Exercise! - Very Overweight Beginner Runner Looks for Tips

08-15-2007, 07:02 PM
Hi Guys -

I'm toying around the idea with running. Obviously right now It's not a good idea but as I drop weight... maybe another 40 or so I'm thinking I will try a couch to 5k program (but probably repeating weeks) or maybe even train for one of those mini-triathalons or something.

For those of you who began running when really heavy do you have any tips? I assume good shoes are an absolute must... and taking it slow is a must... but what else do I need to do/keep in mind?

Right now I'm walking for exercise mostly and fairly briskly so I'm hoping as I progress I'll continue walking faster and faster and soon be able to transition into jogging around 220 maybe? Or do you think that's still too soon and too much pressure on my knees?

08-15-2007, 07:32 PM
I'm curious about this also. I've never ran but its always been appealing to me. This may sound strange but I have a reoccurring dream that I am a runner! lol Dreaming about exercise.. YIKES!

08-15-2007, 08:14 PM
I'm definitely curious to hear from others!! I too have thought about becoming a runner when I loose weight.

08-15-2007, 08:56 PM
I'm curious as well. I started the Couch - 5k thing in January (I got through the first week, then we had a BIG crisis at home, and I haven't gotten back on it). I did the first "week" that they had layed out in two weeks. (I repeated each day before I moved to the next). I was proud of myself when I started it (I was at around 230 pounds then - I've dropped a whole 6 since then). I'm thinking of starting it again when I can. My biggest problem was that I was on a treadmill and my shins KILLED me. I was told it was my shoes, but when my husband and I started powerwalking 4 miles a day, my shins never hurt me. I'm not sure what the problem was. All that to say - I'm not sure what to tell you...lol. I'm not a doctor so I can't say "when you get to this weight or that weight you can do this". I think it's just good to go at a pace that you are comfortable with. Any movement is good for you, good for your heart, good for your health!:running::woops::tread::ebike:

08-15-2007, 11:08 PM
IThis may sound strange but I have a reoccurring dream that I am a runner! lol Dreaming about exercise.. YIKES!

Me too. But in my dream, people are chasing me. :rofl:

Sorry for the pointless post, but I couldn't resist. :o

08-16-2007, 12:13 AM
I started C25K at 220 pounds. It can be done, but if you are new to exercising in general take a few weeks to walk first to build some muscle. Shin splints happen, you just need to stretch a lot before and after running and not over-do it (no extra days). I run 3 days a week and sometimes have to take a day off if I feel my shin acting up again (happened on Monday in fact). So I believe it can be done but to pace yourself a bit!

08-16-2007, 12:50 AM
Whatever you do, don't run down hills. I was warned. I walked up a lot of hills and then started jogging down them because I just wanted to get it over with and it was fun. It hurt my knee and my feet. Not real bad, but I never used to have problems. It's been about 7 years and I still get knee problems that started with those down hill jogs.

Bicycling is low impact. 15 mph gives you a good breeze when it's hot. Running is only 6 mph. Cycling is somewhat seasonal though, but it can be fun. Running is more like work. You can get studded tires for mountain bikes and ride in the winter on ice. I've bicycled 80 miles in one day, but I've never run more than 6. It just isn't fun for me. Cycling burns about 600 calories an hour which is about the same as running. The biggest drawback is the danger of impact with cars. I was out tonight on my bike and there was a collision 200 feet ahead of me.

08-16-2007, 01:03 AM
Green - Yeah, I bike too... I've gone as far as 28 miles which I guess at my size is fairly good hehe. Its one of the reason I was thinking a mini-triathalon might be fun. Chicago doesn't have hills luckily, but I'll keep that in mind. I have a feeling running won't be my favorite thing, but I want to run because I've never been able to. Even in grade school I failed the 10 minute mile! Anyway I'd like to be able to atleast give it a fair shot.

Cak - how far in the c25k program did you get? Did you find the later weeks to be too much?

