Running Program for Beginners

Are you looking for a running program for beginners?

RUN717 is offering a free 12-week program to help you get out and run! 

Do you want to start exercising but you’re unsure of how to start? I’ve noticed an increase in the number of runners since we’ve been quarantined. It makes me happy to see more people exercising and I’m hoping they stick with it. Having a plan to follow can help ensure success!

  • This program prescribes four runs per week. Avoid taking off 2 days in a row.
  • There are 3 easy workouts which take about 30 minutes each, and 1 longer run designed to help you build endurance. 
  • Each workout begins with a 5 minute walk – this is your warmup. Do NOT stretch cold muscles. If you feel like you need to stretch, it is better to do it after your run.
  • Each workout ends with a 5 minute walk – this is your cooldown. The warmup and cooldown are just as important as the run.
  • Please join the RUN717 Facebook page. If you have questions, ask here! 
  • Be sure you have proper running shoes. If you don’t have them, I encourage you to contact your local running store. Proper shoes help prevent injuries! (*** NOTE – Practice social distancing!)
  • This is a run-walk program designed for NEW runners. By the end of the program, you should be able to run a 5k.
  • If you have done a 5k before, you can adjust this program! Aim to run longer once a week, and shorter 3 times per week.
  • This program does not include speedwork – if you are new to running you should build your base before adding in speed.

Want an individualized training program? Check out my Coaching Services page for information on getting a customized training plan.

Running During Coronavirus

Do you know in some countries (India being one) individuals are not allowed to run outside? In Ireland, you can’t run more than 2k from home. I’ve been trying to keep the RUN717 posts positive and motivating – it helps me as much as it helps you! As I see increased restrictions in the US and around the world, I feel it is important to address etiquette for running during the Coronavirus. Thankfully, Dr Fauci, director of the NIH (video below), is an avid runner. Despite working 15 hours a day, he makes running a priority. I believe the US will not lose the right to exercise outdoors, but I am nervous.

Right now, most people in the US are allowed to run outside in small groups – although in some areas runners have to be solo even now, and there are other areas that have curfews. Do you want to continue running outside? Please follow the directions for running etiquette during the COVID 19 pandemic. You may not agree with the rules, but that doesn’t matter.


  • Run solo if at all possible. If you can’t do this, then keep the group as small as possible.
  • Practice social distancing. This not only means 6 feet away from your running partner, but it also means 6 feet away from other people you might encounter.
  • If you go to a common trail, rail trail, park and it is full or busy, run somewhere else. They are having to shut down these running locations because they are crowded. Remember when you were a new runner and not comfortable running on roads? Let the newbies have common areas.
  • This goes without saying – don’t spit or blow snot rockets. This was accepted behavior before, it isn’t now.

School tracks that were open and are now closed. Public parks that were a haven are now closed due to being crowded. In New York City, you can be fined for not practicing social distancing. I had a reader tell me that the police drive the park loop blaring the message on a loudspeaker.

Are you new to running and looking for a way to get started? Check out my FREE Running Program for Beginners. Are you a runner wanting guidance and help with motivation? Visit my Coaching Services page for more information. Consultations are free.

Did I forget any important precautions? Let me know! Stay safe!

Boston Marathon versus Covid-19, part II

The Boston Marathon is rescheduled for 2020 to September 14th.

The Boston Marathon is rescheduled because of Coronavirus. I wrote about the uncertainty last week (you can read that post here). This week, the only certain thing is that far fewer of us will be racing anytime soon. We have seen an unprecedented amount of races cancelled and postponed. You might agree with the steps taken. You might think people are overreacting. I have come to the conclusion – it does not matter what we think. I’m not trying to be rude, but we have no say in whether a race is cancelled. What we can control? Our reaction.

Is your race cancelled?

  • Don’t be mad at the race director. Often they are not the decision-makers.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. You might be wary of meeting friends for a run for fear of being sick. Be smart, but don’t cut off all your ties.
  • Don’t stop running. It might be tempting to have a defeatist attitude or you might lose motivation without having a goal. It’s important to keep training, not only to maintain fitness but also for your own mental health and routine.
  • Are you in PR shape? Take advantage of your fitness. Try to find a “Plan B” marathon close to 4/20. I suggest looking for smaller races as they are less likely to be cancelled. It is up to you on when you register. If you register immediately, you risk losing your registration fees if that race is cancelled. If you wait until the day of, you risk it being full. Check out Marathons in the RUN717 Area for options.
  • Are you fit, but not planning on a PR? Maybe you can find a local 10 mile or half marathon to race. 
  • Another option would be to gather your friends and run the distance on your own.
  • Retire from running and take up competitive eating. No, just kidding – don’t do that!

