How to Get into Running When Overweight: A Concise Guide
Joey McDowell is an experienced writer and editor originally from the Dallas area. A firm believer in a well-balanced lifestyle, Joey applies this forward-thinking approach as the editor-in-chief of The Idea Trader. He travels extensively to find compelling stories and insightful individuals.
We’ve all been there. Regardless of your profession and your personal history with exercise and athletics, there are simply times when we fail to work out regularly and start to gain weight.
After all, many modern workplaces require staying in the same spot for very long periods of time. And by the time you leave the office, wait in traffic, and finally get back home, the last thing you want to do is hop on a treadmill.
And once you start gaining weight, it can be very easy to feel discouraged and give up entirely on the idea of leading a healthy lifestyle.
But as we all know, an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to many different problems. It can interfere with your romantic life, have a negative effect on your self-confidence, and can potentially lead to many, many different health problems down the road.
That’s why we’ve taken the time to create a guide on how to get into running when overweight, based on first-hand experience.
Before launching into a brand new exercise regimen, you’ll want to step back and set some goals for yourself, based around your current abilities.
Setting milestones and goals on your journey to slim down can serve as excellent motivating factors, especially on those days when you just don’t want to get off the couch.
We’ve listed just a couple examples of the type of goals you may want to set. They’ll stay in the back of your mind as something to strive toward.
Setting a goal weight for yourself can be difficult to do without help. We highly recommend consulting with your physician before solidifying a goal weight.
Doctors know best what a healthy weight would be for your height, build, and lifestyle.
If you’d like to get started right away and just want to create a temporary goal weight that you can aim for until you have a chance to speak with a doctor, that’s fine too but within reason.
Try to make this temporary goal weight fairly conservative. A good rule of thumb is to try to lose about 10 lbs, at least as a start.
Setting a goal weight that requires losing 30 lbs or more could potentially be motivating, but it can also make your efforts seem overwhelming, making your goal feel unattainable.
Another type of goal that you may want to set for yourself is to make plans to run a certain distance or a certain event several months from now.
For example, maybe your company will be hosting a charity fun run event over the summer. Events like these tend to be 5K runs.
Aiming for an event like this can give you a definitive goal that also has a built-in deadline.
As an alternative, maybe you’d just like to be able to run 3 miles in less than 45 minutes. If you’re a less experienced runner, you may just want to be able to run 3 miles, period.
The goal itself is less important than the need to challenge yourself to improve.
Purchase Running Shoes
This step is arguably the most enjoyable part of the process of getting into running.
First, you should set a budget and do plenty of research before buying. You may be surprised to find that running shoes can be incredibly technologically advanced and specialized.
And as a result, high-quality running shoes can also be very expensive.
An important factor to consider is where exactly you’ll be doing most of your running. For example, maybe you have access to a running track at a nearby high school or community recreation center.
Or maybe you’ll be running in a grassy area near your house.
Each pair of running shoes is optimized for a specific surface type. When deciding on specific pairs that you’d like to buy, make sure to check and see which surface type the shoes are designed for.
Find an Exercise Group
When trying to break a bad habit or commit to a new positive habit, making yourself accountable to others can be a huge help.
This is why support groups are so popular with those going through difficult times. Even if you don’t feel like going to a meeting, you also don’t want to disappoint your friends that you’ve made there.
When it comes to running, exercise groups are actually quite common. Look online for running groups in your area.
Even if a group’s meeting place is a bit far from your home, you can still make the effort to drive there once a week, usually on a weekend.
You’ll be able to run in a group, which is much safer than running alone. You’ll also probably make some friends in the process.
You might even start to look forward to running!
Take Daily Progress Photos
You’ve probably seen this method before on commercials for diet systems. There’s an unattractive Before photo and then a very impressive After photo.
Well, even though the photos used in those commercials are potentially faked, taking your own progress photos are a great way to keep track of your hard work and how it’s paying off.
Try to take each photo in the same location every day, wearing a similar outfit that shows your abdomen.
Even if you’ve failed to exercise for several days, you should still take progress photos.
If you stick to running on a regular basis, then over the course of a few months you should start to see some substantial improvement.
And as a result, you’ll feel more motivated to continue exercising and will likely feel more confident in yourself as well.
Don’t Give Up
Exercising is hard. Running is hard, especially if you haven’t done it for a very long time.
But the truth is it works, despite the difficulty of doing it regularly. Your body wants to run. It’s an impulse leftover from our days as animals.
There’s a good reason that the runner’s high exists. Your body wants to be healthy, and so does your brain, deep down.
If you've been feeling too tired after work to exercise, check out this helpful article.
You will get better and it will get easier. Doing it every day is the hard part.