21-Day Run/Walk Program for Fat Loss

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Are you under the impression that you have to run miles and miles to get results? If so, prepare to have your mind blown! If you take a methodical approach, a little bit can go a long way, and we do our best to make that happen. In this simple beginner walk to run program, you will run/walk your way to surprising fat loss results. As you will see, sometimes the best route to success is not the hardest, but the smartest.

21-Day Run/Walk Program for Fat Loss

By following the simple beginners running program below, you’ll be on your way to joining the walk/run fat loss sensation. Why is it sensational? Because it’s doable! It’s not made for super athletes or people who run miles every day like it’s a cakewalk. It’s made for people like you and me! If you take it day-by-day, you’ll reach the finish line before you know it. Not only will you notice a difference in your appearance, but we bet you’ll feel a lot healthier too!

Key Terms to Know:

Cardio Walk: Walk at a fast pace, keeping your arms at chest level and swinging them front to back–just as when jogging. The average pace for a cardio walk is 3 to 4.5 miles per hour.

Jog: Jogging should be a comfortable run, typically at a pace of 4 to 6 miles per hour.

Run: Anything over 6 miles per hour is usually considered running.

Week 1

Day 1: ¼ mile cardio walk, ½ mile jog. Repeat to total 1.5 mile.

Day 2: ¼ mile cardio walk, ½ mile jog. Repeat to total 1.5 mile.

Day 3: ¼ mile cardio walk, ¾ mile jog. Repeat to total 2 miles.

Day 4: ¼ mile cardio walk, ¾ mile jog. Repeat to total 2 miles.

Day 5: Rest.

Day 6: ¼ mile cardio walk, ¼ mile run. Repeat for 12 minutes.

Day 7: ¼ mile cardio walk, ½ mile jog, ¼ mile cardio walk, ¼ mile run. Repeat for 15 minutes.

Week 2

Day 8: ¾ mile jog, ¼ mile cardio walk, ¼ mile run, ¼ mile cardio walk. Repeat for 15 minutes.

Day 9: ¾ mile jog, ¼ mile cardio walk, ½ mile jog. Repeat for 12 minutes.

Day 10: Rest.

Day 11: ¾ mile jog, ¼ mile cardio walk. Repeat to total 2 miles.

Day 12: ¾ mile jog, ¼ mile cardio walk, ½ mile jog, ¼ mile cardio walk. Repeat for 18 minutes.

Day 13: 1 mile jog, ¼ mile cardio walk, ½ mile run, ¼ mile cardio walk. Repeat for 18 minutes.

Day 14: 1 mile jog, ¼ mile cardio walk. Repeat for 15 minutes.

Week 3

Day 15: Rest

Day 16: ¾ mile jog, ¼ mile cardio walk. Repeat to total 3 miles.

Day 17: 1 mile jog, ¼ mile cardio walk, ½ mile run, ¼ mile cardio walk. Repeat for 20 minutes.

Day 18: 1 mile jog, ¼ mile cardio walk. Repeat for 20 minutes.

Day 19: ½ mile run, ¼ mile cardio walk. Repeat for 15 minutes.

Day 20: Rest.

Day 21: ½ mile run, ¼ mile cardio walk. Repeat for 20 minutes.

Music motivation and the right fuel will help you make every day of the program even better than the previous one. Follow our Pinterest page for all of the best weight loss tips for success, and other routines similar to this one!

We’d love to hear about your experience with this 21-Day Run/Walk Program for Fat Loss. Share your thoughts with us in the comment section!

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77 Comments on "21-Day Run/Walk Program for Fat Loss"

  1. Jess D  January 5, 2016

    Thanks for the set, 21 day full of pleasure!

    • Melissa Florero  January 5, 2016

      Jess, You’re welcome!

    • Lisa H  May 18, 2019

      I have bad knees and cannot run. Can I adjust the cardiowalk?

