How To Run for Beginners – 5 Running Programs that Work

Go from baby steps to big girl run in no time flat!

Whether you want to reap the health benefits of running or prep for a 5K or half marathon, it can be challenging to dive into a running routine. Check out this guide on how to run for beginners – 5 running programs that work—to jumpstart your goals.

It doesn’t matter why you’re hitting the track or road—running can be a healthy way to lose weight and boost physical fitness. It can also be a fantastic way to achieve real health benefits. In fact, the Mayo Clinic reviewed dozens of studies that examined the impact of running on physical health [1]. It found that running as few as six miles each week offers numerous gotta-love health benefits. Regular running:

  • Lowers body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference;
  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease;
  • Decreases the risk for stroke;
  • Lowers the risk for some types of cancer and decreases mortality rates in those who have cancer;
  • Decreases the risk for respiratory diseases, including pneumonia;
  • Reduces the risk for arthritis and hip replacement.

1. 21-Day Learn to Run Challenge
21-Day Learn to Run Challenge

When you want to learn how to run, this program is a great starting point. This specially-designed workout starts you off with cardiowalking, moves you up to jogging, and finishes with running. You’ll build the muscles you need to increase endurance and support joints with strength training workouts.

2. Running Program for Absolute Beginners
Running Program for Absolute Beginners

This downloadable guide starts your running routine off on the right foot. With a combination of cardiowalking, running, and strength training, you’ll be on the road in no time at all. By the end of the 18-week training-to-run program, you’ll be running as far as 13.1 miles—a half marathon!

3. 30-Day Beginner’s Running Challenge
30 Day Beginner's Running Challenge

Learn how to run with this challenge which will have you running up to three miles in only 30 days. Do you have a friend who’s always talking about trying running but never quite gets around to it? Buddy up with him or her and take this fun fitness challenge together!

4. Slim Down with the Walk/Run Plan
5K Running Guide for Absolute Beginners2

Running is more than a heart-healthy exercise option; it helps shed unwanted pounds as well. This 6-week running plan is designed to increase calorie burn with a combination of walking, running, and cross training. Since the Walk/Run Plan is ideal for any fitness level, it’s a great program to try with a workout buddy.

5. 5K Running Guide for Absolute Beginners
5K Running Guide for Absolute Beginners1

Learn how to run a 5K with this downloadable guide. It starts with cardiowalking, which boosts cardiovascular strength so you’re better prepared to complete a full 5K run. You’ll then work your way up to running. Use this guide to gradually increase your progress—you’ll meet your 5K/3.1 mile goal in about two months.


[1] Mayo Clinic

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