Running is one of the most effective cardio workouts you can perform. Running at a six-mile pace can burn up to 550 calories an hour (says Cosmopolitan), but even jogging at a moderate pace can melt off 398 calories per hour.
If you’re on the heavy side and working on losing weight, there are a few things you should consider before you put on your shoes and run out the door.
1. Your Gear
The first and most important consideration for any overweight runner is gear. Having the right gear is important for every runner, but it becomes even more important for overweight runners.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Which piece of gear should be at the top of your must-get list? Running shoes.
If you think you can run in your walking shoes or fancy street shoes, think again. You need the right sneaker – made for running – and the right fit. The right shoe will give you the support you need to prevent injuries, aches and pains.
Each foot strike, according to LiveStrong, produces an impact that’s three times your body weight. That’s why it’s so important to get the right shoe.
Look for shoes with superior cushioning to better absorb the impact of each foot strike. Even if you plan to buy your shoes online, take a trip to a local shoe store to get properly sized and try on a few pairs (you can usually find better prices online). Make sure the salesperson has experience fitting women’s running shoes or men’s running shoes.
This video from The Running Experience explains some important things to know before you even head to the store to buy shoes.
Most runners wear some form of knee support, but if you have a few extra pounds to lose, a pair of knee sleeves or a good pair of braces should be on your running gear list.
Remember – each foot strike produces an impact that can be three times your body weight. That extra weight is translated through your knees.
Without the right support and cushioning from your shoes, you can wind up with knee pain or an injury that may be difficult to heal.
Knee sleeves can help keep your joints and muscles warm, which can offset pain. They also have a compression effect, which promotes healthy blood flow for improved healing. Braces can also help keep your knees in proper alignment to prevent injury.
Regardless of your size, running makes you sweat – a lot. Make sure you have comfortable workout gear for running, preferably clothing with a wicking material to keep you cool and dry.
Loose-fitting clothing is typically more comfortable and will also help to keep you cool.
2. Your Heart Rate
Consider investing in a device that helps you monitor your heart rate as you run. Monitoring your heart rate, according to Active, will help you track your progress and make sure you’re pushing yourself hard enough to see results.
It’s easy to overdo it – especially when you’re just getting started with running. Check your pulse periodically to make sure you’re not overtraining. Remember that it’s okay to take things slowly.
3. Your Rest Days
You may be eager to see results and motivated to push yourself every day. While it’s important to hold onto that motivation as best you can, it’s also important to remember that recovery is essential.
Give your body time to recover in between runs. Otherwise, you may be hindering your results and wind up losing motivation in the long run.
How do you know if you need a day off? If you have an elevated resting heart rate, Runner’s World says it may be time to give your body a rest.
When planning your weekly running routine, schedule in at least one or two rest days.
4. Your Pace
Just as you need to give yourself time to rest, you also need to give yourself time to work up to faster paces. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your body can’t change in a day.
Fitness Magazine recommends starting off with power walks before you attempt a full run or a couch to 5K program.
5. Your Plan
Staying motivated is one of the most difficult aspects of starting and maintaining a running routine. It’s easy to get bored, and because results can take time, it’s easy to lose motivation.
But creating a plan and varying your routine can help you stay on track and appreciate your gains.
You may have an end goal – be it a weight you want to reach or a time you want to beat – but it’s important to also set smaller goals that you can reach more quickly.
Achieving those minor goals will keep you motivated and striving to improve.
Along with setting goals, you also want to establish a way to track your progress, and record your results along the way.
If you’re on the heavy side and you want to start running to lose weight, don’t let anyone deter you from reaching your goals. With the right gear, plan and mindset, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier and happier you.