Weight loss - run now or later?

I'll try and keep this short. I'm currently about 4 stone overweight. I should be about 12 1/2 stone at most and I'm currently about 16 1/2 stone, so I've 4 stone to lose to I'm at the heaviest I should be for my height (5ft 10). Although ultimately I want to get down to about 11 1/2 stone at most.

I was about 17.5 stone and I've lost about a stone since Christmas although I should have lost more, but that's a discussion for another day.

I've been running on and off for about 18 months and I quite like it, but I'm incredibly slow and I feel every bit of that extra 4 stone I am carrying. I've had a few knee niggles but no serious issues thankfully.

Basically I'm wondering which of the following is the best option for me. Bear in mind that I try to walk between 30 and 60 mins per day and I want to save my joints if possible.

a: Keep running now (3-4 times per week, about 3 miles per time and slowly increase the distance).

b: Stop running until I lose a bit more weight, say 1 or 2 stone.

c: Stop running until I get down to 12.5 stone.

Any thoughts? It would be good to hear from those who've lost quite a bit of weight themselves.



  • I'm in a similar position with regards to weight, but haven't been running for as long as you. If you've managed to run so far, I would carry on; because your weight loss will be far quicker if you do! Just take it easy and perhaps try some other stuff as well (I have a dodgy knee, so do BodyPump twice a week to try and keep the surrounding muscles strong to help protect my knee).

    Hope this helps.

  • I am in a similar position too. Ran on and off for weight lose for a couple of years but not properly untill new year after 3 months of qiuting smoking. Changed my mind set a bit and focused my running on getting fit and not weight lose and focusing on good running nutrition.

    I have lost over 2 stone Since new year running 3 times a week. I am about 4 stone overweight still so try to run on the treadmill 2 times a week at a descent pace, temp run pace and then do a long run, plod really from 3 to 6 miles. I don't like the treadmill but is a means to an end in terms of building cardio fitness, muscle strengthening and I find it far far easier on the legs!

    Personally I have been saying I will lose weight and then start running but there is no reason you shouldn't do both. Just make sure you stretch like a loon and eat more sensibly (I didn't eat sensibly) and increase mileage only when it feels comfortable. I always set a distance before I run now and never run more than that to avoid injuring myself, which can be hard. I just set a new goal next time and if I don't feel I can make it, stop and re assess before my next run. Running diary really helps me.

    Sounds like you are doing great and don't see a reason why you should stop running! Sorry for the self indulgent essay I hope it is useful image
  • Nessie73Nessie73 ✭✭✭
    I lost 5 stone a few years ago (I've put a stone of that back on since, but am still at healthy BMI for my height- around 10 and a half stone, and I'm a 5'4 woman). I was 9 stone 4 at my lightest. I did it a different way from you though. I did Weight Watchers religiously for about 10 months. I have to say that I reckon the first 2 stone or maybe a bit more, would have fallen off anyway, as I'd had my second child. But still I *was* definitely way overweight at 14 stone 4 and 6 weeks post-partum. The weight fell off with WW, anything between half to 5 pounds a week. After I'd lost a couple of stone, I started jogging. A friend suggested doing a Race For Life. I built up to the Race for Life 5k once I'd reached 9 stone 4, 10 months on from starting my weight loss. I got hooked and now I've been running for about 3.5 years. I have put that stone back on, which I reckon is a good natural weight for me but also I eat very well. I am healthy and rarely eat crap, but have a huge appetite. In my case, running isn't an aid to weight loss as it makes me hungry. But it works alongside a sensible diet like WW.
    WW also re-educated me about food. I've always enjoyed a range of foods including healthy fruit / veg, but I realised how much crap I ate and I think the principles of WW have stayed with me.
    So.. after that spiel- my advice: join something sensible like WW or Slimmers World, and STICK TO IT. Carry on running alongside that.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Well having once weighed 16st 10 and now 11st 0 (actually, last weigh-in was 11st 1, but that was after having five hot-cross buns for breakfast, more than my usual bowl of chocolate porridge  image) - I used to think I was "too big" for running, and certainly before I knew anything about running at a sensible pace and building it up, I would get into the habit of trying to run 3x/week (too fast) and ending up with shin-splints.  So my approach was to get down the gym and partake in activities which I knew didn't leave me niggly or injured, namely cycling/spinning, other cardio, and subsequently weight training/core exercises.  One obvious thing here though - if you decide to add any kind of exercise time to your weekly schedule, do it gradually, or substitute for other things, e.g. substitute a gym class for a run till you get a bit fitter, then add the run back in, etc. 

