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Four-Week Beginner Training Program to Run One Mile

How to Get Started and Learn to Run

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Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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This four-week training program is designed for total beginner run/walkers who want to build up to running a mile. This program is a run/walk to continuous running program. Each week, you'll make a slight increase to your running distance and a decrease in your walking distance. By the end of four weeks, you'll be able to run one mile without stopping.

If you'd like to receive weekly emails to go along with this training program, you can sign up here: Four Weeks to Run One Mile E-Course

If you're a beginner, but you're looking for something a little more challenging, try one of these programs:
Four Weeks to Run 2 Miles
8-Week Plan to 30 Minutes Continuous Running
Train for Your First 5K

Before you get started, check out this Absolute Beginners' Guide to Running, to learn some of the basics about running, such as proper running form, what to wear, and how to breathe.

Notes about the training schedule:

For measuring purposes, it's best to do these workouts on a track, which is usually 400 meters, or about 1/4 of a mile. Each workout will have the track equivalent, so you know how far you should be running and walking.

You should start each run with a 5-10 minute warm-up walk. Finish up with a 5-10 minute cool-down walk.

You don't have to do your runs on specific days; however, you should try not to run two days in a row. It's better to take a rest day or do cross-training on the days in between runs as your body is adapting to the training. Cross-training can be walking, biking, swimming, or any other activity (other than running) that you enjoy.

If you find that the program progresses too quickly for you, you can repeat a week before moving on to the next week.

Week 1:

Day 1: Run 1/16 mile, walk 3/16 mile – repeat 4 times (Track equivalent: Run 1/4 of a lap, walk 3/4 of a lap – repeat 4 times)
Day 2: Rest or cross-train
Day 3: Run 1/16 mile, walk 3/16 mile – repeat 4 times (Track equivalent: Run 1/4 of a lap, walk 3/4 of a lap – repeat 4 times)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run 1/16 mile, walk 3/16 mile – repeat 4 times (Track equivalent: Run 1/4 of a lap, walk 3/4 of a lap – repeat 4 times)
Day 6: Rest or cross-train
Day 7: Rest

Week 2:

Day 1: Run 1/8 mile, walk 1/8 mile – repeat 4 times (Track equivalent: Run 1/2 a lap, walk 1/2 of a lap – repeat 4 times)
Day 2: Rest or cross-train
Day 3: Run 1/8 mile, walk 1/8 mile – repeat 4 times (Track equivalent: Run 1/2 a lap, walk 1/2 of a lap – repeat 4 times)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run 1/8 mile, walk 1/8 mile – repeat 4 times (Track equivalent: Run 1/2 a lap, walk 1/2 of a lap – repeat 4 times)
Day 6: Rest or cross-train
Day 7: Rest

Week 3:

Day 1: Run 3/16 mile, walk 1/16 mile – repeat 4 times (Track equivalent: Run 3/4 a lap, walk 1/4 of a lap – repeat 4 times)
Day 2: Rest or cross-train
Day 3: Run 3/16 mile, walk 1/16 mile – repeat 4 times (Track equivalent: Run 3/4 a lap, walk 1/4 of a lap – repeat 4 times)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run 3/16 mile, walk 1/16 mile – repeat 4 times (Track equivalent: Run 3/4 a lap, walk 1/4 of a lap – repeat 4 times)
Day 6: Rest or cross-train
Day 7: Rest

Week 4:

Day 1: Run 1 mile (Track equivalent: 4 laps = 1 mile)
Day 2: Rest or cross-train
Day 3: Run 1 mile (Track equivalent: 4 laps = 1 mile)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run 1 mile (Track equivalent: 4 laps = 1 mile)
Day 6: Rest or cross-train
Day 7: Rest

Get more tips and advice for each week:

Ready for your next challenge? Try this 4 Weeks to Run 2 Miles program or this Beginner 5K Training Schedule. Or, get tips on running a faster mile.
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