We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

How to Start Running When Out of Shape: A Guide for Beginners

Everyone goes through phases of not being happy with themselves, be that physically or emotionally, and yet have no motivation to do anything about it. We know that a logical solution would be getting into physical exercising and running, and yet oftentimes, we do not do it. Why? One of the reasons may be because we do not know where to start. Preparation and consistency are key in starting anything and forming a habit out of it.

So, how to start running when out of shape? Read on to find several tips and tricks which will help you get into running and stay consistent with it.

Set Realistic Goals

As an out-of-shape runner, setting goals for yourself is an excellent way to stay motivated and push yourself toward improving. The goals you set should be ambitious but also realistic if you want to see consistent progress.

Begin with a simple goal that is measurable and specific such as running for one minute without stopping. As soon as you reach that goal, make another one but this time for three minutes., then five, fifteen, half an hour.

Each goal that you achieve will increase your motive and enjoyment of running.

Choose a Training Plan

Whenever you are wondering how to get in running shape, an excellent first step is to choose a training plan. There are many plans that you can find online, specifically designed for beginners. Choosing a training plan will give you a clear understanding of what you need to do each day and each week. With a plan, you do not need to waste any time figuring out how much and how fast you should run that day or have to wonder whether the running you did that day was beneficial toward your ultimate goal. The plan you choose will keep you accountable for your own training and help you stay on the right track throughout your running journey. 

Find a Good Pair of Shoes


While many of us might not like the idea of spending money,  investing in a good pair of shoes is beneficial. A good pair of shoes that fit you ensure comfort. With qualitative shoes, you will feel comfortable when running, not get any blisters, and ultimately enjoy the activity more. However, you do not necessarily have to invest money to have a good pair of shoes. You can find great options during sales or in thrift shops.

Be Consistent with Your Running Plan

Keeping a running consistency is crucial but also challenging. After choosing a running plan, the most difficult part is actually following it to the point where running becomes a habit for you. Although some days you just do not feel like running, try to constantly remind yourself that this plan will help you in the long run. You will feel better after you have achieved the goals you have set for yourself, and it will get easier with each running session.

Warm Up

Before you start your runs, it is important to warm up. As is the case with other physical activities, warming up before going on a run helps prevent injuries, like pulling a muscle, twisting a tendon, bone, or joint. By warming up, you loosen your muscles, bones, and joints, slowly bring up your heart rate and prepare your body for the cardio exercises. 

There are various videos online of warm-up exercises that you can try. Some good examples are:

  • Knee lifts
  • Heel digs
  • Knee bends 
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Planks

Practice Your Breathing

Knowing how to breathe properly when running is very important. To ensure efficiency and maximal oxygen consumption while running, you should use diaphragmatic breathing, also known as deep belly breathing. One way how you can practice belly breathing is:

  1. Lie on a flat surface and place your hands, or some flat object like a book, on your stomach and your chest.
  2. Start breathing; notice which area rises first and try to focus your breathing on your stomach.
  3. Practice breathing into your belly and sending your breath up to your chest while exhaling.

With practice, deep belly breathing while running will become second nature to you, and fatigue won’t ever be part of your running sessions.

Start Small, Start Walking

When contemplating “how to start running if you are out of shape?”, remember to start small, start with a walk. After all, slow and steady wins the race. You can not expect your body to immediately adapt and reach your running goals. You should give yourself time to adjust to the addition of cardio exercise in your life with short walks and runs. With time, you can build your mileage and improve your overall pace.

Find a Running Partner

Everything is easier when you have someone to share your running experience with. Finding a running partner can be extremely beneficial, not only for you but for your running partner, too. After making plans with them to go running, you will feel encouraged not to let them down even on the days when you might be feeling lazy. You can both help each other to stay consistent and motivated throughout your journeys. Your running partner can be a family member or friend. You can even join running clubs in your town and find a partner there.

Track Your Progress


Improvement is a powerful motivator to keep running. Tracking your progress through devices and apps is one of the ways you can notice how much you have advanced. One of the simplest ways to do so is by timing your runs. To avoid any running fluctuations, it is best to run on the same route whenever you are timing yourself. Tracking your progress also helps you notice whether your current training plan is working or if you need to make adjustments.

Listen to Your Body

An important aspect you need to keep in mind throughout all the previously mentioned tips is rest. You should always listen to your body and know your limits. If you are experiencing a lot of pain, or soreness, take it as a sign that you should slow down, have a shorter run, or take a day off from running. You must balance hard work and the necessary relaxation that your body needs so that you can achieve the best results.

At times, running might seem hard, and you might be tempted to give up. Choosing and following a training plan, staying consistent with your running, and finding motivation in various ways will help you turn running into a habit. However, you must not forget that your health is the most important thing and having some rest is necessary. Breaks are part of the journey, take them! Then,  you can get back and achieve all your goals.


Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
On Key

Related Posts