How Long Does It Take to Get in Shape Running?

Some people run because they want to lose weight, improve their health, or try something new.

Whatever the reason is, you’re bound to get in shape because running has a long list of physical and psychological benefits.

Still, there’s no denying that getting used to running is brutal, especially if you haven’t done it in a long time or at all.

Generally, you can expect your body to acclimate within four to six weeks. However, you can see actual, sustained results from running in six months.

So, how long does it take to get in shape running?

In this article, we provide you with an invaluable insight into the answers to this question, as well as the factors that influence the time it takes to get in shape.

How Long Does It Take to Get in Shape Running: Cardio runner running listening smartphone music. Unrecognizable body jogging on ocean beach or waterfront working out with heart rate monitor app device and earphones in summer.

How Long Does It Take to Get in Shape Running?

It takes the average person about six months to get in shape from running. 

That’s not to say that you have to wait six months to see or feel any changes from running. Your body begins to slowly heal and change from the moment that you start exercising.

Over the first four to six weeks, you’ll begin to notice changes in your weight as well as your body’s systems.

What’s more, if you run regularly and consistently, you can get in shape in as little as three to four months.

Physical Change

When you run, your body goes through physiological changes that help you get in shape. These changes can take from weeks to months, which is why there’s no set time frame for getting in shape.

Weight Loss and Muscle Gain

Within the first three to four weeks, you can see your weight dropping on the scale but it won’t be quite visible yet.

Your muscles will also take some time to show any visible change.

In about six to eight weeks, you can expect to see significant weight loss and some muscle definition. Your muscles should be clearly visible after 12 weeks.

Cardiorespiratory Fitness

Cardiorespiratory fitness is essential to gaining speed and endurance. It’s also a contributing factor to weight loss.

Within the first four to six weeks, a beginner runner can reduce their resting heart rate by 10 beats per minute, which indicates improved cardiorespiratory fitness.

Musculoskeletal System

Your musculoskeletal system is made up from your bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and connective tissue. These body parts usually take the longest to adapt to running.

Nevertheless, as your body adapts to running and exercise, you should have improved mobility and strength within the first six weeks.

Mental Change

Getting in shape isn’t just about the physical transformation.

Regular physical activity can reduce stress, boost mental health, promote neuron growth in the brain, and improve cognitive processes.

As your body gets in shape from running, you can expect to notice an improvement in your overall mental state.

In fact, one study has found that doing 30 to 35 minutes of low-intensity aerobic exercise three to five days a week for 10 to 12 weeks can improve overall mood.

female jogger on the beach

Factors That Influence How Long It Takes to Get in Shape Running

While the effects of running on your mental health are almost always immediate, the answers to the question, “How long does it take to get in shape running?” aren’t set in stone.

There are numerous factors that influence how long it can take for each person to get in shape through running.

Gender

It’s a common belief that men lose weight and get in shape faster than women, even when doing the same activities.

That said, there has yet to be conclusive evidence proving that men lose weight faster than women solely due to gender.

According to some studies, women expend significantly less energy than men. On the other hand, some studies suggest that there are no gender differences in energy expenditure.

Many factors come into play when trying to get in shape. That’s why it’s not easy to determine if gender alone is the reason men tend to get in shape faster than women.

Rather than gender, because most men carry more muscle tissue than women, they burn more calories. Women, however, are predisposed to store and retain fat.

Age

Our bones shrink in size and density as we age, making them significantly weaker. We also lose muscle mass, which lowers our metabolic rate.

Those same muscles lose strength and flexibility, which affects our stability, coordination, and balance.

As a result, older people who want to get in shape should give themselves as much time as possible to adapt to running.

Keep in mind, however, that this is a generalization. Not every old person has a low metabolic rate and fitness level.

If you’ve been active your entire life, chances are your body isn’t all that out of shape.

Body Weight

Body weight is another factor that you should consider. Individuals who are on the heavier side may take longer to get in shape because they need to start out gradually.

Even though it’s uncommon, running can cause joint injury and osteoarthritis in the knees. Obese people, on the other hand, are at a higher risk of developing such conditions.

When you’re heavier, you’re carrying several extra pounds that put a strain on your joints when you run.

In the long run, and if you push yourself too hard at the start, you risk joint degeneration.

The only way to avoid such an injury is to begin slowly and allow your body to adjust to running.

You should also rest when necessary and allow your body at least two to three days to recover.

