How Long To Get Comfortable Running

Just started running again after decades of cycling being the main aerobic activity. Not going to sugar coat it…the run was short and and hurt more than I thought it would. Quads and low back mainly. Some calves too. Nothing to worry about just not used to the strain. I almost felt uncoordinated! Weird feeling. I must have looked like a complete kook. I sure felt out of place but, I’m committed to stay at it for a while.

Main question for the runners out there…I assume it’s much like new cyclist getting used to everything. It just takes a couple months riding to get that base level coordination. Is this the same for running? My goal is just 1 mile a day for a couple weeks then asses if I can add more. Rinse repeat. I’m also continuing to ride putting in some bigger weeks now with 300-400 miles max. Running will be the late afternoon add on and/or while at work (on the road/hotels).


FWIW I’ve been thinking of starting to run again, and everything I’m reading says to start a lot slower and give your body plenty of time to build up joint strength, soft tissues, etc.


It can take a while. But if you are in decent shape otherwise it’s 90% psychological. My recommendation is to focus of time rather than distance. Don’t be afraid to walk whenever you are inclined. It ok. Trail runners, people who can run 100 mile races do. I’d recommend staring with a 20 minute run. See if you ca. run 4 minutes then walk 1 and repeat.

See if you can run 4 days a week. Work on habit. Week 2 and 3 will be bad. But week 4 I bet you’ll be feeling good.


Problem is it’s not like cycling…as if you do that unless you crash you don’t get injured. Running you do. I started running in lockdown after a couple of years only riding. Did 2 miles and could barely walk for 3 days - and I am an experienced runner and have run 2:47 for the marathon. That said when I put my ego away and just did 10 mins easy 3x week for a month things got better. Now I average about 10-15 miles/week with my TT training and closer to 20 in the winter. Also do a few park runs and a couple of 10k in the winter to relieve the boredom and maintain some bone density in my 54 year old body. As mentioned keep it easy and only add 10% to your time every week or 2. If you have a history of running it will take about 6 weeks - if not double that time


When I started running after riding for a while, I did a Couch-to-5k plan to be really sure I wouldn’t hurt myself (long history of joint issues in my family). Lots and lots and lots of run/walk. It worked great, I’d recommend that to anybody else starting up running from cycling.

After C25k it was a a few months before I was sometimes sort of starting to enjoy parts of some runs. It seemed to have a great impact on my cycling, I felt stronger and more stable on the bike, but I generally hated running. Three years later I’m training for half-marathon trail run. I don’t really know what happened :sweat_smile:

Quads and calves is probably just DOMS. Lower back is always my cue to stop ignoring core conditioning.


I think that every day might be too much starting back. If you’re fit from cycling it’s very easy to go too far too fast too soon. The key is to have patience and back off immediately if there’s any joint pain, back pain etc

As others have said run/walk is a good option. In my own experience, after a year or so cycling only, I went with 2-3k twice per week initially. It was a real struggle to keep it slow. I stretched that to 5k over about a 4 week period and then added a third shorter run.

As others have said the key is to go slow in terms of overall distance and speed progression to avoid injury.

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I used to be a runner, but have just had 3 years of 100% cycling. I decided to use couch to 5k to get back into it this autumn - although I could have handled more running aerobically, using a run walk approach is helping my legs get used to it. I’ve adapted the programme to move through it a bit faster, but am sticking to the basic progression. I’m now 5 runs in and definitely feeling smoother on the run sections and my legs aren’t complaining too much.


That’s probably both too much and not enough. Think 30 mins every 2 days instead. One mile, you will certainly run it too fast (and muscular pain afterwards is a clue you are indeed too fast). Slow. 70% HR, no more. Keep that 30 mins every 2 days for a couple of weeks, then go to 35, then 40, and so on. There’s no need to run every day unless you really go all in on running (and then you won’t be running a mile each time either :slight_smile: ).

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To quote my comment to a similar question in the running thread:

Your heart and lungs have loads of fitness from cycling and to be honest, if reasonably strong cyclist could likely run decent 5k straight off … BUT your legs/muscles/tendons etc are NOT fit for running yet.

Most cyclists jump in and do too much too soon (since it seems SO easy due to bike fitness) but take time, build up slow, do walk/run to start and it will quickly improve.

I was a cyclist for about 5 years and got reasonably decent (fairly strong club cyclist, mid table TTer) but went out and did 44 min 10k in local race off no training…then couldn’t walk for a week!
Started run training and started duathlons, got down to a low 18 min 5k 38 min 10k and managed to qualify for world sprint duathlon champs for GB age group so you never know!

