How to Execute a Run/Walk Program Properly

Ideal for brand-new runners, or those returning to the sport from injury or a long layoff, a run/walk program guides the athlete to a safe transition from non-running to running, or allows him or her to return to running successfully. 

Before beginning this run/walk training plan, note the following:

  • Consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine—he or she should place you in the stage of this plan that's the most appropriate for you. 
  • This is a dynamic process and will need adjustment. If you are returning from a stress fracture or repetitive load injury, we suggest you have a gait analysis and shoe check early in this process to prevent a recurrence. 
  • You can help your running form and prevent injury by doing a core program two to three times a week.

More: A Runner-Specific Core Training Program 

Rules of Progression

Each stage should last one week. You can progress the total time by increasing the interval. In stages 1 to 8, do not increase the interval by more than one. 

If you have pain, skip a run (three days), and return to the previous stage. If you still have pain at that lower stage, please notify your doctor. 

Interval Run/Walk Program

Stage 1 to 3 

Walk steady with a good arm swing and gait (try to keep within 20 rpm of a normal running gait). The run is very easy in order to work on your form. Complete the workouts no more than three times per week on an even, predictable surface. 

More: Good Running Form for Beginners

Stage 1: 3-minute walk/1-minute run 

Stage 2: 2-minute walk/1-minute run 

Stage 3: 2-minute walk/2-minute run 

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