How to Start Running to Lose Weight – for Beginners

Running is a great way to lose weight but those not used to running find it a bit difficult. For beginners, a plan to start running for weight loss is what is needed!

Have you tried everything to lose weight? If you say yes, think over again! Have you still tried running for weight loss! It is one of the fastest and the best ways to lose weight! And you don’t only lose weight, you get many other benefits from running. If you are not convinced about how good running is for your health (and pocket!), you must know the reasons to start running for weight loss! Once you are convinced, you will never find it a waste of time and efforts. You would just like to instantly start running to lose weight! But wait! If you are a beginner and have never run for your good, you need to do it cautiously. You should know how to start running to lose weight and plan for it beforehand, if only you are a beginner! But why on earth do you need to plan for such a simple task as running? There are many good reasons for this too!

Why Plan before Running to Lose Weight?

Because your body is not used to it, as simple as that! When you do a vigorous exercise like running, you put umpteen pressure on your joints, muscles, heart, actually, on your body as a whole.

  • If you are a beginner who starts running without any preparation, your legs might start shaking after a hard run. This is because your muscles are not used to the new vigorous movement. As such, they become incapable of contracting and don’t work in a coordinated manner. This results in shaking.
  • You may feel nauseated after running. Thus, you need to know what and when to eat or drink before, after and during running.
  • You might be having an injury history. Even if not, you may get injured when you run all of a sudden. You can prevent most of the running related injuries by training smart and by setting realistic goals. Training can be self training with tips from running experts!
  • You might face a gastrointestinal issue during running, especially when you are not systematically training your body for running. Therefore, you must know how to properly eat so that your gastrointestinal system works best while running.
  • If you do not prepare for balancing your bodily fluid absorption, you might end up being dehydrated while you run.
  • Dehydration, in turn, can lead to cramps in your abdomen. This may worsen the condition. Thus, knowledge about preventing dehydration is a must even when you don’t run for marathon but only for weight loss.
  • You may get headache during or after a run. Beginners who do not train their bodies to run properly might get tight muscles and dehydration, both of which can lead to headache.
  • If you begin running after a certain age, say after 30 years of age, you might hear a crackling or popping sound coming from your knees while running. This is due to the weak cartilage and bone association. Therefore, you need to strengthen your muscles before you start running to lose weight.
  • You may get sore legs and even a sore body after running for longer. Beginners, thus, need to understand that they have to rest their bodies along with running.
  • Your legs might twitch in bed at night. These cramps in calf at night might be due to improper running during the day time. Not strengthening your leg muscles before you start running may give you such nocturnal calf pain. This may also result from loss of sodium and calcium that keep your muscles relaxed. Sweating while running lead to loss of various minerals from your body. If you are a beginner, you must know what to eat to meet the deficiencies of minerals caused in your body by running!
  • Due to all the hardships that come with an unplanned running to lose weight, you might get discouraged. And then, you start losing interest in running. Therefore, it is essential to make yourself mentally tough. You need to work upon your mental toughness because running is not all physical, it is a mental workout too. When you train yourself to run, you know the importance of interval running. This keeps you encouraged and mentally tough to run for weight loss. You don’t just run like a crazy fellow and then get discouraged when you chance upon various health issues.

If you are sacred, don’t! Because, all these discomforts happen only when you are a beginner who just starts running to lose weight, without any preparation. In your enthusiasm, if you run hard and for long than required, you give rise to all these issues. If you plan well, prepare your body from few days before you start running to lose weight, there are all chances that you will enjoy this exercise called running. After all, running gives rise to the feeling of calmness and well-being. This is because of the positive neurotransmitters, like endorphins and norepinephrine that are released in your brain after running for long and in the right manner. But this is not the only reason that you should consider while you decide to run for weight loss. There are many more reasons to start running for weight loss!
how-to-start-running-to-lose-weight-for-beginners

Small Things to Remember Before You Start Running to Lose Weight

Start Small; Stay Motivated!

In your enthusiasm, if you start running hard from the first day itself, you are bound to get many a problems described above. So, start small. This will keep you stay motivated to run for lifetime.

Run More but Gradually!

You need to start small but should gradually increase your running stints. This is essential for at least two reasons. First, when you increase running, your muscles, tendons and ligaments will get strengthened day by day. You won’t get injured because you have started small and you are also giving time to your muscles, tendons and ligaments to adjust to the strenuous task of running. Secondly, starting small is all right but if you keep on running at that low level, you won’t lose weight. So, increase the intensity of running, but gradually.

Stay Positive; Lose Weight!

