Running Plan

27.Apr.20 | Physiotherapy

Running is one of the most participated sports activities around the world, with Australia at the forefront of this. There are numerous health benefits from running, including mental and physical impacts. Recreational runners have been shown to live longer (1), and have less joint injury in areas such as the knees (2, 3). The following quote is one I particularly like in relation to running.

Those running already can often attest to the mental and physical benefits it provides. For those that haven’t run before or recently, getting started can often be a challenge. The following blog will provide some advice targeted at those that are interested in getting started. The post will include a run program template which will be updated weekly. There will be regular tips, advice and discussion on the Physiosports social media (see here) for those wanting to get involved.

Prior to commencing any new form of activity, it is recommended to consult your local GP to complete a health check. This is designed to mitigate and address any risks relating to starting and completing the activity. It would be my recommendation to consult your GP to discuss your risks. Furthermore, should you have any current injuries, an appointment with a physiotherapist would likely assist to reduce your risk of exacerbation. For anyone wanting to read more on running injuries, check out a previous blog post written by Ky Wynne.


The following run plan is designed to be completed over an 8-12 week period. The plan looks to progress from a low level through to running 5kms. Please note that this a generic plan, and is not individualized to your own fitness level. The running plan contains 3 different types of sessions:

  • A ‘long run’, where you look to slowly progress the distance you are running. Pace isn’t a key factor here.
  • ‘Quality sessions’, these include Fartlek-style and speed sessions. The goal of these sessions is to challenge your body in different ways, helping to promote increases in fitness. Typically, the running pace is faster, with period of rest dispersed between your working repetitions.
  • ‘Absorption run or walk’, this is designed as an easier session, which will help balance out the load of the other sessions, also assisting your recovery. An ‘easier’ session forms an important part most runners programs and is vital to ensure improvement and injury reduction.

The following table looks at an example of how the run plan would work over a week. The days scheduled to run are recommended, however you can look to move the days and keep the principles the same. Your focus should be to schedule minimum 1 days rest between each run. Your ‘rest’ days are also important, with my strong recommendation to complete a running specific strength program. Evidence shows improving strength will assist with running economy, running speed, reduce injury risk, and has no detrimental effects on performance. Physiosports is currently running specific online conditioning classes called ‘S&C’. These Strength & Conditioning classes would be perfect to add into your routine, with more details found here.

Example Week:


The purpose of a warm up is to prepare the body for activity and reduce the risk of injury. A running warm up should take approximately 5-10minutes, and include the following:

  • Activation exercises: glute exercises such as crab walks are perfect.
  • Dynamic stretching.
  • Running drills or run throughs.


  • All 8 weeks of the program are now below.
  • Please note: If you are experiencing any pain with running, please consult a physio.
  • Week 1 and Week 3 provide the best opportunities to repeat a week should you be experiencing significant difficulty. It is important to note you can choose to repeat or lengthen the plan out at any stage if you feel the need.

Please note: If you are finding this plan not well suited to your level and want an individualised program put together, please touch base with Ky Wynne.



  1. Lee, D. C., Brellenthin, A. G., Thompson, P. D., Sui, X., Lee, I. M., & Lavie, C. J. (2017). Running as a key lifestyle medicine for longevity. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, 60(1), 45-55.
  2. Hansen, P., English, M., & Willick, S. E. (2012). Does running cause osteoarthritis in the hip or knee?. PM&R, 4(5), S117-S121.
  3. Alentorn-Geli, E., Samuelsson, K., Musahl, V., Green, C. L., Bhandari, M., & Karlsson, J. (2017). The association of recreational and competitive running with hip and knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy, 47(6), 373-390.