Top Tips When You are Overweight and Running a Marathon

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If you plan on running a marathon and are overweight, you will need to get into the habit of running gradually. You will need to run every day for a few minutes for four months before the marathon date.

We all belong to different shape categories. Some are fat, some slim, some very thin. Running is one way of losing weight if you are on the heavier side. Not only will you lose weight, but your health will be much better, the body will be in good shape, and your confidence will get a boost. Having said this, it is not easy for an overweight person to run.

Top Tips for if you are plus-sized and plan on running a marathon

Train your body and have a positive mind

The body needs to be trained, so it does not give up at the last minute. And you need to do this with love if you wish to see lasting results.

Every day run a little with a happy mind. This will keep you focused in a positive way, and you will look forward to tomorrow to run again.

It is true that our society looks down on an overweight person. It discourages them from pursuing anything that needs them to lose weight or be fit.

But do not let this affect your dreams. Stay focused and achieve your daily goals for running a marathon happily with a healthy body.

Meet your doctor for a full check-up

Before you start preparing for running a marathon, do consult your doctor. You should do all the necessary tests to make sure it is okay for you to start your exercise program.

Only once your medical test results are checked and approved by your doctor, should you start running. It is important to get your heart rate, weight, blood pressure, sugar levels, cholesterol, body fat ratio, and a few other things checked to make sure running will not harm your body.

After your doctor gives you the go-ahead, invest in some good shoes. You need the best companion that will help you run without injuring you. Sometimes because of being overweight, the joints get injured while running. Hence make sure to buy the best shoes for running when you are overweight depending on your body weight, the terrain, and your running style. And also replace them every time after running 300 – 500 miles.

Have a proper diet

Running every day will help you lose some weight and maintain the required body weight. However, this is not always true. Sometimes runners make mistakes that make them gain weight instead.

One’s appetite increases because of the daily running exercise. As a result of this, a few runners land up eating a lot of calories. This leads them to gain weight instead of losing it.

In order to avoid this from happening, you need to monitor your diet on a daily basis. After all, a great diet combined with exercise will give great results. And one can run better and with more ease when the body weight reduces.

To maintain a healthy diet, avoid unhealthy foods. Eat more vegetables and fruits. Add whole grain, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates to your diet. Try as much to avoid processed foods.

Once your diet plan is in place, you can monitor your calorie intake by downloading the necessary app. This will also show you how many calories you burn because of running. Keeping track of your calories will motivate you to do better and stick to your plan.

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Start Small

You could start your half–marathon training by first walking for around six to eight weeks before deciding on running a marathon. Walking will help gently condition your cardio-respiratory system along with your musculoskeletal system. This way, your risks of getting injured will below.

Daily walking is a form of exercise that helps in reducing weight eventually and gets the body toned. Twenty to thirty minutes of brisk walking for 3 to 5 days on a weekly basis would do good for a start. You could later gradually increase five minutes every week until you start walking for 60 minutes every week for 3 – 5 days. You will need to have a lot of patience to be consistent. This phase may take around eight weeks for you to reach the 60 minutes a day mark. But the effort is worth it.

You could walk on a treadmill, or outside, or both.

Switch to the next level of Run/Walk Strategy

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After you have got comfortable walking and have your fitness in place, you could start running/walking. By doing this, you will comfortably and safely have your endurance built for running a marathon.

The strategy:

• Brisk walk for 10 minutes before you start the run/ walk strategy. This will help your body to warm up. The heart rate will go up, and the blood will flow to your working muscles.

• After the warm-up, run for a minute and then follow it with a two-minute walk. Make sure the walk doesn’t feel like a complete break but just an active rest. It should feel like a power walk and not a casual walk. This way, you will have a nice cardio workout.

• This cycle should be repeated for 15-20 minutes. After that, take a five-minute walk to cool down.

Once your body gets comfortable with the one-minute intervals if running, you could increase the number of these intervals and decrease the time of your walking intervals.

Going to the Next Level

After building your endurance with the above strategy, you should then try to put more effort or increase your distance while running. This will help you burn calories well. Your fitness will improve even more, and you will not get fed up with this routine of yours.

