This 20-Minute Walk-Jog Workout Is Perfect for Beginner Runners

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You don't become a marathoner overnight — you can start with run-walk workouts.
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Running can be a bit of an intimidating activity — cue images of long-legged, lean, athletic types crossing marathon finish lines with arms raised in victory. What you may not realize, though, is that "runner" isn't synonymous with "marathoner," "competitor" or even "athlete."

A runner is someone who runs, and that can be pretty much anyone! If you've been walking for a while and are looking for more of a challenge, you too can become a runner. Build speed and endurance by adding short jogging intervals to your walks.

Not only will they help you run faster and longer, but intervals help boost your fitness level and help combat the age-related decline in aerobic fitness, according to July 2017 research from Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews.

Plus, alternating between walking and jogging burns calories in about half the time as steady-state workouts, according to a December 2017 study published in Biology of Sport.

If you've been wanting to start a running regimen but you're not sure where to begin, try this 20-minute walk-jog workout perfect for new runners.

  • 5-minute warm-up walk
  • 30-second jog
  • 2-minute walk
  • 20-second jog
  • 90-second walk
  • 15-second jog
  • 1-minute walk
  • 10-second jog
  • 2-minute walk
  • 15-second jog
  • 90-second walk
  • 20-second jog
  • 2-minute walk
  • 30-second jog
  • 3-minute cooldown walk

Curious exactly how many calories you burn during your workouts? Download the MyPlate app for a more accurate and customized estimate.

Warm-Up

5-Minute Walk

Your warm-up can make or break your workout! A good warm-up primes your body for exercise by elevating your heart rate, increasing your rate of respiration (breathing), dilating your blood vessels, loosening up your joints and increasing blood flow to your muscles.

Start this running warm-up nice and slow, and gradually increase your walking speed as the five minutes goes by.

Intervals

30-Second Jog

Now that your body is warm and ready to go, it's time for your first jogging interval. Don't push it too hard here, because you still have a ways to go. If you wear an activity tracker or smartwatch, you can monitor your heart rate — it should hover around 70 percent of your max heart rate.

2-Minute Walk

Ease back into a walk. Maintain a pace that allows your heart rate to decrease and you to catch your breath.

20-Second Jog

Your second jogging interval is up: Try to jog as fast as you did for your previous 30-second interval.

90-Second Walk

Your walking intervals are slowly decreasing, but so are your running intervals. This style of workout helps you build both anaerobic and aerobic capacity by keeping your heart rate elevated and sprinkling in bursts of speed.

15-Second Jog

This one's only half as long as your first interval: You got this!

1-Minute Walk

Slow the pace down quite a bit for this one-minute walking interval — one minute may feel surprisingly short compared to 90 seconds or two minutes. Catch your breath as best you can.

10-Second Jog

This is your shortest jogging interval of the workout: Try to push the pace a bit, but don't overdo it — just slightly faster than your 30- and 20-second intervals. You have a few more intervals to go.

2-Minute Walk

You have a longer walking interval here, so allow your heart rate to drop to prepare you for your next jogging interval.

15-Second Jog

Another 15-second jogging interval. Try to match the pace you jogged on the previous 15-second interval.

90-Second Walk

You have a minute and a half to rest until your next jogging intervals. Use this time to shake out your arms and take deeper breaths.

20-Second Jog

You're getting close to the end here, and you might be feeling tired, so pay extra attention to your form. When jogging, make sure to keep your eyes forward, chest high and shoulders back. Release the tension in your neck.

2-Minute Walk

Back to a two-minute walking interval. Take it slow, because a longer jogging interval is up next (it's your last one!).

30-Second Jog

Here we go — your last jogging interval! The goal is to match your speed from the first 30-second interval, but it's completely OK if your pace is a little slower this time. You just worked really hard, so give yourself some well-deserved credit.

Cooldown

3-Minute Walk

For the final three minutes of your 20-minute walk-jog workout (great job — you made it!), walk slowly for a cooldown. You can certainly continue walking after the last three-minute interval is up, but this will put you right at 20 minutes (and a few seconds).

Walking for longer might help you shake out any impending soreness or give you more time for your heart rate to return to its resting state. Either way, don't forget to stretch out your quads, calves and hamstrings with some stretches for your legs.

Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.

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