A Running Program for Beginners (Free PDF!)

A Running Program for Beginners (Free PDF!)

Running is one of the easier sports to get into. All you need is a good pair of shoes, some fitness clothes, and music – if you’re into working out with a soundtrack. But to make it a habit you’ll be sure to keep, you need to follow a running program that challenges you without overwhelming you.

This beginner running plan is designed to help you start slowly, preparing your body to get into the sport while preventing injuries. Download the PDF below to get started on your journey toward becoming a runner.

Before You Start: Learn How the Beginner Running Plan Is Structured

This running for beginners training plan takes a holistic approach to health and fitness based on four pillars:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Mindset
  3. Movement
  4. Recovery

The running plan is separated into two phases:

  • Phase 1 helps you get used to your new routine
  • Phase 2 helps you amp up the effort 

Each phase lasts three weeks and includes the following:

  • Strength training sessions
  • Running sessions
  • Adequate time for recovery

Every workout you do will start with a warm-up to prep your body for exercise and end with a recovery session.

How to Prepare for Your Run 

When you’re just starting to runit’s essential to ease your body into the experience. It’s learning to work in a whole new way, after all. Starting with a quick warm-up will help get your muscles ready to work. Follow the video to prepare for your run:

Cool Down to Keep the Benefits of Your Run

We can’t stress it enough – don’t skip your cool down! After a run, your muscles are warm and pliable. Stretching after a run is one of the most important steps to preventing injury. It will also help make you less sore the next day. Follow the foam roll exercise video below to cool down:

Start to Run: Download The Beginner Running Plan

Download this running program to become a runner in no time!


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How To Train For A 10K Run >> With Running Pace Chart

How To Train For A 10K Run >> With Running Pace Chart


A 10K race is one of the harder races on your body. Typical times for non-professional runners range from 30 to 60 minutes and are close to your individual anaerobic threshold, or the pace at which you can run for 60 minutes without a loss in performance.

Since you will be putting a lot of stress on your body by running at the limit of your capabilities, it can be helpful to know what running pace you can sustain for 10K.

New to longer runs?

Preparing for a 10K doesn’t need to be hard or take a long time. In fact, it’s possible to prepare for it in as little as two weeks! Get all the info in our article >> How to Prepare for a 10K Run <<.

Running at the Limit of Your Capabilities? A Lactate Test Helps

One way of determining this limit is to do a lactate test in a lab. This not only defines your training zones but also includes a sports medical exam. Unfortunately, the values achieved on the treadmill don’t always transfer to running outdoors. Plus, the test – if performed regularly – is rather expensive.

All you need to estimate your individual anaerobic threshold is a stopwatch, a flat place to run, and some motivation.

Here’s How to Estimate Your Anaerobic Threshold:

  • Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes. Start slow and finish at a faster pace.
  • Begin jogging in 5 X 100-m strides –  jog back to where you started as a break between strides.
  • Graduate by running 1,000 meters as fast as possible and jot down the time. This step should get your body up to speed and your legs ready to run fast.
  • Rest for 10 minutes but don’t stand or sit while you wait. Move around and stay loose.
  • Now it’s time to run 5,000 meters as fast as you can – and don’t forget to jot down the time.
  • Finally, jog for 10 minutes to cool down. Depending on the weather and the ground, you can also run barefoot on the grass for five minutes.

Good to know:

If you divide your 5K time by five, you will find your individual anaerobic threshold pace. And your 10K race pace, too!

Of course, you can also wear a heart rate monitor during the test to determine your working heart rate on that day. But remember that your heart rate can fluctuate significantly for the same activity based on the time of day. Therefore, it should only be used as a training tool when there is no other option for monitoring your performance (e.g., for running hills).

This test does not require much time; you can do it almost anywhere, and it provides you with all the information you need for your next race. But, generally, getting a medical checkup before you start training for a race is a good idea. That way, you can rule out any risk factors. A 10K race – as well as the test described above – is only suitable for healthy runners.

The table below (for download and printing!) shows you that your test results can tell you a lot more than just your 10K pace.

10K Run: Download the Running Pace Chart

Get Helpful Tips and Training Plans to Work on Your Running Performance

Now you know the running pace for your 10K.

But if you want to bring your performance to the next level, you should actively work on it. 

The following blog posts will support you in reaching your fitness goals:

And if you want to go even further, this training plan in the adidas Training app is for you:

“Running Strong”: Did you know that strength training is a great way to take your running performance to the next level, prevent injuries, and add variety to your fitness routine? Get your >> 4-week training in the adidas Training app << today!


