s workout while minimizing fatigue. Additionally, avoiding overtraining is important in reducing the risk of injury.

For beginner runners, starting with three days a week of running or walking with one day of rest in between each session is a great way to slowly begin your routine. Start by working out at a comfortable pace for 15-20 minutes on each of the three days and gradually build up from there in terms of distance and speed—gradual increases help the body adapt and prevent musculoskeletal injuries.

Finally, if tiredness is an issue or if progress plateau’s—try adding other forms of exercise such as cycling, swimming or strength training twice per week on non-running days as this can improve performance while helping avoid injury due to overtraining.

Safety Tips

Before beginning any running program, it is important to make sure that you are doing it safely. As a beginner, there are a few safety tips that you should take into consideration:

  • Warm up and stretch before you start running.
  • Pay attention to your body; if you experience any physical pain or exhaustion, you should stop running and take a break.
  • Wear proper running shoes and clothing that is comfortable and breathable.

Wear proper running shoes

For beginner runners, investing in a good pair of running shoes is one of the most important safety steps. Many people mistakenly wear regular athletic shoes when they begin running, but those aren’t designed for the same impact as running takes. Running shoes should cushion your feet from the repeated shock of hitting the ground and should give you adequate support for your arches.

Look for shoes specifically designed for running at a store that specializes in athletic footwear or consult with a knowledgeable salesperson about what kind would best meet your needs. Be sure to replace them after about 300 to 400 miles—you may not be able to tell that they are worn, but chances are that lightly padded areas could be causing long-term damage to your feet, ankles and knees.

Also, wear socks specifically designed for running—avoid cotton since it absorbs perspiration, making your feet prone to blisters and fungal infections like athlete’s foot.

Wear reflective clothing

When running, it is especially important to dress for visibility and safety. Wear bright, reflective clothing when running at night and in low-light conditions. Look for shirts and jackets with reflective strips or other reflectors and wear light or bright colors that are easily seen by passing motorists.

You may not see a car coming around the corner, but you can rest assured that the driver will be able to see you if you’re appropriately equipped. Many sprint training clubs require reflective gear be worn during all workouts after dark for safety reasons, so check with your coach if there’s any doubt about what’s appropriate.

Stay hydrated

One of the most important factors for safe and effective running is staying hydrated. Before, during and after exercising it is essential that you drink enough fluids in order to avoid dehydration, exhaustion and injury.

When you’re starting out, it’s recommended that you start off with shorter runs or timed intervals as your body adjusts to the activity. Depending on the season, temperature and your individual sweat rate, you should plan to drink about 8 ounces (240ml) of fluids every 20 minutes either before or during a run.

You should take smaller sips frequently as opposed to gulping large amounts of water when your mouth feels dry. To prepare for a run, make sure that you are well hydrated the day before a run by drinking at least 8 ounces (240 mLs) of water every two hours throughout the day leading up to your workout. Right before and after running, drink more fluids than usual to replace what has been lost through exertion.

Water is always a great choice but don’t forget that hydrating foods such as soups or fruits can also be part of a balanced rehydration plan. Working with an athletic trainer or sports nutritionist can help provide specific guidelines based on the climate, type of exercise and intensity level offered by any chosen activity.

Long-term Goals

When beginning your running journey, it’s important to set long-term goals for yourself. This can help you stay motivated and track your progress. No matter what your goals are, it’s important that you create a plan for yourself that breaks them down into achievable steps.

Let’s look at what long-term goals as a beginner should be:

Set a goal to run a 5K race

Race day can be a great confidence boost and a great motivator to help you stay on track with your running plan. To set the goal for running a 5K, or any distance race, start by breaking down the plan into manageable parts.

To start off, assess your current fitness level and determine what kind of five kilometer run you want to do: Are you looking for an easy five-kilometre stroll or are you aiming to hit a certain time? Once you have determined your goal, set a timeline and build a training plan around it.

A good beginner’s program should consist of three runs per week with one session focused on speed work, one for distance running, and the other for rest or cross-training activities. Make sure to properly warm up before each run and remember to always cool down after as well. Having weekly check-ins – either with yourself or another person – will help keep you motivated and on task.

In addition to being mindful of your running regime, be conscious of how your body is feeling while training; always take the extra time necessary to recover adequately between sessions so that you don’t overdo it! Utilizing foam rolling techniques after each session can also help reduce soreness in those hardworking muscles.

Following these guidelines should put you in good shape when it comes time to toe the line at your 5K event!

Increase running distance and speed

As a beginning runner, it is important to establish both short-term and long-term goals so that you can measure your progress and make the necessary adjustments when needed. With the right attitude and persistence, running can become an enjoyable part of your physical fitness routine.

For long-term goals, start by increasing the distance and speed of your runs incrementally over time. Aim to achieve a distance of three to four miles (5 kilometers) twice a week during your first month. Once you reach this point, begin increasing your running distances in intervals of one mile (1.6 kilometers) per week with the same frequency while maintaining that same pace or adding some extra minutes allowing yourself to rest along the way if needed. Building consistent weekly mileage will help you improve physical endurance – eventually leading to running six miles or 10km two or three times per week at a moderate pace that’s comfortable for you.

Speed workouts are essential for any distance runner whether beginner or advanced levels of fitness. Working on faster paces helps increase both aerobic capacity and leg muscle power enabling more efficient use of energy during longer distances as well as racing strategically when goal speeds need to be reached – as in 10K races for example. When starting speed improvement workouts, keep them simple with brief intervals such as four sets of six reps at a fast but controllable pace lasting from thirty seconds up to two minutes depending on the ability level while allowing yourself enough time to rest between sets allowing muscles regeneration time – followed by a cool down period with easy walking after completion.

Join a running group

A great way to start running is to join a local running group or club. These groups offer motivation and encouragement while they help you establish a safe, effective running routine. With the support of the group, you may be more willing to challenge yourself and stay with the program.

If this isn’t an option for you, try organizing an informal group of friends who are beginning runners to take 2-3 mile runs together each week. Make sure that everyone involved commits to run each week and shares similar goals – that way it will be less likely for someone to get discouraged or drop out of the group.

In addition, recruit a running buddy who has experience with running so that they can provide advice if needed. They can also offer tips on proper nutrition, hydration guidelines and stretching techniques which can make your runs more enjoyable and beneficial in the long run.

Be sure to set realistic goals when starting out as a beginner runner by taking into account any pre-existing health concerns such as asthma or other muscle/skeletal conditions that could inhibit your ability or progress when it comes to distance running. Your first goal should be simply getting outside and lacing up your shoes without pushing your body too hard – start with shorter distance runs (2-3 miles) at first, then gradually increase depending on your body’s ability – recognizing when it’s time rest or walking instead of pushing past what is safe for you.

As time progresses, increase these short distances gradually by adding 2 blocks at a time every few weeks until reaching whatever distance goal you have set for yourself – whether it’s just moving from 3 miles per run up to 5 miles or training for a half marathon over several months’ time – set achievable milestones to reach between now and then, celebrating each small victory along the way!

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