Become a runner in 30 days

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  • Training plan
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About this challenge

This challenge will take a complete newbie to a confident beginner runner in 30 days. Over the course of the challenge you’ll build fitness, confidence and strong base of running knowledge. You’ll receive an update each day which will either be a specific training sessions to complete or supporting advice you need when you are starting out in running.


By the end of the challenge you’ll be able to run comfortably for 20 minutes - providing the perfect base for you to take on many of the other running and race challenges on realbuzz.

beginner Training Plan

Entry requirements: beginner

This challenge will take a complete newbie to a confident beginner runner in 30 days. Over the course of the challenge you’ll build fitness, confidence and strong base of running knowledge. You’ll receive an update each day which will either be a specific training sessions to complete or supporting advice you need when you are starting out in running.


By the end of the challenge you’ll be able to run comfortably for 20 minutes - providing the perfect base for you to take on many of the other running and race challenges on realbuzz.com.

Start date:
Anytime
Expected finish time:
Anytime
Duration:
5 weeks
Week 1
Jump to:
Monday
Training

Day 1 
 

Welcome to the become a runner in 30 days challenge!

 

Let’s start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Tuesday
Task

Day 2 
 

The importance of warming up and cooling down

 

Having signed up to a new challenge and with your motivation at an all-time high, it can be all too easy to make the classic rookie mistake of attacking your training like a bull in a china shop!

 

However, in order to prevent injury and to enhance recovery, the importance of warming up and cooling down shouldn’t be underestimated.

 

 

In order to prepare your body for the physical activity ahead you’ll need to start each training session by gradually increasing your heart rate. This has a number of performance boosting effects: It increases blood flow and therefore oxygen to the muscles, and increases the temperature and pliability of the muscles. That gives you a greater range of movement so in theory, you are less likely to injure yourself.

 

Let’s face it, after a training session collapsing in a crumpled heap is often a more appealing option, but finishing each run with a slow walk for a few minutes will help to kick start the all-important recovery process. This will allow your heart rate to gradually come down and helps to flush out the chemical by-products of exercise, such as lactic acid.

Wednesday
Training

Day 3 

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then alternate 90 seconds of jogging with 2 minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Thursday
Task

Day 4 

 

Have you got the correct kit and shoes? Although running is a basic sport in term of equipment, wearing the correct kit and shoes is essential if you want to maximise your comfort, safety and reduce the risk of injury. If possible, invest in a pair of proper running shoes that provide good support and cushioning.

 

It’s best to go to a specialist running shop to make your first purchase as the type of shoe that you require will depend on your biomechanics. A good specialist retailer will analyse your feet and your gait and should be able to advise you further.

 

 

In terms of apparel, it’s important to dress seasonally and sensibly. During the summer months a vest or T-shirt and a comfortable pair of shorts should be fine. Opt for technical fabric that wicks the sweat away from your skin over cotton. In the winter it’s worth investing in a waterproof jacket, some longer running tights and some high-viz gear so that you can stay warm and safe. Ladies, you’ll want to buy a good sports bra for extra support and comfort.

Friday
Training

Day 5

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then alternate 2 minutes of jogging with 2 minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Maybe vary your route from your last training run for a bit of variety.

Saturday
Rest

Day 6

 

The importance of cross training

 

Alternative or cross training can be a new runner’s secret weapon. By regularly replacing a run with a cross training workout you can reduce the risk of sustaining an overuse injury and strengthen alternative muscle groups that are not predominantly used when running, all whilst boosting your aerobic fitness.

There are many forms of low-impact cross training that make great alternative choices for runners such as cycling, deep water running, swimming and the elliptical machine.

Sunday
Training

Day 7

 

Select an alternative activity to running such as swimming, cycling or yoga and complete a minimum of 20- 30 minutes, depending on your energy levels and any muscle soreness.

Monday
Task

Day 8

 

Pre-run fuel

 

It is best to consume a carbohydrate based meal or snack before running in order to top up your glycogen stores and increase carbohydrate availability during exercise. If you’re consuming a meal, you’ll generally need to leave 2-4 hours before running, whereas a snack can be eaten anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours before running depending on the individual and the food consumed.

Cereal and/or toast, baked potato, bagels, rice cakes and bananas are just some examples of good pre-run fuel. The big no no’s are generally foods that are very high in fibre or fat and spicy foods as these can cause abdominal discomfort.