08-16-2007, 01:12 AM
To everyone on this thread thinking about running - do it! I started the C25K plan when I was somewhere between 250 and 260 pounds, and I really think that becoming a runner has been sooooo instrumental in my journey over the last year. I started running last October, and much to my amazement, I discovered a real love of running, so much so that I'm actually signed up to do a marathon in October! Sorry if I sound like a pollyanna, but I really can't express what it has meant to me to become an athlete at age 40.

A few things to keep in mind: (1) you absolutely need to invest in a good pair of running shoes. Do not buy them at a Sportmart-type store - go to a real running store where they can analyze your gait and make a recommendation for you. (2) Keep your pace slow - it will be hard when you see all sorts of people zipping by you on the path, but particularly in the beginning, you should not be concerned about pacing. You should be able to have a conversation while you run - if you are too out of breath to do that, you're going too fast. (3) Make sure you build slowly - following C25K is a great plan, and there are other similar plans out there, but if you don't feel ready to move on to a new step in the program, repeat the step you're at until you feel ready. It is so important to listen to what your body is telling you to avoid overdoing it and injuring yourself. If you need to take more walking breaks in between running phases, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. (4) Almost as important as good shoes is to have a good exercise bra. I am a larger gal, so have become a big fan of Enell bras, but whatever works for you, make sure you have lots of support for the girls, it will make a huge difference in your comfort level. (5) Don't worry about what you look like when you're running - runners really are a friendly group (for the most part), and they will be thrilled to see you out there doing it. I remember the first few times I went out on the jogging path near me - I had to wear a hat and dark glasses to face the other runners, but once I got used to being out there with everyone, I found out how supportive of a community it is.

And come join us on the coolrunners thread here!

08-16-2007, 01:25 AM
Rachel -

Yeah that's sorta what I was hoping to happen to me also. (becoming a runner factoring into my long term success) If I like it enough I plan on entering atleast a few races just for fun.

I do have an Enell bra, which I love, but I'm going to have to get a smaller one soon. (Chest seemed to shrink first!) They are really expensive so I bought mine as a "seconds reject" on ebay... will probably do that as I move down in weight just so I can afford them.

You've lost a lot of weight so if you don't mind me asking besides the bra how does loose skin factor into running on other parts of your body? Do you find it uncomfortable at all? Does snug bike shorts/shirts help at all with the extra jiggling? Is that too embarassing of a question? :)

08-16-2007, 01:25 AM
To everyone on this thread thinking about running - do it! I started the C25K plan when I was somewhere between 250 and 260 pounds

Exactly! There IS no weight limit, not really. I started somewhere over 210. I can't say where over, cause I wasn't weighing. But I was probably more like over 220. I did it trial and error. Hadn't heard of C25K. So I just got out there and tried it. And I got about 15 feet before I felt like my chest was going to explode. :rofl:

So I went to walking. But once I'd catch my breath, I'd jog again, another 15 feet. I walked a little over a mile every morning, and probably jogged those 15 foot bursts 3 or 4 times on that mile. Eventually, I realized I'd gone farther than 15 feet, then I made it from that bush to that tree! WOO HOO!, then I actually went half the distance up the road. Then I jogged clear to the end of that road and walked back. By then, I increase my distance to 2 miles.

Ok, so going it alone...

I ended up with blisters, shin splints, sore knees, you name it. So I learned quite a lot. Make SURE you buy good running shoes. Try them out on a treadmill if you can, cause you can return them if they don't suit you well as long as you hadn't worn them outside. Also get water wicking socks. Your feet will thank you for it. At heavier weights, I also found extra padded inserts in my shoes were great. For the knees, I started wearing my Wal*Mart knee support that I wore when my knee bothered me sometimes. This time however, I bought another for the other knee. No more knee pain. I actually think it helped strengthen my knees. I have some arthritis in them yet I don't have any problems from it. Since losing the weight, I don't have to wear supports anymore and my knees have been great. Also at heavier weights, you may experience some pull on your lower back. So...I ended up also wearing a back support while running. Seems like a lot to wear, but it really can help if you start to experience any of these problems. And with all that garb on, you want water wicking outwear. LOL