    I started running "properly" once the first three stone had gone and it just felt a little more comfortable, BUT if I'd known at the outset all that I know now about running, I probably would've given it a go much sooner, and just built it up more sensibly.  IMO it's worth mixing up your exercise with different activities for a number of reasons.  Firstly, you're not putting too much stress on any one thing (e.g. your knees, hips or running muscles).  Secondly, your overall goal should be not just weight-loss but overall fitness, including improved aerobic fitness and strength - go for a run, then the next time go for a swim.  Go to the gym a couple of times a week and lift some weights, or book a pilates class for core strength.  The larger the proportion of muscles you're stimulating, the more you stimulate metabolism and calorie burn. Finally, if you're in the habit of doing different things then if you have any niggles from running, you'll find it easier to cross-train with another activity to keep the momentum going.

    Nessie's right about the nutrition side of things as well because the two sides of the calorie equation are inextricably linked.  I've never joined an organisation but did spend quite some time educating myself about nutrition, i.e. not just nutritional composition of different foods but the best time to eat them in relation to your exercise activity.  Eat to compete.

    So I suppose my short answer (i.e. opinion based on personal experience!) would be - keep running as long as it's not causing any problems, but mix it up with other activities as well.

  • Thanks for the replies so far, very insightful.

    I'm currently not a gym member and to be honest I'm probably not going to go back and join one again anytime soon.  Most of my local gyms force you to join for at least a year and don't offer any sort of monthly or pay as you go type membership.

    The only type of exercise I seem to enjoy is cardio exercise (walking, jogging/running) as it actually makes me feel fitter afterwards.  I've been toying with the idea of buying a bicycle but I haven't cycled consistently for about 20 years.  I did attempt it again a few years ago and I sort of had forgotten how to do it!  I live in quite a busy suburb and while there are bicycle lanes, I'd definitely need to go somewhere quiet to get used to it again and to build up my confidence on the bike.

    Anyway so yeah I think I might go back to jogging again.  I tend to jog on a mix of grass and tarmac as those two surfaces are in my local park.  The tarmac seems to have been laid on top of the grass so it doesn't feel that hard.  A physio woman I know also said that constantly stopping and starting training just contributes to the niggles and it's better to just build it up slowly but keep doing it consistently, rather than taking these breaks of a week or three!

    I like walking and I try to walk to and from work each day which is about 3 miles or just under in total per day.

    My diet is not great either.  It's improving and I'm using My Fitness Pal which seems to be working and I don't find it super hard to stick to either.  I just need to control my weekend eating and make a few small tweaks to my evening meals and I will be sorted.

    I often have dreams of becoming a really good runner but at the moment I can't even break 40 minutes for a 5k so I have a long way to go, but dropping 4 stone can only help.  Although as I say, my real goal is to get under 12 stone.

    Any ideas for good leg exercises I can do at home?  My quads are very tight and probably could do with being strengthened to help avoid knee issues.  Any suggestions for good exercises I can do?  I was thinking of just doing like 3 sets of say 12 squats per day or something.  Any thoughts?

  • No specific stretches but there are a lot of really good videos on different muscle group stretches on the rw website. One thing I have learnt is you need to stretch all muscle group and not just focus on one as it is wholistic. Tight quads can lead the tight hamstring which can lead to back pain and so on. I tend to do static stretches on quads, hams, calf (I spend most time here), hips/it band, and ankles. Although the general cub I get is dynamic before static after but I am sure there are people who can correct me on that one.
  • I was 17 stone (5 ft 11) in Jan 2011 and decided I would enter a half marathon, sadly put my back out the first day I tried to run anywhere! I decided I would lose weight by fanatically watching what I ate and also walking on the treadmill on an incline.

    About 6 weeks later I started running outside but the initial weight loss (about a stone) was mainly diet. I did the HM in May 2011 in 2 hr 14 and was about 15 stone, but sadly having reached my goal I then put a stone + back on by August 11. I had entered the London ballot so when I started back in was with this in mind. I am back down to 15 1/2 stone now but in the condition of my life (still want to drop a few stone though!).

    I suppose where I am heading with my story is that I have built up to 20 mile + long runs, 45 miles total last week, hopefully a 4 hr 30 marathon and I am still only just shy of "obese". Don't let weight hold you back, just build up sensibly, not too far and not too fast. Don't let people tell you "you can't do this" (unless its your doctor) but equally whilst running can help massively with weight loss if you are training for an event prioritising that can hinder the weight goals.
  • Nice replies.

