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Running for Overweight Beginners: How to Start

Many people who are overweight or obese consider running as a way to get healthy and lose unnecessary weight. However, many people wonder if overweight people can run at all?

Often heavier people are curious if they can do that safely? What steps and measurements they need to take to succeed and how to approach running without getting injured – this is what we are going to discuss here.
Running for overweight beginners is completely possible and can be not only a safe but even fun and life-changing experience!

Things to consider BEFORE going for your run

There are some steps that you need to take to make your running safe before you even start. This is a crucial point because these steps are going to prevent you from injuring yourself, which is quite risky when you have some extra kilograms or pounds that are putting additional pressure on your body. Thus, please do not skip this part.

Choosing the right shoes

If you are an overweight or obese runner, you need extra cushion and support. Go to your local running store and ask for assistance. Often they have machines that analyze your foot and you will get the most individualized information on what shoe might be the best one for you.

Choosing good fitting running gear

You want to feel comfy during your run. This step is valid regardless of your weight. Running in inappropriate attire can make running very unpleasant for everybody. Moreover, it is always a good idea to check the weather and decide how many layers you will need and if running gear is necessary as well.

Choosing the right surface

This one is often underestimated. Your running surface is so important! Running on a soft surface prevents injuries and put less stress on your ligaments, tendons, and bones when pounding around. Thus, search for a grass, dirt road, or just run in a forest/ mountain.

Try to stay out of the asphalt or the track at least 75% of your running time. You can start spending more time on them once you reduce your weight to a normal range.

Choosing a soft surface over a hard one will allow you to minimize injuries and spend more time running.

Things to consider AFTER you you have your shoes, gear, and running surface in your mind

So now you have everything to start running, now it is time to actually do it.

My first and most important piece of advice here for running for overweight beginners is to start slowly and shortly!

What does that mean? That I would suggest you start with some workouts that incorporate running and walking stages.

Vitesse Running App provides a variety of these in the fat-burning and beginners category. One of the best workouts you can start with is “weight-loss starter” under the beginners’ category. It is only 17 minutes with the walking included. This is a perfect move for somebody who is about to start running and it is overweight or obese.

Get me movin‘ ” is a 21min workout where you do 7 sets of 2 min very easy running and 1-minute rest. If you have never run before, this should be definitely your first workout!

If you are a fan of quick and a bit more challenging workouts, you can do “I need peace“. You still have easy running and walking stages for 15 minutes but in the last two stages, you have 2 minutes tempo and 1-minute tempo where you can pick up the pace a little bit.
Once you feel more comfortable with running, you can start cutting the walking and try a full recovery run (search for the green tag) or other workouts that alternate between recovery running (a stage where you run VERY easy) and easy running (a stage where you run slightly faster but still feels easy). You can try these under the fat-burning category and great examples are “Tempo Runner” and “Sand and Sea“.
You can also just do a free run – one where you choose how long and fast to run but please, take it as easy as possible in the beginning.

Do not try to run for too long. Although we all have different running abilities, you will have enough time to increase your distance and improve your pace.
I would also suggest that you don’t pay attention to your pace in the beginning. What matters is that you are out there and doing what is best for you.

Running is a very adaptive sport and the more you run, the easier (and faster) running will get.
Do not try to run every day, you can start by running 3 times a week and see how you feel. If it feels good, in two weeks you can add one more run. From there you can add one more run every two weeks if your body responds well.

What about your weekly mileage?

Running for obese people is not about hitting a specific mileage but getting healthy and fit!

Once you get rid of the weight that you need to, you can worry “more” about how long you run each week.

In general, just try to start small and add on if you feel good about it. Once running gets easier it will be also easier for your body to run more often.

Just don’t force it. I promise, if you are smart with your running, you will get there.

Another piece of advice is that you mindfully start your journey. Identify your goals for each month. If you have goals it is easier to stick to a schedule. Your goal could be as simple as doing 3 workouts each week. Just promise yourself you will go for the change because you really are. It takes only one simple step to change your life and then to repeat it each time.

A nutrition note: since your goal is weight- loss, use exercise to burn more calories, not as an excuse to consume more. You want to eat healthy and nutritious food which will provide you with energy for longer. You want to hydrate well – ideally with water, not only with juice, milk, or other caloric beverages. Also – pay attention to your protein intake, your body will need it to build more muscles and more muscles burn more calories in general.

A special smart note: Use our Vitesse Running Coach who will guide you through your running journey! He will pay attention to your running, give you advice on what needs to be changed and make sure you recover well after your workout. Plus, he is your greatest fan and will love to give you his unconditional support!

 

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