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Earn Rewards When You Work Out

Earn Rewards When You Work Out

Did you know that you can get more than just a great workout by using adidas Training and adidas Running? Our motivating challenges, races, and workouts reward you beyond your fitness and health.

Enter adidas adiClub: you can earn customer loyalty program points when you use our apps, which you can use to unlock four levels of exclusive adidas goodies.

Millions of our members around the world are discovering the benefits of adiClub every day. Download or open the adidas app to get started!

Don’t see adiClub in your app? Don’t worry: we’re most likely working hard to make it available in your country!

What is adiClub?

adiClub is adidas’ customer loyalty program where members can earn points by using adidas apps.

Signing up is easy! Everyone with an account on our apps in adiClub countries is automatically a member of adiClub.

With four different levels offering exclusive members-only benefits and the chance to convert points into cool products, you’ll feel motivated to keep moving.

Earn points when you track activities, follow in-app workouts, or complete challenges. Points unlock different levels with incentives you can redeem at any time.

See Your adiClub Points

You can find your current point balance and membership level in your adiClub profile in the adidas Training and Running apps, in the adidas app, or by logging in and checking the ‘My Account’ section at adidas.com.

What do I get with adiClub?

Each level of adiClub offers unique experiences. Every time you move up a level, you get to keep your previously-unlocked rewards.

When you sign up for our apps, you will start at Level 1.

Level 1 gives you:

  • Your adiClub ID, which connects all adidas apps, websites, and communities (like adidas Runners)
  • Hyper access – the chance to shop exclusive, limited-edition adidas apparel
  • Personalized content to your inbox
  • Access to members-only products

At Level 2 (Unlocks at 1,000 points):

  • A birthday gift straight to your inbox
  • Three months of Premium membership for both apps 
  • Special offers

Level 3 (Unlocks at 3,000 points):

  • Early access to products
  • Personalization on selected adidas shoes and apparel

Level 4 (unlocks at 9,000 points):

  • Hype priority access
  • 1 year of Premium membership on us
  • Special event invites

How to earn adiClub points

There are plenty of ways to level up across the adidas Training and adidas Running apps. It’s simple: the more active you are, the more points you’ll collect. 

Use adidas Training to do a variety of workouts: Try a beginner’s workout inspired by Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” or relax with a calming yoga flow. On adidas Running, earn points when you track your next run, walk, or another eligible sport!

You can earn adiClub points when you sign up for challenges, like doing 120 minutes of workouts or running 30 km in one month.

Across the adidas universe, in-store and online, you can also collect points by shopping and reviewing products.

Can’t see points or levels on your adiClub profile? Not all countries have full adiClub features yet!

A new way to spend points

We’re giving members from some countries the chance to go even further with the points they earn! 

Not only can you use points to access different levels of rewards, but you can now spend your points directly in the US and UK.

You can spend points on vouchers that give you discounts on select adidas products.

Spending your points won’t affect your current level, so you can keep levelling up with adiClub.

Celebrate him, her, them, US during Members Week

Members Week takes place from September 30 to October 6. This 7-day digital festival is where adidas’ diverse fitness community comes together and gets the chance to earn even more adiClub points.

This year, Members Week will combine our community’s love of sport with a passion for progressive change. 

Discover the next generation of athletes, artists, and body-positive activists who are leaving their creative mark on adidas.

Celebrate adidas Members Week, Wakanda-style

Need some inspiration for your next workout? Get pumped with our Wakanda Forever Workouta full-body warrior workout inspired by the upcoming film from Marvel Studios, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”.

This workout is part of our adidas Members Week challenge: your chance to get fit and earn 100 adiClub points.

We’re aiming for 300k collective hours of activity from September 30 to October 6.

Get started on adidas Training now!


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7 Exercises for Iliotibial Band Syndrome

7 Exercises for Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Injuries and overuse syndromes are common in runners and can quickly take the fun out of exercise.

One of the most frequent problems runners face is the iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), often just called IT band syndrome, or sometimes referred to as runner’s knee.

Here you can find answers to the most common questions on the problem and seven exercises for preventing and treating this common runner’s ailment:

What Is IT Band Syndrome and How Does It Develop?

The problem of iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), often just called IT band syndrome, occurs when the iliotibial band (IT band), which runs along the outside of the thigh, rubs against the knee joint.

