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From Couch to 5K: Stewart Skloss’ Proven Training Plan for Beginners

Running is sometimes seen as a physical activity that only experts engage in. But, even the longest-tenured runners had to start somewhere, says personal trainer Stewart Skloss.

Don’t be discouraged from picking up running just because you’ve never done it regularly before. Just follow some of the tips and tricks provided below to help build your endurance, prevent injuries and develop a solid foundation for long-term running success.

Start Moving

One of the biggest obstacles to following a running plan is simply getting up and moving. This starts by finding your motivation and then following through with it.

If running is your ultimate goal, you want to make sure that you start slow, even by getting into the habit of taking a brisk walk every day.

“If you’re a beginner, it’s important to ease into running,” says Stewart Skloss. “By just engaging in consistent movement at first, you will be training both your body and mind that this is part of your new routine.”

Once physical activity is part of your routine, it’ll be easier to get over the mental hurdles of ramping up the intensity of your workouts by running.

Progress to a Jog

Now that you’re walking regularly, it’s time to step up the physical activity a bit. But, don’t feel like you have to immediate jump up the intensity to an all-out sprint.

Instead, progressively increase the intensity of your activity by jogging. What this does is train your body and mind to handle the increased activity that comes with jogging over walking.

Stewart Skloss says you can incorporate part of your activity to jogging and part to walking at first. Then, after a week or so, gradually increase the amount of time you jog and decrease the amount of time you walk.

There are many benefits to this. In addition to training and preparing your mind to overcome the challenges, you’ll also be training your body to handle the rigors of the activity. It will help you build endurance, which is important if you want to run for longer periods of time, and it will also help to prevent against injury.

Work in Running

After your activity has progressed to the point where you’re primarily jogging and not walking, repeat the same process as before but work in running and replace walking.

Again, start by running at a faster speed for part of your workout while filling the rest of the workout with jogging. Progressively increase the amount of time and/or distance that you run and progressively decrease the amount of time and/or distance that you jog — until you’re primarily running.

This will further build your physical and mental endurance and strength, while also helping to prevent against injury.

Always Warm Up and Cool Down

No matter what stage on your running training plan you’re at, it’s essential that you warm up before and cool down after your activity. Stewart Skloss says these vital periods prep your mind and body for the activity ahead, helping to get the blood flowing to your muscles while also regulating your breathing.

The warm-up and cool-down stages of any workout are critical parts of avoiding injury.

About Stewart Skloss

Stewart Skloss, a passionate physical trainer from Austin who specializes in running, empowers clients to achieve their fitness goals and reach new heights. Though long retired from racing, Skloss uses his expertise to benefit top contenders in various endurance events. Stewart’s welcoming coaching style and dedication to his clients have earned him widespread admiration in the fitness community. Join him for a free run and experience his inspiring guidance firsthand.