Running draws people of all shapes and sizes, from the thin, willowy runner that comes to mind for many people, to muscular athletes and weightlifters, to people looking to lose weight.

Running can be a safe, effective, and fulfilling exercise for many people, but heavier runners may need to consider additional shock absorption and support.

How is “Heavy” Defined?

Running can put an average of 1.5 to 3 times your body weight of shock on the joints, making good form and the right shoes important for all runners, and this is especially true for heavy runners. For heavier runners, proper shock absorption and support is even more important.

Traditionally, runners are considered “heavy” if they have a BMI of over 27. Though BMI is not a perfect science, it can provide a point of reference when shopping for the right pair of running shoes.

Check out our “Run Lean, Run Strong” program

Effects of Extra Weight

With additional shock placed on the joints, it’s critical for heavy runners to carefully assess their biomechanics and running form. A good first step is to determine if you overpronate. For more information check out our article describing different pronation issues.

Overpronoation put more stress on the ankles and knees, making it even more important for heavier runners to address these issues. While some heavier runners may not have the biomechanical issues described above, durability of the outsole may also be an issue.

The Importance of Good Form

Proper running form is important for all runners, but focusing on running efficiently is vital for heavier runners, not only to improve performance, but also to help stave off injury. Proper running form with distribute shock more evenly, minimizing damage to the joints and tendons.

General strength and conditioning is also key for healthy, efficient running. Strong legs, core, and back will help improve running form and also help prevent injury. For tips on strength training, see Randy’s list of considerations. In addition, Runner’s World a great strength training overview.

For tips on proper running form, take a look at Randy’s overview. James also has an excellent round up of the top five most important habits for efficient running.

Shoes we recommend

The Hoka One One Clifton 2, like its predecessor, is a fantastic shoe. It is an ultra-lightweight yet highly cushioned shoe that provides an amazingly comfortable ride.

The ASICS Cumulus 17 is the latest iteration of one of the most popular neutral lines on the market. It has upped the cushioning and has amazing grip. However, with cushioning comes weight, as at times they can feel clunky.

The Odyssey offers durable stability while still delivering the performance of a premium daily trainer.

The first edition of this shoe combines a comfortable upper with the durable, plush cushioning that runners are looking for in a stability shoe to deliver a smooth transition and ride.

The Saucony Triumph ISO is indeed a triumph. It is awell cushioned shoe with an excellent fit for a neutral runner looking for a comfortable ride during long runs. While the price tag is high, it is well worth it for a high mileage or heavier runner.

The Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 is an incredibly well cushioned shoe for a neutral, high mileage runner. Fit runs quite small, in length and width as well as volume.

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