Learn To Run With #JustOneMile

September 1, 2021by Fiona O'Donnell

I remember wanting to learn how to run. I was afraid to start because I knew it was going to hurt and I might fail. I’m stubborn – so I started anyway and as I knew it would, it hurt. I was living in Sandymount, in Dublin at the time. Running up around the wildlife sanctuary, feeling like my lungs were going to burst was half a joy and half torture. I would stop frequently and pretend that I was taking in the view. In actual fact, I was scraping slivers of air into my lungs in an attempt not to die (dramatic much???).

In the 12 years since I first tried, I discovered that it doesn’t have to be quite so hard if you do it right. I have stripped the overload principal* down to its tiniest parts and developed the #justonemile programme. If, like me, you like to have a detailed plan laid out in a simple to follow manner, then this programme is for you – and best thing is that its completely free!


Learn to run the easy way


Getting back to running following transplant surgery was not an easy task. I was afraid all the time that I was risking injury. Oh, come on, lets face it…..I was expecting to feel amazing starting out and I was afraid that I was delusional. Of course, I was completely delusional! Everything is difficult when you start first – but there are ways to make it a little easier. #JustOneMile was designed in such a way that every day is a test of your abilities and confirmation that you CAN do it. Every day, you are challenged just a little more in tiny increments so that you don’t feel the ask is too great. The programme is perfect for you if:

  • You feel “Couch to 5km” is too big an ask
  • If you are coming from a sedentary lifestyle and you have just started walking
  • If you are coming back from illness or injury**
  • You want to set a goal that has clearly defined targets
  • You would like to lose some body fat by increasing your physical activity levels
4mile Road Race
After Surgery to Place a Catheter in my Abdomen For Dialysis

Where Do I Start With #justonemile

Depending on stride length, an average individual will cover a mile in approximately 2,000 steps. This means that this programme can be covered in 2,000 steps. This may take 8 minutes or it might take 15 minutes. It all depends on your current level of fitness and your individual stride length.

All you need to start this “Learn to Run” programme is a pair of comfortable runners, some layers (you will get warm so ensure you have something on underneath your jacket) and a pedometer to help you count your steps. If you are happy to count in your head, thats totally up to you but it is just as easy to count to 20 in your head.

I often use time (10 seconds, 15 seconds etc) to set intervals, but for this short distance, I think it easier to use steps. If you don’t hit the steps exactly, then there is absolutely nothing to panic about. 10 or twenty steps above where you should be are absolutely fine. But where possible, do try to limit those rest periods to in and around the correct amount of steps.

Before You Begin

  1.  Choose your training area. You may decide to change it every week, but always ensure that where you wish to run is safe in terms of visibility, lighting, not a lonely place (plenty of people around in the event of a fall or you are ill)
  2. Ensure you have at least one element of high visibility clothing to wear.
  3. Wear the correct clothing – there is nothing quite like shin splints from a run in work shoes
  4. Enjoy it at your own pace. If you feel that the next stage is too difficult, just repeat the stage you are at one or two more times before moving ahead.
  5. Try to get in 3 sessions a week. It only takes about 15 minutes and can easily be done with a buggy or a dog in towe.

On your first time out, I would like you to time how long it takes you to cover the session. Each session should take a little less time (it may only be seconds) but it is a good idea to set the same time each day for your session.

For example; If your first session takes 10 minutes and it looks like your 4th session is going to take 8 minutes, get your 4th session done, then spend the extra 2 minutes warming down with a brisk walk. Always spend at least 5 minutes warming up before a session with a walk or some yoga.

Training Plan for Just One Mile
                                           Sample of the #justonemile Training Programme

As you can see, the programme is really simple. It changes frequently so its a great idea to take a screen shot of the particular day you are working on or just write it on the back of your hand for reference.

Now Its Time To Try It Yourself

I have enclosed a link to the entire 10 week run programme HERE for FREE! No obligation and no sign up needed. Just enjoy the process. If you do decide to take part, please tag me in your instagram, facebook and other social media posts so I can see how well you are doing. I love to hear your wonderful stories on getting started and becoming fitter. Tag me using @westcorkfit and don’t forget to #justonemile so that everyone can see the benefits of moving more.

As always, send me any feedback you like.

Enjoy xx


* “…overload principal..” – Basically means in order for you to achieve a change, there has to be something new present that wasn’t there before. This creates an overload. It is this overload that your body strives to adapt to. This is why it is important to continuously change your workout – this keeps your body guessing and allows the overload principal to continue.

** “….coming back from illness or injury…” –   In consultation with your Doctor of course

Fiona O'Donnell


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Copyright by Fiona O’Donell. All rights reserved.

Copyright by Fiona O’Donell. All rights reserved.