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Common Mistakes to Avoid When Running for Weight Loss

Many people with the goal of losing weight through running often make common mistakes that prevent them from achieving their weight loss goals.

  • Not having a plan

  • Overtraining

  • Not eating enough

  • Not hydrating enough

  • Focusing too much on the scale

Losing weight is a difficult thing to do as you have to be disciplined and dedicated to the process. I have done some research to find some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight through running and offer tips on how to avoid them.

Not Having a Plan

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight through running is not having a plan. They may go for a run whenever they feel like it, without any set goals or objectives. This approach can lead to frustration, inconsistency, and lack of progress.

Tip: Create a Running Schedule

To avoid this mistake, create a running schedule that outlines the days, times, and distances you will run. Start with a realistic and achievable goal, such as running three times a week for 20 minutes. Gradually increase the duration and frequency of your runs as your fitness level improves. A good start may be taking part in the couch to 5k program.


Another mistake people make when running for weight loss is overtraining. They may believe that the more they run, the faster they will lose weight. This is unhealthy and it can lead to burnout, injuries, and decreased motivation.

Tip: Allow for Rest and Recovery

To avoid overtraining, allow for rest and recovery days between your runs. Your body needs time to heal after a workout. I personally recommend running no more than three times a week as this is what I personally find manageable long term. This does not mean you can’t do other forms of exercise though. Mixing up your workout with other forms of exercise, such as strength training or yoga, may help to ovoid burnout and improve your running performance.

Not Eating Enough

It is true that to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you take in but, some people take this too far. This approach can backfire, leading to muscle loss, fatigue, and a slowed metabolism as the body goes into survival mode and tries to conserve energy. Severely restricting calories can also lead to nutritional deficiencies, which can negatively impact your health. It is important to find a balance that works for your individual needs and goals, and to prioritise nutrient-dense foods that provide your body with the fuel and nutrients it needs for your running routeen.

Tip: Eat a Balanced Diet

To avoid this mistake, eat a balanced diet that has enough calories to fuel your body and support your daily activities, as well as your metabolism. Make sure to eat enough lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Additionally, avoid skipping meals and instead eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

Focusing Too Much on the Scale

While losing weight is a valid goal, focusing too much on the number on the scale can lead to frustration and disappointment. When exercising to lose weight you should be aiming to put on muscle to support your exercise routemen. This means using the scales is an outdated and misleading way of tracking progress.

Tip: Track Progress in Other Ways

Track your progress in other ways, such as how you feel after a run, how your clothes fit and your BMI. Celebrate small victories along the way and focus on the positive changes you are making to your health and fitness.


Losing weight through running is an achievable goal, but it requires a thoughtful and disciplined approach. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can increase your chances of success. Remember to start slow, be consistent, and listen to your body. With patience and perseverance, you will achieve your goals.

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