      • Gale Compton  May 24, 2019

        Lisa, The great thing about the program is that it’s flexible. Feel free to adjust to your specific needs. Walking briskly or speed walking can sub for the running. 🙂

  2. Debbie  January 5, 2016

    Do you know if there is an app that will track how far you have walked and let you know when you’ve walked 1/4 mile and then let you know when you have jogged 1/4 mile etc.?

    • Gale Compton  January 6, 2016

      Yes, I found several apps. Just search for “Running Interval Timmer” and several free apps should show up. 🙂

  3. Kristin  January 6, 2016

    What would you suggest for settings on treadmill for this?

    • Melissa Florero  January 6, 2016

      Kristin, Speed setting will differ based on both the person and the treadmill. Adjust both the walking and the jogging settings based on your personal pace. You will find your pace. 🙂

  4. Ryan  February 16, 2016

    I’m not a huge runner myself, I usually try to run at least 1-2 times per week. However, this 21 day plan seems a lot easier to do as its in smaller portions.

    • SkinnyMs.  February 17, 2016

      We’re glad you like it, Ryan. We believe that the shorter run/walk times make this program more accessible to those who do not already consider themselves “runners”.

  5. Susan  March 6, 2016

    These suggestions all sound great and doable, but I am 65 years old, haven’t exercised in years and wonder if they could apply to me. I’m going to try them but it’s hard to find anything for older adults who want to start taking better care of themselves. I have acid reflux, so I’ve found I’m limited on exercise styles that doesn’t aggravate that condition.

  6. Ioanna  March 28, 2016

    Helloo,this is a great program!Do you have any suggestions what program we should follow after finishing this?thank you

  7. jen  March 29, 2016

    What if I walk only a half an hour a day? Would I see any results?

    • SkinnyMs.  March 30, 2016

      Jen, any walking is better than no walking at all, and your body will see results on the inside, as you will be getting fitter and your heart will be getting stronger. While you may see physical changes on the outside by walking 30 minutes per day, they will be influenced by your diet, as well. If you are eating a diet of clean foods with appropriate portion sizes, then you will be much more likely to see physical changes, too.

      • Sue  March 14, 2017

        This is so true, I hate running, I walk most days for an hour, log my food intake on my Fitbit, stick to the allowance, and I’ve lost 7lbs since January, slow, but steady. I’ve not changed my eating habits drastically, I eat healthily & watch my portions. I only needed to lose 14lbs & I’m quite small framed. Love my daily walks!!

  8. Tanya  October 13, 2016

    Some of days say jog and then some say run. Can you explain the difference?

    • Kym Votruba  October 14, 2016

      Your jog should be at a pace that is not much faster than walking, but in running form. On the run days, your pace will be a little faster.

  9. Holnee  October 15, 2016

    When you say “repeat for 12 minutes”, is that total or after the initial first set?

    • Gale Compton  October 16, 2016

      Holnee, Yes, repeat 12 times after the first set. 🙂

      • Kay  January 17, 2018

        It says repeat for 12 minutes in your response you said 12 times. That confused me. I read it as continue for 12 more minutes.

        • Gale Compton  January 19, 2018

          Kay, It does say: ¼ mile cardio walk, ¼ mile run repeat for 12 minutes. Continue the pattern of doing a 1/4 milk cardio walk and 1/4 mile run, until 12 minutes are up. If you get this done once, twice, or more, that’s fine. Everyone’s time will differ. The bottom line, YOU’RE DOING IT!!! 🙂

  10. Denise  October 25, 2016

    Is there an interval timer that measures distance instead of time?
    I’m used to doing intervals by time.

    • Gale Compton  October 25, 2016

      Denise, I did some research and found a free app on iPhone (app store), “Running Distace Tracker – Map G”. It has good reviews.

  11. Linda Williams  December 3, 2016

    I am 67 years old. Unfortunately I have put on a few pounds since retirement. I am 5′ tall and weigh 155. I have gained 20 lbs mostly in my mid-section. I have always been very athletic and my job was very strenuous, so I am still quite muscular. It’s really hard to lose. Do you think this Would help. Or should I try something else. I really don’t know if I could hold up with the running.

