Beginners Guide

We have a number of different groups which run on a Wednesday evening, which cover a range of abilities. We want to make sure that you can be part of one of these groups and so ask that you are able to run a minimum of 5Km (~ 3 miles) or a Parkrun in approximately 30 minutes without turning too purple.

If you have never run before, and have no major health conditions which could cause problems, then you should be able to this achieve this by building on easy-paced jogging and walking. See below on how to do it! As part of your training, we definitely encourage you to attend your local Parkrun. Ours is Beckenham Place parkrun – look out for members of our club there, many of whom marshal and help organise.

The rest of this page is dedicated to getting up to that level. Thanks coach Helen for this advice. Good luck!

Already running for 30 minutes?

You may have already been running but aren’t sure of your pace or how far you are running.  Try measuring the route either in your car or by using the web site  You’ll then be able to work out if you’re running 3 miles or more.

If your pace isn’t quite there yet then try the following:

1. Continue to run at your current pace but aim to go further.  Try increasing the distance every third run.  Ideally you should be aiming to run for up to one hour.

2. Run for 10 minutes at your current pace, then spend some time varying your pace (known as ‘fartlek’ or ‘speed play’).  This doesn’t mean going flat out for the whole time.  Set yourself some targets then aim to run faster than your normal pace for a couple of minutes, then drop to a slow jog then increase your pace again to your normal running pace.  This can be done around playing fields setting trees as targets or on the road where you could use lamp posts to set as markers.  After you have completed your time (it might only be 10 minutes the first time out though you should aim to build up to 20 minutes) slowly jog and walk for 10 minutes to warm down.

3. Go for a run at a pace you feel comfortable with ignoring time and distance, just whatever you can fit into your day.

Not yet running the distance?

The most important point here is to build up your distance so you are running for 40 minutes.  Don’t go off too fast, you can add your pace later by following the programme above.  Try the following:

1. If running for 20 minutes or less, keep going initially for your current distance, then try and keep going for another 10 minutes but mix up walking with some running.  At first you may be walking more than running but this doesn’t matter, you will gradually decrease the walking and increase the running.

2. Once up to 30 minutes running, gradually increase your distance.  Don’t do this on every run, you need to maintain for a couple of runs before increasing.

Once you have built up to 40 minutes you can then follow the pace increase programme set above.


You should stretch after every run.  This will help to reduce stiffness and may help avoid injury.The main areas you should stretch are calves, front and back of thighs.  This website gives examples of stretches.  Hold each stretch for 10 – 15 seconds.

Try not to stretch before a run as this can often cause injury to muscles that have not been warmed up.  If you factor into to the beginning of your run to start off slowly for 5 minutes this will help warm your muscles up and ease yourself into to the run.