When you run, you constantly bend and straighten your knee joint. If your leg is turned slightly inward due to improper form, rubbing occurs. This friction can lead to tightening or inflammation of the fascia of the IT band. This explains why IT band syndrome, sometimes also named under the broad term ‘runner’s knee’, starts out as a dull ache, but over time turns into a stabbing pain on the outside of the knee. This can make simple things like climbing stairs or even walking very painful. It can also put a quick end to your running training.

Please note:

The term runner’s knee is a broad one and therefore, can also be referred to as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). The latter is actually different from the above-mentioned IT Band syndrome: PFPS describes pain in the front of the knee and around the patella or kneecap.

What Are the Causes for IT Band Syndrome?

Improper running technique and worn-out shoes are not the only causes of IT band syndrome.  A lack of strength in the stabilizing muscles of the foot, knee, and hips can also lead to this injury. The weak muscles cannot provide the stability needed during the initial contact and take-off. Regular cross-training can help to prevent imbalances and avoid developing an overuse injury: Try the Running Strong training plan in the adidas Training app to improve your running.

adidas Training banner

What Should You Do When ITBS Occurs?

If you are experiencing pains like those described above, stop running for the next ten to 14 days. Give your body and your knee a good rest.

You can focus on recovering and building up strength in your stabilizing muscles with a targeted workout: the most important muscles to strengthen are your core, hips, and glutes. The right balance of mobility and stability is essential for relieving the stress on your IT band.

You can and should, of course, do the workout below to prevent problems before they occur. Doing specific exercises two or three times a week can help avoid muscle weaknesses and imbalances.

7 Effective Exercises to Treat ITBS

The following seven exercises offer you an ideal combo—they reduce muscle tension, improve flexibility and strengthen your stabilizing muscles.

  • You can do them as a separate injury-prevention workout or as part of your recovery routine if you are forced to take a break from running for a while.
  • Afterward, you should be able to continue with your running training pain-free. Take 30 minutes a day to work on correcting the imbalance in these typically weak areas.

Please note:

If you do not see any improvement after treating iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), or runner’s knee, yourself, you should definitely consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Specialists may also be able to clarify other causes of the problems.

1. Release: Reduce Muscle Tension

Exercise 1 – Trigger Release with Ball

Starting position: 

  • Hurdler stretch with your knee bent at a 90° angle.

How to perform the exercise:

  • Position a trigger point ball or a lacrosse ball under the outside of your thigh muscle.
  • Search for the spot in your muscle with the most tension.
  • Now increase the pressure on the ball and slowly rub the tense area in a star pattern. This area should start to hurt less after a while.


  • 60-90 seconds per point and side

Exercise 2 – Lateral Quad Roll

Starting position:

  • Lie on your side.
  • Position a foam roller under the thigh of your bottom leg and cross your top leg over with your foot on the floor in front of you.

How to perform the exercise:

  • Roll the muscle slowly at an even pace starting from the knee and working your way up to the hip.
  • Avoid rolling directly over tendons and ligaments so as not to place unnecessary stress on them.


  • 60-90 seconds per point and side.

2. IT Band Stretches for Runners: Increase Flexibility

Exercise 1 – Supine Scorpion

Basic Version

Starting position:

How to perform the exercise:

  • Using your left hand pull your right knee to the left and try to push your knee to the floor.
  • Your knee should form a 90° angle between your upper and lower leg.
  • Now reach your right arm up and to the right. You should feel the stretch on the outside of your thigh.

Advanced Version

How to perform the exercise:

  • Starting from the basic version.
  • Now extend your right leg and thus increase the intensity of the stretch on your thigh muscle.


Exercise 2 – Pigeon Pose

Basic Version

Starting position:

How to perform the exercise:

  • Bring your right knee forward through your arms as far as you can and place your knee on the mat.
  • The lower part of your right leg should be slightly open, so that your thigh is not resting on your calf.
  • Make sure to keep your front foot flexed.
  • Your left leg should rest comfortably extended behind you and your left hip should be tilted slightly to the right.
  • Now raise your torso until your back is straight and adjust your center of gravity so you feel a comfortable stretch on the outside of your thigh.

Advanced Version

How to perform the exercise:

  • Starting from the basic version, stretch your arms forward and lower your torso toward the floor.
  • This will increase the intensity of the stretch.


3. Performance: Build Stability

Exercise 1 – Single Leg Squat Front and Back

Starting position:

  • Stand on one leg.
  • Put your weight onto your right leg and extend your left leg out straight in front of you and low to the floor.

