Whether you want to race or just do it for fun, running is a great way of keeping fit, reducing stress and anxiety, and boosting your mood.

Why run?

Running in its simplest form, out on the road, through the park, along the seafront or just around the neighbourhood, brings with it a host of physical, mental and in some cases social benefits.

Whatever your aim, be it to shift some pounds, make new friends, or take a mental break, the question shouldn't really be 'why run?', it should be 'why not run?'.

Some of the benefits of running

Physical benefits

Improves cardiovascular fitness.

Helps keep bones and muscles strong and healthy.

Great way to burn calories and help maintain weight.

Social benefits

Inclusive and accessible.

Run with a friend or a dedicated running group.

Run for a charity and meet new people.

Mental benefits

Can help Improve memory and mental ability.

Increased confidence and self-esteem.

Boosts energy levels.

Training for a distance

Once you start running you might want to challenge yourself to completing a specific distance or entering into a running event. View the distance training plans designed by five-time Olympian Jo Pavey.


Zero to 3K

It's fantastic that you've decided to start running. Running provides so many great benefits to both physical health and mental wellbeing. This plan is designed to get you started on your running journey and very soon you'll be enjoying being a runner. It's natural that you may be feeling a little bit apprehensive at first about embarking on a training plan, but don't worry, you'll be increasing your running very gradually. To begin with you'll be combining running with walking and the running sections will be short. The plan also includes walking to warm up and to cool down. It's important to remember that pace is not important in this training plan, run at a pace that feels comfortable and at a pace where you would still be able to hold a conversation.

View the 3K plan

Jo's story

Jo is a British long-distance runner and a World, European and Commonwealth medallist. She has represented Great Britain at five Olympic Games, the only British runner and track event athlete to have done so.

Jo started running at school and has been a member of Exeter Harriers Athletics Club since 1987. Incredibly, she won a gold medal at the European Championships in 2014, just 11 months after giving birth to her second child.

The running club

Joining a running event can be great motivation to keep your training going, as well as being a fun, social and memorable experience. There are events available across the UK for all abilities, from beginners to experienced runners looking to beat their personal best times. If you don't feel ready for a running event or just prefer to do an event at a time that suits you, virtual running events can be a great alternative. A virtual event allows you to join an event online and then choose where and when you run it. Once you have completed the distance or challenge you submit proof online that you have completed it, usually in the form of app based running trackers such as Garmin or Fitbit. You are then added to a leaderboard for that event, with some virtual events also providing medals or certificates for completing.

Find a running event


Let's Do This helps you find upcoming running events based on preferred terrain and distances.

Virtual running clubs


Virtual running clubs can keep you motivated with fun virtual races and challenges.

Castle Race Series


Use code 2024WPA to get a discount on these brilliant family friendly racing weekends.

The content of the WPA website, including the WPA Health & Wellbeing hub ('the hub'), is for information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment and you should not rely upon it for that purpose.

Not all forms of exercise will be suitable for everyone. Always consult a doctor before beginning any exercise programme. To the extent permitted by law, WPA shall not be liable for any loss, liability or damage suffered or incurred as a result of using an exercise programme or accessing any information on exercise made available on the hub.