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How to Become a Runner in 8 Weeks

Olympic distance runner Kara Goucher says it only takes eight short weeks to become a runner. Here’s the plan to get you there, from Kara Goucher’s Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons.

Whether you’re just getting started or training for a marathon, the key is to gradually increase the amount of running you do. If you plan it right, you hardly notice the increases. Before you know it, you’ve reached your goal. That is the litmus test for a good training plan. Here is a basic but very effective plan to get you started. First, a couple of things about the plan:

Go three times each week: The plan includes three workouts a week, so you’ll be doing the listed workout on three separate days each week.

Make it convenient: Pick any days (and times of day) that work best for your schedule, but try to be consistent with those days each week once you decide on them. Establishing a routine is vital when you’re starting out.

Remember to rest: Be sure you take at least one rest day between each workout day. (Easy walking or other activities are fine on rest days, just no running.)

Go by minutes (it’s simpler): The plan is based on minutes of running, so be sure you have a stopwatch with you.

The Plan
Week 1: Run 1 minute, walk 90 seconds. Repeat eight times.
Week 2: Run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat seven times.
Week 3: Run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat six times.
Week 4: Run 6 minutes, walk 2 minutes. Repeat four times.
Week 5: Run 9 minutes, walk 2 minutes. Repeat three times.
Week 6: Run 12 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat three times.
Week 7: Run 15 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 15 minutes.
Week 8: Run 30 minutes continuously.


Kara Goucher, author of Kara Goucher’s Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons (Copyright © 2011 by Kara Goucher), is the World Championship bronze medalist for the 10K and a top U.S. marathoner. A member of the Nike Oregon Project, improving standards for distance running, she lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, professional runner Adam Goucher, and son Colt.


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