This is essential for every task and for running too! More so when you are running for weight loss. Because you will start small and increase running gradually, you will lose weight over a considerable period of time. Do not allow yourself feel low if you don’t see any reduction in your weight in first few days. Instead, enjoy running. See the beauty of nature while running, make friends on the way and breathe fresh air! Life would never be the same again once you start enjoying your running trips!

If possible, Run with a Partner!

This keeps you stick to your running schedule. You, obviously, would not like to break the routine of your partner who will otherwise suffer for no fault of own. Also, when you take breaks from running, you would feel great if you have someone to share your experience with! But, if you don’t get a partner, don’t postpone your idea to run for weight loss! Get some music on and enjoy with the nature!

Get Yourself Checked by Doctor before you start running to lose weight!

This is important, especially if you have crossed the age of 40! Your body is not that flexible now and your muscles might not cope up with your sudden running schedule. Also, other organs have started declining and you need a thorough check up of your heart, lungs, kidneys etc. before you start running! This is also true for those who had been leading a sedentary life till now! Get up, go to your doctor, get yourself checked up and then start walking and running to get fit, to lose weight. But only when your doctor says, ‘Yes, you can do so!’

Now, let’s move on to some real tips on how to start running for weight loss!

This is how to Begin Running for Weight Loss- For Beginners who Don’t Exercise!

These tips are meant for those who are not in a habit of regular exercise. You first need to start walking. Yes, walk for weight loss and then start running! If you are not confident about walking to lose weight, make pedometer your friend and count how many calories you lose everyday! This is also the best way to lose weight for those who have been advised by the doctor, not to run at all. You may also like to work out your muscles through other forms of exercising and not walking. This can be done by hitting the gym and using a stationary bike or an elliptical trainer. But, what’s easier than walking! So, here we assume that you have decided to first walk and then run to lose weight!

Start Walking and then Begin to Run to Lose Weight

Walking is the best way to get fit and to bring your body in shape. Best because it is the least stressful activity which gives an excellent exercise to whole of your body. It is the precursor of running. In fact, walking puts your legs and arms through the similar range of motion as running. However, it doesn’t put the impact on your bones and joints that running does. Here are some tips to start walking first as the precursor of running to lose weight!

  • Do brisk walking. You don’t have to jog or run but walk briskly. It shouldn’t be a stroll, as if you are walking in a garden to admire its beauty or are doing window shopping. Walk briskly, in a manner that doesn’t let you talk to your partner while walking. If you get breathless when talking while walking, you are at a good pace. Initially, start walking slowly but then walk briskly within a few minutes, say in 3-4 minutes.
  • On the first day of your walking, walk for 15 minutes.
  • On the second day, after walking for 15 minutes, if you do not feel uncomfortable, walk for another 5-10 minutes.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable increasing time of walking on second or third day, keep walking for 15 minutes and walk just for 3 days in the first week. But if it feels all right, increase the time to at least 20-25 minutes by the end of the week and walk for 4-5 days that week.
  • Increase the time of walking like this every day till you walk for up to 35 minutes by the end of your first or second week of walking. The initial 1-2 weeks are crucial. Remember, you are laying a foundation for yourself to start running for weight loss! So, give yourself time. Walk for two weeks, if required.
  • At the end of the second week, if you still don’t feel like running and want to give more time to your body by walking, you can do so, for another 1-2 weeks. But walk 4-5 days a week now and do it for at least 35-40 minutes everyday. Keep fifth day as an option but 4 days a week is a must! After 2 weeks, you body is well prepared to take this strain.

Now, you are ready to start running for weight loss! However, before you start running to lose weight, you might want to read Walking v/s Running for Weight Loss- What is Better?

Beginners with Exercising Habit- Start Running for Weight Loss like this!

After the end of the second or third or fourth week, whenever you are confident, start running as per the below plan. Don’t delay it beyond 4th week though. Two weeks of walking is enough to start running to lose weight and four weeks are more than enough to do so!

If you are a person who is in a habit of exercising daily or at least 2-3 days a week, this plan is for you too! You need not start walking as above if you move your body for at least 30-40 minutes, 3-4 days a week. This may be anything- gyming, yoga, aerobics, swimming, cycling, dancing, anything that moves your body at a considerable pace and for a considerable time!

Walking-Jogging Interval Training- for the First Week

This plan to start running is for 4 days a week. You can add 1 more day to this, if you can handle it comfortably. So, do this for at least 4 (or 5) days in the first week. Give some rest to your body after every 2-3 days. So, you can run for 2 days, give a gap of a day and again run for 2 days. Then give a gap of 1-2 days before resuming running.