Tuesday
Training

Day 9 

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then complete 2 mins jogging, 2 minutes walking, 4 minutes jogging, 3 minutes walking, 2 mins jogging, 2 mins walking, 4 minutes jogging, 3 minutes walking. Try to use a flat route where possible

Wednesday
Task

Day 10 

 

How’s your hydration?

 

Your body’s cells need water in order to be able to function properly so good hydration is crucial when it comes to exercise and performance. In general we need about 2-3 litres of fluid a day to be properly hydrated - about half of this comes from food and half from drinks. However, exercise will increase your fluid needs.

 

You should always start each training session well hydrated. To do this it’s best to drink little and often. Aim to drink 400-600ml of fluid in the 2 hours prior to a run. Avoid drinking too much caffeine if possible as it has a diuretic effect.

Unless it is very warm, it is probably not necessary to drink during your training sessions at this stage. Although this is something that you will need to consider when you start to embark on longer runs.

 

After exercise you need to replace not only water lost as sweat but also salt losses. For low to moderate intensity exercise that lasts under an hour then water is great for rehydration. If you find it difficult to drink plain water then try adding some fruit juice or squash, which will also provide you with some carbohydrates to help restock your glycogen stores. Sprinkle a little extra salt on your food to replenish any sodium loss through sweat.

Thursday
Training

Day 11

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then alternate 5 minutes jogging with 3 minutes walking x 3. Don’t forget to refuel and rehydrate adequately after your run.

Friday
Task

Day 12

 

The importance of stretching

 

Stretching may not seem like a particularly appealing activity but it should form a fundamental part of your new training routine. As a new runner it’s important to at least preserve or even increase your flexibility as this helps to improve your range of motion, your posture and therefore your breathing, and prevent injury.

After running your muscle fibres will remain short and tight if the muscle is not stretched back to its normal length. Over time this leads to shorter, tighter muscles that are more prone to tearing. For runners the main muscle groups to focus on are the calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes and lower back. You should hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and never stretch to the point of extreme discomfort. Post run is the ideal time to work on your flexibility as your muscles are already warm.

Saturday
Training

Day 13

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then alternate 8 minutes of jogging with 3 minutes of walking x 2. Don’t forget to finish with some gentle stretching.

Sunday
Task

Day 14 

 

Running technique

 

It’s important to remember that very few runners run with ‘textbook’ technique; we are all built differently anatomically and move in different ways. However, you can makes some tweaks to your posture whilst running which can help to increase your biomechanical efficiency, your breathing and decrease your risk of injury.

Try to keep your upper body as relaxed as possible so that you can use your arms to propel you forward efficiently. Relax your shoulders and think about keeping your collarbone ‘long’ to stop you from rounding your shoulders. To prevent yourself from sinking into your hips, think ‘tall’ and imagine that someone is pulling you up pout of your hips by a piece of string attached to your head.

Monday
Training

Day 15 

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then alternate 10 minutes of jogging with 3 minutes of walking x 2. As you are jogging perform a ‘body scan’ from head to toe to ensure that you are as relaxed as possible and aren’t holding any unnecessary tension anywhere.

Tuesday
Task

Day 16

 

The basic principles of training

 

There are some fundamental principles of training that every runner should abide by whether you are a rookie or an elite. The first is that fitness is built on a cycle of stress and rest. You need to stress your body with training and then rest in order to let the physiological adaptations and gains in fitness occur. Secondly, your body will adapt to a training stimulus so you need to progressively increase the volume or intensity of your training if you want to see further gains in fitness. You may have noticed that the training sessions during this 30 day challenge have gradually got tougher!

Wednesday
Training

Day 17 

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then alternate 6 minutes of jogging with 3 minutes of walking x 4. Don’t forget to finish with some gentle stretching.

Thursday
Task

Day 18 

 

Injury prevention

 

Injuries are a runner’s foe and can stop you in your tracks. However there are a number of measures that you can take to keep yourself healthy and on the road:

 

Good nutrition before and after training is essential. Aim to drink or eat something containing a combo of carbohydrate and protein within 20 minutes of finishing training. The window post-exercise is when your body is most able to absorb nutrients which are critical for the body to repair and regenerate itself.

Training causes micro-damage to your body’s tissues and too much overload or inadequate rest between training sessions can cause these tissues to break down. By following a progressive and balanced training programme and ensuring that you are not scrimping on sleep you should achieve the right balance between stress and rest.

