Training tips Health

How to start running at 40: real advice to start today

where should I start if I want to start running at 40?

Firstly and most importantly – 40 is not old! 40 is not past it. You absolutely can do this and enjoy it. You will get fitter and happier and more flexible and so keep reading for practical tips to turn your plans to start running into the reality of you heading out that front door with your trainers on!

So you are ready to start mentally but don’t know how to start physically. You might be asking – is 40 too old to start running? But the answer is not at all. Do not worry! You are not alone, so many people ask us how to start running at 40 and beyond! But please know that you can start running for the first ever time at 40, and beyond!

How to start running at 40 – work out your why!

Deciding why you want to run is a good place to begin. This will help you stay motivated on the rainy days or when things get hard – it might be time for yourself, good physical health, to improve your mental health, or to take on a challenge like a marathon! This post is dedicated to helping you know where to begin if you’re asking how to start running at 40.

is running good for you?

If you’re wondering whether to start in case running isn’t good for you – the good news is it really is. There are so many benefits of running in your 40s. Or beyond that age of course! If you are getting back into running after 40 – all of the advice absolutely applies.

When asking how to start running at 40, keep in mind that it helps you maintain a healthy weight and general good health. Starting running really has the potential to make a significant difference to your quality of life, and you are clearly considering it by reading this article! Well done. Don’t be deterred. You aren’t too old to start running. How to start running at 40, 45, 50 and beyond – all of the advice stands and you will not regret it.

In terms of health outcomes running can boost your immune system, help you sleep well, reduce significantly the risk of suffering from a range of chronic medical conditions. It also increases muscle strength!

As well as physical benefits, running can really help with your mental wellbeing. We know that running causes a chemcial change in the brain releasing endorphins – a chemical that makes you feel good during and after your run.

Running helps build a positive sense of self – and boosts your self esteem and confidence. It makes you appreciate your body in new ways – marvelling in what it is capable of.

is running good for you

When is best to run?

In our modern lives we all have busy work and family schedules, and fitting everything in is hard. This may be what has stopped you starting running to date. The thought of fitting in your runs might seem impossible, but once you make the commitment to do it you will wonder why you didn’t do it before. So when you are asking how to start running at 40, a key to success is scheduling the time into your week.

Short running sessions can be fitted into a busy life. You could run early – before you do anything else. Or straight after work. Or you could run home from work if you commute to the office or workplace. Or, with lots more flexible working options nowadays, could you plan a run during a lunch break?

Our tips include: priortize your health when you are planning your weekly schedule. Don’t feel guilty about running or making time for yourself. You could join a local running club to develop a support network and schedule for your running. Be committed to fitting it in – remember that reason why you wanted to start running to begin with.

How long should I run for when I am starting out running?

When you are starting out you don’t need much time to get going. Total beginners need to allow 15 minutes to 40 minutes for those starter runs. As you get into running and you become fitter and stronger, you will be able to run for longer.

In terms of your health, when you are wondering how to start running at 40, just remember that a little running is much better than no running. If when you start out you can only manage a 10 minute run and walk session – that is fine. Do what you are able. We have a running plan below which starts with you just being able to walk – so don’t be put off.

If you can manage it, try and run/ walk for 15-40 minutes three times a week. Start where you are and do what you can! Below we have a 4 week plan to get you from a walk to non stop running for 25 minutes. Keep reading to discover how you can get started.

4 week plan to start running again

How to start running at 40 – it means taking it slow and steady at the beginning! In the initial stages of getting back to running you should look to walk or run three times a week – aiming to have a rest day in between.

Here is a starter plan to get you started from scratch, or if you’ve had significant time off. Remember to listen to your body and it’s fine if you need to repeat some stages or take it slower than we have said. This is a guide and we are starting with a week of brisk walking only so if you are further along than that then do adapt.

Week one: Three brisk walks. This is where you will feel your heartrate rise but you could easily carry on a conversation with a friend walking with you.

Brisk walk of 15 minutes followed by two further walks of 20 minutes each.

Week two: A mixture of running slowly with walking.

Easy walk of 5 minutes, brisk walk of 10 minutes, slow jog of 5 minutes.

Brisk walk of 20 minutes.

Easy walk of 5 minutes, slow jog 5 minutes, brisk walk 5 minutes, slow jog 5 minutes.

Week three: Introducing slightly longer running segments.

45 minute brisk walk.

Slow jog 7 minutes, walk 3 minutes – repeat 3 times.

Slow jog 12 minutes, brisk walk 2 minutes, repeat 2 times.

