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Let’s face it, beginning a run program is not easy. Many people try to do too much, too soon and either are discouraged because it is too hard or get injured before they really get going.

Even some couch-to-5K programs can be too tough for many people who need more time to build up aerobic capacity and muscular strength.

A beginner’s program should bridge the gap between being able to walk (briskly) comfortably for 30 minutes a few times a week.

Assuming you are fit enough to regularly walk, this 40-day program will get you to the point where you should be able to run 10 minutes at a time.

If life gets in the way and you are unable to get in a workout, just pick up where you left off and don’t try to make up workouts. The walking pace should be brisk, but comfortable.

As always, you’ll feel your best if you are well-hydrated, eating a balanced diet, and getting plenty of sleep.

Day Activity
1 Walk 15 minutes/run 1 minute/walk 14 minutes
2 Rest
3 Walk 15 minutes/run 1 minute/walk 14 minutes
4 Rest
5 Walk 14 minutes/run 2 minutes/walk 15 minutes
6 Rest
7 Walk 14 minutes/run 2 minutes/walk 15 minutes
8 Walk 15 minutes/run 1 minute/walk 14 minutes
9 Rest
10 Walk 14 minutes/run 3 minutes/walk 13 minutes
11 Rest
12 Walk 14 minutes/run 3 minutes/walk 13 minutes
13 Rest
14 Walk 14 minutes/run 4 minutes/walk 12 minutes
15 Walk 30 minutes
16 Rest
17 Walk 14 minutes/run 4 minutes/walk 12 minutes

18 Rest
19 Walk 14 minutes/run 5 minutes/walk 11 minutes
20 Rest
21 Walk 14 minutes/run 5 minutes/walk 11 minutes
22 Rest
23 Rest
24 Walk 14 minutes/run 6 minutes/walk 10 minutes
25 Rest
26 Walk 14 minutes/run 6 minutes/walk 10 minutes
27 Rest
28 Walk 14 minutes/run 7 minutes/walk 9 minutes
29 Rest
30 Walk 14 minutes/run 7 minutes/walk 9 minutes
31 Walk 10 minutes/run 2 minutes/walk 5 minutes/run 2 minutes/walk 11 minutes
32 Rest
33 Walk 14 minutes/run 8 minutes/walk 8 minutes
34 Rest
35 Walk 14 minutes/run 8 minutes/walk 8 minutes
36 Rest
37 Walk 14 minutes/run 9 minutes/walk 7 minutes
38 Rest
39 Rest
40 Walk 10 minutes/run 10 minutes/walk 10 minutes

Carissa Liebowitz has run the New York and Boston Marathons as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.


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