Beginning runners often find it hard to run for longer than short bursts. This often leads them to getting discouraged before they have a chance to improve. If you’re struggling with running for more than a few minutes, we have suggestions on how to improve both your range and your enjoyment.
Walking is Your Secret Weapon

The most reliable path to long-distance running is to alternate short bursts of running with walking. Over time, you can increase the length of the running segments and decrease the length of the walking segments.

At this stage, don’t think of the running phases as high-intensity intervals. We’re concerned with adapting your body to running, not with building speed. Pick whatever pace you can comfortably hold while still being able to talk in complete sentences. Focus on just maintaining a run or jog. Don’t worry about your pace.

Keep the Progress Slow and Steady

After several weeks of gradually increasing the proportion of running, you’ll likely find that you can run steadily for 15 to 30 minutes. Play it by ear, or use any of a number of popular running apps to guide your progress. A typical training schedule might involve three identical walk/runs per week, with a slight increase in the ratio of running to walking with each successive week.

Don’t try to rush things. Your goal should be to keep the effort moderate, while watching your running time and distance magically increase. And of course, your goal should be to avoid getting hurt. A schedule such as the one we’re describing will give your muscles and joints plenty of time to adapt.

Longer-Term Goals

After a few weeks, you’ll have a sense of your rate of progress. You can start increasing your total workout time. And you can start thinking in terms of long-term goals. Maybe you’ll want to try a 5K after 3 months, or a 10K after a year? These kinds of goals are optional, but many runners find them highly motivating.
Other Considerations

Make you have good quality, well-fitted training shoes. Make sure your body always has ample recovery time. Early in your program, don’t run two days in a row. Later, when you’re able to handle two or three runs in a row, don’t schedule harder or longer runs back-to-back. Above all, keep it fun! Enjoyment of running is always the strongest motivator.