At this level, you could start by adding some speed. You can do this by trying to warm up for a mile, followed by running for a minute at a faster pace and then recover at a slow pace for a minute. The breathing will get heavy because of the running pace but will still be in control. Carry on this pattern for 2 miles and cool down for 5-10 minutes.

Once your body starts getting comfortable and used to this strategy, get your speed intervals time increased, or just repeat it.

Getting Some Strength-Training Added

Try to include 1-2 sessions of strength training in your weekly routine. You will burn more calories this way apart from increasing your lean muscle mass, which will improve your running performance. Because of this, you will run faster and for a longer duration. Your calorie burn will be pumped up when running.

Running injuries also get prevented because of strength training. And thus, you will be more focused on exercising regularly. Strength training doesn’t need you to hit the gym or train with a piece of special equipment.

Issues for Overweight Runners

All types of runners do face some or the other kind of issues at first, but there are some issues only faced by overweight runners. And fortunately, these issues do have solutions.

Trouble Breathing

Running increases your heart rate. You breathe faster to inhale more oxygen. But many a time, these fast breaths are not deep enough to provide enough oxygen. They are shallow.

You could avoid this problem by focusing on your breath while running. Taking in deeper breaths reaching your belly and exhaling it, in the same manner, will help release CO2 from your body and provide enough oxygen supply.

Rhythmic breathing: Another method that could help is rhythmic breathing. Here instead of focusing on taking as much air as possible with every breath, you could time every breath of yours to breathe in rhythm with your steps. You could take in air for three steps, and then exhale it for two steps. This way, you can maintain better deep breathing. Your lung capacity will also increase.

After trying the above two breathing techniques, if you still experience discomfort while breathing, please consult your doctor.

Foot and Joint Pain

Your feet and joints could feel the strain while running. Every step that you take forces your weight on your feet and joints. Hence wearing good shoes while running and running in a proper way suitable for your body type is crucial.

How to reduce joint and foot pain:

•           Do not hunch or slouch. Stand upright.

•           Make sure your steps are light

•           Try landing on your mid-foot instead of the toe or the heel.

•           Pay attention to your body and rest if you feel pain.

Above all, try to have a running schedule. This will get your body used to it slowly. Do not jump to increasing your running speed and distance. Start slow and with a shorter distance and gradually increase it. This way, your joints, and feet will not feel the strain that much, and you will avoid any kind of injury related to it.

Shin Splints

Your lower legs feel an impact while running a marathon. This could lead to a shooting pain called shin splints. Shin splints could be because of poor form, wrong shoes, running downhill, running on a hard surface, or running too fast or hard.

You can treat this using home remedies that involve ice compresses and rest. Buying proper shoes will also help avoid shin splints. Few other tips for this are:

•           Gradually increase the running intensity

•           Stretch enough and properly

•           Strength train every week for at least a couple of days

Do remember to stop and take a rest when you feel any pain. If you continue to run when in pain, this could create more serious issues or injuries.

Runner’s Knee

This problem arises when pain is experienced around the knee cap area while running a marathon. This happens when your knee feels weak, and it cannot take the weight that is put on it.

One of the best remedies for this problem is to rest and apply ice to that area.

You could prevent this from happening in the first place by having a good training schedule as per your body type and sticking to it. Build your strength and speed gradually. And if the knee gives any trouble, rest and lets your body recover. Also, consult your doctor to check the seriousness of the pain or injury.


Another common ailment related to running a marathon is chafing. This can be painful and annoying. The underarm areas and inner thighs mostly face chafing. The sweat, your skin type, rubbing of clothes onto the skin, all-cause chafing in areas where body parts touch each other or where the skin folds. This could cause raw skin and rashes. Running gets difficult because of this.

To prevent or reduce chafing, wearing the right clothes is very important. You need to wear clothes whose fabric will wick away the sweat from your body. This will help reduce discomfort to a large extent. Inner thigh areas can be saved from rubbing each other by wearing good running tights. Apart from this, anti-chafing lubricants could also help.

I hope this article helped you to get the boost you require to achieve your dream of running a marathon even though you are overweight.

Happy Running!!

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