8 Annoying Running Beginners Problems (SOLVED)!


Relieve stress in everyday life, lose weight, or complete a life-long goal: there are plenty of reasons to start running. The joy of buying a new pair of running shoes and doing your first laps can’t be beaten. 

But, as a running beginner, you’ll find yourself up against some aches that can halt your motivation as quickly as it came. It’s been found that novice runners can find themselves more likely to get injured than recreational runners.(1)

In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions related to beginner running pain or discomfort, plus tips for acute relief if you find yourself with a running stitch or short of breath.

1. How do I get rid of side stitches?

Do you get a sharp, instant pain in your side when you run? This could be a running stitch, a benign, short-lasting pain. 

Stitches are a particularly annoying problem for running beginners. The exact cause is unknown, but if you often get running stitches, you should reevaluate how much you eat before a run(2). If you are sensitive to side stitches, avoid eating big meals two hours before a run and stick to smaller snacks instead.

What can help:

If you get a stitch, walk for a bit and press your hands on the spot that hurts while breathing slowly. As soon as the pain eases up, you can start running again at a slower pace.  

Strengthening your core with simple, daily exercises and controlling your breathing rhythm can provide some relief as well. 

2. Why does my stomach hurt when I run?

There’s nothing worse than heading out for a run…then making a run for the toilet. Cramping or stomach discomfort is common during exercise (3). After all, your stomach gets shaken up quite a bit when you run, which puts stress on your digestion.  

What can help:

Adjusting your nutrition is essential if you start running. Eating certain foods can trigger bloating, cramps, or diarrhea when you go out for a run.

Avoid putting additional strain on your stomach with high-fat, sweet, or spicy foods. Also, make sure that you stay hydrated before running to prevent cramps and afterward to prevent dehydration. See our liquid requirement calculator for more.

As soon as running becomes a routine activity, your body will learn to cope with the special challenges it presents.

3. Are sore legs normal after a run?

Sore muscles are an inescapable part of your running journey at the beginning. Usually, the pain starts a few hours after the workout and can last up to a week. 

It is caused by unfamiliar movement and sometimes improper technique, which strains the muscles. 

What can help

Take a few days of rest between your runs. The best thing you can do is to slowly increase the scope and intensity of your runs so that your body can adjust to the exercise.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely avoid sore muscles, but you can incorporate a cool-down and stretch after a run.

4. Why am I always out of breath when I run?

Beginner runners often experience shortness of breath when they start out. This can be caused by shallow breathing that doesn’t fit the running rhythm. Usually, the volume of the exhaled air does not equal the amount inhaled; the runner quickly becomes short of breath.

What can help:

Breathing increase happens when there’s a build-up of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream rather than when you need more oxygen.

If you are feeling out of breath, try this: inhale normally, and exhale harshly. This pushes a lot of air out of your lungs before breathing in normally again. 

5. Why do my feet hurt while I run?

Soreness in the ball of your foot, arch or heel pain can develop while running. Oftentimes, you will even notice the pain when you’re walking or standing.

Interesting fact:

Your feet are under particularly high strain while running. After all, they have to accommodate two to four times your body weight with each step.

The feet also are the foundation for an efficient, dynamic running technique. They are not accustomed to this kind of muscular exertion in daily life. They have to slowly adjust to the impact and develop the muscles for good foot strike.  

What can help:

A tip for beginners: If you have a step counter, aim for 180 steps per minute (or 90 strides per min). This will reduce ground force reaction (the amount of energy going through the foot) and can help reduce pain in the foot, ankle, and calves.(4)

6. How do I stop feeling sluggish when I run?

The first steps usually feel heavy and awkward for running beginners. Often there is absolutely no spring in your step or any kind of rhythm to your movement.   

What can help:

Evaluate and improve your running technique regularly. Professional runners have to diligently improve their running style, too, so they can continue running fast and efficiently.

Try adding in strides: short bouts of running with recovery in between. Strides are great for improving your speed, efficiency, and form. They’ll get you prepared for running at a faster pace.

How to do a stride:

  • Start running slowly
  • Increase to a “fast” speed for 15-20 seconds
  • This should be 85-95% of your max speed
  • Gradually decrease your speed until you stop

7. Why can’t I sleep at night after a run?

Do you have trouble falling asleep after an evening run? 

Running at night is a good way to get away from the bustle of daily life and reduce stress. But some people find it can affect sleep onset latency—the time it takes us to drift off.

What can help:

Don’t be put off by an evening run. Exercise can aid sleep, but it’s recommended not to do it less than an hour before bedtime.(5) You can also see what feels right and try running at different times of the day.

8. What causes lower back pain while running?

The back is what keeps your body upright when you run and acts as a “shock absorber” for all the pounding. At the same time, it is the control center for the coordination of all movements in your upper body, arms, and legs. It plays a major role in running. Usually the cause of lower back pain while running is a combination of improper running technique, a weak core, and a lack of flexibility.

What can help:

Do regular stretching and strength training to build up the muscles in your core. This will keep your back from getting exhausted as quickly and will reduce the pain. Also, evaluate and improve your running technique. You’ll reduce unnecessary strain while running, which makes your back work harder and leads to fatigue.  

Running tips for beginners

Everything is tough at the start. Don’t let the initial challenges get you down. Running is a very complex activity that challenges your body in many ways. That’s why it is so effective and popular.

  • Stay focused on your personal goal – it will keep you on track, even when the running gets harder.
  • Every run is different, and your body reacts accordingly.
  • Pain or minor problems that arise are totally normal and happen all the time – for beginners just as much as competitive runners. But keep your chin up!

As soon as your body has adjusted to the special challenges of running, it will be easier for you to handle them.



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