Running For Beginners [Complete Guide]

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Running offers a wide range of physical, mental, and overall health benefits. It’s a low-cost activity that has so many great benefits for your health. Here are some of the key advantages of incorporating running for beginners into your fitness schedule.

Cardiovascular Health

Running is an excellent aerobic exercise that can strengthen your heart, improve circulation,
and reduce the risk of heart disease. It helps lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol

Weight Management

Running burns, a significant number of calories, making it an effective tool for weight
management and fat loss. It can help maintain a healthy body weight or promote weight loss
when combined with a balanced diet.

Strengthening Muscles

Running engages various muscle groups, including the legs, core, and upper body. Over time,
it can improve muscle tone and strength

Improved Bone Density

Running is a weight-bearing exercise, which can help increase bone density and reduce the
risk of osteoporosis.

Mental Health

Running is associated with improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression and
anxiety. It releases endorphins, often referred to as “feel-good” hormones, which can boost
your mental well-being.

Stress Reduction

Running provides an opportunity to clear your mind and relieve stress. It can serve as a form
of meditation and offer a break from the demands of daily life.

Increased Energy Levels

Regular running can lead to improved energy levels and overall vitality. It helps enhance
stamina and endurance in daily activities.

Better Sleep

Many runners report better sleep quality and the ability to fall asleep more easily. It can
regulate sleep patterns and reduce insomnia.

Improved Lung Function

Running can enhance lung capacity and oxygen uptake, leading to improved respiratory

You should always approach running sensibly and gradually, especially if you’re a beginner,
to prevent overuse injuries. If you have any underlying medical conditions, injuries or concerns about your fitness level, don’t hesitate to consult our team of Strength and Conditioning Coaches or Sports Physiotherapists before starting a running program.

How fast should I run as a beginner?

Running can be categorized into various types and zones based on speed, distance, and
purpose. Here’s a breakdown of running types and zones:

Jogging/Recovery Run:

Speed: 6 – 7 minutes per kilometre

Purpose: Gentle, slow-paced running to recover from more intense workouts or for
general fitness. Suitable for all fitness levels.

Zone 1 Run (Easy):

Heart Rate: 50-60% of max heart rate

Purpose: Low-intensity running, often for building an aerobic base and improving
endurance. This pace allows for extended, comfortable running.

Zone 2 Run (Aerobic):

Heart Rate: 60-70% of max heart rate

Purpose: Focusing on the aerobic system and building cardiovascular fitness. This is a
sustainable pace for moderate to long distances.

Zone 3 Run (Threshold):

Heart Rate: 70-80% of max heart rate

Purpose: Running at or just below the lactate threshold to improve lactate clearance and
stamina. Effective for race training and tempo runs.

Zone 4 Run (Interval):

Heart Rate: 80-90% of max heart rate

Purpose: High-intensity intervals with rest or easy running in between. Improves speed,
anaerobic capacity, and VO2 max.

Zone 5 Run (Speed):

Heart Rate: 90-100% of max heart rate

Purpose: Sprinting and high-intensity efforts, often used in track workouts or for
improving maximum speed.

This table below shows all the Zones of running and their relative heart rates and intensities. Many runners like to train to these zones based on heart rate because this tells you when you are working too hard or accidentally working in the wrong zone. The pace you run in each of these zones is determined by your training history and your cardiovascular fitness. A more seasoned runner might be running a lot faster to keep their heart rate at the same percentage vs. running for beginners who might need to run very very slowly to keep their heart rate in the target band.

Running training guide

What zone should I aim for as a beginner runner?

The most common mistake runners make is running too fast for too much of their training. The majority of your training should be done in Zone 2! If you run too fast too often you run the risk of developing an injury. If this is a mistake you have made in the past and are struggling to make it back to running pain-free, then make sure to consult our Brisbane sports physiotherapy team.

It’s important to note that individual fitness levels and running goals can vary, so these paces and zones are general guidelines. To determine the most suitable pace for a specific individual, factors such as age, fitness level, training goals, and overall health should be considered.

In general, both men and women can participate in all of these types of runs and adjust the paces
based on their abilities and objectives. Many training programs and running plans are
designed to accommodate the needs of both genders. It’s important to listen to your body,
gradually increase intensity, and consult a strength and conditioning coach if you have
specific concerns about your running program.

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