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How to Start Running When You’re Overweight

By on May 1, 2013
Overweight Couple Walking Down Wooded Road

Running is one of the hardest things to do if you are overweight. I speak from experience…

As a man standing 6′ 6″ tall and weighing 280 pounds, my body is built for power – not for speed. I actually weighed upwards of 300 pounds when I started running, and I’ve dropped about 25 pounds and worked my way up to running a 5k race a couple weekends ago. (5k = 3.1 miles)

How did I do that?

Step 1: Start Walking — Before I could run, I had to be able to walk. I would walk for about 15 minutes at a time, take a short break, and walk a bit more. Within a week, I was able to walk for almost an hour without feeling too tired.

Step 2: Add Some Jogging — Once I was able to walk without feeling too exhausted, I would jog for short stretches of up to 50 meters at a time. I would go slow, but I would force myself to jog at least 1/3 of the distance that I would walk. Before long, I was able to jog a bit more.

Step 3: Jog More — I had to force myself to jog half the time, and then I was soon able to jog most of the distance. Within a month or two, I was able to run for about 2 miles without having to walk more than 300 yards to take a break.

Step 4: Take Out the Breaks — My initial goal was to run 2 miles, as that was the distance between my house and my evening martial arts lesson. It took about a month of regular running, but I was finally able to do it without taking any breaks. Boy did I feel good!

Step 5: Slowly Add Distance — I still had to add a bit more to my running, as I wanted to work my way up to the 5k race. My trick was to add 500 meters (1/3 mile) to the distance that I would run, increasing the distance every 2 weeks. It took me two months of regular jogging, but I finally managed to get my distance up to 5k with no pauses.

Now, after all that hard work, I ran a 5k race in just 33 minutes – not a bad pace for a hefty guy!

Lifehack: Use an elliptical machine and recumbent bicycle to start the weight loss without injuring your knees. It will help you to get good cardio and push your leg muscles, but it won’t put strain on your knees.

Dealing with Skeletomuscular Pains

One of the hardest things for me to deal with as a runner was the knee and back pains that came with pounding the pavement (I prefer to run on the streets). The key to dealing with the pains in my lower back was to strengthen my core muscles, so I added a core workout into my routine twice a week to ensure that my back got stronger.

As for the knee problems, you’ll find that losing weight will be the best solution, as it will help to take the pressure off your knees. Also, running with the correct posture will help to ensure that your knees and ankles can handle your weight without buckling or complaining.

About Andy Peloquin

I'm as passionate about fitness and health as I am about writing. I currently run 10 to 15 miles a week, box at least twice a week, attend Karate lessons four or five days a week. I've always been fascinated by dieting and fitness, and it's long been a passion of mine to learn more about healthy living, exercise, and eating right. I am studying to be a personal trainer, a nutrition specialist, and a Yoga instructor.

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