Here is a 30-day running challenge to help you instill the habit of running into your life and help do it the right way—even if you are a beginner, and been running these last weeks or months sparingly.
So regardless of your current fitness level, your backgrounds, and your age, the program is your perfect opportunity to start taking control over your health and start getting into the best shape of your life.
I know I know. You are a skeptic and you know that this is much easier said than done. But keep in mind that consistency is the secret to building and keeping excellent fitness. And this 30-day running challenge is all about ensuring that you achieve a high level of consistency, even when all the odds are stacked up against you.
So are you excited? Then here we go.
The running plan I’m sharing with you today uses a mix of the Couch to 5K method and some of my favorite beginner running training guidelines and training tips.
Just make sure to have a stopwatch to keep tabs on your session and to listen to your body the entire time.
I hate to sound to sound like a broken record, but as I always say, you should always stay within your fitness level—especially if you are starting out.
Your motto should be to get fit without getting hurt. Otherwise, if you are not going to heed this ol’ golden advice, then you are better off to stop reading this now and go do something else.
So please, feel free to adjust this training schedule and adapt to your needs and training program. Nothing is written in stone here.
Keep in mind that runners are not made overnight. Au contraire my friend, it takes longs months of training for the body to build endurance and get used to the high impact nature of running.
The 30-Day Running Challenge You Need To Try
If you always wanted to make running part of your life, then here is the 4-week plan to get you running for at least 30 to 40 minutes straight per session.
The plan is divided into four weeks. Each week has a set of three specific workouts you need to do. Make sure to begin each session with a proper warm-up, and wrap it up with a decent cool-down. Basic advice here man.
On your recovery days, I recommend that you cross train and work your body in other ways by doing different forms of cardio, such as biking or swimming; you can also hit the weight room and do some resistance training. Nonetheless, if you prefer low impact exercise, then enroll in a yoga class to reap the strength and flexibility benefits that come with.
During your first week of this challenge, make sure to start where you are at, not where you want to go.
During this week, make sure not to do too much and stay within your fitness level. The main purpose of the schedule below is to give you an idea on how to proceed, and it’s not written in stone. So feel free to adjust it as you feel fit.
If you are a complete beginner, then I recommend that you start off with a 3:1 ratios—meaning that you walk for 3 minutes after every one-minute jog interval. If you feel confident, then opt for a 2:1 or 1:1 ratios.
As long as you are doing what’s best for you and staying within your fitness level. You are in a good place.
Tip: Pre-Run Meal
Fuel up for your workouts by having a small snack, such as a piece of fruit, like a banana or an apple, or an energy bar, roughly one to two hours before heading out of the door. Plus, make sure also to drink plenty of water, especially before and immediately following your run.
Day 1: After a 10-minute brisk walk warm-up, complete 8 to 10 cycles of 1-minute jog interspersed with 2-minute of walking for recovery. Finish off the session with a 5-minute walk.
Day 2: Cross-train or rest
Day 3: Repeat Workout I.
Day 4: Cross-train or rest
Day5: after a warm-up, perform 7 to 8 cycles of one minute to 90 seconds jogs and one-minute to 90 seconds walking breaks.
Day 6 & 7: Take a couple of days off at the end of every week to allow your body to recover. Go out, watch a movie, see some friends, or stay home and Netflix all day long.
During this week, running should feel a bit easier than before. So if you are feeling that way, then it’s time to crank up the intensity by increasing the time spent running, and taking less and less for recovery. But if it’s not so, then repeat Week One workouts to the letter, and only progress with the plan after you feel confident enough about your fitness level.
The key here is maintaining your consistency even if your results suck big time.
Tip: Practice Proper Breathing
During this week, pay particular attention to your breathing rhythm, and do your best to stay at a conversational pace—meaning that you can run and hold a conversation without much effort. If you are huffing and puffing, gasping for air with every step you take, then you are doing it too much and need to scale it down a bit.
Here are the workouts:
Day 8: After a decent warm-up, perform 6 to 8 cycles of two minutes jogs, and 30-seconds breaks.