That was last year and now training for my first ever marathon.

It will come…and once muscles get used to it, then cycle fitness will mean big fast improvements… BUT give yourself 4-6 weeks to slowly build up muscles/tendons etc.


Even after training and running a half marathon I’m still not comfortable :joy:


I just started running this summer. After a month or so of walking a couple of miles, then run-walking, I can now run a continuous 3 miles at a slow pace. I could probably run 5 but haven’t tried it.

I’m running every 2-4 days.

The biggest obstacle now is recovery. After my last 3 mile continuous run, I felt good. My legs felt good during the run. I’m not getting excessive doms but my legs feel heavy for days. Mostly I’ll feel it when getting up from a chair or going up and down the stairs in our house. I wonder if there is a way to progress faster.


I’ll be the odd one out and say it takes about a week to start to feel good running again. Everything will be sore, but you’ll start to feel more natural in a pretty short period of time.

I’ve gone from the bike to 60 mpw and then 80mpw in two weeks. That being said, I’m currently injured so take my advice with a grain of salt.

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I don’t have an answer for how long it’ll take. But the less I have run recently, the more time I spend warming up to run.

I think you’ll feel a lot better running if you spend several minutes doing leg swings in both directions, deep lunge stretches, some glute activation exercises, etc.

Some of the muscle stuff will go away pretty quickly. But the lower back stuff makes me think you’re super stiff/short in your front adductors/hips, so you need to get those muscles warm first. If your legs can’t comfortably extend behind you, running is going to hurt your back.

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But comfort running is from stability which is from having a solid core, requisite impact resistance and good form. Depending on a lot of factors that time will vary. Best way imo is to just be consistently conservative in running volume. #1 rule is just because you can doesn’t mean you should


Just a suggestion… Start running every other day for a few weeks. Then if that feels good do two days, day off for a build up. Then repeat but by adding 1/2 to 1 mile. Miles are arbitrary though. Minutes may be a better goal as pace doesn’t come into play.

But to answer your question it feels weird for awhile. Start slow… it does get better.


Here’s a few links to the BarryP Program. It’s simple and straight-forward. Barry says it’s not geared for new endurance athletes, but, if you have a cycling base, you should be able to jump right in at low mileage. My experience has been that running is no sport for “dabblers”. It may seem counter-intuitive, but if I rung just a few days a week, I’ll end up injured. If I follow the Barry P plan and run 5 or 6 days a week, I harden up and can do the slow, progressive mileage build (or maintain) with no injury issues.

A quick summary:

Phase 1 � all easy paced training using the paces @ Run 6 days a week using a 1:2:3 ration (ie short runs of 15 minutes, medium runs of 30 minutes, and a long run of 45 minutes…just as an example). Gradually increase mileage, but by no more than 10% from one week to the next.

Phase 2 � replace one medium run a week with a threshold workout of 20-60 minutes long.

Phase 3 � replace the other medium run with a race specific workout.

Some people will never reach phases 2 or 3.

Run Training - The Program (part 1): Triathlon Forum: Slowtwitch Forums
Run Training - The Program (part 2) : Triathlon Forum: Slowtwitch Forums
Runtraining - The Program (part 3): Triathlon Forum: Slowtwitch Forums


Thanks @gshotts. Similar to cycling which is no surprise. I may be in the group of people who never reach phase 2 and 3 but, I never intended to race bikes when I started JRA for fun all those decades ago too! Fully periodized now and skip riding super fun group rides to do work more specific to me. I think it’s fun though so running will follow what is fun. I want to get comfortable enough to trail run and just sort of start running ala Forrest Gump.

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Ran a 1:47HM in 3mo of training running 3x per week after exclusively cycling for 2 years. Guess I’m a dabbler and should have been injured

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I’m glad this works for you, but I don’t think I would recommend a plan like this to anybody who’s new to running, no matter how good their cardio fitness is. Sounds like a great way to take tendons/ligaments/joints that are unaccustomed to high-impact endurance activity and mess 'em up good and proper.


My 2 cents.

I also started running about 2 months ago. Like you, exactly the same feelings and sensations.

For me, I decided to take the long view and say, “well, I’m happy to do some z2 work and just build up slowly”. For a month this meant only walks!

But I’m noticing I’m getting stronger. Able to slowly push it and jog / run. Still not great but I definitely feel stronger. I think take a page of base training and being very accepting that you’re starting something new will be helpful. I know for me it has!