    I had planned to go for a run this morning before work but didn't go.  Well I said I had planned to go, it was sort of a "Eh, if I feel like it, I will go" attitude and I just couldn't be arsed getting out of bed to go.  I prefer to run in the mornings anyway as I always have more energy than I do come evening time.

  • I still haven't managed to get out for a run yet.  I definitely tend to suffer from the paralysis of over-analysis.  I often sort of look up loads of information and end up kind of getting conflicting info or not really being sure of what I should do.  Recently got advice about use heart rate to track how fast or slow I should be running and that I should be in the 60-70% of my maximum heart rate in order to burn fat.  I don't know if I should follow that or just go out and run/jog at what feels like a comfortable pace.
  • running to Heart Rate is a good way of judging fat burning... you can get a cheap (but effective) HR monitor for c. £20 in boots/argos. Keep the numbers low and the theory is that you burn more fat. On that basis you will burn more on a bike than running so I would advise you mix cycling and running. If you can find the time to cycle for 3-4 hours during the weekend and then run 2 or 3 times during the week then you should find that (a) you are better protected against injury, (b) the weight will drop off you. What you eat is important though - a good balanced diet and keep calories in less than calories burnt. It took years to put it on... don't expect it to come off overnight!

    Good luck and join us on the SOC thread.... we will get you up and out in the morning.
  • Been thinking about buying a bike alright.  I'm really out of practice on bikes though, like it's been about 20 years since I cycled regularly and the last time I tried it was a few years ago and it was almost like learning all over again.  I'd definitely need to practice somewhere first before I'd feel confident about cycling to work.
  • have you seen this.... 



  • That's a cool video alright.

    I actually do have a HRM that I used to wear all the time when running but haven't done recently and I wore it while walking to work this morning just to see what it said. My heart rate was around the 125-135bpm mark while walking. I wasn't walking super slow but wasn't a super brisk power walk either. My max HR is 185.
  • Personally I have been saying I will lose weight and then start running but there is no reason you shouldn't do both. Just make sure you stretch like a loon and eat more sensibly (I didn't eat sensibly) and increase mileage only when it feels comfortable. I always set a distance before I run now and never run more than that to avoid injuring myself, which can be hard. I just set a new goal next time and if I don't feel I can make it, stop and re assess before my next run. Running diary really helps me.
  • +1 for myfitnesspal - recording what you eat is a real eye-opener - and mfp makes this easy - and it will help prevent you from eating all those calories burned through exercise.

    Easy does it - as long as weight is going in the right direction the most important thing will be not to get injured. Run if you are comfortable but walk otherwise - you will still get the training benefit.

  • Thanks for the replies, all very positive and helpful. I've posted elsewhere on forums in other countries that haven't been so pleasant with their replies.
  • Finally made myself go for a run this morning after sort of promising I would for the last few days and skipping out on doing it each day.

    I haven't run/jogged for about 2 weeks and to be blunt, ate quite a bit of junk this weekend. However somehow, the jog felt amazing. It wasn't too tough and I did 2.2 miles at a very slow pace, around the 28-30 minute mark I reckon. But I was amazed at how tough it wasn't.

    I've done a bit of walking this weekend though, including 5.4 miles yesterday. My ankle is a bit sore from the walking on Saturday and Sunday but not too bad.

    I might go for another walk today and it's back to work tomorrow so walking to and from work which is about 2.8 miles in total. Will skip running tomorrow and aim to do another 2.2 miles on Wednesday before work.

    I'm hoping I've rediscovered my fondness for running!
  • Good on you! Just go for it and don't pay any attention to unpleasant responses or negative people.

    As for whether to run now or after you've lost a bit of weight, do what you feel like but if you run while very overweight, just be aware of the extra stress you're putting on your joints, muscles and ligaments. When I'm more than a couple of stone above what I feel is my best running weight, I can jog slowly no problem, but if I try to run fast I usually pull muscles and/or end up with aching joints. Power walking might be better for you to start with.

  • KEEP ON RUNNING and do not look back! Make small permanent changes to lifestyle and enjoy the journey.

    Like many above running saved me from 17 stone heart attack / stroke victim in waiting to Ultra Marathon finisher.

    You will inevitably have highs and lows on the way, how you deal with those is personal for me I made sure I always had an event on the horizon fear of failure kept me going from 5k to 50 miles in a much shorter time than I would have believed possible.

    Along the way I have had some great times, made loads of new friends and saved a few quid as well; entry fees and kit (I am very liberal in my spend on both) is still some way short of my previous expenditure on booze and pies!

    If you are not already get yourself on Twitter and follow as many runners as possible Tweets provide a great drip feed of motivation with quotes, training tips, awesome performances etc.
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