Definately stretch before and after and take it easy, don't push it. I figured out that I shouldn't push it...after I'd pushed it. Then you have to lay off jogging, and even walking, for awhile. It's hard to walk when you have callouses, blisters and aches so bad you wanna take prescription strength Ibuprofen. :(

Me too. But in my dream, people are chasing me. :rofl:
Hey that can actually be a useful tool. Sometimes I imagine someone chasing me...someone I REALLY wanna get away from. You should see how fast I run then. :D

08-16-2007, 01:54 AM
I do have an Enell bra, which I love, but I'm going to have to get a smaller one soon. (Chest seemed to shrink first!) They are really expensive so I bought mine as a "seconds reject" on ebay... will probably do that as I move down in weight just so I can afford them.

I am an ebay-enell purchaser too! In fact, I started at a size 6 and just purchased a size 1, have had lots of chest shrinkage, so the bra expense, even with the ebay discount, has been signifcant! (But hey, it beats the alternative.) In fact, I'm a little freaked out that I might wind up out of the enell size range altogether soon - and then I'll have to find another alternative :fr:

You've lost a lot of weight so if you don't mind me asking besides the bra how does loose skin factor into running on other parts of your body? Do you find it uncomfortable at all? Does snug bike shorts/shirts help at all with the extra jiggling? Is that too embarassing of a question?

I don't mind at all - the whole point of 3FC is to have a place to ask these kinds of questions, right? I feel relatively lucky on the loose skin front - I've lost 125 pounds, and I'm no spring chicken, so I think things could be a lot worse than they are. I do have some loose skin, mostly in the chest and some in my thighs and belly, plus my arms aren't the greatest. But overall, it isn't too bad. I don't really notice those areas jiggling more than any others when I run...I'm sure they don't always look pretty, but it's certainly not uncomfortable. I wear compression shorts sometimes, but not always.

08-16-2007, 05:09 AM
Do you ladies think someone my size could do it? I looked at the C25K program and it seemed simple enough. I can keep up with a 45 minutes exercise video all right. I'd love to become a runner (it's actually one of my goals). Should I wait until I get down to 250 or should I start trying now?

08-16-2007, 05:32 AM
Well I'm definately not an expert but I'd encourage you to wait... I don't think I could barely do it yet at my size yet and I'm fairly fit cardio wise. I've gotten my resting heart rate down to less then 60.

Running/Jogging is really bad on your knees. Even thinnner runners get issues by the act of pounding on the ground... It is a lot more then what you actually weigh. Runners can you expand on that? how much is it 3times? 5times? I can't remember it's been awhile since I read about it.

And once you do major damage sometimes it's not reversable.

I'd try walking briskly... you'll slowly be gearing up your cardio so that when your weight is down enough you'll be ready.

I have read about clysdale men triathaletes that were close to 300lbs but those men were very tall and muscular.

08-16-2007, 11:01 AM
Rachel and almostheaven gave wonderful advice and I won't bother to repeat it because I would tell you the exact same things!!

I just wanted to pop in and give you some words of encouragement. I started doing a C25K-like program when I weighed around 250 and now I'm a few weeks away from my first half marathon. I just ran 13 miles this morning, and I'm even an assistant cross country coach at the school where I teach! Running has honestly changed my life. It has made me believe I can do things I never thought possible, and it's just such a wonderful stress reliever as well!

Take all the great advice you've already received about shoes, bras, stretching, etc...and do it!! I really believe if you have the slightest inclination to become a runner, you should do it. So many people recoil at the very idea of running, so I think those of us who feel that pull toward it are just MEANT to be runners. Don't get me wrong -- I'll never win any races or anything like that -- but I know I'll be a runner for the rest of my life, as long as I can physically do it.

