Running remains one of the best and fastest ways to burn calories—you can get a lot of fat-burning rewards as well as cardiovascular, muscular, tendon and bone-building benefits from running consistently. It's one of the main reasons the sport has so many beginners. But, new runners can often become disenchanted with the activity not only because the sport is much harder than most anticipate, but also because the cumulative effects of running can take its toll if beginners don't nip them in the bud with the right habits.
"Running is an easy sport to get into—all you need are a pair of shorts, a shirt and some shoes and you're ready to go," says Matt Forsman, a San Francisco Bay area-based USATF-certified running coach. "But, it's an incredibly demanding, taxing activity. New runners have a tendency to globalize that they should have the runner's high all the time, or that they're going to feel miserable all the time. And neither is really true."
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When will running start to feel easier for beginners? At what point should new runners expect to experience that legendary "runner's high?"
How Long It Takes for Running to Feel Good
Because every runner is unique, the answer to the question, "When will running start to feel easier for me?" depends on the individual. Consider the following factors when attempting to answer this question:
- How fit were you—honestly—before you tried running?
- Are you overweight, and how many pounds over a healthy weight (according to your doctor) are you?
- How old are you?
If you've been relatively active your entire life—let's say you played basketball in high school and maintained a pretty consistent schedule of going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week in your adult life—then you should be able to adapt more quickly to the vigor of running than a new runner who was completely sedentary for months or years before starting the sport. In addition, if you're young—let's say in your 20s or 30s, and if you only have 10 or fewer pounds you'd like to lose (or none), then you'll likely start adapting to running in 2 to 3 weeks of consistent training.