How long does it take to get in shape when I start to run.

When you first start running, it can be challenging to know how long it will take to see results and get in shape. Running is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, build strength, and lose weight, but it takes time and dedication to see significant improvements. In this article, we will explore how long it takes to get in shape when you start running and what factors can impact your progress.

The Starting Point

The starting point for each runner is different, and it plays a significant role in how long it takes to get in shape. If you are a complete beginner to running or have been inactive for a while, it will take longer to get in shape than someone who is already active and has some experience with running.

It’s essential to start slowly and build up your running gradually. If you try to do too much too soon, you risk injury and burnout, which can delay your progress. A good starting point is to walk or run for short distances, then gradually increase the time and distance as your fitness improves.

The Training Plan

A well-structured training plan is crucial to getting in shape when you start running. A good training plan will include a mix of easy runs, speed workouts, and long runs, and it should be tailored to your fitness level and goals.

A beginner’s training plan may start with a run-walk program, gradually building up the amount of time spent running. As your fitness improves, you can increase the distance and intensity of your runs.

It’s important to remember that a training plan is not set in stone. It should be flexible, and you should be willing to adjust it as needed. For example, if you miss a run or feel particularly fatigued, it’s okay to take a break or reduce the intensity of your workouts.

The Body’s Response

The body’s response to running is complex and varies from person to person. Some people may see improvements in their fitness level and body composition quickly, while others may take longer.

When you start running, your body goes through a series of adaptations that improve your cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and endurance. The body adapts to the stress of running by building new blood vessels, improving lung function, and increasing the number of mitochondria in the muscles.

The rate of adaptation depends on a variety of factors, including age, genetics, diet, and lifestyle habits. Younger people tend to adapt more quickly than older adults, and genetics play a role in determining your body’s response to exercise.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is the key to getting in shape when you start running. It’s important to make running a regular part of your routine, and to stick with it even on days when you don’t feel like it.

The more consistent you are with your training, the faster you will see improvements in your fitness level. It’s better to run three to four times a week consistently than to do a long run once a month.

Building up gradually is also important to maintain consistency. If you try to do too much too soon, you risk injury and burnout, which can set you back.

Nutrition and Rest

Nutrition and rest play a significant role in your body’s ability to adapt to running. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates can help fuel your runs and aid in recovery.

Rest and recovery are also essential for getting in shape when you start running. Your body needs time to repair and rebuild muscle tissue after a run. It’s important to include rest days in your training plan and to listen to your body if you feel fatigued or sore.


In conclusion, how long it takes to get in shape when you start running depends on several factors. Your starting point, training plan, body’s response, consistency, nutrition and rest.

Kevin Haesendonck

Kevin Haesendonck is a long-distance runner from Leuven (BE) who became best known for diving under 3 hours at the Antwerp Marathon in 2013. He was the founder of the Belgian runners' collective "de Bosrunners" and discoverer of the man with the hammer at 15 km in the marathon. After his retirement at the highest level, he moved to Barcelona, from where he continues to share his knowledge and experience.

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