Fitness Level

Your fitness level determines your endurance and stamina. The greater your endurance and stamina, the faster you’ll be able to get in shape.

Those who are new to running are most likely at a lower fitness level, which means that they’ll need to build endurance and stamina.

Still, just because you haven’t been running for a while doesn’t mean you’re out of shape completely.

If you’re the kind of person who moves around during the day or enjoys outdoor activities, you should be in good shape. This means you’ll be able to get fit faster.

Diet

What you eat has a direct impact on your weight loss

If your goal is to lose weight and get fit, you’ll need to consume fewer calories than you burn.

However, if you consume fewer calories but eat unhealthy foods, you may struggle to lose weight and get in shape.

Processed, junk, or fast food lack essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly, especially if it’s active.

Such foods will deplete your energy, slow your metabolism, and may even cause weight gain.

That’s why your goal of becoming fit and healthy is dependent on what you put into your body.

Running Training Plan

The way you run can have a big impact on how long it takes you to get in shape.

If you create a diverse running training plan that includes workouts to improve your stamina and endurance levels.

Such a training plan can help you get in shape much quicker than just going out on a run every day.

What’s more, a running training plan will prevent boredom and even injury.

However, if you simply run every day without incorporating running workouts, you will gradually get in shape but not as quickly as trying out different types of running.

You may also get easily bored and unmotivated if you do the same type of running every day for a prolonged period.

Male athlete runner in intense sprint during outdoor workout

How to Get in Shape Running

Getting in shape through running is anything but a walk in the park. It can be frustrating or monotonous at times, so here are some pointers to help you make the most of your run.

Diet

A person’s diet has a significant impact on how long it takes to get in shape. That’s why you should be mindful of your diet.

That said, there’s no need to go on any restrictive diets. Such diets, in which you must limit your calorie intake or refrain from eating carbohydrates, are counterproductive.

They can make losing weight more difficult, thereby lengthening the time it takes to get in shape.

The best diet for runners is one that’s tailored to each person’s body and needs.

No single diet can get everyone in shape, especially diets that promise quick weight loss solutions. These diets are completely unhealthy.

So, make sure you eat smart to reap the benefits of all that running.

Incorporate Different Types of Workout

One way to prevent boredom or demotivation is to diversify your running workout.

For example, you can include interval training, which can boost your cardiovascular fitness and, in turn, speed up the process of getting in shape.

You can also do speed workouts, such as hill sprints and in-and-out 150s.

There are also numerous types of running that can help you set up small goals and get in shape quicker.

Warm-Up and Cooldown

Warming up before your run and cooling down afterward are both essential. You are more likely to strain or injure yourself if you don’t warm up and cool down.

Begin any workout with a 10-minute warm-up to get your heart rate up. It makes it easier for your body to keep that heart rate constant throughout the workout.

After you finish running, cool down for 10 minutes to return your heart rate to normal and burn a few more calories.

Gear

The only gear you need while running is a good pair of running shoes. The right pair of running shoes will help you get the most out of your training and protect you from injuries.

It’ll also withstand a lot of pounding on the pavement until it’s time to replace the pair.

Keep in mind that you should break in your running shoes before doing any heavy-duty running in them.

You don’t want blisters and sore feet, which will slow down your efforts to get in shape.

Go Easy on Yourself

Ultimately, there’s no looming deadline after which you won’t be able to get in shape. So, go easy on yourself and gradually ease into running.

You have no idea how easy it is to sustain a running injury, especially when you’re just starting out.

Create short-term goals that can help you reach your primary goal. Celebrate milestones even if they’re not grand.

What matters is that you stay focused on the road ahead of you and keep a positive attitude.

Nothing can stop you from getting in shape as long as you maintain your physical and mental health.

Final Thoughts On How long does it take to get in shape running

Getting in shape isn’t easy, as is the case with achieving any major self-improvement goal.

It takes time to see tangible results, and we can become discouraged if we don’t see immediate, spectacular results.

As a result, we ask questions like, “How long does it take to get in shape running?”

Knowing that you can start to see positive results within two to three weeks if you run regularly can help keep you motivated and focused on getting through this specific time frame.

That said, it’s always essential to your motivation and mental health to remember that every body type is unique. Everyone yields different results at their own pace.

So, try to focus on your own fitness, physical, and mental health. As long as you stick to your goals and training, there’s no doubt that your body will get in shape in due time.

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