Running for overweight

Statistically speaking, every second German is overweight. High-sugar and high-fat food, stress in everyday life, little exercise - the causes are many. Running is a good way for overweight people to get rid of a few extra kilos. Jogging is always and everywhere possible and the energy consumption thereby so high that already with small time expenditure good effects can be obtained. Nevertheless, heavy and overweight runners should follow some important tips to avoid injuries - this applies to the running training itself as well as to the selection of the right running shoes!

Who is considered a heavy runner?

There are many contradictory statements on this. Not only the pure body weight is decisive, but also the ratio of weight to height ("Body Mass Index", BMI for short). BMI is calculated by dividing body weight by height squared. According to the DGE (German Nutrition Society), men with a BMI of 25 or more are considered overweight, and women with a BMI of 24 or more. Nevertheless, the BMI should be considered only as a rough guide, since it does not take into account age or individual stature (ratio of muscle to fat tissue). People with a lot of muscle mass, e.g. strength athletes, often have an increased BMI, which can be wrongly interpreted as overweight.

What should heavy runners keep in mind when training?

Overweight runners put more strain on joints, tendons and muscles during training than do lightweight runners. They are therefore particularly susceptible to orthopedic overloads. This makes it all the more important to take their current fitness level into account when planning training. If you are severely overweight (BMI over 30) or have existing pre-existing conditions (e.g. cardiovascular problems), it is essential to see a doctor and have a thorough check-up before starting training.

"In any case, runners with excess weight should take training slowly, because the body needs up to 14 days to get used to the increased load."

In any case, runners with excess weight should take training slowly, as the body needs up to 14 days to get used to the increased load. A short warm-up before running and stretching exercises afterwards reduces the risk of injury. Overweight people are best off starting with fast walking or alternating between walking and running (interval training). Step by step, the walking sessions can be shortened and the running sessions lengthened to slowly increase the load. In general, regenerative endurance runs are more suitable than intensive sprints, because the impact forces and thus the stress on joints, ligaments and muscles are lower. If in doubt, it is a good idea to monitor your training with a heart rate monitor or heart rate monitor and adjust your pace accordingly.

Pain or severe muscle soreness are always an indication of impending overload. In this case, you should add an additional recovery day or at least reduce the amount and intensity of your training. As soon as the first successes become apparent, you can start to diversify your training by varying the route, the surface and the speed. The basic rule is: first increase the duration and then the speed. And always listen to your own body!

Which running shoes are suitable for heavy runners?

For overweight runners, good footwear is especially important in the early stages. Depending on the speed, two to four times the body weight acts on the running shoes with every step. For a 90kg runner, that's about 180 to 360kg! Heavy runners in particular run a high risk of injury if they run in unsuitable shoes. The increased wear also shortens the life of running shoes, especially the cushioning elements. They should therefore be replaced regularly with new running shoes adapted to the weight and training condition. Those who train more frequently should get a second pair of running shoes to change, because the cushioning of the shoes needs at least 48 hours to regenerate.

"Those who train more frequently should get a second pair of running shoes to change."

When buying for the first time, it is always a good idea to seek advice from a specialist store. Through a movement analysis, the individual running behavior can be analyzed and a possible malposition can be detected. Drop feet are not uncommon in overweight runners, but not every heavy runner automatically tends to overpronate. Therefore, in addition to support and stable shoes, well-cushioned neutral shoes are also an option for heavy runners. Lightweight and natural running shoes, on the other hand, are rather unsuitable.

Basically, running shoes for heavy runners should have the following characteristics:

  • Stable construction and high-quality workmanship of the upper
  • supportive upper with a firm heel cap and reinforced midfoot
  • firm midsole with high shore hardness and very good cushioning
  • abrasion resistant outsole
  • if necessary, a pronation support

Almost all major manufacturers today have several running shoes with and without pronation support in their range, which are suitable for runners with overweight. Particularly popular in this category are, for example, the Gel Nimbus and Gel Kayano models from Asics. But also running shoe brands like Hoka One One or Mizuno offer well-cushioned and stable running shoes for heavy runners.