  • First, walk for 10 minutes. This will warm you up.
  • Now, jog lightly for half a minute or 1 minute, if you can do so.
  • Again, walk for 2 minutes.
  • Then jog lightly for 1 minute.
  • Do this interval jogging for 10-15 minutes- walk for 2 minutes, jog for 1 minute and so on.
  • After 15 minutes, walk for 10 minutes to cool down.
  • The total time you spend in this ‘walking-jogging’ interval sums up to 35 minutes.
  • This is your jogging plan for the first week. If you are not yet comfortable running more than this, continue with this plan for another week which will make it a 2 week’s plan.

Equal Running-Walking Intervals- for the Second Week

As you get used to running for 1 minute with an interval of 2 minutes walking, you are now ready to do some more running for a little more time at a stretch and with a lesser period of interval in between. Continue doing this interval running for 4-5 days a week, with a gap of a day after every 2-3 days. Your body also needs rest in between running days.

  • Walk for 10 minutes to warm up.
  • Then run for to 1- 1/2 minutes or 2 minutes, if comfortable.
  • Again walk for 1- 1/2 minutes or 2 minutes. You need to walk for as many minutes as you run. Earlier, you were walking more and running less.
  • Do this ‘running-walking’ for 15-16 minutes.
  • Now walk for 10 minutes to cool down.
  • Whenever, it feels too hard, go back to your initial interval schedule (2 minutes walking- 1 minute running)
  • This is your second week’s running program. But if you are not yet comfortable with intense running and walking (which you will know in the next section), keep on doing this one for next 1-2 weeks. Remember to listen to your body. Whenever you feel you are running hard and making your body uncomfortable, slip back to the initial running plan of more walking-lesser running.

Intense Running with Intervals- Third Week Onward

It is the third week’s program only for those who are comfortable while running and walking for equal intervals of about 2 minutes each. Decide your week’s number yourself. If you are comfortable with equal intervals in 4-5 weeks, let it be. Don’t push yourself too hard. You have to successfully run and lose weight. You don’t want to stop in between by injuring yourself or by getting demotivated. Everyone’s body is different, some of you will make it faster and some others will take a little longer. Both situations are all right. Your final aim should be to lose weight with running, it can be in 6-8 weeks or 10-12 weeks or even more. Just make it happen, even if it takes a few weeks more than your buddy who inspired you, run and lose weight

  • Start with walking for 10 minutes to warm up.
  • Now run for 1 and a half minutes.
  • Walk for 1 and a half minutes.
  • Run for 2 minutes.
  • Walk for 1 and half minutes.
  • Run for 2 minutes.
  • Walk for 1 minute.
  • Run for 2 and a half minutes.
  • Walk for 1 minute.
  • Run for 3 minutes.
  • Walk for 1 minute.
  • Run for 3 minutes.
  • Walk for half a minute.
  • The catch is, increase the time interval for running and decrease the same for walking.
  • Do this for 15-20 minutes.
  • Then walk for 10 minutes to cool down.
  • Anytime, you feel uncomfortable, go back to ‘walking more and running less.’
  • Do this intense running for 2-3 weeks, 4-5 days a week.

Become a Runner – The One to Lose Weight!

Once you start running for 3-4 minutes at a stretch with only half a minute to 1 minute of walking in between each of the running stint, you are already a runner, well an amateur runner! Did you know, many marathon runners take a walk break- they run for 10 minutes and walk for 1 minute! But, your aim is not to become a marathon runner, you just want to lose weight by running! You, thus, need to run smartly. Below tips will tell, what you can do while running for weight loss!

Run Slowly for Longer Distances

Run longer distances at slower pace rather than running shorter distances at a faster pace. This is actually the best running plan to lose weight! How is the question!

When you jog at 6mph, you burn about 150 calories per mile. So, if you run 10 miles at this pace, you will lose 1,500 calories. With this rate of calorie loss, even if you consume 3000 calories a day, you will lose 2 lb a week!

To be more practical, jog 5 miles a day and have 2500 calories a day. With this, you can lose 10 lb in a month! This is approximately 4.5 kg, not bad at all!

Watch What you Eat and Drink! Just Running Isn’t all to Lose Weight!

Paying attention to calorie intake is crucial when you start running to lose weight. The proven formula to lose weight is ‘burn more calories than you consume each day!’ A pound is equal to approximately 3,500 calories. When you burn an extra 500 calories in a day, you can expect to lose a pound in a week. In fact, you should aim at losing not more than 1-2 pounds a week because this is what is healthy! If you lose more weight than this, you may be putting yourself at the risk of nutritional deficiencies that will invite many more serious health issues in future. Also, if you lose weight quickly, you are likely to gain it back more quickly!