Day 9: cross train
Day 10: Repeat Day 8 Workout, aiming for at least 8 cycles.
Day 11: Cross Train
Day 12: after a warm-up, perform 6 cycles of 3 minutes jogging, interspersed with 30-second of walking breaks.
Day 13 & 14: Rest completely.
Image Credit – J Kepper via Flickr
Congratulations if you have made it so far. Week 3 is going to be the hardest because this when resistance starts to set in when it comes to building your running habit. Therefore, what you need to do here to keep moving no matter what.
So do your best to stay on track. Even if you couldn’t run, then make sure at least to for a walk or cross train instead.
Tip: Running Form
During this week, pay extra attention to your running form and make sure to develop the right mechanics from the get-go. Try to keep your body relaxed the entire time—especially your fists, shoulders, neck and face, run as tall as you can—by keeping your back straight and core engaged.
Plus, keep your stride smooth and relatively short—by making sure to land under the center of gravity of your body.
Here are the workouts:
Day 15: After the warm-up, run for four minutes, recover for one minute, then run for five minutes, recovery for one minute, then for six minutes, and finish off your workout with a 10-minute brisk walk as a cool down.
Day 16: Cross Train
Day 17: after a 10-minute brisk walk warm-up, run for five minutes, recover for 30 seconds, run for six minutes, recovery for one minute, then run for seven minutes, and finish off your workout with a 10-minute brisk walk.
Day 18: Cross train.
Day 19: After a warm-up, run for six minutes, recover for one minute, then run for seven minutes, recover for one minute, then run for eight minutes, and finish off your workout with a 10-minute brisk walk cool down.
Days 20 & 21: Rest
This is the last week of this 30-day challenge and this is when the rubber meets the road.
Please if you feel like you are doing too much during this week, then feel free to scale it down. Keep in mind that you can always repeat week 3 or week 2 if you feel like you have to.
Nothing is written in stone here. Use your body and your comfort level as the ultimate gauging tools. I don’t know what’s best for you, but you surely do, if you only listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly.
Tip: Practice recovery
If you are experiencing any aches or pains both during and after you workout, then it’s time to be more diligent with your recovery.
Post-run pains and aches might be a sign that you are pushing too much. Therefore, in such case, you need to back up a bit and give your body the time it needs to recover and adapt, so you will be able to keep improving without injury.
So if you feel like you need a rest day, then simply go for a 30-minute brisk walk to get your body moving. Just don’t sit around the whole day. During your training days, you need to be moving, mate.
Here are the workouts:
Day 22: After the warm-up, run for eight minutes, rest for one minute, then run for seven minutes, rest one minute, then run for six minutes, and finish off with a cool down.
Day 23: Cross Train
Day 24: After the warm-up, run for 10 minutes, recover for one minute, run for 8 minutes, recover for one, run for six minutes, and finish off with a cool down.
Day 25: Cross Train
Day 26: Run for 12 minutes, recover for one minute, run for 10 minutes, recover for one minute, then run for 8 minutes, and finish off with a cool down.
Days 27 & 28 and 29: Rest
Day 30 – The End of the Running Challenge
This is the last day of this challenge, so make sure to end it on a high note.
Here is the workout you need to do. I know it’s quite challenging but do your best here. After four weeks of the walk-run method, I feel like you have already built a good base.
After a 10-minute brisk walk warm-up, start picking up the pace and jog slowly for 15 to 20 minutes non-stop. Make sure to keep a conversational pace throughout the workout. If you are huffing and puffing, stop, recover and go at it again.
Finish the workout with a 5-minute walk to bring your heart rate down and recover.
And that’s it, folks.
Beyond the 30-day challenge
Completing this 30-day beginner running challenge is just the first step. Now you need to up the ante and do more if you are serious about improving and reaching your full running potential.
For that, here a few running workouts to try out.
Hopefully, by now you have built the habit of running into your life and you are willing to expand on it.
So, please feel free to do so and make sure to increase your running time from one week to the next—as long as you are doing in a gradual manner and staying within you fitness level, you are on the right path.
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Featured Image Credit – Robert Montgomery via Flickr