The Beginners Guide to Running In Place

runners doing agility ladder training

Running in place

I hate to sound like a broken record, but outdoor running is one of the best things you can do to improve your overall fitness and health.

But what about running in place? Does it offer any benefits? Or is it just a waste of time? That’s where today’s article comes in handy.

Here’s the truth. Running in place is a convenient solution when you’re stuck at work, stay in a polluted area, or the weather outside is frightful, but just like any other exercise, it also has its downsides.

In this article, I’ll share with you a full guide to running in place, its benefits and downsides, as well as how to make the most out of it.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

What Is Running In Place?

Also known as stationary jogging, as the name implies, it’s the practice of running in a place where you run within a set space.  Simple at that.

Just because you’re not actively moving forward, stationary jogging is still effective, efficient, and a safe way to increase your heart rate and get into shape.

However, the exercise won’t provide the EXACT benefits of outdoor running as you’ll be working different muscles and systems, but many of the perks are alike.

Let’s explain some of these benefits.

Heart rate

Running in place will definitely get your heart rate up. How much depends on how hard you push yourself and your current fitness level.

In fact, put some effort into it, and you might get up your heart rate to 180 beats per minute.

Calories Burned

Stationary jogging burns far fewer calories than running outside, but calories are burnt nonetheless.

How many calories you burn depends mainly on intensity, weight, and duration.

A 160-pound person may burn about 280-300 calories in 30 minutes of running the place.

Keep in mind that the same person would burn over 450 calories for 30 minutes at an 8:00 minutes per mile pace.

Big difference. I know.

Scalable Intensity

You can make stationary jogging more challenging by pumping your arms much harder and bringing your knees higher to your chest. You can also use weights for extra resistance.


Jogging in place is one of my favorite exercises for warming up before running.

To make your warm-up more balanced, try doing butt kicks, jumps, squats, high knees, and forward lunges.

Can Be Done Anywhere

The main advantage of running in place is that you don’t need any fancy gear to get it done.

Jogging in place provides a convenient alternative to running outdoor or the gym. It can be done almost anywhere at any time.

It’s Safe

You can jog in place anytime, anywhere, even in the comfort of your own home. This helps you keep you safe and sound from outdoor dangers.

Improves Technique

Running in place is one of the most efficient drills you can perform to improve your running form. It teaches you how to properly engage your core, swing your arms, breathe deep, etc.

runner doing mobility drill

Running In Place VS. Running Outdoor

Although jogging in place has a lot to offer, outdoor running is still far the superior workout.

Running is more demanding on the body. It’s, in fact, one of the best cardiovascular and calorie-burning workouts out there.

On the other side, running in place works great if you’re stuck indoors and want to sweat it out.

Let’s look at some of the main differences between running and stationary jogging.

Muscles Worked

Although both exercises target similar muscle groups, running in place doesn’t employ the same body mechanics as outdoor running, so you’ll be engaging your muscles in a different way.

For starters, when you’re jogging in place, you’re not using your muscles to propel you forward.  Running in place requires less glute strength as you’ll be lifting your knees straight up instead of propelling your body forward.

You’ll be mainly landing on your toes, which builds lower leg and ankle strength.

The Downsides

Just like any other form of exercise, running in place also has its downsides.

For starters, you could still get injured.

The exercise is high impact, and you could develop overuse injuries such as knee pain and shin splints, especially if you push yourself too hard and/or too soon.

What’s more?

Keeping good form while jogging in place may be tricky to do for long periods.

Be careful there!

The other downside is that stationary jogging might be boring. There’s no scenery. You’re just vigorously pumping your arms and legs in place but going nowhere.

How To Run In Place The Right Way

Just because the exercise is convenient to do doesn’t mean that you can just jump in it without any proper instructions.

Warm Up

Start off at a slower pace and perform a few warm-up exercises before you get started

I’d recommend performing movements such as walking in place, lunges, inchworms, and squats before picking your speed.


Though running in place is simple, paying attention to your form isn’t less important.

Here are a few form cues to keep in mind:

  • Start with the knees low, but as you get warmed up, switch to bringing them higher and higher—to at least hip height
  • Open up your chest, gaze ahead, and keep your core engaged and back flat.
  • Keep your chin parallel to the floor
  • Keep your shoulders loose and aligned with your ears and neck with the spine
  • Swing your arms at a 90-degree angle. The direction I forward, not side-to-side.
  • Breathe deep and steadily throughout the entire exercise

Increase Intensity

To make it more challenging, move your feet more quickly and swing your arms more vigorously. Don’t fall into the trap of comfort.

Cool Down

Finish the session with a cool-down by walking in place for a few minutes, then down a few static stretches.

The Step By Step

Begin by assuming an athletic position, feet shoulder-width apart.

Next, while bent at a 90-degree angle, raise your right foot and left arm, moving them at the same time—and vice versa.

Switch to the other side, quickly lifting your left foot to hip height and moving your left arm back and right arm forward and up.

Keep leaping softly from your right to your left foot for a few minutes, focusing on kicking your heels toward the ceiling and landing on the balls of your feet.

The Workout

You can jog in place at a steady pace for 20- to 30-minute or do an interval workout by breaking it down with various drills to make it less boring.

Here’s a sample running in place interval routine:

  • Warm-up for 10-minute
  • Run in place as fast as you can for 3 minutes
  • Do one minutes body squats
  • Running in place as fast as you for 4 minutes
  • Do one-minute push-ups
  • Running in place as fast as you for 3 minutes
  • Perform one-minute jumping lunges
  • Running in place as fast as you for 5 minutes
  • Cool down for 5-minute

Keep your resting periods as short as possible—just enough to catch your breath, then keep going. Your heart rate should stay up the entire time.