How to Run When Overweight: A Guide for Beginners

Want to learn how to run, but you’re not sure how to start, or worried about how you’re weight will impact you? Get started with the Running Guide For Beginners! #runner #getfitforlife #youcandoit



Welcome, or welcome back to our little corner of the internet, where we chat about all things weight loss, health, fitness, and wellness. I’m so glad you’re here! Have you ever wanted to start running but felt overwhelmed because of your weight? Trust me, I get it! It can feel like the odds are stacked against you. But in this post ‘How to Run When Overweight’, I want to share something that can make a huge difference in your journey towards embracing running, no matter your size: a guide specifically for beginners or those who may be overweight – like I was at the start of my running journey. Running is for everyone, and with the right approach, you can make it a part of your routine. Let’s get started!

LEARN MORE ABOUT MY WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY! > How I Lost Over 80lbs: Tips For Starting A Weight Loss Journey

Table of Contents

Understanding Your Starting Point

Before going any further, let’s take a moment to understand where you’re starting from. This is an important step that often gets overlooked, but it’s so important! Assessing your current fitness level helps set you up for a successful and enjoyable running journey.

Understanding your baseline fitness level is crucial for creating an effective and safe exercise plan, especially for beginners or those who are overweight (Warburton et al., 2007) (Lee et al., 2010).

First things first, be honest with yourself about your current fitness level. This isn’t about judgment; it’s about knowing your baseline so you can track your progress and set realistic goals.

Are you mostly sedentary, or do you have some active habits already? Knowing this can help tailor your approach.

When I first started the Couch to 5K program, I remember feeling so overwhelmed. I couldn’t even run for 30 seconds without feeling completely out of breath. It was discouraging, but I quickly learned that it’s all about setting realistic and achievable goals.

Start small. Maybe your initial goal should just be to walk briskly for 20 minutes a day. That’s perfectly okay! Small, consistent steps lead to big changes over time.

how to run when overweight

Understanding your starting point isn’t about comparing yourself to others. It’s about laying a strong foundation for the progress you’re about to make. We all start somewhere, and every step forward is a victory.

I’m living proof that those initial 30-second runs can eventually lead to finishing a 5K. Trust me if I can do it, so can you!

Choosing the Right Gear

Now that we’ve got a good understanding of where you’re starting from, let’s talk about gear. This might seem like a minor detail, but trust me, the right gear can make a world of difference in your running experience.

First up, let’s talk shoes. When I first started running, I didn’t realise how CRITICAL a good pair of running trainers was. I just grabbed my usual walking trainers which I’d been wearing for 2 years, and I paid for it with blisters and sore feet!

Investing in a proper pair of running trainers that offer good support and fit well can help prevent injuries and make your runs much more comfortable. Taunton et al., 2003) (Nigg, 2001).

running for beginners

Next, clothing. I don’t think you need special clothes for running as a beginner, running should be a pretty budget-friendly activity.

Your main focus should be on wearing something that you’re comfortable in and prevents chafing. Try to choose fabrics that are light and breathable, and ideally have some moisture-wicking capability.

For women, the main item of clothing you should invest in is a good high-impact sports bra – I prefer to use a sports bra with underwire and padding, like this one.

And then there’s the optional gear. While not strictly necessary, running socks, a running belt (I recommend one with a water bottle included – like this one) or an armband can make your running experience easier.

If you like listening to music or podcasts while running, consider wireless headphones that stay in place and are sweat-resistant.

Choosing the right gear isn’t about having the latest or most expensive items; it’s about finding what works best for you and supports your running journey.

Trust me, taking the time to get the right gear will pay off in the long run—pun intended!

how to run when overweight

How To Run When Overweight: The First Steps

Now that you’re geared up and ready to go, let’s talk about getting started. This is where the magic begins, but it’s important to remember that starting slow is key.

When I first began the Couch to 5K program, it was really tough, but those small steps are where you lay the foundation for success.

Start with walking. Walking will lay the foundations for learning how to run when overweight or if you’re inactive (Haskell et al., 2007) (Swain & Franklin, 2006).

Build up your endurance and get your body used to moving. Aim for a brisk 30-minute walk to get started. Once you’re comfortable with that, you can begin to incorporate short intervals of running.

Gradual progression is so important to avoid injury and burnout. I know how tempting it is to go all-in on something, I’m a recovering all-or-nothing thinker!

It might be tempting to push yourself hard right away but trust me, slow and steady wins the race. I learned this the hard way.

