How Long Should I Run For as a Beginner?
One of the most common questions new runners ask is, “how long should I run for as a beginner?” This all depends on your current fitness level, but we’ve got some great advice to get you started.
If you are a complete newbie and have never run before, and don’t currently do any other cardio sports (football, basketball etc) then your first time should be at an easy and steady pace. The goal at this stage isn’t to run fast, but to see how your body copes with the exertion. So run as comfortably as you can, keep the pace easy, and stop before you exhaust yourself.
You’ll probably feel sore the next day, but this is completely normal and in time won’t happen. If you are already quite active, you can be slightly more zealous in your approach, but again be sure not to overexert yourself too soon.
You should aim to work up to a 30 minute run at an easy and steady pace. Once you’ve reached this level, you can throw in a faster paced run once a week alongside your regular training.
This will let you work on your form, improve your stamina and build on your strength. These slower runs are crucial in helping you become a better runner, so don’t skip this step!
As a beginner, the focus should be on duration rather than a particular distance. One to three miles as a novice runner would be perfect, but again the goal is to slowly increase your strength and stamina over a few weeks so don’t worry too much about the numbers in the early stages.
If you want to start racing, it’s best to start small and work your way up. Sign up to a 5K, and give yourself two or three months of consistent practice and training so you can comfortably complete the route.
Once you’ve achieved that, what’s stopping you from working towards a 10K, or half marathon?
At this stage, the aim is to get stronger and faster slowly and steadily. New runners should start with training two or three times a week for about 20 to 30 minutes at a time, with some cross-training a few times a week too. This can be walking, weights, or any other fitness class to help boost your training and build your strength.
If starting running and cross-training all seems too much, then focus on your runs. If you’re starting a new work out regime, you need to start slowly and build up. Once you’re settled in your runs and they become a habit, you can start adding in different types of exercise to vary your program.
Remember to rest too! If you don’t allow your body to recover you run the risk of burning out, injuring yourself, or falling off the fitness wagon completely from being too tired.
So the simple answer to how long should I run for as a beginner is just to go slow and steady, two or three times a week. Rest up, keep your work outs varied if you can, and have some fun! Pretty soon you’ll be itching to hit the treadmill.