How Long Does It Take To Become A Runner?

It can take you anywhere between 12-20 weeks in total or about 3-5 months to reach a level of conditioning where you’re ready to run a marathon.

Lots of people aspire to become runners, but many give up even before trying. Why? Because they feel like becoming a runner is too difficult, takes too much time, or is outright impossible. While it might take some time to build a runner’s conditioning, the truth is that it’s possible for everyone!

In this article, we’re going to explore all of the most common questions that you might have about becoming a runner. Once you’ve finished reading, you’ll learn that with enough time and effort, you, too, can become a runner!

How Long Does It Take For Your Body To Adjust To Running?

Your body will need at least four (4) weeks to adjust to running.

That does not mean that you should be running at a high intensity throughout those four weeks. Instead, it’s best to push your body gradually. Simply put, you have to crawl before you can walk, and you have to walk before you can run!

Consistency is critical, so start by walking a distance or for a fixed amount of time that’s comfortable for you. When that becomes a habit, then you can gradually increase the intensity.

That means walking at a slightly faster pace, for a more extended period of time, and for a longer distance, and allowing your body to adjust to the continual increase in pace, time, and distance.

How Long Should You Run As A Beginner?

There is no fixed duration of time that you should run as a beginner. Everybody starts at a different level, and that’s why you must learn to listen to your body.

To discover your starting point, run at the slowest pace possible for just 5-10 minutes. Be mindful of your body and see how well your muscles and your breathing can cope with that activity.

Once you get a sense of where you’re starting from, then you can gradually push yourself to see how much you can tolerate. Run a little faster and a little longer until you feel that you’ve reached your limit.

As you discover your limits and find a pace you can comfortably sustain, then you can decide how hard and how long you can run for each day.

Remember: all beginners start at their own level, and it’s different for each person. Some people might only be able to run for 30 seconds before getting tired, while others might last for a few minutes. It doesn’t matter where you start, only where you’re going!

Related: Why Do I Feel Tired After I Run (besides exerting energy)?

What Is A Good Pace For A Beginner Runner?

As mentioned before, you have to walk before you can run. What’s the difference? Well, walking means having at least one foot off the ground. When your pace gets a bit faster, and you’ve got moments with both feet off the ground, that means you’re running!

A good place for a beginner is about 12 minutes per mile. Of course, it’s perfectly fine if you mix in moments of walking in with your run as you adjust to becoming a runner.

For example, you can start running for three minutes straight, followed by a one-minute walking break. Repeat this until it feels comfortable and natural.

When it does, then you can up the ante by increasing the running portion relative to your walking break. For example, you can work up to running for four minutes straight, followed by a one-minute break (or longer, if necessary).

Are 3 Miles In 30 Minutes Good?

Yes! Running three miles in thirty minutes is quite good and shows that your conditioning is at a pretty decent level.

Once you’ve reached this level, you can comfortably and gradually increase your intensity to run even faster.

Suppose you haven’t been able to run 3 miles in 30 minutes. Stay strong, and don’t be discouraged! Remember: all runners start at a different level and improve at different rates.

As long as you remain dedicated and consistent with your training and you continue to gradually increase your pace, you’ll be doing 3 miles in 30 minutes before you know it!


When Does Running Get Easier For Beginners?

Running is always difficult at the beginning, but your body can adjust to it in just four weeks. Once your body adjusts, running will become much easier for beginners to enjoy.

However, it’s important to remember that the most important thing is consistency. Yes, your body will adjust in four weeks (or maybe less!), but that will only happen if you’re running consistently almost every day.

Running every day at a comfortable pace will allow your muscles to get used to moving your body that way. Plus, it allows your cardiovascular system (i.e. your heart and lungs) to become stronger. When that happens, those organs will ensure your body gets the oxygen and blood it needs to run effectively.

Remember this popular saying about running: “It gets easier. Every day, it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day — that’s the hard part”.

Related: What Are The Rules For Running in The Park, Trails, Tracks, Roads, and Races?

How Long Does It Take Me To Get Used To Running?

Running is a mental challenge, just as much as it is a physical one. While your body may take about four weeks to adjust to running, your mind might require a lot less time to do the same.

One good way to get used to running is to embrace every step of the process. Don’t force yourself to run too fast or too far at first. Instead, practice a lot of patience with yourself and your body.

Besides that, it also helps to accept failure when it happens. That’s right! All runners experience failure on their way to the top, and you should try your best to stay motivated when you have a bad day or a bad running session.

All of that diligence on your part will pay off eventually. Not only will you adjust to running, but you’ll look forward to each of your running sessions!

Why Do New Runners Fail At Running?

Besides learning from other runners’ successes, you should also learn from their failures. New runners typically fail at running because:

  • They try to run too fast and too far, too soon.
  • They neglect things like stretching, hydration, and nutrition.
  • They don’t set clear goals to keep themselves motivated.
  • They don’t take enough time to recover after running.

Related: 22 Running Tips For Absolute Beginners!

What Is The Best Training Strategy For New Runners?

The best training strategy for new runners will have several different components. Here, we’re going to focus on four of the most important ones: frequency of training, nutrition and hydration, pacing, and recovery.

