How To Start Running When Out Of Shape

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With the arrival of nice weather, many of us spend more time outdoors. If you’re thinking about starting to run, and you feel like you are out of shape, you’re in the right place.

Everyone who is running started this activity for some important reason: for some it was weight loss, others wanted to train outdoors in nature, for others running was an outlet after a stressful day at work. There are many reasons, and we will not deal with them. What is important is that they led you to the decision to start running.

Running has many benefits for our health, and is always a good training option, whether you are a beginner or a longtime athlete:

  • improves the heart and cardiovascular system
  • increases lung capacity
  • improves mental health
  • reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes

Proper running technique

While running you need to maintain an upright body position, looking forward and not down. Try to keep your shoulders as relaxed as possible. Often happens that we run with tense shoulders which leads to faster fatigue.

The arms are bent at the elbows at 90 °, they are at waist height and follow the rhythm of running in a relaxed way: the opposite arm of the leg. Try to keep your fists relaxed. clenching your fists unconsciously leads to tension in your arms, shoulders and back.

The foot should make contact with the ground over the heel, middle of the foot or toes. Most trainers in running schools will tell you that it is best when the first contact is made in the middle of the foot after which the weight is transferred to the front and toes.

If the first contact is made over the heel, it is usually a sign that your step is too long, and if the first contact is over the toes, it may cause pain in your calves.

Before each run, it is necessary to do a warm-up, which usually consists of dynamic stretching and exercises, such as step-ups, jumps and so on. Warming up will prepare your muscles and tendons for running and help prevent injuries.

After the run, it is important to start the recovery process immediately, and we will do this by stretching the muscles of the lower extremities, gluteus and back that were actively working during the run. Stretching is very important and if we skip it over time, muscle fatigue will occur, which will develop into a state of overtraining and lead to injuries of overuse, or chronic inflammation.

Below I will present some tips for running when out of shape in order for you to enjoy this great physical activity.

Small steps lead to big results

Many new runners have most likely had their last run in high school, so they don’t have a realistic picture of their current capabilities. That’s why you shouldn’t get carried away with the idea that you have to run 5 km in the very beginning. It is better to listen to your body and if it is 400 or 500 m in the first few runs, that is perfectly fine.

Then gradually increase the distance each time. Sometimes it is better to run 500 m, walk 1-2 minutes, then run another 500 m and in this way gradually progress towards the goal you have set for yourselves. Combine running with walking, because even though you walk, you keep moving, which certainly has a positive effect on achieving your goal.

In time you will get to 5K and then 10K. You just need to be persistent and do not rush in the beginning. Don’t be bothered with the distance you’ve ran, much more important is the time spent running.


The pace of running is one of the things in which beginners often make mistakes, most often because they are not listening to their body. Most of them run at a pace that is above their capabilities, which contributes to the faster fatigue.

The easiest method to determine a good running pace is if you can breathe normally while running, or if you can have a conversation with the person you are running with. If you notice that you have lost your normal breathing rhythm, you are most likely running too fast, so slow down the pace a bit.

After a while you will be able to run at a faster pace, but you can always use your breathing rhythm to regulate your pace.

You can also do a few short accelerations while running in order to improve your running technique.

Running shoes

Running shoes are the next thing that is important to mention. Quality running shoes will provide better support and stability to your feet and prevent inflammation and injuries that often occur in runners.

Apart from running shoes, quality socks are also a good idea. Try to find some in which your feet will not sweat in order to avoid blisters.


The initial motivation is a positive thing when we start any activity, but it should be moderate and you shouldn’t not overdo it right at the beginning. Since running is an activity that our body is not used to, it will take time to recover. For this reason, do not run too often. 3 times a week is quite enough to give the body enough time to recover between runs and reduce the possibility of injury.

The problem is that initial motivation can disappear very quickly, as soon as the first tougher workout or muscle inflammation happens. The goal is to stay motivated. Once it becomes a habit, running is much easier..

The key is to find out what motivates you and stick to it. For some of you, it will be a routine that suits you (same time, place, people) or a goal you have set for yourself.  It is important not to give up until you achieve that goal.

Given that running is a very popular activity for both young and old, you are very likely to meet a large number of runners wherever you go running. Beginners often make the mistake of comparing themselves to others, which can have a demotivating effect if someone is faster than them.

As with all activities, it takes time to make progress, and for that reason you should not be guided by the results that people running around you have. There will always be those who will be faster or slower than you, and it is worth mentioning that there are a large number of people who do not run at all.

I hope you found this guide on how to start running when out of shape helpful. It is important to set goals that are in line with our capabilities and remember: run only for yourself and therefore do not worry about others.


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