There is no magic formula to getting in shape. If you want to know how to start running when you are out of shape, the answer is simple- just START.
Zig Ziglar once said, ‘you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.’
And when you start, I would like you to take this motivational quote with you on every run; it doesn’t matter if the run is smooth or tough.
Yes, you are out of shape today, but the bigger picture is that you are on the road to better health, and that’s what counts. You really should be proud of your decision to use running for weight loss.
I will walk you through a few tips that will make running easy for you.
How to start running for weight loss for beginners
1. Walk before one can run
There is nothing wrong with starting where you can, and in this case, where you want to learn how to start running when you’re out of shape, I would advise you to start small.
Fitness is a journey. There’s no need for you to rush into running when your body isn’t yet ready or push yourself to a point where you may injure or burn yourself out.
Remember, you are not in competition with anybody – you’re doing this to improve yourself.
Your body needs to gradually adjust to exercising, therefore, pacing yourself is very important.
The best way to start running for weight loss when you’re overweight is by walking for at least 20-30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, at a brisker pace.
Once you are fairly comfortable with walking at a fast pace, without feeling like you are going to die or throw up, then you can slowly start running.
PS: A FREE running for weight loss plan pdf is available for you to DOWNLOAD at the end of this article. It will teach you how to kick things off slowly.
You should also consult your physician or other health care professional before starting any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time while exercising you should stop immediately.
2. Invest in the best running shoes for heavy runners
Running shoes are not the same and if you’re out of shape, your running shoes need to be comfortable enough to rule out problems.
Your running shoes must be able to sufficiently provide cushioning for your feet, and protect your knees by absorbing shock.
Durability is also another big consideration when buying your first running shoes; you must never buy running shoes based on the brand name or how nice they look.
When searching for the best running shoes for heavy female runners or overweight people, you will be disappointed to learn that your choice is very limited.
Most running shoes on the market are for the runners who are already in shape. Maybe things will change in the coming years, but right now, manufactures mostly cater to fit people.
The best running shoes for overweight runners
The top running shoes for overweight runners that will give you the smoothest and most comfortable ride are either HOKA ONE ONE women’s Clifton 5 running shoe or Brooks Ghost 11, depending on your budget. Both are great shoes, the only difference is that one is cheaper than the other.
As you lose weight you can make better decisions on how to buy running shoes by following this guide on choosing the perfect running shoes.
3. Find a running partner
There will be days when running will be hard. On other days you’ll be too sore to run. Then there will also be days when you will lose motivation to run.
On those days, you will need a running buddy with similar goals to yours to remind you why you have to put on your running shoes.
Your running partner will be there to encourage you to achieve your goals, but you should also be there for them to motivate them to meet their set goals.
4. Join a running club or group
If you don’t want to be running alone but can’t find a running partner near you, then perhaps you can consider joining a running club in your area.
Running clubs are not only for advanced runners but are open to anyone who wants to run, be it fast or slow.
Not only will your running skills improve when you start running with a group, but you will also make new friends who are passionate about running.
Another reason to become part of a running group is that it will hold you accountable when it’s too cold or hot to exercise or when motivation simply starts to fizzle.
If you are in the USA, resources like Running in the USA will help you find a running club or group near you.
5. Write everything down
Since you are running for weight loss, to help you reach your long term goals, you should keep a log of your miles, including your diet, and non-scale victories.
This will give you better insight into your weight loss and running progress.
6. Include strength training exercises to your running
Running will help you lose weight, no doubt about that. But at some point, your body will get used to the exercise and your metabolism will decline.
Eventually, you will hit a weight loss plateau. To stop this from happening and to supercharge your weight loss, you need to add weight lifting to your running schedule.
Weight lifting will help you burn fat and build lean muscle.
Beyond burning fat, strength training improves strength and overall bone density (you’ll run faster and better), and the quality of life and also helps to reduce chronic conditions like diabetes, back pain and arthritis.
Important: You can read up in detail on the benefits of lifting weights, in this article that is backed by science. If you are a woman and are afraid of lifting weights because you believe you’ll end up looking like a man, then this article is especially for you.
In a nutshell, the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn. An increase in lean muscle as a result of weight lifting will speed up your metabolism and what’s even better is that you’ll be burning calories hours after the exercise has ended.
Best strength exercises for runners
You can find these workouts in this leg workout plan.
Train legs at least once a week and do an upper body workout once a week to improve your posture, core and overall body strength.
7. Clean up your diet
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you will have to clean up your diet. Exercise and healthy eating are key to a healthier lifestyle.
Don’t go on a ‘diet’ to lose weight. Diets fail, all the time, every time, besides, you can’t be on a diet forever.
What you should do instead is to change your eating habits by making small daily food changes until you are eating clean.
For instance, on the first day, have a healthy breakfast. On the second day, add a healthy snack, drink more water on the third day, and eat a healthy lunch on day four.
You will succeed at picking up healthy eating habits if you make these baby steps at your own pace. Ultimately, you will reprogram your mind for healthier and sustainable weight loss.
Additional reading to help you enjoy running: 8 Easy Running Tips for Beginners (How to Start Running and Not Hate It)