Let’s take a closer look at each one.


As a beginner, it would be excellent to train on alternate days, perhaps three times a week. During these days, you’ll be running at a comfortable place (discussed below).

However, on your ‘off-days’ or days when you’re not running, it helps to keep mobile at a non-running pace. On these days, take a walk for about 20-30 minutes just to keep your body moving, but don’t push yourself to run again.

Related: 20 Benefits Of Running 3 Times A Week – Your Key To A Healthier Life!

Nutrition and Hydration

Beginners should also practice staying hydrated and eating at the right times. Simply put, you should not run with a full stomach, so try to avoid eating heavy foods before your training session.

If you’re running later in the day, allow for 2-3 hours after your last meal before doing so.

Always keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after your run.

What are some of the best foods for runners? Find out here –> What are the best superfoods for runners?


As a beginner, you’re still discovering your most sustainable pace. So, for the time being, focus on running at a conversation pace. That means running only at a pace where you can still maintain a conversation with another person.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide To Pacing


Recovery is crucial when you’re starting your running program, and that breaks down into two types: active and passive recovery. Passive recovery is simple: make sure you get enough sleep each night and run on alternate days so you have time to recover.

For an active recovery, you should keep yourself moving but only at a walking pace. On those days when you don’t run, go for a slow walk instead. That will help blood and nutrients circulate to help your muscles recover.

How Long Does It Take To Train For A 5k From An Absolute Beginner?

You can expect to take at least eight weeks to prepare to run a 5k from an absolute beginner. Remember: everyone starts at a different level, so don’t be discouraged if it takes you longer to prepare for a 5k.

Instead, focus on being consistent and on gradually increasing your running intensity. That way, your body will be able to get used to running at a continual pace and get you ready to run that 5k!

Check out my 8-week 5K absolute beginner training plan for beginner runners.

How Long Does It Take To Train For A 10k From An Absolute Beginner?

If it takes eight weeks to prepare for a 5k, will it take 16 weeks to prepare to run a 10k? Not necessarily.

You see, the first eight weeks are necessary to develop your running ability, especially when you’re starting from scratch. Everyone will develop at their own pace, but if you’re consistent for eight weeks, you should have no problems running at a sustainable pace.

Once you’ve developed your ability to run the first 5k in eight weeks, then your focus will eventually move towards your endurance and stamina. At this point, you’re already a runner, but you’ll be focusing on running for long distances and at a faster pace.

Of course, never push yourself too hard. Listen to your body and provide it with plenty of recovery between running sessions.

Related: Can you run a half marathon if you can run a 10K?

How Long Does It Take To Train For A Half Marathon From An Absolute Beginner?

Suppose you’d like to train to run a half marathon, which is about 21 kilometers long. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to give yourself at least four months to train.

As mentioned in the previous section, you’ll need eight weeks to develop your ability to run. Beyond that, you’re training to increase your stamina and endurance so that you can run faster and further.

Since your half-marathon training program will take a few months (at least), you’ll also need to take into account other problems. Even the best runners may experience injury or sickness during those many months of training. Challenges like that will affect your ability to train.

So, if you’re planning to run a half marathon from being an absolute beginner, be sure to give yourself at least four or more months to prepare.

How Long Does It Take To Train For A Marathon From An Absolute Beginner?

So you want to prepare to run a full marathon from an absolute beginner. That’s a fantastic goal that should take you anywhere from twelve to twenty weeks. What affects that duration? Well, it all depends on your existing level of health and fitness.

All marathon runners start at a different level, which is why you should never compare yourself to other people at first. When you’re an absolute beginner runner, the only person you’re competing with is yourself.

The three golden rules here are:

  1. Start slow.
  2. Progress gradually.
  3. Allow plenty of rest and recovery.

When you practice these rules, you’ll see your running ability to improve smoothly and gradually.

Still, it’s important to understand that you might experience delays in preparing to run a marathon because of injuries and illnesses. Even though you’re preparing for a marathon, you’re still human.

Throughout your marathon training program, you might get the flu, sprain your ankle, or face other difficulties that might throw a wrench in the works. If that happens, you may find yourself unable to train for days or weeks at a time. Then, it may take another week or two to regain the momentum in your training that you had prior.

For a detailed post of the ins and outs of training for a marathon from a beginner perspective check out:

How Many Weeks Does It Take To Train For A Marathon?

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Coach Scott's Credentials:
  • Published Author
  • RRCA Certified Running Coach (Level 2)
  • RRCA Certified Youth Running Coach
  • NASM CPT (Certified Personal Trainer).
  • NASM CNC (Certified Nutrition Coach)
  • NASM WLS (Weight Loss Specialist)
  • ACE SFC (Stretching and Flexibility Coach)
  • ACE GFI (Group Fitness Instructor)
He has published over 20 books including, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury-free race finishers. He recently completed his 22nd half marathon race. 

 To sign up for a FREE half marathon training schedule, log sheet, and pace predictor CLICK HERE.

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How Long Does It Take For Your Body To Adjust To Running

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How Long Does It Take To Become A Runner?

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