Running is great exercise and will help you get and maintain a lean body. But be realistic. If you're just walking now, don't expect to go out and run 5 miles on the first try. Instead, take your time by alternating running and walking. Slowly increase the time you run while you decrease your walk time. If you stick with it you could be running for 30 or more minutes in as little as seven weeks.
Before You Run
Before you hit the trails, get the right shoes. You should not run in a walking shoe, but you can walk in a running shoe. If needed, get a fitting at a specialty store as there are many types of running shoes. Always begin your workout with a brisk five-minute walk to warm up your body. Then you can head into the walk-run workouts. This warm-up increases blood flow to your lower body in preparation for a challenging workout, so don't skip it.
First Three Weeks
You will do three walk-run workouts per week. In Week 1, alternate 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes after your five-minute warm-up. During Week 2, increase your run time to 90 seconds with two minutes of walking for 20 minutes. In Week 3, do a 90-second run, 90-second walk, three-minute run and three-minute walk. Repeat this progression two times. End each workout with a five-minute slow walk to cool down.
Weeks 4 Through 6
Continue with three workouts per week for Weeks 4 through 6. Start with a five-minute brisk walk and end with a slow walk for five minutes. In Week 4 follow this format: run three minutes, walk 90 seconds, run five minutes, walk 2.5 minutes, run three minutes, walk 90 seconds and run five minutes. In Week 5, run five minutes, walk three minutes, run five minutes, walk three minutes and run five minutes the first workout. For the second workout, run eight minutes, walk five and run eight. For the third workout, try to jog 20 minutes without walking. In Week 6, start your first workout by running five minutes, walk three minutes, run eight, walk three and run five. For the second workout, run 10, walk three and run 10. For the third workout, try to run 22 consecutive minutes.
Last Three Weeks
In the last three weeks of the program, do three workouts per week with no walking. In Week 7, do three 25-minute runs. In Week 8, run three times for 28 minutes each. In Week 9, do three 30-minute runs. Walk only if needed and keep it short and fast. If your goal is to run longer, you can keep increasing your run time two to three minutes each week.
Bethany Kochan began writing professionally in 2010. She has worked in fitness as a group instructor, personal trainer and fitness specialist since 1998. Kochan graduated in 2000 from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and certified YogaFit instructor.