Beginning Runners and Trail Running



If you are a beginning runner, or haven't run for a while, I'll suggest that you get some "basic training" to work up to running.  Here's a plan that will get you from zero to running a 5K within 12 weeks.  After that, you'll have enough of a base to start REAL ENDURANCE TRAINING.  I like Hal Higdon's advice and coaching program, and that's where this training advice comes from.  Please go to his site for more information:


Happy trails,

Bad Ben




Beginning Runners' 30/30 Plan: Here’s a simple 30/30 plan to get you going, featuring 30 minutes of cardio exercise for the first 30 days. It is a routine similar to one that  Chuck Cornett, a coach from Orange Park, Florida, used with beginning runners.


1.     Walk out the door and go 15 minutes in one direction, turn around, and return 15 minutes to where you started: 30 minutes total.  If you do this on a treadmill, make sure it's set to at least 2% grade, and 4+ miles per hour.


2.     For the first 10 minutes of your workout, it is obligatory that you walk: No running!


3.     For the last 5 minutes of your workout, it is obligatory that you walk: Again, no running!


4.     During the middle 15 minutes of the workout, you are free to jog or run--as long as you do so easily and do not push yourself.


5.     Here’s how to run during those middle 15 minutes: Jog for 30 seconds, walk until you are recovered, jog 30 seconds again. Jog, walk. Jog, walk. Jog, walk.


6.     Once comfortable jogging and walking, adapt a 30/30 pattern: jogging 30 seconds, walking 30 seconds, etc.


Follow this 30/30 pattern for 30 days. If you train continuously (every day), you can complete this stage in a month. If you train only every other day, it will take you two months. Do what your body tells you. Everyone is different in their ability to adapt to exercise. When you’re beginning, it is better to do too little than too much.


If you continue this 30/30 routine for 30 days, you will finish the month able to cover between one and two miles walking and jogging. You are now ready to progress to the next stage of your training as a beginning runner.


Next, you can progress to Hal Higdon's 5K training plan:

This is a plan that will get you to the point of running a 5K within 8 weeks, (starting with your 30 day base).


Once you have that 5K training base, you are ready to work on doing longer runs on the weekend, which will really get you into ENDURANCE MODE.



Where to run:


ROAD RUNNING: Most runners train and race on the roads, thus the name for the sport of road running. When possible, run in low-traffic areas. Dodging cars is not fun. Run facing traffic so you can see cars coming at you in your lane and step aside if necessary. If you have a choice, asphalt is 1/5th “softer” than concrete. Flat roads are easier to run on than those with a high crown.


CROSS-COUNTRY and TRAIL RUNNING: Once you develop an ability to run 3-4 miles non-stop, consider heading into the woods. Uneven ground may seem difficult at first, but running on soft and uneven surfaces can help prevent injuries. Check the Trail Nerds' schedule, to run with other trail runners.


TREADMILL: If you walk or run on a treadmill, make sure it's set to at least 2% grade, and at a speed of 4 or more miles per hour.


Local websites:

Here's the Nerds’ trail-running website:

And our weekly group run schedule:

And our group site: