Training plans

Training plans and advice

If you’re ready to start running, we’ve developed a 10k training plan to get you started.

Download your 10k training plan

There are lots of training plans out there so we’ve also pulled together some of the best from other organisations to make sure you find the right one for you.

  • One of the best and most popular training plans for total beginners is the NHS ‘Couch to 5k‘.  The programme is designed for beginners to gradually build up their running ability so they can eventually run 5km without stopping. The pace of the 9-week running plan has been tried and tested by thousands of new runners. Each week involves 3 runs and you can download each week as a podcast.
  • Bupa offer a training plan for those who have already done a race of 10km or longer and would like to improve their time. It uses long runs, tempo and speed work to increase your pace. Check it out here. They also have intermediate marathon guides too.
  • The London Marathon has an advanced 17 week programme designed for those who are experienced runners and have completed a marathon before.
  • Runners World offers a programme for those looking to complete a marathon in a sub 4 hour time. If you are already running at least 20 miles per week, and are able to run for an hour non-stop this could be the plan for you!

Training tips 

When you put on your running shoes for Women’s Aid, you’re joining a nationwide movement of runners dedicated to ending violence against women. Whether you’re taking on the London Marathon, your local 10K race, or the Great North Run, we want you to feel supported and inspired from that first training run.

Keeping motivated

How do you stay motivated when you’ve got a distant finish line to cross? We can help…

You probably already know quite a bit about Women’s Aid. But learning more about the need to tackle domestic abuse, and the women you’re helping, can spur you on.

Did you know:

  • An estimated 1.6 million women in England and Wales experienced some form of domestic abuse last year
  • On average the police in England and Wales receive over 100 calls relating to domestic abuse every hour
  • One in seven children have lived with domestic violence in their childhood

Learn more here about domestic abuse.

There are also many myths around domestic abuse and its causes. Help us challenge some of the most widely-believed and deep-rooted misconceptions.

10 tips to avoid injury

1. Ease in gently. Aim to run on non-consecutive days of the week to begin with. Run at a pace that gets you a little breathless and warm, and start off by mixing up bouts of walking and running.
2. Up the pace. Don’t worry about intensity. Just start to increase the time and frequency you run. The general rule is to increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10% a week.
3. Take a break. Make sure you stick to your rest days. Rest days are actually when your muscles build up — it’s when your body adapts to training, and becomes fitter and stronger.
4. Run well. Maintain good posture and stay relaxed and fluid. Keep your rhythm fast and light, and use your elbows and knees to drive you forward.
5. Get on your bike. Bring in cross training such as cycling, rowing or gym training — especially if you’re new to running. You could replace a long run with a bike ride, a
recovery run with a gentle swim or a hill session on the step machine.
6. Stay strong! Every runner needs to include strength training in their programme, class based activities like Pilates, circuit training and Body Pump fit the bill.
7. Warm up…and cool down. Start your run with an easy jog or brisk walk to get your muscles and joints warmed up. Stretch after your run — holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds until it feels mildly uncomfortable. Don’t forget to breathe!
8. Go off–road. Add variety to your training terrains. Try running on a playing field, gravel path, treadmill or athletics track.
9. Meet your sole-mate. You need the right kit and that starts with shoes. Go to a specialist store where the staff can advise you on your perfect fit.
10. Listen to your body. Learn to distinguish between muscle soreness and pain. If the pain changes your running style, lingers for more than a day or two, or goes away between runs but comes back every time you run you need to take a couple of days off. If there is no improvement consult your doctor or a sports-injuries specialist such as a physiotherapist or osteopath.

Kate’s marathon advice

Kate ran the London Marathon for Women’s Aid. She gave us the lowdown on her advice for anyone thinking of doing the same.

“I’m not a runner but had the most fun running the marathon- it’s painful but it’s a once in a lifetime experience- plus you get a shiny gold medal and bragging rights for life!”

1. Invest in some proper running shoes from a running shoe shop. You’ll need to get a size or size and a half bigger than your regular shoe size as your feet swell when you run.

2. Walk breaks are good! I found a technique called Jeffing developed by Jeff Galloway which incorporates walk breaks into your runs. I ‘Jeffed’ the entire marathon running for 2 minutes and walking 30 seconds- this helped me break down each mile into 4/5 runs so it helped me mentally, and it can help to give your legs a short chance to recover- it kept my pace consistent and energy levels up

3. Find a good physio- try and find a really good running specialist physio and do what they tell you to do! Also a sports massage 4/5 days before a long run will really help

4. Enjoy eating all the carbs!

5. On race day put your name on your vest- the crowds are amazing and will get you round.

What’s your reason to run?

Remembering the reason you chose to run for Women’s Aid can be really motivating. Darren ran the London Marathon for his sister, who endured years of abuse that turned her from a fun-loving woman to a shell of her former self.

“He shouted to me: incredible charity mate, they saved my mum! I was running past Big Ben when a man started cheering me as if he knew me. It turned out Women’s Aid had helped his family, just as they helped mine.”

Get in touch

If you have any questions, need some advice, or want to talk about your fundraising, just give us a call on 0117 983 7132 or email us at

We’d love to hear from you and help where we can.

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