30 Day Beginner’s Running Challenge

Run, smile, repeat!

30 Day Beginner's Running Challenge

We’ve all been there… Lacing up for the first time ever, or lacing up after an extended break. It’s rough. That first run always makes you wonder, “Why am I doing this?” At times you want to quit, but you also want the benefits that come from running. The key to running with ease and increasing your mileage is to be on your feet as long as possible. Our 30-day Beginner’s Running Challenge will make a you fall in love with running by day 15!

When to Hit the Pavement

Running in the late afternoon is always a good way to begin a running program. Early in the morning, your body is still stiff from sleep and it takes a lot longer to loosen up. By late afternoon, all the walking you’ve done throughout the day has loosened up your whole body. If your schedule doesn’t permit for late afternoon, adjust as you need to make sure you hit your mark for each day; however, make sure you give your legs a great warm up. Stretching isn’t something you should only do before a workout, it should be part of your everyday morning routine. If you decide on a morning run, give yourself a half an hour to wake up first to get your body ready before hitting the pavement.

Pavement Vs. Treadmill

Although this workout is focused on street running, which helps you develop your running endurance and strength a lot faster, you can adjust this workout to a treadmill as well. Check out our guide on Treadmill Running vs Street Running to learn the difference and benefits of both.

Finding a Balance

There are two main components in running: your lung capacity and your muscle strength. Be mindful of both as you run because they may not always have the same peak. Your lung capacity may be amazing, but your legs may fatigue quickly, and continuing to run on fatigued legs can be more detrimental than beneficial. On the other hand, your legs may be powerhouses, but your lung capacity isn’t great yet. If this is the case, you can always walk a quarter mile, readjust your breathing, and pick up your run. This will build your lung capacity over time and help with adding more endurance in your legs.

30 Day Beginner’s Running Challenge

Equipment Needed: Great running shoes. You should also have a runner’s watch or a smart phone with GPS to measure your distance and make sure you hit your target miles for each jog and walk.

What to Do:  Follow the guide below for each day’s run mileage. The goal of this workout is to transition that initial dislike for running into becoming slightly (hopefully, majorly) addictive! Starting off reasonably sets the tone. By day 15 of this challenge, whether you’ll be at work, at home or at the grocery store, you’ll be anxious to lace up and hit the streets. Welcome to the inner circle!

Need a good stretch before you head out? Our Top Stretching Videos for Flexibility will warm up your entire body to help you give 100% on every run.

Download your 30-Day Beginner’s Running Calendar to follow the routine below.

30-day beginners running challenge

Week 1

1st Day: 1 mile jog(Considering you’re a beginner, maybe you’ve never ran a mile before. This will help you get an idea of where your running skills are.)

2nd Day: 1/2 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk, 1/2 mile jog

3rd Day: Rest

4th Day: 1 mile jog

5th Day: 1/2 jog, 1/4 mile walk, 3/4 mile jog

6th Day: 1 mile jog

7th Day: Rest

Week 2

8th Day: Rest

9th Day: 2 miles jog

10th Day: 1/2 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk, 1 mile jog

11th Day: Rest

12th Day: 2 1/2 miles jog

13th Day: 2 miles jog

14th Day: 1/2 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk, 1 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk, 1 mile jog


Week 3

15th Day: Rest

16th Day: 2 mile jog

17th Day: 1 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk, 1 mile jog

18th Day: 2 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk, 1/2 mile jog

19th Day: 1 1/2 mile jog

20th Day: Rest

21st Day: 1 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk. 2 mile jog

Week 4

22nd Day: 2 miles

23rd Day: 1 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk, 1 mile jog, 1/4 walk, 1 mile jog

24th Day: 1 1/2 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk, 2 mile jog

25th Day: Rest

26th Day: Rest

27th Day: 2 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk, 1 1/2 mile jog

28th Day: 1 1/2 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk, 1 1/2 mile jog

Week 5

29th Day: 3 mile jog

30th Day: 3 mile jog

Now that you have that runner’s euphoria hitting you after mile 2, try out some of our other running programs to take your legs to the next level:

Be sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Pinterest and Instagram to be the first to try out new workouts and view our latest fitness resources.

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Trainer Clifford

Clifford is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a lover of all things health, fitness, personal development, and community. When he's not cycling, hiking, or exploring new food recipes, he works to help others achieve personal growth.

More by Clifford


  1. Umm. Wait a minute. I thought this was a "Beginner's Running Challenge." Yet Day 1 starts with running a mile? That's not very beginner friendly where I sit. 🙁

    1. I agree, I started running a few years back, started simply doing something I though I could in my mind. 5min run, stop and add a minute on the next run day, I now do three eight mile runs and a long run every sunday

    1. 1 mile really isn’t that far. Jog at a slow pace, you can do it. I did it today and feel great. Now how I feel tomorrow will be a different story. ☺

  2. Wow, I can't believe people complain about 1 mile run on first day. This is a challenge to start running. Don't expect "walk across the parking lot" on this list. If you want to start running, start RUNNING!

