Running for Absolute Beginners

Start out walking and end up running a half-marathon. It's life changing!

**To learn all about your new training schedule and running terms, check it out here.

Cardio Walk (cw): Here you will walk at a fast pace while keeping your arms at chest level and swinging them front to back–just as when running. I call this a cardio walk because of its cardiovascular and fat burning benefits. This walk is also designed to move you progressively into running.

Mile (m):  The m simply means mile.

Strength Training (S.T.): A method of improving muscular strength by gradually increasing the ability to resist force through the use of free weights, machines, or the person’s own body weight. Strength training sessions are designed to impose increasingly greater resistance, which in turn stimulates development of muscle strength to meet the added demand.

Cardio Walk (cw)
Mile (m)
Strength Training (S.T.)

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Gale Compton

Gale co-founded SkinnyMs. with a goal to provide women with delicious recipes, fitness routines, and ways to reach their ideal weight. Gale has been featured on the Today Show in which she won a cook off for the best Lasagna. Be sure to search for her winning recipe, Skinny Lasagna Rolls.

Guided by her firm belief in healthy eating and the power of exercise, Gale has written two cookbooks and several fitness ebooks. She earned her Fitness Training Certification from, National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association. Gale loves to run with her dog Maggie and has completed numerous half-marathons.

More by Gale


    1. Cross Training Basically means, do something else to work out. Go to he gym and take a class, lift weights, ride a bike, anything else to keep you moving and working out.

    1. 30-40 minutes is a good range. It’s ultimately based your availability. I recommend at least 30 minutes on the strength training days.

  1. I started this program on February 18, 2013. I stayed within the program and never varied. In week 4, the day before I was scheduled to run 2 minutes, I was so nervous, because I just didn't feel like I could. I did the walk 1 min/ run 2 min and felt I had accomplished so much. On April 20, 2013, I ran a 5K in 30:09 (time). I not only took first in my age group, but my time was better than 1st place in several age groups younger than me. I also won Female Overall Grand Master. I am 57 year old. This program is very sensible and I was able to arrive at the 5K level with no injuries. I am now training for the 10K. (and dropped 27 pounds along the way (current weight 126)

    1. E. Williams, Your comment is so inspiring, thank you for sharing. I am 56 and running my 8th half-marathon this Saturday. I created the program because that’s exactly what I did when an ‘Absolute Beginner’. I am so happy for you!!! Please keep me updated on your progress. 🙂

      1. I have had so many people ask what I was doing to lose so much weight and look so fit. I have shared this program with several people…all much younger than me. They are in awe that this "old lady" can do this!. Can you tell me what you did with cross training? Thank you so much for putting this program out there! It allowed me to believe that I could do this. And I am more than glad to know your age! 🙂 Thanks again!

        1. Hi, Of course!! I do weight training several days a week, and always on the Cross Training days. I find having more strength from weight training helps with my runs. YOU ROCK!!!! 😀

  2. Hi i have decided to start this programme i was wondering if someone could tell me about a good routine for strength training and cross training but also for an absolute beginner. I really hope this programme works for me. I have tried so many times to start running, but i am always unsuccessful at running even a minute. I just become out of breath so quickly even though i walk quite alot!

  3. I'm trying to get to the page where I can print the calendar but it doesnt work. I like your site but I can't access the pages I want… Is it me?

  4. Is there another way to access the 18 week chart? The print on mine is so small I can't read it and it is blurry. I tried zooming in but it doesn't work. Could you provide a larger copy? Thanks.

      1. I am also having a hard time seeing the chart. Could you email it to me also? Thank you so much! I love this website! I visit it almost everyday!

  5. I am having the same issue of not being able to read the small print of the schedule. Could you email me the schedule? Thanks!

    1. Cory, Sure!! We are having a new one designed that will be easy to print…should be on the site next week if you’d like to check it then. In the meantime, I’ll email you a copy. 🙂

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