It’s perfectly okay to repeat weeks or slow down your progression if you need to. Everyone’s journey is different, and it’s important to listen to your body and adjust as necessary.

Celebrate each milestone, no matter how small it might seem. Every step forward is progress!

Starting slow isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a smart strategy that sets you up for long-term success.

You’re building strength, endurance, and confidence with every step, and before you know it, those 30-second runs will turn into minutes, and then miles.

walking to run

Developing a Sustainable Routine

Now that you’ve taken those first steps, it’s time to focus on developing a sustainable routine. Consistency is key to making running a lasting part of your life and finding a routine that fits your schedule and lifestyle is crucial.

First, find the right time of day to run. Whether you’re a morning person or prefer the evening, choose a time that works best for you and stick to it.

I found that running in the early morning worked wonders for me—it set a positive tone for the rest of the day and helped me avoid the afternoon heat or after-lunch lull. But everyone is different, so pick a time that feels right and fits into your daily life.

Balancing running with other types of exercise can also help keep things interesting and prevent overuse injuries. Incorporate activities like strength training, yoga, or cycling into your routine.

These exercises can complement your running by building muscle, improving flexibility, and providing variety (Fletcher et al., 2001). I love adding plyometric training to my routine, which has been shown to improve running economy.

Rest and recovery are just as important as your runs (Kellmann, 2010). Make sure to schedule rest days to allow your body to recover and repair.

Listen to your body—if you’re feeling particularly tired or sore, it’s okay to take an extra day off.

recovery and rest run overweight

Get “The Beginners Running Guide” eBook!

If you’re excited to jump into the world of running and want something extra to help you along the way, I have something for you.

I’ve put together an ebook, “The Beginners Running Guide,” designed to provide you with the information and motivation you need to start your running journey confidently. No matter your size or fitness level.

What’s Included?

  • Building Your Own Plan: After walking you through a baseline fitness test, you will be given all the information you need on where to start.
  • Nutrition & Hydration: Evidence-based nutrition advice to fuel your body, including macronutrients, timing meals, and some snack and meal ideas to get you started.
  • Motivation and Mindset Strategies: Techniques to stay motivated, overcome common challenges, and maintain a positive mindset throughout your journey.
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid: Learn from others’ experiences to sidestep common pitfalls and make your running journey smoother.
  • Injury Prevention Tips: Essential advice on how to avoid common running injuries, ensuring you stay on track without setbacks.
  • Running Techniques: Detailed descriptions of proper running form and techniques to improve efficiency and reduce the risk of injury.
  • And More!
running nutrition

Who is this book for?

  • Absolute Beginners: If you’ve never run before or are just starting out, this ebook provides all the foundational knowledge you need to get started safely and effectively.
  • Those Returning to Running: If you’ve taken a break from running and want to get back into it, this guide offers gentle re-entry plans to ease you back into the routine.
  • Overweight People: I was extremely mindful of those carrying extra weight when writing this, as I was when I first started. Learn how to run when overweight comfortably and confidently.
  • Busy Lifers: Everything is adjustable, this book is perfect for anyone trying to fit running into a hectic lifestyle.
  • Anyone Seeking Motivation: Packed with motivational strategies, this ebook is ideal for anyone needing a boost to stay on track with their fitness goals.

When I first started running, resources like this would have been invaluable in helping me stay on track and reach my goals.

Whether you’re just getting started or looking to improve your current routine, this ebook is packed with practical advice and encouragement.

How to Run When Overweight

You can get your “Running for Beginners” copy or learn more about it by clicking here. It’s a great way to ensure you have all the tools and knowledge you need to succeed, right at your fingertips.

How To Run When Overweight: Conclusion

Learning how to run when overweight can seem daunting but with the right approach and mindset, it’s absolutely achievable. Remember, this is your journey, and every step forward is a step towards a healthier, happier you.

Celebrate your progress, no matter how small, and keep pushing forward. Running is for everyone, and you are capable of achieving great things.

I hope you feel inspired by this post ‘How To Run When Overweight’ and ready to take the next step in your running journey.

If you have any questions, or experiences to share, or need further encouragement, please comment below. Let’s support each other and celebrate our successes together. Happy running!

Final Word

Remember that every runner begins with that first, often challenging step. It’s not about how fast you go or how far you can run—it’s about showing up, putting in the effort, and being kind to yourself along the way. You have everything you need to succeed within you.

Warmly, Brooke

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