How To Start Running When Overweight

How To Start Running When Overweight

Many people look at professional runners with jealousy and assume that all runners are thin. This misconception fuels the notion that if you start running, the pounds will just melt away. If that is what you are hoping to hear in this article, you will be disappointed.

It does remain true that adding exercise to a healthier relationship with food can equal weight loss. And, of course, running is a great form of exercise; this is why today we are discussing how to start running when overweight.

First Things First

Before embarking on an exercise regiment in the hopes of losing weight, consider improving your relationship with food. Notice we did not say, “go on a diet.” That was strategic. Diets bring to mind depriving yourself of everything you love to eat. People also try to severely limit calories in order to lose weight which often leads to evening hunger. Guess what evening hunger often leads to? You guessed it: night overeating.


If you’re looking for sustainable, long-lasting weight loss you need to completely shift your mindset about eating. Looking at food as fuel is the first shift in mindset. Especially if you intend to exercise, you need to be adequately fueling your body to do so.

Next, you need to make good choices so you don’t feel hungry all the time. The worse thing for derailing a diet is feeling hungry. If you can get your eating on track first, the exercise portion will help round out your life-changing goals.

Starting to Exercise

When you begin exercising after a long hiatus, you need to be patient with your body. You didn’t gain weight overnight and you can’t expect to lose it that quickly, either. Pick for yourself a doable workout regiment that won’t result in you becoming frustrated or injured.

For example, if you’re very overweight and want to start running, you may consider walking first. If you’re contemplating joining a local gym with class offerings, look for group classes labeled for beginners.

Is Running Bad If You Are Overweight?

Anyone can run! But first, let’s discuss some things to consider first.

 Gear: Get yourself some adequate gear. This isn’t the gym class of your youth. They make performance apparel that will wick away sweat. Invest in some.

 Shoes: If you’re serious about running, get running shoes. They even make types of shoes specifically for heavier runners that help with absorbing the shock of impact.

 Warm-Up Properly: Dynamic warm-up just means not to “static stretch” like we did when we were teenagers. Warm-up your body by moving. Even walking!

 Mentally Prepare Yourself to Start Slow!

How Should Overweight People Run?

You know this is a trick question, right?

If you’re wondering how to start running when overweight, it’s the same as for people who aren’t!  All people run the same: one foot in front of the other. The question you need to ask yourself is how should people who are new to running start running? And does your body size and/or shape matter?

Your body can matter, in so far as carrying around extra weight can tax your body.

Tips for New Runners

Learn and use proper form. Helpful to all runners, if you are new to running better to learn how to do it right than to unlearn bad habits later on!

Next, you should find a training plan that seems accessible. Couch to 5K is a great plan for beginners. It starts out with walking and adds in running, slow and sure. A run and walk strategy should not be seen as failing to run. Methods such as the Galloway Method are highly respected by runners across the world.

Run short distances and build your distance gradually. This is the best way to ease into it, avoid injury and stay healthy.

Joining a running community, either win person or on social media, is another great way for any newbie to stay positive, get motivated and meet new people. Some people find an accountability partner is a great help for them. Whether this is a person who actually works out with you, someone with whom you check in daily, or a daily internet post, this accountability can be a game-changer.

Adding some strength and core training are also good pieces for finding success. Often people trying to lose weight hesitate to do strength training. You should not be afraid of it. Lifting for fitness and running is typically higher numbers of lower weights, and are often done in circuits. This is different than weight lifting to bulk up. Don’t confuse the two.

Will Losing Weight Help My Running?

Speaking very generally, losing weight will often transform into easier running. It makes sense that the less you are carrying around, the easier it will be. Having said that, some runners assume skinnier is better and their performance actually suffers.

If you are heavy, weight loss will probably help. If you don’t actually have extra weight to loose, trying to force loss doesn’t always help. Some people are stronger and healthier with those few extra pounds on their body.

Be Warned

One warning is that for many people who are new to running, the weight seems to come off quickly. Overweight running burns a lot of calories and shocks your body when you are new to it.

However, the reality is that the more you do something, your body gets used to it. As your body acclimates to running you won’t get the same caloric burn or weight loss as a result.

The best thing you can do when that happens is to mix up your workouts. That typically shocks your body into more change and more weight loss.

How to Start Running When Overweight? Just Do It

If you’re trying to get your weight under control, running may be a great way to do so. If you’re motivated to create some change, running can be a very liberating way to do it!

Get yourself some good shoes, find a training plan and just head out the door. Just be forewarned: it can get to be an expensive habit!

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