Last Updated: October 29th, 2020
What is 39% of 7.6?
2.9 billion or roughly 39% of 7.6 billion of the world population is either overweight or obese.
Of which there are very few who wants to make a lasting change in their lives.
Congratulate yourself since you are one of them. Still sitting on the fence and thinking about how to start running when out of shape?
These 31 tips will definitely help you take that all important step.
31 Tips: How to Start Running When Out of Shape
Let the journey begin…..
1. Know Why You Want to Start Running
Losing weight, getting stronger or having a healthy life
Before investing in any time or in any gear, know why you want to run?
Once you are crystal clear about your reason, following a plan will be much easier.
Since you are reading this post, I’ll take it that you are out of shape.
Now that you know your ‘Why’, take a snap of yours.
You can compare it with your future self.
When you see an improvement, it will a hell of a motivation.
At that time your ‘Why’ may also change.
Your new ‘Why’ may be a more stronger you or a more flexible you…
There is no limit of what you can achieve, once you know your ‘Why’.
2. Set a goal
Accomplishing anything is not possible (except for the lucky few) if you don’t have a goal.
I mean how will you measure your success if you don’t know what you are aiming for.
My only advice is to start small.
Don’t try to run a marathon in one day and end up in a hospital bed for the rest of the week.
If you don’t know how to set goals, these articles will surely help you:
Also, for goal setting for Running, watch this video
3. Invest in Running Shoes
If you are just starting out, then this is the only gear you need.
This is your most important gear.
Anything else doesn’t matter as much as your shoes.
So rather than wearing your three-year-old soccer cleat, invest in a proper running shoe.
This will save you a lot of heat burn a.k.a foot pain later.
Here is what you should look at while buying your running shoe:
- Heel to toe drop (I now prefer a zero drop. You you can choose otherwise. But don’t go above 8 mm drop)
- Arch support
- Help with any foot problem
I know this is a lot to digest and sometimes you will be out on a wild goose chase.
So we have prepared some lists for different kind of foot and foot problems.
Hope they help you to start off in the right direction:
4. Avoid unnecessary foot pain
Have a shoe which makes your bigger feet feel comfortable.
Feet swell by the end of the day.
Running in the evenings will be uncomfortable if the shoe is not wide.
Also, avoid narrow shoes.
Moreover, since you are running to lose weight, you must select a running shoe which will be able to provide you with proper cushioning and will be responsive.
One of the best running shoes for beginners is Hoka One One Bondi
Also, check if you have any special foot conditions. Your running shoe should be capable of supporting your feet’s need. More on this later.
If not, it’s time to discard them and get a new one.
Don’t cut your corners on this one essential gear. You will regret it.
Also, if you don’t know how to select a running shoe, this article will help you out.
5. Progress in seconds
You have not run your entire life. You want to run 1 mile at a stretch in one day…
If you follow this plan, it will only demoralize you.
Initially, you will only be able to run for around 10 secs and will have to stop.
You still don’t have the stamina to run a full mile and that’s OK.
Start with a baby step. Walk for 1 min and run for 10 secs.
Then gradually increase it.
Trust me! your progress will be much faster.
One of the things that I used to do when I was about to give up is this:
- Slow down a bit. (I’m still running/jogging)
- Then I’ll start counting 30.
- I’ll keep on running until the count is over.
- After that, I’ll start my cool down.
This simple exercise helped me to improve my endurance way faster.
If you are just beginning and want some more exercises to improve your stamina, you can follow these articles:
In the picture:
HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 5, Grey
3 more color options – get more info:
6. Slow but steady wins the race
You are not here to become the next running sensation in one day.
I bet you can, but hold that thought for now.
Instead, just stick onto your running plan.
And for that, you should start by walking. There is no shame in walking.
In fact, there are tons of benefits of walking which are as good as running.
In fact a 3 mile running is equivalent to 4.3 miles of walking.
Also, it will prepare your body for the more strenuous upcoming running sessions.
Initially, when you are starting to run try to build your mileage till 1 mile per day.
That should enough, as of now. Don’t try to run 10 miles every day at the beginning.
You are setting yourself up for failure.
Here are some further read on this topic:
Everybody says, you should stretch before and after running.
But why should you stretch?
Many of your muscles and tendons have tightness inherently.
So, when you stretch, some heat will build up and your muscles and tendons will become more flexible.
This will not only improve your performance, but also will help you to avoid injuries.
When you run with tight tissues, you chances of getting injured is significantly increased.
Stretching ensures that the elasticity of those muscles are enhanced.