    1. Wow, I can't believe that you wouldn't realize how difficult running might be for a beginner. I have a feeling she's not expecting something that doesn't get her heart pumping. I think she probably meant, maybe they have something that would start with a 1/4 mile run. You have no idea her physical condition, I know even one minute can be hard for some.

  3. I love it!! I'm athletic but I'm not a runner at all. I started a few Nike programs and beginner ones are too easy (too much walking), and intermediate are too hard (long runs on the first day), so I get bored easily. 1 mile run was hard but doable and I can't wait for tomorrow, hoping that my next 1 mile run will be easier. I'm excited to see the results and hopefully this program will finally make me want to stick with running!

  4. I just translate those miles to kilometers and this is the first running plan for beginners that doesn't scare me! I do agree with other posters who say a mile is too much. But a km is only 1000 meters. I used to run that several times a week but had to take a long hiatus. It's warming up outside and I think I'm going to try this one.

  5. This is a great post. I started walking yesterday (not running) after a long time and my first day was a 1.5 mile walk.

    I am 47 and suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (just joint pains with no deformity as yet), so am hesitant to run. Do you think it's okay for RA patients to run? I am not obese but just over-weight by a few pounds.

    I have been advised to reduce my weight just by walking. Walking for more than a mile on the first day didn't create any problems for me. Instead I felt a lot better and found my slight pain in the lower back (due to constant sitting at my laptop) disappear all of a sudden!!

    Now I am determined to continue walking for 2+ miles everyday because I am sure it will make me feel better on the whole. Thanks a lot for the inspiration.

    1. yourchemistnz, You’re welcome! Thanks for sharing your story! As for the RA and running, as with any workout and health condition in the body, it is best to show your doctor the schedule and get her/his approval first. She/he might also refer you to a physical therapist and a good one can modify/customize workouts you want to do. Have you seen our Bone Broth recipes? Drinking bone broth is excellent for your joints: https://skinnyms.com/paleo-bone-broth-to-boost-hea…. Lastly, check out our How to Walk 10,000 Steps a day article: https://skinnyms.com/how-to-walk-10000-steps-a-day….

  6. Thank you very much for the prompt response. No, I haven't seen any of your other pages. I came here from Pinterest when I was looking for a few simple workouts and found this page. I am glad I found your
    website. I will look up the other links you mentioned.

    Doctors do advise us in terms of what we should and should not do when suffering from a condition like RA but at the end of the day it is up to us to follow everything or only a part of it as we think best.

    My doctor feels that it is best to try out something that we think we can do whether it is exercise (of course not serious ones like weight training) or diet. Some foods suit some while they don't suit others. We are the best judge when it comes to our own body.

    So I wasn't sure if I should try running, hence my question to you. I have been living with RA for the last 20 years and I must say I have really learned to live with it. Though I have been regularly walking, having missed it for a few months now, I have never run before. While being treated initially for RA, I used to cycle down to the doctor's office as advised by him and I used to feel great.

    Thanks again. Keep up with the great work.

  7. I await the day when they will make a program for asthmatics. Because do sports when you have big respiratory problems, it's horrible. I sometimes have to stand up straight in the quiet and stop all of a sudden sports to succeed in breathing, otherwise I'm always an asthma attack. Same for my partner who is also asthmatic. And often we were criticized because we could not jog like the others. The mentality of athletes is bad, and discouraging for those who make a superhuman effort despite their health. I would also like to jog without feeling die.

    1. Miki, That is a challenge. Have you considered asking your Dr. for a referral to a good physical therapist? The reason I ask is because a physical therapist may help you create strategies and/or modify workouts around your asthma condition.

  8. Hi Miki, I also have had asthma all my life. My asthma flares up when I exercise. I just make sure to have my inhaler nearby. I work closely with my doctor to manage my attacks. Running is new to me, but I enjoy it and so do my 2 teenage sons–so it is possible. Just takes more effort and paying attention your body. Good luck!!

    1. Thanks for pointing that out to us, Robert! It looks like that last word was missing from each. They should both be jogs. The post has been updated now.

  9. I actually had attempted this program in February and quit after day 3, because the idea of having to plan out my days and complete the longer runs was daunting to me. I started again in April. I am by NO means a runner. In fact, before I started this program I could barely run for 5 minutes without stopping (hence having quit when I tried earlier). The very first day was exceptionally hard, but I kept pushing and went slow and by the grace of god finished that mile. After that, I knew I could do each days’ workout and would not let myself quit. I am on day 17 of this program and I absolutely LOVE it! The rest days come right when you need them the most. I’m so glad I found this and will be recommending to my friends and family!

    1. Colleen, Congratulations on pushing through. I’m so happy this program is beneficial for you and so many others! Keep us posted on your progress. 🙂

  10. I started on the skipping challenge and that didn’t last, so I started running instead, I think the trick is not to go out too fast to start, I was always giving it my all instead of just casually jogging.

  11. Running a mile to start with yes is very hard, if it’s your first time or you haven’t ran in a long while….BUT it’s a good way to give you an idea of where you stand in your body. A mile isn’t that far, it’s the perfect distance for beginners.

  12. I have to push a stroller when running since I have a two year old… I am a beginner and am wondering if the same program would be recommended or changes should be made?

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