How to perform the exercise:

  • Squat down and try to keep the knee as stable as possible.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds and then push back up to the starting position. (Picture 1)

  • Now extend your left leg straight out behind you and low to the floor.
  • Squat down while once again keeping your knee stable and then push back up to the starting position. (Picture 2)


  • 3 x 10 repetitions per side

Exercise 2 – Single Leg Bridge with Resistance

Starting position:

  • Lie on your back.
  • Place your feet hip-width apart.
  • Lift your hips up and assume the shoulder bridge position.

How to perform the exercise:

  • Pushing up through your heel, put your weight on your left leg.
  • Pull your right knee up towards your chest with your hands under the knee joint.
  • Push your leg against your hands to apply resistance.
  • Keep your hips square and then slowly reduce the tension.
  • Let your hips sag and then lift them up high again.


  • 3 x 10 repetitions per side

Exercise 3 – Clam Shells with Miniband

Starting position:

  • Lie on your side.
  • Position a miniband between your knee and thigh and bend your knees slightly.

How to perform the exercise:

  • Stabilize your body with your right arm on the floor and then open your knees like a clam. Pull the band apart slowly but firmly and try to engage your hips and core muscles.
  • Let the band pull your legs back together (with control) and then repeat the movement again.


  • 3 x 10 repetitions per side

Some Final Words

As soon as you are pain-free for about ten days, you can try an easy test run. You should keep it short and make sure to warm up well. You can find useful tips and stretches for warming up in this blog post. It’s best if you run your test run on a treadmill or do a short, flat loop. This way you can stop at any time if the pain should return again. If everything goes well, you can slowly increase the distance per day. 

Related articles:


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Why Does My Knee Hurt?

Why Does My Knee Hurt?

Does your knee hurt after a run or other workout? It’s not always runner’s knee; you may be suffering from jumper’s knee or pes anserine bursitis. Here you will find an overview of the three most common knee problems and what you can do about them.

3 Common Knee Problems

Step #1: Where Does It Hurt?

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS):

If it hurts on the outside of the knee and extends toward the hip, it is iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), often just called IT band syndrome, or sometimes runner’s knee.

A young male runner suffers from iliotibial band syndrome

Jumper’s knee:

Isolated pain in the front of the knee on the lower pole of the patella is also called “patellar tendinopathy”, or “patellar tendonitis” (jumper’s knee).

Jumper's knee

Pes anserine bursitis:

If pain develops on the inner side of the shinbone directly below the knee joint, it is most likely pes anserine bursitis, also called “pes anserinus syndrome”, “inner knee pain”, or “medial knee pain”.

A young female runner suffers from pes anserine bursitis

Step #2: Which Sport Do You Do?

In order to diagnose which knee problem you suffer from, it is important to look at how you work out. All three knee problems can, indeed, develop in any sport. However, the jumper’s knee – as the name suggests – is more common among athletes who do sports involving jumping (e.g. volleyball) or stop-and-go movements (e.g. tennis, soccer). Runner’s knee and pes anserine bursitis, on the other hand, usually appear in runners.

Step #3: Is Your Knee Tender to the Touch?

Tenderness is present in all three conditions:

  • With the IT band syndrome (also runner’s knee), the tenderness is on the outer side of the knee joint.
  • With the jumper’s knee, the tenderness can be felt in one spot directly on the patellar pole.
  • With pes anserine bursitis (also pes anserinus syndrome, inner knee pain, or medial knee pain) there is tenderness below the inner side of the knee joint.

Step #4: What Can I Do About the Pain in My Knee?

Treatment is necessary for all three conditions: ice and rest your knee! Avoid jumping or impact activities.

Foam rolling exercises and stretching can help. If you suffer from Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), jumper’s knee, or pes anserine bursitis, you can find helpful exercises and tips in the respective blog posts:

In a nutshell, these three knee problems can usually be distinguished by the location of the pain. The type of sport you do can also provide helpful information.

Please consider:

If the condition does not improve after treating it at home, you should definitely consult a medical professional for a clear diagnosis and additional treatment advice.


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Examples for Improving Running Fitness

Examples for Improving Running Fitness

Fartlek Training Definition:

The Swedish term fartlek means speed play. The fartlek method was developed by Swedish track and field athlete Gustaf Holmér in 1930. Fartlek running typically involves a low-moderate intensity distance run interspersed with periods of fast-paced running.

Fartlek running is free and creative, allowing you to run fast or slow according to your mood and surroundings. The timing, duration, and intensity of the run are unplanned. 