Now when should you stretch?
This is simple.
You need to stretch, both before and after running.
This will ensure that your injuries remains to the minimal.
Stretching exercises before running
Stretching exercises after running
8. Know Thy Neighborhood
Running on a treadmill or on the same track is boring.
This boredom can be so much that it may push you to leave your training in between.
However, there are different ways to avoid it.
You just need to add variety to your running.
Every week try to explore your neighborhood.
Find out a new street, a new running course or a new shop.
Once in a while try out some new treat from that new coffee shop.
Or make your neighbor your partner in crime. 😉
You will observe that you will start to enjoy running again.
9. Track Your Progress
Want to get a kick out of your workout?
Beat your previous day self by an inch or a min or burn some more calories.
The high you will feel will make you strive for more.
But how will you know, that you have beat yourself?
By tracking your progress.
You can do it with something as simple as a pen and paper.
Though using a fitness band will help you to measure your heart rate, calories burnt, etc.
I’m OK with either, its yours personal choice.
You also use any fitness app of your choice.
However, I would recommend Runtastic and Running from FreeLetics.
They have so many helpful additional features and with a small subscription you also get your personal coach.
10. Listen to Your Body
The whole idea of running is to make you feel good and strong.
If you are not getting that, you should reassess.
If you continuously feel weak or pain, then you should stop immediately.
You may be dealing with running fatigue and it will not go away on its own.
You need to take a break for some days.
Once you feel strong, you may return to running.
When you give your body the much needed break, your muscles rebuild itself.
In the meantime, also start looking at the food you are eating.
You health will only improve, if you run and take care of your diet, simultaneously.
11. Give Yourself Time
For you running may not come naturally or you may never have run in your life.
Obviously, you will find it difficult to run.
The idea is to take it slow and give yourself the needed time.
Don’t rush it, don’t get frustrated.
Treating yourself with love, care and patience will ease the process.
Here are some easy plans that you may start to follow:
- Initially, you may walk/run for 2 days a week and for 10 mins of each session.
- Once you have done it for a couple of weeks, try to increase the running time by 30 secs.
- Do this until you can run a full 10 min.
Another way can be to aim to run 1 mile non-stop by the end of a 30 day period:
- You are looking to run for 4 days a week.
- The rest of the days are for rest.
- So in total, you will have 16 running session in total.
- So if you divide 1 mile by 16, you get 0.0625 miles or around 100 meters.
- Your goal will be to add 100 meters to the next session after every successful current session.
- So, by end of the 30 days period, you will be able to run a full mile, nonstop.
You may not be able to be successful at the first attempt, but most importantly, don’t quit.
You will get there, maybe not to today, maybe not tomorrow, but you will get there.
12. Eat Well
Running is not only about waking up during ungodly hours, lacing up and hitting the road.
It is also about eating well as well.
Without a proper support from your food, you will never be able to run properly.
Don’t worry. You don’t need to do something crazy.
Just have a nutritious meal throughout the day.
Here are some guides that can help you:
13. Train for your hip strength
Why I’ve included this in a separate point?
Because it is so very important.
You need hip strength in everything you do.
From bending to running.
But most of the time it is the most neglected part of the body.
In fact, studies have shown that, if you work on strengthening your hip flexors half of your running-related injuries will be gone.
A weak hip flexor may give rise to injuries like:
- Hip pain
- ITBS or IT Band Syndrome
- Knee instability and injury.
- plantar fasciitis.
- Achilles tendonitis and so on…
Strengthing your hips should be your first priority as a runner.
We have a very good article describing all the exercises that you need to do for hip strengthening.
If you want to follow the step by step process, please take a look at the article – Hip Flexors Strengthening For Runners.
You will have everything you need to strengthen your hips.
14. Train For Overall Strength
Runners need to have strength training
This is not the same as the strength training in gym like push-ups and all
Being a runner you should focus on the muscles that balances you.
Like you core and your back.
If you have a strong core and back, it is much easier for your run longer, faster and more efficiently
Here are some exercises that can help you build strength
People who know me, knows that I’m a big believer of Yoga.
So here are some strength building Yoga Poses for runners
15. Join a Race
Having a near future commitment makes yourself push harder.
This is true for all spheres of life.
Sign up for a race. 5K is a perfect place to start.
Then start pushing yourself harder.
But remember, harder not equal to painful
16. Visit your Physician
Before starting on your journey of running, visit your doctor first.
He will be able to guide you exactly how to start off.
Also, you can refer him time to time if you face issues.
17. Swap High GI food with Low GI Food
GI or Glycemic Index is a scale for carbohydrate-containing food.
