10 Running Tips from a middle-aged, overweight man in the IT Industry


If you search for running tips and how to get started on Google or YouTube, you always end up watching/reading something by a guy or girl who is fit already and have a bunch of batches or medals from previous runs… Or you get the morbidly obese sensation story that is a miracle…

Not representative of the audience…

It is not very representative of the ordinary person like me, being middle-aged, fat (10+ Kg more than there should be), too sedentary, and feeling no time for Fitness… But If I can do this, then everyone else can do it!

My Running “Story”

I’ve always been very sedentary with computers being my main hobby. I was overweight (120kg, 193cm high) and had no activity other than a short bike ride to work each day. I was not in physical peril, but it was not good either, and a sure road to poor health as I grew older. That was until May 2021 when a former colleague of mine (thank you CRRU) made me commit to running at least 3 times a week. I have kept that commitment ever since and running is now as much a habit as brushing my teeth… Here are my tips on getting started without hearing them from a fitness guru with way too many marathons under their belt… They might not be fancy, but they work and do not try an sugar coat the process.

Tip 1: Make a schedule and stick to it no matter what

Make a schedule!… It does not really matter if it is once a week, 2-3 times a week, or every day… Just make it realistic and stick to it no matter what. In the beginning, I had it as a Recurring Task to do the run on a specific day (better as a task than a calendar as you need to check a task as complete where a calendar entry just comes and goes without interaction).

Tip 2: There is never an excuse for not sticking to the schedule

In a busy life it is so easy to make up excuses for not running (I’m tired, busy day, bad weather, cold weather, runny nose), but let’s face it; they are all bad excuses!... And if you want to make this a habit, don’t give in; not even for one day. The second you give in to the excuse one day, it leads to giving in more and more; to the point where you stop altogether (been there in the past)!… To me you have only 3 valid reasons not to do your scheduled run:

  1. You are sick “from the Neck down” (aka a light cold is not a good enough excuse!)
  2. You are injured
  3. Government or local authorities mandates (Covid isolation) and warning of dangerous weather (a little rain, hot/cold, or snow doesn’t make it impossible to run; aka it is a bad excuse!)

Keeping to the above 3 rules has made me miss running only 3 times in the past 18 months and that was the week I have Covid (aka #3 Rule). I’ve been out in the rain, the snow, close to midnight, early morning; hungover… DON’T GIVE IN TO BAD EXCUSES; THEY LEAD TO A SLIPPERY SLOPE EVERY TIME!

Tip 3: Run when you have the least excuse

As mentioned above bad excuses can be tempting so what I did was to run when there were the least excuses. You might be tempted to run in the afternoon and it might fit you, but to me, that was when I had the most excuses (tired and no energy, long day at work). For me back when I worked full time was at night (aka around 22:00).. The day was more or less over and it was that or bed so no excuse really that more needed to happen. Nowadays when I have more time; I run in the morning as it is just part of the morning routine (wake, run, bath, start the day…) but I acknowledge that unless you are a morning person and have the time this one is more tricky; so my recommendation is to start running at night (it also give the least chance of injuries).

Tip 4: Make the running route short and the same with the only goal of completing the run

You might be tempted to follow an exercise plan from a running app, website, or similar, and while such plans are good for a future goal, I will recommend not starting with such a plan. Instead, find a simple running route and make it a short one (pro-tip: make it shorter than you feel you can allow!), and make it the sole goal of doing the run. Goals of running longer and faster are good later, but in the beginning, you should aim for habit-building, and once that is there, you can always slowly ramp it up with 5k goals, etc.

In my case, my route was a 2K simple run in the neighborhood,

My Goto-route for over a year; short and easy but habit-building! … And don’t worry about the pace. When I started this route the pace was 8min/Km… aka who cares when you end up with a good habit!

The reason for keeping it short is that it gives even fewer bad excuses not to do it… This route took me in the beginning 15 min to run (12 min now)… And who does not have 15 min to spare when bad excuses are not allowed?…

Nowadays I’ve upped the route a bit to 2.7K and I mix it up with longer runs (4-5K) from time to time but keeping the base simple route ensures I get out every single day, no matter how motivated or not I feel on the day… Everything else is a bonus.

Tip 5: Let others know (feel the commitment)

Let others know your running schedule so you feel the commitment to it. As mentioned my current 18-month running commitment was given to a former colleague, and talking about it with others makes the commitment stronger. You can also use a social media fitness app to share with friends and family to have them encourage you with Likes and comments on your activities. I personally use Starva and this blog for sharing.

Tip 6: Track your progress but do not set specific goals at first

Use a running app to keep track of your progress or a stopwatch + spreadsheet if you wish to keep it analog… But do not set any specific goals other than “improvement” (for example faster run pace after 3 months) but keep it to that… Setting a goal and not meeting it “fast enough” can be discouraging so keep it simple… Unspecified improvement goals almost always turn out positive if you just keep consistent, leading to reinforcement to keep going… More specific goals will come naturally down the line if you keep this mentality and then you will be in a much better base position to chase them.

Tip 7: Do it alone (at least in the beginning)

This tip is a personal preference of cause and some might say the direct opposite, but I have bad experience teaming up with someone else and running together. It is so rare that two or more are at the same level of fitness leading to guilt and giving up if you can’t keep up or overdoing it with extra runs if your running mate is slower than you (been in both situations and both suck). So I stick to running solo (+ it makes Tip 8 and 9 possible).

Tip 8: Keep it simple and dirty

A bit gross perhaps, but never let used/dirty running gear be the bad excuse for not getting out there. If dirty or currently drying after washing gear becomes your excuse, live with it. I run every day now but just in the same gear multiple days… Yes, they are smelly, but it is better than not getting out there due to lack of gear…

Tip 9: Run with Music

Again a personal preference, but I need music in my ears when running, or a podcast or audiobook. From time to time it is nice running without and I do from time to time, but else the audio makes me be in a better flow and ignores the “hardship”.

Tip 10: Buy a Fitness Watch

Until October this year, I tracked my runs (and listen to music) by bringing my iPhone with me on the run. While not a big issue, it was cumbersome (keeping a grip on the phone at times took away attention) and was almost a bad excuse when it rained; almost! So I ended up buying an Apple Watch SE 2022, and it has been the best purchase of 2022!

Best purchase of 2022!

So now when I need to run I simply point on running gear, Wireless in-ears in, start Spotify Offline Music, and start the running app. I don’t need my phone with me and can focus 100% on the run… And the bonus sleep tracking and Activity Rings are a nice complement to my overall Fitness 🙂

You can of cause get other fitness-tracking watches but for me, this was a perfect match for what I needed 🙂

That’s it… 10 Tips for you to get your running on as well…
Do it! It gives so much more energy in life and better health… See you out there; and next time!