How To Start Running Out Of Shape

Starting a running routine when you are out of shape can be a daunting task. As someone who has been in that position, I understand the struggles and challenges that come with it. However, with the right mindset and approach, you can gradually build your endurance and fitness level. In this article, I will share my personal experience and provide you with practical tips on how to start running when you are out of shape.

Assess Your Current Fitness Level

Before you lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement, it’s important to assess your current fitness level. This will help you set realistic goals and develop a suitable training plan. Start by evaluating your cardiovascular endurance and overall strength. Can you walk briskly for at least 30 minutes without feeling exhausted? Can you perform basic bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges without pain or discomfort? Take note of where you currently stand so that you can track your progress as you start running.

Start Slowly and Gradually Increase Intensity

One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a running routine is trying to do too much too soon. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your running journey won’t be either. Begin by starting with a combination of walking and jogging. This can mean alternating between a few minutes of brisk walking and a few minutes of running. Gradually increase the time you spend running and decrease the time you spend walking as you build your endurance. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard in the beginning.

Set Realistic and Achievable Goals

Setting goals is crucial to stay motivated and focused on your running journey. However, it’s important to set realistic and achievable goals, especially when you are starting from a point of being out of shape. Instead of aiming to run a marathon in your first month, focus on smaller milestones that are within reach. For example, aim to run for 10 minutes without stopping or complete a 5K race in a few months’ time. Celebrate these achievements along the way, as they will keep you motivated to continue.

Create a Consistent Running Schedule

Consistency is key when it comes to improving your fitness level. Create a running schedule that works for you and stick to it as much as possible. Whether it’s running three times a week or every other day, find a routine that fits into your lifestyle. It’s better to have shorter runs that you can commit to consistently rather than sporadic long runs that leave you feeling burnt out. Remember, progress is made over time, not overnight.

Listen to Your Body and Take Rest Days

When you are out of shape, it’s important to listen to your body and take rest days when needed. Running puts stress on your muscles and joints, and it’s essential to give your body time to recover and adapt. Don’t be afraid to take an extra day off if you’re feeling excessively fatigued or experiencing pain. Rest days are just as important as the days you spend running, as they allow your body to repair and get stronger.

Stay Consistently Hydrated and Fuel Your Body Properly

Proper hydration and nutrition are essential for any runner, whether you are just starting out or a seasoned athlete. Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day, especially before, during, and after your runs. Fuel your body with a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats to provide the energy you need for your runs. Consider talking to a registered dietitian to develop a nutrition plan that suits your specific needs.

Join a Running Group or Find a Running Buddy

Running alone can sometimes feel monotonous, especially when you are starting out and lack motivation. Consider joining a local running group or finding a running buddy who can provide support and accountability. Running with others can make the experience more enjoyable and help you stay on track with your training. Plus, you’ll have someone to celebrate your progress with and share your running journey.


Starting a running routine when you are out of shape may seem intimidating, but with the right approach and mindset, it’s absolutely achievable. Remember to start slowly, set realistic goals, and listen to your body throughout the process. Celebrate your progress along the way, and don’t forget to have fun! Before you know it, you’ll be amazed at how your fitness level improves and the distance you can run. So, lace up those running shoes, step out of your comfort zone, and embark on your running journey today!