This ranks the foods based on their effect on blood sugar level usually in two hours
Low GI foods such as refined flour, white sugar get digested very easily make you want to consume more.
High GI foods such as whole grains, get digested slowly and keeps you full for a longer period of time
This way you can avoid taking in unwanted calories which later gets converted in to fat.
18. Progress Gradually
When you first started to speak, were you able to speak fluently?
No. But you gradually became fluent. Isn’t it?
It is same with running.
You cannot run a marathon in one day.
You have to progress gradually.
What are you so stressed about?
How people will think? They will laugh at your back?
Let them. The best thing you can do about it is, ignore.
Take a deep breath and relax.
This will also have an added advantage.
You will see the fruits of your hard-work faster.
If you don’t know how to relax, here are some techniques:
20. Warm-up first
This is one of the worst mistakes that you can do before starting to run.
There are a lot of advantages, if you warm up first.
Firstly, it reduces your chance of injury, increase blood flow, improves range of motion and much more.
Most importantly, it mentally prepares yourself for the upcoming running session
Here are some Dynamic Warm-up exercises that will help you
21. Stay hydrated
Running makes you lose a lot of water, by producing a lot of sweat.
If you don’t replace the water that you are losing, you will become dehydrated.
This will affect your performance, and you may end up hurt.
22. Enjoy the beats
Listening to something upbeat or full of rhythm will infuse the energy in you.
You will be able to run better with such kind of music.
If you don’t believe me, experiment with it.
What you need to do is, one day try a very slow music while running.
The next day try something very upbeat.
Do let me know the result.
23. Don’t watch your watch
I believe that, fitness bands have been a boon to the running community.
You can measure so many things. Heart rate, calorie and so much more.
But, if watching it every alternate second is the only thing you do, then you will either end up depressed or a maniac.
Either way, it is not cool….
Just remember that, it is a tool for you, not the other way around.
24. Focus on quality
Running 100 meters with a proper form is much more effective than running 1000 meters with bad form.
You may not sweat as much, but you will not hurt yourself also.
A bad form can hurt you physically and the overexertion will hurt you mentally.
Your return on investment will be much lower than you expect.
25. Be patient
Your body has become out of shape, due to a lot of inactivities and other reasons.
It is habituated in this lifestyle too much and for too long.
If you want to change it in one day, it is impossible.
Be patient with it. It will disagree with you in the beginning.
It will make your life miserable, but as with all our loved ones, make it agreeable gradually.
Because without it you are nothing………
26. Tie the knot
Hey, I’m not a marriage broker…Get that straight!
And am not asking you to get married 😉
What I’m suggesting is to make your existing shoe much more comfortable.
You just need to change the way you tie the knot.
There are so many types of ways to tie a knot and all of them have a different purpose.
For example, the knot for heel slipping is different than that of a bunion.
Narrow feet has a different knot than wide feet and so on.
Try one of them, suggested in this infographic and you will be at ease instantly.
27. Find your Cue…
Forming a new habit is difficult, and if that habit is running every day, then…
You just need to form a habit loop.
This goes something like this,
You first figure out a cue, then you do the task and then you reward yourself.
The Habit Loop – Image from Habitica
This way, your chances of forming the habit successfully is much higher.
28. Sleep well
Why is sleep important?
This is the time when your body repairs itself.
If you deprive yourself of sleep, then your performance will decrease.
Also, it increases your chances of developing serious health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, etc
29. Hire a coach
This is obvious…
You are starting to run.
A coach or a mentor can make you a master in record time.
Also, you will be accountable to someone, which means you will push yourself more.
A coach can also, guide you on how to avoid injuries.
This is extremely important when you are starting out.
31. Mind over matter (ahem..running!)
Your body can withstand almost anything.
It is your mind, which you have to convince.
The best technique utilized by the athletes is visualization….
Not again Madhu….not this visualization sh*t….
Trust me, this is how the athletes like Tiger Woods do it….
So, just picture youself running happily couple of times a day…and your will amazed by the outcome
Visualize like Tiger Woods
32. Train with someone
Let’s face it, running is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
And as with most hard thing, we try to find a way to leave it.
So, train with someone….it can be a coach or your runner friend.
This will keep you accountable and motivated to run.
It is a myth that it is hard to start running if you’re overweight or out of shape.
The truth is, you can do it if you really want to do it.
Change is hard but if it can help you live the life that you always wanted to, then why not?
Let people gossip, let the heads turn, your run your miles and build your life.
So, what is your favorite running tip?
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