Friday
Training

Day 19

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then complete 12 minutes of jogging, 3 minutes of walking, 10 minutes of jogging, 3 minutes of walking.

 

Saturday
Task

Day 20 

 

Running routes – where is best to run?

 

By now you may have a favourite route or loop that you like to run. However, did you know that varying your routes and trying different terrains can be both physically and mentally stimulating?

 

With the exception of ice, roads provide a firm, responsive surface to run on all year round. If you can, it’s best to run away from busy roads. However, if you’re running in the dark then you should opt for a well- lit route.

Ideally, you should do some running off-road, perhaps in a nearby park or along a dirt/gravel trail. Running off-road is much kinder on your muscles, bones and joints as the level of impact is reduced, making it a great choice for new runners.

 

If the weather is particularly unfavourable or if it’s more convenient then you could hit the treadmill. The treadmill provides a controlled environment and enables you to monitor your speed very closely, however you do miss out on the fresh air and moving scenery!

Sunday
Training

Day 21

 

Select an alternative activity to running such as swimming, cycling or yoga and complete a minimum of 20- 30 minutes, depending on your energy levels and any muscle soreness.

Monday
Task

Day 22

 

Goal setting

 

When you’re new to running it’s certainly not uncommon to be unsure of where to start. However, setting some goals will give you a powerful sense of direction and some new found motivation to go out and achieve them!

Ideally you should set a mix of short term, intermediate and long term goals. Short term goals can be things that you’d like to accomplish in the next few days or weeks, intermediate goals can be targets that you’d like to achieve in the next six months and long term goals can be anything from six months to several years.

 

Pick a long term goal you’d like to achieve and then work backwards to plot how you are going to get there. To do this you will need to set short term and intermediate goals to use as stepping stones, to help you to reach your long term goal.

Tuesday
Training

Day 23 

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then jog for 15 minutes continuously (only take a walking break if you really need to). Finish with a 5 minute cool down walk.

Wednesday
Task

Day 24

 

The benefits of joining a running group/club

 

No matter what your postcode, there will be a running club within close proximity to you. Joining your local running fraternity has many benefits. You’ll meet like-minded runners and will enjoy the company of training in a group, possibly under the watchful eye of a coach. Having the company of other runners will help to push your training on to the next level.

You’ll also be less likely to hit motivational slumps, particularly during the cold, dark winter months. As an affiliated member of a running club you’ll enjoy the benefit of having a wider selection of races to choose from and will usually receive discounted race entry most road races.

Thursday
Training

Day 25

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then complete 10 minutes of jogging, 2 minutes of walking, 10 minutes of jogging. Finish with a 5 minute cool down walk.

Friday
Task

Day 26

 

How to choose your first race/event

 

You may have now set yourself the goal of entering your first race and this can seem a daunting prospect! There is a common misconception amongst new runners that you need to reach a certain standard before entering your first race. However, for the vast majority of races you don’t need to be a member of a running club, nor do you have to have clocked a certain time. So how do you choose your first event?

The most important thing to remember when choosing your first race is that it needs to correspond with your current fitness level and training history. It would be unrealistic to enter a marathon with very limited preparation for example.

 

When it comes to selecting which event, you should trust your instinct and go for something that appeals to you and will help you to stay motivated. Perhaps you have the opportunity to run for a charity that is close to your heart or the appeal may be as simple as completing a local race with a friend.

Saturday
Training

Day 27

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then jog for 18 minutes continuously (only take a walking break if you really need to). Finish with a 5 minute cool down walk.

Sunday
Task

Day 28 

 

Staying motivated

 

There are times as a runner when your motivation to train will be tested; cold, dark winter nights or work or family commitments that leave you feeling drained. It is during times like these when it’s important to have goals or targets to work towards. Commit any goals that you have to paper and if it helps, put them on a prominent place on the wall to serve as a regular reminder of what you are trying to achieve.

If possible, arrange to meet up with other runners when you can. Having company makes for a more enjoyable run and the minutes tick by that much quicker!

Monday
Training

Day 29 

 

Start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then jog for 20 minutes continuously. Finish with a 5 minute cool down walk.

Tuesday
Task

Day 30 

 

Congratulations! You have become a runner! Being able to run continuously for 20 minutes is a real achievement and you should feel proud of your progress over the last 30 days. Keep up the good work!

Now that you’ve built this strong base you are more than ready to take on one of our beginner running race challenges, how about setting a 5 or a 10k as your next goal?

Week 1
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