    • Gale Compton  December 4, 2016

      Linda, You know your body best. If running is too challenging, try walking briskly while moving your arms back and forth, at chest level. This too is very effective! 🙂

  12. Lynneg  December 27, 2016

    I love this but how do you do this on a treadmill? It would mean constantly changing the settings.

    • Gale Compton  December 27, 2016

      Lynneg, Good question! When it’s raining or snowing outside, the treadmill is a good option.
      True, the settings need to be changed so you go from walking to running and back to walking.
      This is what I do: I go outside for runs when the roads are dry and always dress to fit the
      weather. If the weather doesn’t permit, I walk on the treadmill and come to a very low (or stop completely)
      setting before increasing the speed for the jog portion. Hope this helps! 🙂

  13. Lisa  December 28, 2016

    Is there a printable version of this that I can print and stick to my treadmill?

  14. Madhura nansi  March 2, 2017

    Hi skinny Ms.I am madhura here .28 yr old..Get tired very quickly even after walking at fast pace.my health is OK. Have been to a doc as well.pls tell me how do I motivate myself fr this plan

    • Kym Votruba  March 2, 2017

      Hi, Madhura. Remember that baby steps forward are still steps forward. We recommend starting at a pace that allows you to complete your workout, but you should be breathing hard toward the end. Gradually increase your pace over time. Do not be discouraged if you do not see results right away; the changes will happen on the inside first.

  15. karen  March 2, 2017

    hi skinny Ms..i’m so exited to try out your program..i’ve tried running before and stopped and now i’m having a hard time going back..maybe i dont have determination or whatever..but i have to push myself..i want to stay healthy and i need to be healthy..i’m not doing this just to look good but im doing this to stay healthy and look good..thanks for this program..can’t wait to start running again..more power to you guys!

    • Gale Compton  March 3, 2017

      Karen, Good for you! Please keep us posted on your progress. 🙂

  16. Dee  March 4, 2017

    I’m going to try this…thank you for being thoughtful to share.

    • Nichole Furlong  March 5, 2017

      You are very welcome!

  17. Maxine  March 10, 2017

    How soon after surgery can this be done?

    • Gale Compton  March 10, 2017

      Maxine, Please check with your doctor for that information.

  18. Kelsey  March 10, 2017

    What does it mean when it says repeat for 20 minutes?

    • Gale Compton  March 10, 2017


      For example: It means to run 1/2 mile, then walk for 1/4 mile. If you complete 1/2 mile run and 1/4 mile walk and still have 10 minutes remaining, repeat the sequence.

  19. Saba  April 19, 2017

    It seems very good thanks for the info, but last 1.5 year I am not able to run because of my knee, but I can walk, can you suggest something only related to walk, many thanks !

  20. Cinzia  April 23, 2017

    Just a small suggestion:
    Why don’t you add equivalents in the metric system? Your audience encompasses many countries and while measures can always be converted, international websites do that now, what with increased people mobility and multicultural societies.

    • Gale Compton  April 23, 2017

      Thank you for the suggestion, we’ll check into it. 🙂

  21. Natalia  May 4, 2017

    I`ve 20 kg extra, so can I start running and jogging with that so much weight?

  22. Nancy  May 4, 2017

    Hey SkinnyMs!! I am 52 yes old and on the other side of menopause struggling to get rid of my mid section. Excited to implement your plan. Thanks for caring!!❤️

  23. Errica Smith  May 10, 2017

    I cannot begin to thank you for this. I have turned 21 days into 30 so far and I look hott hott hott lol. Thanks again

  24. Sandra  May 28, 2017

    Walking and running is a great combo! As part of the program I’ve been doing since January, I speed walk for 1 full hour before I have my morning fruit protein smoothie 5x’s a week. Then 3x’s a week I run for 30 minutes and 3 Times a week I complete a 40 min circuit training aimed at leaning/sculpting the body. Together with improved diet habits I’ve seen huge difference in my body even though I’ve always have been a workout enthusiast. I’ve especially become a huge fan of walking…it really slims up your thigh!

