If you’re ready to move beyond the occasional fun run, you’re going to need a more comprehensive plan. A running program for beginners can help you build endurance and hone your running technique, so you can go faster or farther — or both.
When you’re choosing a running program for beginners, here are a few key features to look for.
1. It Starts Slow and Builds Over Time
A running program for beginners should help you ease into the sport. If you overdo it, you could wind up burning out or getting sidelined with an injury.
“The program won’t help you if the workouts are too long or hard,” says Meghan Kennihan, an NASM-certified personal trainer and USATF-certified running coach in LaGrange, IL.
For example, you might start out with a mix of running and walking intervals, and slowly progress to running for 30 minutes straight or more, Kennihan says.
As you build endurance and adapt to running consistently, the program should continue to challenge you by increasing the intensity and duration (or distance) of your workouts.
If you follow 30 Day Breakaway — Beachbody On Demand’s running program with Super Trainer and track-and-field athlete Idalis Velazquez — you’ll start off with three walks or runs per week and gradually build up to five.
2. It Coaches You Each Step of the Way
When you start a running program, it’s helpful to have a coach in your ear to guide and encourage you as you navigate your workouts.
A coach can keep you on track, offer tips for maintaining proper form and make sure you continue to push yourself.
In 30 Day Breakaway, Velazquez tags along on every run. Hop on a treadmill and follow along with a video, or head outdoors and listen with audio. Whichever option you choose, Velazquez will motivate you as she leads you through the day’s workout.
In addition to cuing you when to speed up or slow down, Velazquez will share tips for improving your form, which will help you run more efficiently.
If you’re following along via video on a treadmill, you’ll be able to see Velazquez’s running technique in action.
“You will be coached and pushed from the starting line to the finish line,” says Cody Braun, Beachbody fitness expert.
3. It Works With Your Schedule
Running workouts won’t do you any good if you only have time to complete part of them. The best running program for beginners is one that fits your busy schedule.
For beginning runners on a tight schedule, 30 Day Breakaway offers a Time Crunch Calendar.
This option allows you to complete a running or lifting routine each day (instead of doing both back-to-back in the same day), so you can get your workout done within 30 minutes.
4. It Incorporates Resistance Training
“Resistance training is key in any running plan,” Kennihan says. Resistance training helps to correct muscle imbalances and strengthen the muscles that support your joints and propel your every step, she says.
This can help reduce your chances of injury, especially when the program ramps up in intensity.
Building strength and muscular endurance also helps make you a more efficient runner, which will allow you to do more work with less effort, Braun says.
In 30 Day Breakaway, you’ll do strength workouts every week to build lean muscle, improve your running form, boost power and endurance, and enhance overall fitness.