Week four: building to running for 25 minutes.

5 minutes slow jogging, 10 minutes steady walk, 10 minutes jogging, 5 minutes brisk walk.

10 minutes slow jogging, 5 minutes easy walk, 15 minutes slow jogging, 5 minutes easy walk.

25 minute non stop slow jog – CONGRATS! That is how to start running at 40!

How to avoid injury when you start running at 40.

If you’ve ever watched track or marathon running on the television, you will have noticed the runners jogging back and forth before the race begins. Why do you think that is? Well it’s because they know that their chance of getting an injury is much greater if their muscles are cold. Now – we are not suggesting that after our get back to running plan you will be running with elite runners – more that you should apply this knowledge to your own training plans to stay injury free!

Muscles lengthen when they warm up. When they are longer they can also exert more force with less effort. Warming up with a gentle jog or brisk walk also helps prevent tendinitis.

You won’t wear yourself out with warming up! This small amount of effort will protect your body from injuries.

Where should I run?

You have three main options for where to run – the treadmill, on the road, or on the trails/ offroad.

The gym treadmill offers a safe and convenient option, but lacks the stimulation and variety that running outside can offer. Don’t be afraid to try just running from out your own front door – nothing could be easier and no excuses to not go – the path is right there ahead of you.

Running gives you the chance to experience a landscape in a new way – you will be surprised at what you notice for the very first time.

We advise that you opt for variety to keep it interesting – try a loop route, and out an back, a park, a country track.

Running is a safe activity – but wherever you run, be aware, be prepared, and don’t put yourself in danger.

A note as you build up your distance – some surfaces are more likely to cause an injury than others. To prevent injury the best surfaces are firm (not slippy), relatively flat, smooth and provide some shock absorption. Grass isn’t an ideal surface because although it is soft it is often very uneven. So you can aim to find a soft, smooth dirt trail, flat smooth grass, or a street or path made of asphalt.

How can I stay motivated to run?

Finding or rather struggling to find (!) the motivation to run is really normal so don’t worry if you are finding it comes and goes. The very fact you are reading this is a good sign that you have some motivation for the task. Here are some ideas to keep the motivation up if you are asking how to start running at 40.

-Run with others. Running with friends or a running club keeps you accountable and motivated when you might not feel it.

-Build running into your usual activities. Could you run to or from work? Run to drop the kids off at school.

-Find your reason! Why do you want to start running? Is there someone you could use as your inspiration?

-Commit to a 10 or 15 minute run. Just decide to go out for a short run. You might decide to carry on a little longer once out, but even if not – it all makes a difference.

Should I be doing strength exercises when I start running?

It’s fine if you’re just solely running (any exercise is better than no exercise!) but there are lots of benefits to doing strength and conditioning training. A strong core helps you be upright. A strong butt is essential to be stable and powerful. Strong muscles around your knees takes some of the impact. We also know that bone and muscle mass decrease with age, so if you are starting running after 40, strength and conditioning training can help counteract these things.

kettlebell training for runners

Can I start running when overweight?

Running does place more impact on your joints than walking. There is a point at which excess weight will put strain on a joint – so if you think you might be in this category then speak to a physician and get advice.

On the whole however, some exercise is better than no exercise, and you are more likely to have health problems from being inactive.

Running is a high impact activity, so if you are overweight you need to be more careful in how to start running when overweight. You can do this by building up distance gradually and making sure you have plenty of rest time between runs. Listen to your body and act accordingly.

what should I wear?

run first marathon

Having the right kit is essential in order to make running feel comfortable and easier. Good shoes will protect your feet and knees and good fitting clothes means comfort and cool/ warth depending on the season.

winter kit:


long sleeved base layer


running tights/ leggings

windproof/ waterproof jacket

warm hat


supportive running bra – for women

good quality running socks.

If you’re running at night – reflective strips like these ones at amazon.

summer kit:

vest or crop top

lightweight tshirt


running bra (for women)

running socks


spf to protect the sin.

How can I find the time to start running?

This is a fair question! When we have busy lives it can be easy to opt out of exercise, and not find time to run. If you are a parent or have caring responsibilities, it is normal to feel guilty if you start taking some time out of other tasks to exercise. However, there is no need to feel guilty. You are far more able to cope with what life throws at you if you are fit and well. Running helps with physical and mental health.

We all have 24 hours in our day. Look at what you spend time on. Looking at social media can easily drain a lot of time, and doesn’t achieve a huge amount. Could 30 minutes spent on the sofa on your phone become a 30 minute run around the block?