Please keep us updated on your progress, and join us in the Cool Runners thread!! :)

08-16-2007, 06:57 PM
Thank you sooooo much everyone you've been a huge help!

I decided to do the Walk Away the Pounds Walk and Jog video which has 2 minute segements of jogging in place type exercises. I made sure to do it on the bouncy wood floor. I was able to keep up just fine! I know jogging in place isn't as hard as moving and jogging but it was a good sign.

I still want just drop just a little before I start my C25K program, but this was encouraging. Although, I do have to admit feel my knees "felt" it. The don't hurt or anything, but they are more like "huh?" :) ) So I definately think they would be happier waiting for atleast another 20 to come off.

Thanks again.

08-16-2007, 07:23 PM
Idealmuse - great idea starting with the WATP video. I think you're right to hold off on C25K if your knees are feeling it with the WATP. Moving is moving, and that's what matters, so keep it up with WATP!

08-16-2007, 07:30 PM
I started with a walking DVD for the first 4 weeks or so then did the C25K. When your knees are ready you'll know. You always know your body better than anyone else, so just listen to it and then start when you think you can. You definately will not regret it!

08-17-2007, 08:19 PM
Ideal, you should pick up a couple of the knee supports from the pharmacy or Wal*Mart and try using those while working out. I found the more supple, stretchier ones worked best to allow freedom of movement but also provide some support. Or...you could try ace bandages to get the same effect. They just take a little longer to wrap. Not TOO tightly, but enough for some support. See if your kneeds still feel it the next time if you try this method.

08-17-2007, 08:26 PM
Thank you for the knee support suggestions (a few of you mentioned that) I'll have to look into that before I start.

The good news is I noticed today I'm walking a lot faster. I'm upto about 3.5-3.75 MPH over a 4 mile walk. (The 2nd half of the walk was carrying a heavy bag, and that's the half I ended up timeing)

I'm going to look at shoes this weekend I have some Gel-Asics but I'm worried the glue in them is too old even though they weren't worn much. They are men's shoes because my feet are so wide. :(

08-17-2007, 11:40 PM
LOL I had a problem adjusting to that when I first started walking on the treadmill. A gal who weighed all of 125 and was about 5' 6" would often be on the treadmill next to me. She gave me a lot of pointers...got me to let go of the bar. ;) But I'd look over and she was WALKING at 4.2. I was doing 2.8!!!! After awhile, it increases. I normally walk about 3.8 to 4.2 now without even trying to.

08-17-2007, 11:57 PM
Hehe... I look forward to breaking the 4.0 barrior I've never been able to do that in all my fitness attempts.

Right now cardio wise is about the best it's been (Although I've been at this level a few times)

I probably started off not far from 2.8... walking 2 miles. I think I might have just been under 3mph but not sure since I don't have a treadmill.

I may be investing in one sooner then later though!

08-22-2007, 10:02 PM
Just an update.

I was doing Turbo Jam today and during the "turbo" minute I ran around in circles on my exercise matts (thick puzzle matts) and I wasn't getting any more out of breath then I was doing the video!

So I think cardio wise I might be ready to attempt a slower modified version of the 13 week or c25k, but for my knees sake I think I still would like to wait for at the very least another 20lbs.

Thanks again everyone for the tips!

08-22-2007, 11:02 PM
How often do you turbo jam and what videos do you use? I just started C25K but I was thinking of doing some turbo jam on the off days.

08-22-2007, 11:35 PM
Teach -

I just restarted doing Turbo Jam, but I'm doing it a few times a week. I exercise 6 times a week (about 45mins-1.5hr) so I'm either walking briskly or doing DVDs. The biggest thing I've noticed in the past with Turbo Jam is its really helped strengthen my core.

Right now I mostly do the first cardio party video as it's my favorite. I have the others but they are just a bit too advanced for me so I can't give you feedback on those (yet)

Its probaby best to start out with the intro/20min video until you get the moves down. I don't do those much anymore though they don't keep my interest. With Turbo Jam I thought I hated it at first, but once I got the hang of it... it became my favorite at home workout and I (gasp) looked forward to doing it! Heh.