  25. Angela  May 28, 2017

    This looks great! I wish I had seen it sooner. I have recently (6 weeks) incorporated a 3 mile walk 4x a week into my lifestyle. I wonder if I should modify this or just start with the 21 day program?

  26. Muhsi  July 8, 2017

    Hi.. Since long i want to lose weight i have really no time to go to gym or to run.. Is there any other way i can start lose weight? I would love to run but problem is the time. What do you suggest me please?

    • Gale Compton  July 8, 2017

      Time is an issue for almost everyone, including the SkinnyMs. Team. Here’s what we do: prioritize daily tasks in order of importance. Good health should always be at the top of the list. Write down all the things that are a must, i.e. work 8 hours, sleep 8 hours, etc.. but always include time for exercise, it’s an absolute must for good and lasting health. 🙂

  27. Ashley  July 9, 2017

    Cardio run is impossible with jogging stroller… any suggestions?

    • Gale Compton  July 10, 2017

      Ashley, Feel free to jog when pushing a stroller. 🙂

  28. Jessica  July 10, 2017


    I recently have had knee surgery for the 4th time and it is hard for me to run. If i alternate at a fast pace walk and slower pace walk will I get the same results? Also do you have a healthy meal plan that is best to follow or foods you should eat?

  29. Becky  July 12, 2017

    I am excited to try this approach to losing weight. I have fibro and frequent migraines so my weight goes up and down with my flares. I’m excited to have my sister to try this with she has MS. Thank you for posting.

    • Emilia Horn  July 13, 2017

      Good luck, Becky! Let us know how it goes!

  30. Erica  July 15, 2017

    How much weight can one anticipate to lose from 21 days?

    • Emilia Horn  July 17, 2017

      It’s different for every person, Erica. There are lots of variables, such as age, fitness level, diet, etc.

  31. Nancy Hale  August 1, 2017

    The allotted time has me a bit confused. For instance, I only completed the 1/4 mile walk, 1/4 mile run twice in 12 minutes. Is that enough? Also, I doubt I would complete day 8 in 15 minutes once.

    • Gale Compton  August 2, 2017

      Nancy, Don’t worry so much about your time, it will improve as you go through the program. We also have other running programs that you may
      want to begin after completing this one. 🙂

  32. Dewanda  August 23, 2017

    Did anyone ever answer Susan’s question….about being older and maybe modifying the run walk for some one who had been out of the loop on exercise for many years.

    • Gale Compton  August 23, 2017

      Dewanda, Yes and also emailed her back in March.

  33. Linda  October 8, 2017

    So a 1/2mile job is about 5mins? Is there a program that converts this into time?

    • Gale Compton  October 9, 2017

      Linda, There isn’t because everyone walks at a different pace. If you’re a beginner, it could take 30 minutes to walk one mile. If you do a brisk walk, without distractions, your time will dramatically be decreased, between 5-10 minutes is a good rule of thumb for half mile.

  34. Khushboo  February 27, 2018

    Hi. Will I be able to lose 25kgs weight through this in 2months? If I follow this rigorously? And is there any app to trach my miles? Please suggest if you know

  35. M R VENKATESH  May 15, 2018

    I am having lower back pain. Can I adopt this technique to loose weight and do not much damage to my back

  36. Andreah  November 16, 2018

    Is there a printer friendly version, so I can pin it to the fridge, or take it with me to work for reference? Thanks.

    • Gale Compton  November 18, 2018

      Andreah, Please feel free to copy and paste in a word doc. 🙂

  37. Ehan  July 8, 2019

    Please, can you show me 1\4 mile cardio walk how long in sec.? Thank you

    • Erin Milller  July 8, 2019

      Hi Ehan,

      It depends on how fast you walk, but most people “cardio walk” at around 3-4 mph. This means it should take you roughly 4-5 minutes to walk 1/4 of a mile. Hope that helps! 🙂


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