Running for Overweight Beginners: What No One Else Will Tell You
Since running is such an excellent form of exercise that literally anyone can lace up and try with little more than a pair of shoes, it is a popular exercise choice for many people. Watching elite marathoners would have you believe that all runners are small, light and toned individuals. Of course, if you go to a local race, you will find that is anything but the truth.
Runners come in all shapes and sizes. If you are struggling with your weight, don’t assume that you won’t fit in at a group run or race. Most runners believe in facilitating a very welcoming and inclusive community.
Prior to Starting
If you have been doing other vigorous cardiovascular activity, it is okay to pick up a training plan and start running. However, if you have been relatively sedentary, it is good to meet with your general practitioner before beginning any type of new workouts.
Note, this is not just pertaining to overweight runners! Anyone who is new to exercise after a hiatus should be sure they are in good enough overall health to start a new regime. Once your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you are ready!
Is Running Bad If You Are Overweight?
Running is not bad if you are overweight. In fact, if you are trying to lose weight, running might be an excellent tool for you. Although I find it frustrating when non-runners lament the dangers of “damaging your knees” by running too much, this is something that an overweight runner needs to be aware of.
As an overweight runner, you are putting extra stress on knees and joints with every impact to the ground. For this reason, you may find that shoes with extra support are a good idea and can help you to protect your body. Did you know they make shoes especially geared toward heavier runners? That alone points to the fact that running is something anyone can do if they want to!
Another problem you may find is chaffing. Please don’t get offended because runners of all shapes and sizes can fact this problem; however, overweight runners seem to be particularly plagued by this.
When running two parts of your body, such as your thighs, can rub together and cause redness, irritation and discomfort. They sell lubricants that help protect these areas! Look into items made just for this purpose to keep running comfortably.
You also may find yourself having difficulty breathing. This is also a problem that any runner can face, but can be more pronounced by new and/or overweight runners. The best advice I have here is to be aware of your body and stop walking before the breathing problem gets out of hand.
Can An Obese Person Learn To Run?
Anyone can learn to run if properly motivated. You just need to recognize that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The biggest mistake most people make when embarking on a new type of exercise is they try to jump in with both feet. While commendable to dream big, you are more likely to find success if you think small.
First Things First
Once you have been cleared to exercise, you will need some proper gear. Start from the bottom and work your way up.
✓ Shoes: Any runner needs quality shoes. As mentioned before in this article, you may need to consider shoes made for heavier runners. Be certain to visit your local running store for some advice on the best shoe for your feet!
✓ Running Apparel: Sure, when we were kids we could tear around the yard all day in a simple cotton shirt and shorts. Those days are over, friends! You want to get yourself some performance gear that wicks away moisture such as sweat.
✓ Socks: Your socks matter! In order to prevent blisters and other uncomfortable problems to your feet, you want quality running socks.
✓ Technology: Whether you are going to track your runs on a SmartWatch or your phone, you need to decide if you want to run with some form of technology. If you choose to go with an app on your phone, you will need a running belt or phone carrier of some sort!
✓ Sport Bra: Female runners will want to be sure to find a quality sports bra. This is not a place to skimp! Find one that is comfortable and affords you adequate support.
Other Items: Depending on you, there are other items you may wish to purchase. These include headphones, body glide, a hydration belt (or fuel belt), etc.
How Many Minutes of Exercise Should an Obese Person Do?
My words of wisdom to a new runner are always to start small. When contemplating running for overweight beginners, this is even more essential. Don’t try to do too much at once.
You need to be able to take baby steps before you make giant leaps. If you are new to exercise, start out with just a 5-15 minute brisk walk.
If your body handles that easily, feel free to add more time. Do not get down on yourself if you head out to walk and after 5 minutes feel like it is a struggle. Be smart and be kind to your body.
If you can easily walk for 20-30 minutes, you may be ready to add some jogging. If you are wondering what that might look like, don’t be nervous. You may just start out with a 1:00 minute easy jog for every 8-9 minutes you walk. This may sound easy but don’t be surprised if you struggle.
As the jog intervals get easier, you can start to subtract from the walking portion and slowly add to the running portion. Before you know it, you will be running more and more!
When Will I Be Able to Run the Whole 30 Minutes?
For many people, the ability to run for 30 solid minutes seems to be noting that they are “real runners” and that they have hit a significant milestone. If that is your goal, I back that 100%. Running for 30 minutes is a fantastic achievement and you should be proud. However, some people will never run for 30 continuous minutes and that is okay too.
Some runners find that they can hit that point with 4-6 weeks of solid training. On the other hand, some runners struggle to get there and even after 10 weeks of training, they find themselves taking walk breaks. Hear me loud and clear friends: walking is not a sign of weakness.
Just today I was doing run/walk intervals with a friend who is returning (yet again) to running. We went a solid 5.5 miles together using the 2:00 run then 2:00 walk scheduled intervals. She commented that had she been alone, she would have walked a lot more and would have not made it that far.
When I asked her to explain she said that often when she returns to running, she finds herself struggling early in the run and forced to walk. Then, she ends up walking more than running and heads home discouraged and dejected. I explained to her that when you head out with a plan to run “2 and 2,” walking is not seen as a sign of weakness, it’s a training plan.
Boom! I could see the light go on inside her head as she realized how important a shift in mindset is. So the point is to focus less on running 30 minutes and focus more on a solid 30-minute workout. Because your run is as individual as you are!
How Long Does It Take To See Results From Running 3 Times a Week?
It is likely that you will see some results rather quickly. However, you will also have some days when you feel like you are not making any progress at all.
My advice is to track every run for 4 weeks. Just write it all down. Note how far you went, how fast you traveled, what the weather is like and how your body feels.
At the end of that 4 weeks, read through your progress. You may start to notice patterns. Maybe you will see you run better at a certain time of day. Perhaps you will find you feel strong on days when you don’t have to work, or maybe you feel better with a friend.
One thing for certain, you will see progress. It may be that you can go longer. Maybe you will notice your pants are fitting a little looser. Or your only insight might be that you love the alone time pounding the pavement. Whatever the result, you will be changed when you commit to running.
Running for overweight beginners may not be the easiest journey you have ever embarked upon, but you will not regret it!