I FUCKING KILLED THE GAME. Finished a 5K and wrapped it up with 6 minutes of sprints with my roomie. Got up to a 7.0 even! I feel so good. Taking a few days off was just the ticket. So glad to be back though. Who knew I’d miss the gym?!
Do you have any tips for people starting a running regime when overweight?
Hey - I love this question. I wish I had asked it when I started running!
Some of these will apply to all new runners, but I will try to put emphasis on the challenges faced by bigger runners.
Ease into it - My first recommendation for new runners is that they ease into. It is so easy to push yourself too hard and either burn out or get injured, this is especially true for anyone that is really out of shape, like I was. IMHO, the best program for new runners is Couch to 5k (C25K.) The version I used is C25K free by Zen Labs. It is a 8 week program that eases you into running by gradually increasing your runs from 30 second run intervals - to running a 5K non-stop. This gives both your body and your mind time to come to the realization that yes, you are a runner.
Set your own pace - One huge mistake of believing the idea that if I was not running at least 6 mph, I wasn’t running. This caused me to push myself too hard and get injured. Don’t set a speed target for yourself. Use your Heart rate and how you feel to tell you how hard to run. If you are breathing hard and sweating, you are running and don’t let anyone else try to convince you otherwise.
Get some good shoes - If you can swing it, investing in good running shoes will pay off in easier miles and fewer injuries. My advice to new runners is forget brand loyalty avoid big box shoe stores completely. You are much better off going to a dedicated running store and getting fitted for shoes. Bring your old shoes with you so they can look at the wear patterns. They will also measure both feet (did you know your feet are probably different sizes?) They will have you walk and perhaps run in your new shoes so they can watch your gait. This is a very good investment. After you have done this once - and know your size and any adjustments you need - you can buys shoes on-line but I recommend you go to the store for your first time.
Get some more good shoes - OK… the sad news is, these expensive running shoes are going to wear out in 300 - 500 miles (give or take.) This is true for everyone, but big folks have to deal with it even sooner. One trick you can do is try to get 2 pairs on sale and alternate them. You are more likely to get 500 miles out of shoes that are rotated.
Keep track - find a way to track your running. There are lots of great free apps out there. I happen to use Samsung Health, Garmin Connect and Runtastic. Using one of these kinds of apps will help you track your progress. It is so cool to see yourself getting stronger. It’s one of the things that motivates me.
Be Proud - One thing many big runners struggle with is body image issues. (I sure do.) I remember writing several posts a few years ago about how much I dreaded running outside. Now I LOVE it - and prefer it to the dreadmill. :p I know this is easier said than done - but every time I feel bad - I remember that I am doing so much better than anyone else that is sitting in their car or on the couch is doing…
Be confident - at least 50% of running is believing in yourself. I 100% believe that if you think you can do it - or you think you can’t… you are probably right.
Those are the big hurdles I faced. Here are some old posts I made that might be helpful.
Here are all my C25K posts from my first run at it several years ago.
Here was a very tough day of C25K and how I got past it.
Here is when I finished C25K and the tips I shared then.
Whoot whoot!! HIIT day! I’m feeling much better today after a good night’s sleep. This workout felt really good. I’m hoping that whatever keeps trying to bring me down is finally kicked! I don’t have time to deal with being sick right now.
2 miles of intervals on the Dreadmill, as well. It’s way too cold here for me to be outside until the afternoon for cardio. Those die-hard Winter runners are so inspiring! How do ya’ll breathe in that???? PT exercises and stretches to finish it up for the day!!
Today I ran 3.1 miles in 29:18 on a dreadmill at my hotel in Philly!
I’m attending a conference (of sorts) for work, and while I would love to go for a run and explore the city on foot, I don’t feel quite safe by myself. I’m not sure of where to go - and more importantly, where NOT to go - so I resigned myself to a treadmill this evening.
I did walk around for a few hours yesterday, albeit with a small group, so at least I got to see the sights that way!
This run went well and was unremarkable. I stomped in time with old school rap and did my thang. I might run again in the morning.
Putting the dread in dreadmill. My first tempo pace run of my training plan and third run indoors this week. I think the tempo runs are the hardest part of the Hansons plan, and I was both excited and nervous. My training target is 2:45, so today’s 6 miles was to be run at 9.5mph or 6:19/mi. Would I be able to hold that at even this short of a distance?
The Chicago Marathon feels like a million years ago. While I can still remember everything about it, the injury and subsequent recovery opened a Grand Canyon-sized gap between where I was then and where I am now. Maybe not in a physical sense, but certainly mentally. Almost hard to appreciate how awesome it really was because it’s somewhat soured by the aftermath.
I’m trying to ramp up slowly and set realistic expectations. I can’t expect to resume at the same level when I took time off and had to scale back the training intensity compared to the summer. It’s a delicate balance that’s not aided by the dreary and difficult winter weather.
I do my 1 mile warmup at 8:00/mi and then it’s showtime. As I labor through each mile thinking “geez this is hard”, I commit to some form changes I’ve been working on, hoping they will make things a little easier and more efficient. The minutes crawl by slowly as do the tenths of a mile on the readout.
And when I am struggling, I use the techniques that got me through the Chicago Marathon. Break it up into small pieces. Focus on progress. Pump your arms to give your legs some help. You’ve done this before. You WILL conquer this.
Soon enough it’s done, and I can finally let myself smile. I’m not thrilled with it, but I’ve challenged my body and it has responded, at least for today. Each time I climb these mountains, I’m getting closer to where I want to be. It may be hard to see. The plan will keep asking more of me, and each time it will seem hard. I know it will produce results when race day arrives. Just need to take care of myself in the time between the rough days so I have the best chance to succeed.
I’m sure everybody struggles at times. What is your coping mechanism for a tough run?
5 miles on the dreadmill yesterday and again today. I wake up at 4:00 am and squeeze it in before work. I tried this a couple times last week and my body revolted - I was ready for bed by 2:00 pm. But this week, no issues. And the dreadmill isn’t so dreadful anymore. Awesome.
I’d like to say that this is a picture of my feet, braving the wind and the rain for a wild second run of the day, but it’s actually just a picture of my feet in the rain on their way to the gym to do an evening run on the dreadmill. Not quite as exciting…but less cold.