3 Ways to Increase your Intensity and go from Walking to Running

Adding jogging or running to a walking routine is a great way to get a more intense cardio workout, get more steps and mix up your exercise. Are you a walker who’s always wanted to become a runner? Just want to increase the intensity of your daily workout? When moving from walking to running, the most important thing is to increase the intensity of your workout in a safe and comfortable way. No two people have the exact same fitness levels and exercise goals, but by gradually increasing your intensity and following these steps, you can get more active than before! Here are 3 tips to help you add running to your walking routine in a safe, effective way.

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Tip #1: Start Small and Slow

Starting slow and walking before running concept
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When starting a new workout routine, it can be tempting to go all out right away. You may be tempted to try to run for thirty minutes straight or go three miles without stopping on your first day. Trying to go too hard, too fast, however, increases your risk of injury because your body isn’t used to intense running yet. It can also leave you discouraged if you fall short of your goals. These factors lead many people to give up on their plans before they have a chance to succeed.

You want the best chance to reach your goals, and starting SMALL and SLOW allows you to build upon what you’re used to already. Starting small and slow could mean beginning by jogging at a slow pace and gradually increasing the pace, or it could mean combining walking with jogging intervals to build endurance. By gradually increasing the intensity, you’ll see results over time which ultimately will help you stick to your goals. This can help prevent injuries, because your body will slowly adapt to your new exercise routine.

Tip #2: Incorporate Intervals (Walk/Run)

Interval training is a great way to gradually integrate jogging and running into your routine. Before you start out on your walk, make sure you have a watch or phone with a timer with you. Pick a workout goal that is either time-based (e.g. 30 minutes) or distance-based (e.g. 1 mile).

Man and woman going for a walk or run in the countryside
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To get started, walk for one minute and then jog for twenty seconds. Continue alternating between a one-minute walk and a twenty-second jog for the duration of your workout (until you hit your time or distance goal). The next time you go, stick with a one-minute walk but increase your jog to thirty seconds.

As you progress further and further, increase the jogging portion to forty, fifty and then sixty seconds at which point you’re walking for one minute and jogging for one minute. When you feel comfortable at this level, you can increase the jogging time even further or decrease the walking time so that you’re jogging more and more. Eventually, you’ll find yourself jogging nonstop with little to no rest. You’ll have gone so gradually that you’ll be surprised to find that jogging is no problem anymore!

Remember that even if you start jogging periodically, walking is a great way to add additional exercise and get healthier. You don’t have to choose one or the other. In reality, a long walk can be just as good as a short jog. Increasing the pace is a great way to get more steps if you’re limited by time or if you just want to mix things up. You should do what feels best for you!

Tip #3: Sign up for a 5K Run

Sign up for a race?! Seriously – hear us out. Setting a challenging goal can motivate you to go further and faster than you think is possible! Sign up for a 5K (5 kilometer) run on a date three to six months from now. There are many inclusive, fun runs that cater to beginners! Once you register, your goal now has a time limit deadline to it. Having a specific, focused goal and limited time available will motivate you to start jogging ASAP.

Woman finishing a running race with friends
Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Your goal probably shouldn’t be to win the race (you are just starting out). Instead, your goal could be to run the entire 5K without walking. That would be an amazing result for someone just starting! Or your goal could simply be to finish the race while running more than you walk. That’s great too! Set yourself a challenging, but achievable goal and create a plan to make it happen. Before you know it, you’ll be jogging around your neighborhood like a fitness vet.

If you do decide to train for the 5k, start by running for short stretches and then slowly increase the amount of time you can jog without stopping maintaining a steady, constant pace. Practice setting a conservative pace that you can keep up for 5 kilometers, rather than trying to sprint and tire yourself out. Listen to your body and don’t try to push too hard, too fast. Overtraining can lead to injuries, and doesn’t work as well as slow, steady progress. The turtle did beat the hare, remember?

Don’t forget to use Pacer’s GPS tracking to track your runs so you can visualize your practice runs! That way you’ll feel confident that when the race comes, it won’t be anything you haven’t done before.


To add jogging to your walking routine, start small and slow and gradually increase your intensity over time. If you find you’re feeling very sore or tired, dial down the intensity for a little while until you’re feeling great again, then try pushing a little more.

Start by jogging in short intervals and gradually increase your jogging intervals and decrease your walking intervals until you’re jogging nonstop over a good distance. Once you’re comfortably into a jogging routine, you can try increasing the intensity by adding fast running intervals!

For extra motivation, set a defined goal with a time limit attached. Try signing up for a 5k run – there are many fun runs that are supportive and open to beginning runners. Once you have a date and goal in mind, you’ll be motivated to train harder and get running in no time!

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If you haven’t downloaded the Pacer app yet, download Pacer for free (on mobile)! You can also check out our website (mobile or desktop) or follow our blog for more great walking and healthy lifestyle tips.

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