How to Start Running While Overweight

Starting a running routine can be a challenging journey, especially when you’re overweight. However, with the right approach and mindset, anyone can begin to experience the numerous benefits of running, regardless of their current weight. This article will provide tips and guidance on how to start running while overweight, and help you build a healthy and sustainable running habit.

As a seasoned runner who has completed over 50 marathons around the world, I have faced my fair share of challenges and obstacles. However, after the pandemic hit, I found myself struggling with weight gain and now weigh close to 100 kg. Despite this setback, I am determined to get back to my former self and continue my passion for running marathons. Through my journey, I aim to not only motivate myself, but also help those who are in a similar situation. I will be documenting my process and sharing my experiences to provide encouragement and guidance for anyone who wants to start running while overcoming weight challenges.

Running While Overweight

Start with a walking program

It’s important to remember that every journey starts with small steps. If you’re new to exercise or have been inactive for a while, it’s recommended to begin with a walking program. This will allow you to build up your stamina, strength, and confidence gradually, and it’s a low-impact form of exercise that is easy on your joints. You can start by walking for 10-15 minutes a day and gradually increasing the duration and intensity as you feel comfortable. By incorporating a walking program into your routine, you’ll be able to build a strong foundation and lay the groundwork for a successful running program in the future.

Wear the right gear

Wearing the right gear is important for any runner, but especially for those who are starting out while overweight. Proper shoes with good support can help prevent injury and provide comfort during your workout. Additionally, moisture-wicking clothing can help keep you cool and dry during your runs. Investing in quality gear can help make your running experience more enjoyable and less painful.

Gradual increase

Gradually increasing the amount of running in your routine is crucial when starting to run while overweight. This not only helps prevent injury, but also allows your body to properly adapt to the increased physical activity. Start with short running intervals, interspersed with periods of walking, and gradually increase the length of your running segments as your fitness improves. This gradual approach will help you build endurance and strength over time, making it easier to run for longer periods of time and reducing the risk of injury.

Focus on form

When starting to run while overweight, it’s important to focus on proper form. Maintaining good posture and a balanced stride can help reduce the impact on your joints and prevent injury. Pay attention to your posture, keeping your head up and your shoulders back and relaxed. Balance your stride, land softly on the midfoot, and avoid overstriding. Incorporating strength and flexibility exercises, such as yoga or Pilates, can also help improve your form and reduce the risk of injury. With a focus on form, you can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of running while staying healthy and safe.

Warm up and cool down

Warming up and cooling down are important aspects of any workout, and even more so for those who are starting to run while overweight. A proper warm up will help prepare your body for the physical demands of running, reducing the risk of injury. Similarly, cooling down will help bring your heart rate back to normal and allow your body to recover more efficiently. It is recommended to spend 5-10 minutes warming up and cooling down before and after each run, respectively. This can include light stretching, walking, or other low-impact activities.


Hydration is an essential aspect of running, regardless of weight. However, it becomes even more important for overweight individuals who are starting to run. Overweight individuals have a higher body mass, which requires more fluid to maintain the body’s balance and keep the muscles hydrated. Dehydration can lead to cramping, fatigue, and decreased performance, so it’s essential to drink plenty of water before, during, and after running. It’s recommended to drink at least 17 ounces of water two hours before running and another 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during the run. After the run, it’s essential to replenish the fluids lost during exercise to help the body recover and prepare for the next workout.

Fuel your body

It is crucial to provide the body with the necessary nutrients and energy to support the physical demands of running and to promote weight loss and overall health. A balanced diet with adequate protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates can help support the body during and after a run.

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