Follow a personal training plan. Run from within.
There are a lot of fantastic training plans out there, but if you want a truly custom plan that will allow you to progress at an efficient rate, go the custom route and run from within. It's a little like ordering a personal coffee of your choice at Starbucks (you know, non-fat, half caf, extra hot, 1.5 pumps of vanilla). Here's how...
Start and finish every running workout with a five minute brisk walk to properly prepare your body for the demands of running and then bring it back to reality once you are done.
After the warm-up, start to run until you can hear your breathing and you are just outside your comfort zone. Focus on your breathing and how your body is feeling rather than the minutes or even the distance. Doing so will teach you how to pace yourself naturally.
When you reach the orange zone running (you can hear your breathing and you're just outside of what's comfy), walk and catch your breath. In other words: Run until you are tired and walk until you're bored.
Repeat the run and walk intervals for a total of 30 minutes and cool down. That's it! Running made simple. The great part about running from within is that your body will naturally progress in time. On days when you are struggling because of poor sleep, stress or just plain fatigue, your body will ask to walk sooner. On the days when you are wearing your Superman/Wonder Woman cape, the planets are aligned, and you're feeling strong, you will be able to run farther and maybe even a little faster.
The secret is to learn to run by effort. Gauge how you feel and stick with a consistent 30-minute workout. Some of you will progress to running all 30 minutes faster than others. No matter what, have fun in the process. After all, it's not about the destination. It's about the journey.
Set your goal. Sign up for a race.