Is your race in late spring or early summer?

  • If your race isn’t cancelled yet, continue training like your event is going to happen. I would guess that most races will be cancelled or postponed, but smaller local events may go on. As of this post, the Chambersburg Half Marathon is still on.
  • If you hear a rumor about an event, find the source and verify before posting info on social media. (This should be true of posting anything on social media!)
  • Don’t waste energy trying to predict whether your race will happen, especially if it’s months away. Focus your energy on training. 

Many of you who were training for spring marathons are in great shape. Your long runs had been building and your weekly mileage had been increasing. Now what? With no marathon on the calendar, how can we maintain fitness without burning out? We certainly can’t continue running 20 mile long runs from now until September. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Maintain your weekly base mileage, or slightly decrease it. There is no reason to increase it at this point, but by maintaining your weekly mileage you’ll be ready to restart a formal plan mid-June.
  • Continue your weekly long run, but it doesn’t need to be 18-22 miles every week. I suggest alternating between a long run of 16-20 miles with a “shorter” long run of 10-15 miles.
  • The amount of speedwork you are doing should also decrease. Most runners preparing for marathons run 5-10 miles of speed each week. This is tough on the body and we can’t do this over a long period. To avoid injury it is safer to decrease this to 3-5 miles per week.
  • Do you have a “niggle”? A niggle is not a full-blown injury. It’s something that doesn’t stop you from running, but you might notice it before are warmed up, or it might be sore after a harder workout. Take the time NOW to address that.

Know that even though we aren’t racing on 4/20, our training is NOT wasted. When we work hard for months and make fitness gains, they don’t disappear. The miles we did last year, will help us this year. The miles we did this winter and early spring will help us in the fall.

Remember why you run and focus on the journey, not the destination. Yes, it is SUPER fun to get a PR, but for most of you, I think you run to feel good about yourself and see what your body can do. Don’t let the uncertainty get to you. Running is still important.

Boston Marathon Versus COVID-19, Part I

Starting line of Boston Marathon Photo
Are we going to see the Boston Marathon start line in 5 weeks?

Will the Boston Marathon be affected by the Coronavirus? I have thirteen athletes preparing for the Boston Marathon and wondering the same thing. With six weeks left, we are in our final push before the taper. The current COVID-19 situation is on everyone’s mind – understandably so. The Tokyo Marathon, like the Boston Marathon, is one of the World Majors Marathons, and on March 1, it was cancelled for non-elite runners. World Athletics announced the postponement of the World Half Marathon Championships in Poland. The Paris Half Marathon was also recently rescheduled. Hong Kong, Rome, and Barcelona marathons were also either cancelled or postponed.

Will Boston Marathon be added to this ill-fated list? Will Boston cancel or postpone? There is no way of predicting that. I’m encouraged that the Los Angeles Marathon was held this past weekend despite coronavirus concerns. Here is what I do know: The BAA is monitoring the situation and they will do everything they can to hold the event. If they decide to cancel or postpone, I am guessing it will be done at the last minute.

What can you do?

Uncertainty creates anxiety. What can you do? Control what you can, and let go of what you cannot.

  • Continue to prepare for the marathon. It is easy for me to say don’t worry about it until you have to, but what is the alternative? Skipping workouts because it MIGHT be cancelled? Follow your training plan.
  • Focus on recovery. This means improving your diet and getting adequate sleep. Your immunity will be the strongest if you get adequate sleep.
  • Get the most up to date and accurate information. This means visiting the Center for Disease Contol, PA Department of Health (or your state’s health department), and the World Health Organization. Do not use Facebook or blogs as your primary source of information. Fact check!
  • Practice good hygiene. Wash hands, stay home if you’re sick, and avoid sick people.
  • Most importantly, stay calm. Stay informed, but if you find yourself overloading on the Coronavirus news, unplug for a day or two.
  • One of my athletes has made a Plan B. If Boston is cancelled, she has plans to run a different marathon. Need to find options? Here is a list of marathons in the RUN717 area: Local Marathons. This can help put your mind at ease. No one wants their training to go to waste!

Good luck in your final weeks of training and I hope to see all of you here in five weeks!

boston marathon finish line