Running for Beginners


Running is a medium to a high-impact form of exercise. The benefits of running for people with type 2 diabetes shouldn’t be overlooked. Running can help promote weight loss, manage blood sugar, relieve stress and improve cardiovascular health and endurance. Remember, before starting a new workout plan, consult with your doctor about any adjustments that may need to be made to your medication and diet, and how to handle blood sugar highs and lows during and after exercise. 

Benefits of Running for People with Type 2 Diabetes:

  • Lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol
  • Makes for better blood sugar control
  • Builds stronger bones and muscles
  • Improves insulin sensitivity  
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Provides energy and helps reduce stress levels

How to Get Started:

Start Slow: Running may seem a little intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.  Along with a little effort and willingness to try, you may want to try walking first and progressing to jogging.

Try Interval Training: Interval training can be beneficial as you build your endurance, even for the most seasoned runners. Below are suggestions to help you get started with interval training. 

  • Beginners: Run for 10 to 30 seconds, follow with a one-to-two-minute walk
  • Intermediate: Run for one-to-five minutes, follow with a one-to-two-minute walk
  • Experienced: Run for six-to-eight minutes, follow with 30 seconds to one-minute walk

Set Goals: Setting goals and tracking your progress is essential for keeping motivation high. Working towards an overall mileage goal helps, such as completing a 5K—3.1 miles—is a great milestone for the first-time runner. 

Grab a Friend: Running with others can be a great social opportunity—inviting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers to join you. Having a running buddy can keep you motivated and accountable for reaching your goals. 

Join a Club: If you don’t have any friends or family who are willing to join you, you can also join a running group in your area or start your own. Check to see if your job has any incentives for being active. 

Gear You’ll Need:

  • Breathable athletic wear.
  • Walking shoes and socks—preferably flat, flexible, athletic shoes that fit well. You can get fitted for shoes at your local running store for optimal comfortability and safety.
  • Carrying a juice or glucose tablets might be helpful in the event of a low emergency.
  • Avoid nutrition bars, sports drinks and unnecessary supplements with added sugar. Consider healthy ways to replenish electrolytes include: coconut water, bone broth and mineral-rich fruits and vegetables.


  • Put off exercise if you have high or low blood sugar.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Monitor blood sugar levels before, during and after exercise.
  • If you’re on insulin, some research indicates injection sites should be away from muscles you’ll be using the most as working out can accelerate insulin absorption and lead to hypoglycemia. Other sources have a different perspective, therefore, it’s always best to discuss options with your doctor.


WRITTEN BY Beyond Type 2 Editorial Team, POSTED 03/20/19, UPDATED 08/08/23

This piece was authored collaboratively by the Beyond Type 2 Editorial Team.