Why Am I So Bad At Running? (9 Reasons Why)

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Lucas Reynolds

Lucas Reynolds loves playing tennis, golf, and football the most. But really, he'll play any sport as long as it's competitive.

If you’ve started running recently, you might’ve felt yourself not improving as quickly. You’re not as fast as you’d like, and you get exhausted fast.

Many new runners ask; why am I so bad at running? Let’s go over 9 common reasons some beginners might be bad at running, and what you can do to fix each one.

Why Am I So Bad At Running?

1. You’re Trying Too Hard

You should start at a pace you’re comfortable with. Your body needs time to handle faster speeds for longer durations. Building stamina isn’t different from building muscles in this aspect.

Pushing yourself too hard at the start is actually counterproductive. You’re risking illness and injury by stressing your body out early on.

2. You’re Not Breathing Right

You’ve probably heard that nose breathing is healthier than mouth breathing and normally that’s indeed the case. Unfortunately, nose breathing while running isn’t recommended.

In fact, inhaling through your mouth and exhaling through your nose while jogging is the way to go. Your oxygen intake needs to keep up with the effort, so mouth breathing will do the trick.

Belly breathing remains effective regardless. Unlike chest breathing, belly breathing fills your lungs fully.

Place your hand on your belly, to ensure that it’s contracting and expanding instead of your chest.

3. Neglecting Core Exercises

Leg day is important and all, but so is the rest of your body. Your core muscles in particular are crucial for your overall stability and speed.

There are plenty of core exercises you can pick from. You’ll eventually notice yourself running more steadily and spending less energy during your runs.

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You should prioritize your back, chest, abs, and obliques to enjoy a better experience running.

4. Your Form Is All Over The Place

You might want to check your posture and fix any unnecessary movements while running. Beginners often waste a lot of energy without realizing it, due to taking the wrong form.

Stay straight as an arrow and relax your hands and shoulders for more efficiency. Make sure you’re not swinging your arms too wide as well.

While your feet should stay on the ground for as little time as possible, to maintain a decent speed. Don’t bounce by striking the ground too hard nor take long strides.

About 80% of athletes run on their toes, for good reasons. The higher you are off the ground, the harder you fall, and the more friction your body has to fight through.

Run smarter, not harder.

5. You’re Not Eating Properly

You’re Not Eating Properly 

A healthy diet is crucial for all runners. You’ll especially need controlled amounts of carbs depending on your running sessions’ intensity. Not to mention minerals, vitamins, and proteins.

Be mindful of when you start your runs between your meals too!

You should wait for half an hour minimum before running if you had a small meal. A heavy meal would instead require you to wait 3 or 4 hours or else you’ll feel bloated.

Consuming protein right after a good run is highly recommended for better muscle recovery. Eggs, milk, chicken, and beans are all great options.

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6. You’re Not Sleeping Enough

Not getting enough sleep is likely something you’ve overlooked. Similar to eating properly, sleeping well is essential to ensure a positive recovery and improved endurance.

Sleeping 7 to 8 hours a day should do the trick. Keep in mind turning in for the day between 10 and 11 pm is ideal.

7. Not Using The Right Track

Tracks, or surfaces, you’re running on, make a difference. They matter as much as having the correct form.

You’re probably used to running on pavement or concrete. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. Yet, running on grass tracks, or through grasslands, offers a much better experience.

Not only will you feel in tune with nature, but the stress on both your mind and body will also decrease considerably.

You can’t bounce as easily when using pavement and rubber tracks. However, a grass surface will absorb most of the impact when your feet hit the ground.

You’ll be able to run as fast for longer durations as a result. It’s a win-win.

8. You’re Growing Too Comfortable

If you’ve been comfortable with your pace for a while, you might’ve noticed your progress stagnating. Now, you’re not trying hard enough. We’ll only improve by pushing ourselves harder.

The key here is whether you’ve allowed your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments enough time to adapt before increasing mileage. That’s when the 10% rule comes into play.

Each week, increase your mileage by 10% of the previous week. You’ll gradually find yourself able to run more and for much longer without risking injury.

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Let’s say you’re starting with 15 miles this week. Adding 10% would increase your next week’s mileage to 16.5. 18 miles for the week after, and so on.

Remember to take a week as a break every three weeks, by lowering the mileage back to the second week. This is crucial for building mileage consistently without sustaining injuries.

As they say, slow and steady wins the race.

9. Not Staying Consistent

You’ll inevitably have bad days when running sometimes. Be they sick days, injuries, or simply not being in the mood, it’s naturally okay to skip them. Recovery should always be your priority.

Our bodies are far too complex, but they’re also meant to adapt quickly. Staying consistent is how we take advantage of that and explore our potential.

Always catch yourself before growing lazy.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why leg day is so hard, why you walk so fast, and why pull-ups are so hard.


No one is really bad at running. A lot of factors go into shaping a good runner, and only by observing those factors and adjusting what’s necessary can you start making real progress.

Now that you’re aware of the 9 reasons you’re not good at running, you should be able to make a comeback and improve quite a bit.


  • Lucas Reynolds

    Lucas Reynolds loves playing tennis, golf, and football the most. But really, he'll play any sport as long as it's competitive.

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