A few days ago, I decided to try running for the very first time and Googled “how to start running when you’re overweight” . I’m overweight, asthmatic, lazy and have an old knee injury from when I got hit by a car a few years ago. Previously, I have always managed to squeeze out some excuses from the facts mentioned as reasons not to go running.
Shouldn’t I lose some weight before I run?
What if I have an asthma attack?
How to start running when you’re overweight?
Maybe I should just sit here a little bit longer…
I don’t want to damage my knee…
And so on, and so forth.
There comes a point, eventually, where your excuses become silly, then run out. I reached that point sometime last week, bit the bullet, put on my Lycra and ran in the fresh air. It was marvellous! I am converted.
So here is how I got started.
How to Start Running When You’re Overweight
I got some tips from Google and some from my partner (who was a regular runner before he slipped a disc, and even ran the London Marathon).
Get the right shoes
This is very important in terms of shoes and bras. With all other garments you can wing it until you know you’ll run regularly, so save your money.
The shoes are important because you can really hurt yourself if you cheap out and wear something unsuitable, especially if you’re overweight. You need something supportive, well fitting and specifically designed for running. Click here to know if you need wide shoes.
Proper running shoes that exactly meet your needs can be rather expensive. So long as you bear in mind the the three things I have just mentioned, you could get some starter shoes from a regular sports shop; that way, you won’t waste your money if this running lark doesn’t stick. Once it has been established that your interest wasn’t fleeting, it’s time to get the real deal.
Get a well-fitting sports bra
If you are a woman you will definitely need a high impact, well fitting sports bra. I got a really good one from Next, but it really doesn’t matter where you go, so long as it’s designed to strap you down and allows no room for the dreaded bounce’.
General running clothes need to be comfy and breathable. Once running is a regular thing, you should really buy clothes designed for running. For your first run, leggings or jogging bottoms are fine, with a loose top and maybe a hoody if it’s cold.
I ate a crumpet and waited 40 minutes before I started, I suggest you do the same. You only need something light, a full stomach is not going to help you in this scenario. Leaving a gap of half an hour between eating and running is also very important (you don’t want to give yourself a stitch).
The hour before I ran, I worked my way though a pint of water, just having a sip here and there. Don’t drink a load all in one go, you will feel sick.
Some people think hydration reduces the likelihood of muscle cramps. I didnt get any cramps so maybe there’s some truth in this.
Some think you should stretch before a run, others think this is dangerous and should only be done after. I suggest you do your own research to make this decision. I did, however, warm up. I did a few minutes of sort of jogging on the spot and jumping side to side (the sort of warm up they always do on fitness DVDs). A warm up is essential, the jury’s out on stretching.
Have manageable aims
Expect to get puffed out quickly and not be able to run far. Depending on your fitness levels already, it might be worth measuring your progress in lamp posts. Alternatively, you can set yourself a number of minutes to switch between running and walking, or run from one street corner to the next.
Get an app
This will track your progress in terms of miles and time spent running. There’s loads of free apps, such as Map My Run. I have a FitBit so I used that.
Start running at a sensible pace with a sensible goal in mind (perhaps the next lamp post). If you find yourself very out of breath, slow to a walk. Once your breathing regulates, start running again. Keep doing this for as long as you can, this is the only way to increase your stamina.
If you’re new to any sort of exercise, you’ll find you’ve had enough after about ten minutes, or maybe even less. Don’t be disheartened by this, no one can run for long on their first time, it matters that you’ve tried at all.
Once you’re finished, you must stretch those muscles. If you’re not sure what to do, there’s loads of free running articles from runner’s mags online.
You’re likely to feel puffed out, exhausted and a little exhilarated (well I did anyway).
Congratulations, that’s your first run done!