Don’t Run on Empty Stomach even if Running for Weight Loss

If you have read the earlier section on why to plan for running to lose weight, you would know that running on an empty stomach is not at all a good idea. It can give you a whole lot of gastrointestinal problems along with headaches. Of course, you don’t want to mess up your work life with your dream to lose weight! So, eat before you start running! Eating before you run will prevent your blood sugar from dropping. It will settle your stomach, boost your metabolism and will also reduce hunger. Not only this, eating the right foods before running, or any workout, gives your muscles the much needed energy to exercise.

What to Eat before Running for Weight Loss! A big question indeed. You need energy combined with protein. Have banana with yogurt or some juice and pretzels. You may also have fig bars and milk or a bagel with jelly. Cereals with milk also work good! Just remember to have this at least 1-2 hours before you start running. If you begin running just after eating, you may feel sick to your stomach.

Drink Water or other Fluid after Running

Running can dehydrate your body which in turn can bring a lots of discomforts, enough to make you think negatively about running. You must have come across the term, ‘ recovery drink’. Its purpose is to restore fluid and electrolytes that you lose by way of sweating. It also replaces muscle fuel used during the run as well as provide protein so that the damaged muscle tissue get repaired. However, a recovery drink depends upon the time you run. If you are running for about half an hour, water is the best drink you can have after your run. In fact, you should carry a water bottle along with you while running and keep drinking at least ½ – 1 cup of water after every 15 minutes. This won’t let your body get dehydrated.

If, however, you are running for more than an hour, you will need to have a strong recovery drink like some sports drink. This is important for restoring carbohydrate and electrolytes balance. If you plan to run for longer than an hour, carry a sports drink having 100- 110 mg of sodium and 38 mg of potassium per 8 ounces. If you want to stay natural, have coconut water instead!

Eat properly after Running

It’s true that you are running for weight loss but then you don’t want to invite nutritional deficiencies and other such medical conditions. It’s important to watch what you eat but when do you eat is equally important! You should eat before as well as after running. And during running, you should drink water or other fluids. When you eat after running or other exercises, you help replace glycogen which comprises of sugars that come from protein and carbohydrates in your diet.

So, what to eat after running for weight loss? Eat low fat snacks along with lean protein sources. You may have whole-wheat breads with skinless chicken or have fruits and vegetables with low fat dairy or tofu. You can also have soy or nuts. Just remember, eat only after 20 minutes to 1 hour after you finish running. After all, you are running to lose weight and eating just after a running episode may lead to weight gain. You should, however, drink water just after running. This also helps in curbing appetite for about an hour, apart from preventing dehydration, after running.

Pay Attention to the Body Aches

You will definitely get some muscle aches and soreness when you start running. This will especially be true about your quadriceps and calves. This will particularly happen when you increase the time or distance of running. However, there are some pains that need your extra attention. If you feel any sharp pains, don’t ignore them. If you feel pains that are there only on one side of your body and not on the other side, see your doctor. Pains that persist or worsen when you walk, run, or do any of your daily activities mean now you need to rest for at least three days. So, don’t run for the next three days in such persistent pains and see your doctor.

Get a good Pair of Running Shoes

When you wear ill fitting shoes and start running, you are at a higher risk of getting injuries. So, get a pair of good running shoes and save yourself from all the after effects of running with a bad pair of shoes. If you wear shoes that fit you right and are comfortable while running, there will not be any undue pressure on your knees and ankles too. Also, while running, wear something that will wick away your sweat, such as, cotton clothing!

Just Run- Either on Treadmill or Out in Nature!

If you enjoy nature, run outside. This will keep you motivated forever! If, however, that doesn’t matter much, you can jog on treadmill too. What matters at the end is to start running and sticking to your running plan for weight loss. Whatever keeps you motivated, do that!

Be Patient, You will Lose Weight by Running!

This is what you need the most- patience! When you start running to lose weight, you might want to check weighing scale every other day. But it won’t get visible on scale any sooner! Nor will you be able to see the positive changes in your shape, in the mirror! Don’t lose heart! If you have not been in a habit to exercise, it will take some time to condition your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Even if you have been doing light exercises, vigorous exercises like running demand time to strengthen your muscles and supporting tissue. If you won’t be patient, you might stop running after few days but keep this in your mind- everyday while running, your muscles are getting conditioned, your bones are getting denser and stronger and your calories are burning! It’s that you are not able to see all these happening in your body everyday. But, one day, after a few weeks, depending upon the capacity of your body, the running you are doing and your calorie balancing with right eating will show up. You will lose weight. It may take any time between 3-6 months to actually see the difference in your body weight.

Don’t lose patience. Keep up with your workout. Just start running to lose weight. You won’t be disappointed! Just that, if you are a beginner, you need to be extra prepared before you start running to lose weight!

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