Slow and steady wins the race


Getting excited about the uptake of a new sport or hobby can often mean jumping in the deep end and immersing yourself in it over the first few weeks. Whilst there is nothing wrong with wanting to get involved and putting your new-found motivation to good use, it may lead to a burnout, loss of interest or even injury if you don’t ease yourself in.

Of course, we want to encourage the uptake of new activities such as running that will benefit your health and wellbeing during this time when it is easy to become inactive. Here we will give you some advice to point you in the right direction so the positive changes you make are sustainable and achievable long-term, and most importantly you enjoy running!

How often should I be running?

How often you run in a week is dependent on who you are, and it will largely be determined by how much recovery or rest you might need. With that in mind it is important to make a simple plan with regards to how often and how long you go out for. If you are just starting your running journey, then it is important not to do too much too soon. Setting mini goals such as running or walking twice a week is a perfect way to start. Picking two days of the week to try a slow 15 to 20-minute run (or walk) will allow you to recover well between exercise and slowly introduce you to these new physical demands. Here is an example of a four-week plan for someone starting out:

Frequency Duration Long Run Distance
Week 1 Two 20 Minutes
Week 2 Three 20 Minutes 1.5 Miles
Week 3 Three 25 Minutes 2 Miles
Week 4 Three 30 Minutes 2.5 Miles

How long should my runs be?

The total duration of your runs in the first few weeks can be short, and within those runs a combination of walking intervals is great for slowly introducing you to the feeling of running and allowing your heart rate and breathing to recover, keeping you relaxed and in control. Below is a simplified guide of what a plan might look like depending on your starting ability:

Level Run Walk
Beginner 30 seconds 2 minutes
Intermediate 2-5 minutes 2 minutes
Experienced 8-10 minutes 1 minute

Another type of run that is suitable to add in to your weekly plan is a ‘long run’. Although this sounds daunting, the ‘long’ part of this run can be interpreted in a way that is suitable for you. The purpose of this run is to set a distance, rather than a length of time, that you can aim for. As the weeks go on you can slowly increase the length of these runs until you achieve a distance that you find challenging but rewarding.

Remember to adhere to Government advice in relation to exercising outdoors and above all enjoy yourself! If you have any questions relating to the Sport Aberdeen Running Club, or would like any advice or tips on taking up running, please email

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