Zero to 3K plan

Let Jo Pavey help you start your running journey - take the first steps to success.

3K training plan

This plan is all about giving your body chance to adapt to running, so take your time, don't push too hard. If you finish your workout feeling like you coped well with the pace it will make it a more positive experience and reduce the risk of injury. It is however quite normal to experience a bit of muscle soreness, when you first start any new exercise program whilst your body adapts to the new activity. This should start to ease as you get into the program, but you must listen to your body and take extra rest days if you need them and if you experience an injury niggle seek advice from a sports therapist. Achieving your running goals is all about consistency and trying to avoid needing a longer lay off, so don't push on if your body needs to recover.


Zero to 3K

Running provides so many great benefits to both physical health and mental wellbeing. In this video Jo Pavey talks you through how you can begin your running journey, how to be build confidence, finding the right running gear and other tips to help you on your way.

Tips to start your running journey

Read some extended notes from Jo Pavey, on the key areas of consideration when taking on this part of the WPA running programme.

Finding the confidence to start if you're feeling anxious

If you're new to running, the thought of starting a running programme, for some people, may feel quite daunting. But remember it's perfectly normal to feel apprehensive about heading out the door for the first time and runners of all levels experience some self doubt now and again.

Use positive self talk to silence any negative thoughts, picture yourself achieving your goals. Feel proud of yourself for embarking on a running programme, with each workout your confidence will build. Everyone has their own personal reasons for why they want to start running. You may be wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle, improve your fitness levels, lose weight, or improve your mental health, so focus on these positive reasons and believe in yourself.

If you happen to have any worries about being seen running, remember it's more likely that people will be impressed by your motivation, and many of them may wish they could have the same determination. Focus on the positives that running will provide to both your physical and mental health, if you are feeling anxious. Whilst you're still gaining confidence you could aim to go running early in the morning, late at night or drive to a quiet location.

Ensure that you wear kit that you feel comfortable in and doesn't make you feel self conscious.

Remember that the great thing about running is that it is such an inclusive sport. You only have to take a look at the brilliant parkruns that go on around the country, to see so many runners of different abilities running together and sharing their passion whilst encouraging each other.

Your first few times out the door may feel slightly daunting, but persevere and give yourself time to gain confidence. You'll soon be wondering what you were worried about, and your sense of achievement will outweigh any worries you had.

The 6 week training plan

Each workout will always start with an easy walk or a jog to warm up. This is in addition to the dynamic warm up exercises in our videos. Then the work really starts. Typically, each workout consists of a period of higher intensity running followed by a rest which you will repeat a set number of times.


In the plan it's written like this:

  • 5 minute walk to start
  • 5 x 1 minute run with 1 minute walk between
  • 5 minute walk to end

This means you will:

  • Do a 5 minute walk to warm up
  • Run for 1 minute, walk for 1 minute - repeat 5 times
  • Do a 5 minute walk to cool down

In total, this session is 20 minutes in length - but remember to allow time for some dynamic warm up exercises before you start and stretching when you finish.

Expand and collapse your weekly training plan below to see your daily schedule. You can also download a PDF of the training plan to take away with you.













Download the 3K training plan


To help prevent injury and maintain flexibility, it is important that runners have a regular stretching routine. In these short videos, Jo Pavey will demonstrate a series of warming up and cooling down exercises.

Health & Wellbeing updates

Subscribe to get regular update emails

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.