If you want to start running to lose weight, you should carefully prepare for it first. We’re going to go over some important considerations, and I’m also going to give you a running program that you can tailor for your current fitness level.
The first thing you want to do is get medical clearance if you have any health conditions.
Change Your Eating
To lose weight by running or any other form of exercise, you have to burn more calories than you consume. You need to combine running with healthy eating if you want to be successful.
Learn how to eat for weight loss.
Protect Your Wheels!
The first and most important thing you need before you start running for weight loss is a good quality pair of running shoes. You do not want to wear the wrong shoes when you go running!
I know you’re just running to lose weight and not to win an ironman competition, but even casual running in the wrong shoes can lead to injuries in your feet and lower body. Your knees, hips and even your lower back can all be affected.
A good pair of running shoes will help prevent injury by absorbing shock and providing the right support.
So how do you choose the right shoes?
Carefully try on multiple pairs of running shoes until you have a good comfortable fit.
I recommend shopping at a specialty running store.
I recently bought a pair of shoes from a running apparel store. I learned a lot talking to the shoe salesman (who is an experienced runner) and he helped me select a pair of shoes that feel great on my feet.
They weren’t cheap, but I was happy to spend the $100 if it will help me avoid injury. Some running apparel stores have treadmills so you can jog for a minute and assess the comfort of various shoes.
If you want to shop online, only buy a pair of running shoes that has a decent number of good reviews. Consider shopping at amazon.com or onlineshoes.com if you try this route.
You don’t need the top of the line running shoes, but do your feet a favor and don’t buy a cheap pair. For more info, read How To Choose A Running Shoe.
Get Some Running Socks
This is optional, but running socks are different from regular socks. They’re designed to protect and support your feet during strenuous activities.
Stay away from 100% cotton socks. When cotton gets wet, it stays wet. Choose running socks that are made from synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, and CoolMax.
Follow A Program
No matter how ready you think you are to start running for weight loss, it’s best to follow a plan and not to progress too fast.
Even if you’ve been doing other forms of exercise, you risk injury or at the very least you’ll be very, very sore for days.
It takes some time for your muscles and joints to adapt to the new activity.
Your starting point will obviously be determined by your physical condition. When you first begin running to lose weight, don’t be surprised if you find yourself short on breath after a few minutes of running.
It takes time to build up the endurance to run for even a short period of time. This is true even if you’ve been walking, cycling or doing other activities.
Here’s a running for weight loss program
Keep in mind that the following program can be adjusted for your individual fitness level.
- Walk briskly for 5 minutes to warm up
- Jog for 30 seconds
- Walk for 2 minutes
- Jog for 30 seconds
- Walk for 2 minutes
You simply repeat those jog and walk intervals for a total of around 20 minutes. Make sure you stretch when you’re done!
Try this routine for 2 non-consecutive days a week for the first 2 or 3 weeks of your running program. Again, you can make adjustments for your fitness level.
If the above routine seems way too easy, try increasing the jog intervals from 30 to 90 seconds. If it’s too hard, you can increase the walk intervals from 2 minutes to 3 or even 4 minutes.
After the first couple of weeks, add an extra day of jogging. Gradually you will work your way up to the point where you can run for 3 to 5 days a week for 20 or 30 minutes or even longer.
DO NOT progress too fast! You’ve been warned.
Set A Goal
You can successfully lose weight by running. But it is hard work. It’s a very intense form of exercise. Having a goal will help you stick with it.
For example, your goal might be to run 3 miles or 30 minutes straight within 8 or 9 weeks. This is possible if you’re consistent and you stay injury free.