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Beginner Runners: When Does Running Become Easier?

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Avid runners often hear it, “I love to run.” Other runners will readily admit that while they sometimes love to run, other times they hate it.

If you have been running for quite some time, you may have already forgotten how difficult it was for running to become a natural part of your daily routine.

In fact, if you are really honest with yourself, you have plenty of days when running feels just as hard as when you first started out.

Spend some time with a new runner, and the same question is likely to come up, “When does running get easier?”

Excellent question.

Why Is Running So Hard in the Beginning?

There are 5 main reasons it is so difficult in the beginning.

1. Cardiovascular: Unless you are frequently engaging in some cardiovascular exercise sure to get your heart rate up, running is going to be very, very difficult.

And even if you regularly do a cardio workout, running is an entirely different animal.

2. Impact: Running is a high-impact aerobic workout, and with each step, you are literally pounding the pavement. This will result in sore muscles, especially for beginners. You have to give your body time to acclimate.

3. Too Fast: Most new runners take off way too quickly instead of settling in at a nice easy, comfortable pace. This can make it very difficult to run for more than a few minutes. If you want to succeed, you may want to find yourself a running buddy to act as a pacer. 

4. Poor Form: It may sound crazy to talk about form to a new runner, but using poor form is something that can really make running harder than it needs to be.

In the beginning, just a couple of small pointers can go a long way. Don’t look down, and don’t cross your arms in front of you. Focus on taking easy strides without overstriding. 

5. Too Much, Too Soon: Another common problem is people try to do way too much, too soon.

You should start with a 20-30 minute run (and even mixing walk intervals with your moments running is a good idea), and do not try to run every day.

Three to four days a week is a very good starting point.

Does Running Actually Get Easier?

Sure, running is very hard for beginners and takes time to get yourself to where it feels easier. Please remember that no matter how good of shape you are in, some runs are just bound to feel harder than others.

Some factors determine how long it will take for you to notice running getting easier.

Age and current level of fitness are two important factors. Younger people tend to take to running a little quicker than older counterparts.

Having said that, there is certainly no limit on starting to run.

If you are in very good shape and exercising regularly, adapting your body to cardio such as running won’t be as hard as people who are regular couch potatoes. 

How Long Will It Take to Get Me Better at Running?

Even newbies should notice an improvement after as soon as 3-4 weeks of consistent training

Most running coaches will give a conservative estimate of six weeks for a runner to start to feel like lacing up and heading out is not such a struggle. 

12 Pro Tips for Beginner Runners

So what do you do until it gets easier?

Is there a way to make dreadful runs more bearable while you wait for your fitness levels to pick up?

Here are some tips:

1. Start slowly. Start your workout with a walk, and only pick up the pace when you’re fully warmed up.

2. Realistic expectations. Having realistic expectations is important. Don’t try to keep up with friends who are fitter and have been running for years. This is certain to set yourself up for failure if you try to do too much, too soon. 

3. Do your own thing. Forget about everyone else and run at a suitable pace for your fitness level.

4. Choose the scenic route. Distract your mind by choosing running routes with beautiful scenery. Also, switch up your routes often to avoid boredom.

5. Warm-up and cool down: Something many people who are new to running neglect to do is warm-up and cool down. It is important to help your body transition into and out of vigorous activity. 

6. Mix it up. Don’t try to run every single day. It is actually very healthy for your body to mix up your workouts. Even once you are running consistently, you should plan to implement some cross-training and strength training into your workout regiment.

Non-impact workouts such as swimming or biking can help save your legs.

7. Switch up your paces. Instead of always running at the same pace, switch it up from one run to another, from fast runs and sprints to easy runs.

Running faster should help you focus on good form, while a quick water break can also be rejuvenating.

8. Run naked. Without a watch, that is! Every once in a while, free yourself from the pressure of running at a pre-set pace over for a pre-measured distance.

Just run for the joy of it.

9. Don’t go overboard! The start of a running journey is not the time or place to overdo it. Make sure that you rest and sleep enough in between runs, giving your body enough time to repair and rebuild itself.

10. Get a running buddy. Sharing your miles and agony with someone can be wonderfully uplifting. And if you can’t find someone to join you, get a dog.

11. Dress the part. Nothing is quite as motivating and feel good as new running gear. It is okay (and even encouraged) to treat yourself, even if it’s just with a colorful pair of new running socks or some great running shoes.

12. Get a massage. If your budget allows, treat yourself to a regular sports massage. And if it doesn’t, invest in a foam roller and use it often.

Take the First Step Towards Running Easier!

We get it; running can be challenging. Many people take that first step, run a few times, then fall back into the habit of not running.

Don’t let that happen to you.

So, whatever you do, keep showing up. Keep lacing up and heading out, even if it sucks. (Especially when it sucks.)

And remember that keeping in mind the bigger picture should make the agony more bearable: While it may not feel like it now, your body is busy with some physiological adaptations that will make running feel easier and more enjoyable in the future.

And this is something that simply cannot happen overnight.

So have the patience you need to remain consistent while your body does its thing – you’ll reap the benefits soon enough!


  1. Hal Higdon, Make every run easier, Online publication
  2. Matt Frazier, How to Finally Enjoy Running: The Non-Runner’s Ultimate Guide, Online publication
  3. Sabrina Grotewold, When does running get easier for beginners?, Online publication
  4. Pete Pfitzinger, MS, Adaptation to training, Online publication
  5. Shawn Radcliffe, How long does it take to get in shape?, Online publication

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