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Starting a Running Training Plan

So, you’ve pressed the button that says “Enter”, and it’s all become very real. If you are new to running, or returning to running, where should you start with the complete overload of information out there??

Here are my tips;

1. Gait analysis.
If you are not sure what a Gait Analysis is, please read my blog here –
With the rise of Barefoot Running, there has been a bit of negative press regarding Gait Analysis recently, but for me, it is still a hugely beneficial start to get your running style analysed prior to undertaking what is a huge commitment in training. It is estimated that anything between 60-80% of the population pronate (the ankle/foot rolling inwards) to some degree – the key issue is finding out if you over-pronate and if you would benefit from a more supported shoe.
Although newcomers to running may question the need for flash, new (and potentially costly) trainers, remember the huge amount of time you will be in them; they are your new best friends for the miles and miles you are going to rack up, and being in shoes that are not supportive, or suitable could end up costing you more than the outlay of the trainers themselves in injury treatment, and even worse, there is the potential to not make the start line let alone the finish line..
Life span wise, there is a common consensus that a good running trainer will have anything between 300-500 miles in them (which will go surprisingly quick), so it is always worth keeping a log or diary of your weekly mileage.
TIP: Very committed individuals have a couple of pairs of the same trainers that they ‘rotate’!
In Swindon, I recommend Run Swindon in Old Town
2 Flexibility & Strength Training.
Stretching has become quite a controversial topic recently and i’m often asked “when” and “how” etc. I always suggest that stretching before workouts should be limited to dynamic movements and dynamic stretches, as long static (standing still) stretches will inhibit your muscles ability to work efficiently. It is however very important to consider some flexibility training into your regime on days you are not running – do you know which muscles are long and weak? Short and tight? Vice versa? If not, it is always worth speaking to a professional.

Strength work for runners is hugely important, and a lot less demanding that you may think. As little as 15 minutes, twice a week, can suffice when correctly administered, and can lower chances of injury by 50%.

3. Gradually increase.
Start slow, gradually increasing the amount you run, on both distance and pace. Increase your total training by no more than 10% per week– if you are completely new to running, you may need to do this even slower. Most run coaches encourage that your long slow runs should be done at a slower pace than your marathon target pace – you should be able to chat at that pace. Recovery is important between runs. However, don’t be afraid to mix you pace up, however, with shorter, quicker runs.
4. Running groups
Swindon is blessed with many brilliant local running clubs, as I’m sure most towns are, so you need never feel ‘alone’ if starting out completely in the dark. If you want to run with others, but dont want to join a “club”, why not join local training runs which your event may run, or search out your local Parkrun ( – a brilliant free event every Saturday which is a great introduction to running with others, and a great way to meet like minded individuals.
5 Dont be scared to seek advice
Have an assessment with a therapist who is trained in treating endurance athletes. A lot of potential issues can be addressed early, thus avoiding more serious injuries further down the line. Prevention is always better than cure! Many people include Sports Massage as an integral part of their training, and a few treatments throughout your training period can seem like a very well deserved treat.
It is important to respect your bodies response to training, part of which is recognition of when you are getting injured. I break this down into four stages of injury:
  1. Pain after exercise which settles after an hour or two
  2. Pain causing discomfort whilst training, but causing no reduction in your training….yet….
  3. Major discomfort and pain which limits your training
  4. Pain so severe you are unable to train.

Stage 2 is time to seek help. Dont wait until something is severe to get it checked out – the earlier you deal with your problem the quicker you will be back running – don’t throw away your training by “chancing” it.


6. Have fun!

Most importantly, enjoy and commit to the process. Never worry about a bad training run, or a bad week; always be thankful that you can take part.

Check out my blogs on Over-training, Recovery and Running Related Injuries for more information to help you on your journey.

All comments/questions welcome at

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