Traditional fartlek running is continuous and unstructured, using landmarks and terrain as inspiration. A fartlek run might include fast-paced running up a hill or short sprints between lampposts.

Playing with speed using the fartlek training method is a fun way to develop both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems as well as improve performance. 

What Are the Benefits of Fartlek Training?

Running with the fartlek training method requires constant adaptation to terrain and pace. This brings multiple physiological and psychological benefits beyond simple endurance running.    

Fartlek Training Benefits:

  1. Have Fun: Fartlek is literally “playing” with speed. The freedom and creativity of choosing your own pace bring satisfaction and motivation.[1]
  2. Climb Every Mountain: Taking on natural inclines and declines as part of a fartlek run is a great way to add intensity to your workout. Running uphill and downhill recruits more muscle fibers and utilizes different muscles, respectively.[2,3,4,5]
  3. Get Faster: Speedwork develops the metabolic pathways and musculature required for running faster. Include sprints in your speed play for maximum effect.[6]
  4. Power and Performance: Fartlek running elicits a training effect similar to sprint intervals. The stimulus of high-intensity, fast-paced running enhances aerobic capacity and muscular endurance.[7,8]
  5. Ninja Skills: Learning to negotiate changes in pace, terrain, and gradient helps develop coordination and balance, which, combined with strengthened muscle and connective tissue, helps prevent injury.[9,10,11] 
  6. Race Tactics: Adapting to mood and surroundings with fartlek training is a great way to develop a race day strategy. Learn when to push harder and when to slow down. As with racing, there are no breaks in fartlek running!

Fartlek vs. Interval Training – What’s the Difference?

The main difference between fartlek and interval training is that fartlek is continuous. There are no breaks, only a change of pace. With interval training, there are clearly defined periods of high intensity followed by a set period of rest or very light active recovery.

Fartlek running, therefore, pushes the body to adapt to frequent bursts of speed without a subsequent rest period. Running continues but at a slower pace. This is a more realistic simulation of race conditions.

Interval training alternates between two intensities – high and low. With fartlek training, the intensity constantly varies according to preference and terrain. Although both training methods emphasize speedwork, the effects on physiology and psychology are not the same. 

As fartlek running is by definition a workout of undefined duration and intensity, it is difficult to study under scientific conditions. Anecdotally, however, it is considered an effective way to prepare for the mental and physical challenges of middle to long-distance events. 

Looking For Fartlek Training Examples? Try These Workouts.

Classic Fartlek Workout:

This straightforward workout is all about playing with speed. There is no formula except to include three sixty-second speed intervals. Everything else is up to you. 

Try to feel the intensity. You can use the 10-point perception of exertion scale as a rough guide. Moderate pace should feel like a 4-6 out of 10 (heart rate training zone 3); fast or hard pace should feel like a 7-8 out of 10 (heart rate training zone 4) with occasional all-out efforts at 9-10 out of 10 (heart rate training zone 5).

  • Raise heart rate and body temperature with a 10-minute warm-up at low intensity
  • Run continuously for at least 20 minutes
  • Allow your mood and the landscape to inspire your pace
  • Include at least 3 x 1-minute speed intervals at a fast pace 
  • Follow each speed interval with 1 minute at low intensity – jog or walk if necessary
  • Cool down with a 5-minute walk at low intensity
  • TOTAL workout time = 35 minutes

Mona Fartlek Workout:

The Mona Fartlek workout was developed by elite long-distance runner Steve Moneghetti. The workout is a variation on traditional fartlek running, alternating between periods of “on” and “off” running. 

“On” means hard or fast-paced. “Off” means you ease off the gas; a low-moderate pace, which is sometimes referred to as “float pace” or “recovery”. The actual intensity is still self-selected in the traditional fartlek style.

  • Raise heart rate and body temperature with a 10-minute warm-up at low intensity
  • Run for 90 seconds on, followed by 90 seconds off; repeat x 2
  • Run for 60 seconds on, followed by 60 seconds off; repeat x 4
  • Run for 30 seconds on, followed by 30 seconds off; repeat x 4
  • Run for 15 seconds on, followed by 15 seconds off; repeat x 4
  • Cool down with a 5-minute walk at low intensity
  • TOTAL workout time = 35 minutes

Fartlek running is a versatile training method for every fitness level. If you are just beginning your journey to fitness, a self-paced 20-minute jog or walk with periods of quicker jogging or walking is a good place to start. Gradually increase the pace of “on” and “off’ running over several weeks to build fitness and stay motivated. Time for some speedplay! 



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