08-23-2007, 02:29 PM
Thank you for this thread. I found it very helpful!

Off to buy running shoes now.

02-19-2008, 04:09 PM
Thought I'd keep you guys updated for those who are just thinking about it now...

I started my program and I am on week 6 of 13. I'm running for 3 minutes and walking for 2 for about an hour. I've done upto 36 minuutes out of 60 running and it's going very well.

Good shoes has been important I just got refitted for new ones because it looks like my gait changed since dropping so much I used to pronate outwards and now I'm a slightly over pronator. I got shoes that fit my Nike+ chip so that's kinda fun.

Anyway I'm signing up for a Triathlon this summer! Woot. I'll keep you updated for all those running hopefuls.

03-19-2008, 02:37 PM
Ok I'm up to 10 minute runs now (Did 55 minutes yesterday 50 of that running) I think I've lost about 40-50lbs since I first posted this thread, but I'm obviously still a heavy runner the scale said 208/209 this morning.

My questions now is about my back. My back wasn't bothering me in the beginning but I've noticed that since I upped my run intervals to 7 minutes and now 10 minutes it's starting to bug me.

Will a back brace really do anything to help or do I need to do some weight lifting on the side for my back muscles? Is there anything else I can do to lessen any strain to the back? Do I need to run "taller?" and not lean as much or something?


03-21-2008, 12:06 AM
I'd suggest that until you do strengthen your back up a bit, and/or see your doctor, that you drop your interval time back down to where your back doesn't hurt.

03-24-2008, 11:24 PM
wow this is a great thread makes me feel like I could get out there and start running soon! I want to lose about 30 more pounds before I do and I will start with jogging intervals. thank you

03-25-2008, 11:07 AM
I'm a little late to this discussion... But I have a couple of pointers. I started running at 180 (went on to lose 40 more pounds and run a couple half marathons.... Yay RUNNING!).

The biggest help for me was before I started running, I started hiking, to build leg strength. Walking briskly on incline (work up a percent at a time) on a treadmill helped, too. This really strengthened up my hamstrings and calves and took the stress off of my shins once I started jogging.

If the back trouble you're having is lower back (I've had this... Ughh) it could be hamstring-related. I had a horrible case of SI joint paint/piriformis pain from not stretching my hamstrings sufficiently.

03-25-2008, 11:28 AM
26.2, can you recommend a good hammie stretch? Mine are feeling really tight this week and I can't quite get into a position that stretches them easily (can't touch my toes etc).

03-25-2008, 12:10 PM
I do the beginner's variation mentioned below with my hands at my sides, reaching for the floor. When I started doing this, I could barely bend over, so definitely ease into it. It may take a few months, but this has saved my life!

I had to copy this from the web as I don't have enough posts to do links, but if this isn't helpful, search for "parsvottanasana."

Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Intense Side Stretch Pose is challenging not only because of the “intensity” of its hamstring stretch, but also because (in the full pose) the position of the arms and hands in Anjali Mudra behind the back. So this pose, actually a deep forward bend, not only gives a good stretch to the backs of the legs, but also to the chest, shoulders, forearms and wrists. Here though, since the mudra is so difficult for most beginning students, the pose will be described with the hands on the floor.

Step by Step

Start standing with your feet together. With an exhalation, step your feet 3˝ to 4 feet apart (right leg in front of the left). Rest your hands on your hips. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.

Exhale and rotate your torso to the right, squaring the front of your pelvis as much as possible with the front edge of your mat. As the left hip point turns forward, press the head of the left femur back to ground the back heel. Press your outer thighs inward, as if squeezing a block between your thighs. Firm your scapulas against your back torso, lengthen your coccyx toward the floor, and arch your upper torso back slightly.

With another exhalation, lean the torso forward from the groins over the right leg. Stop when the torso is parallel to the floor. Press your fingertips to the floor on either side of the right foot. If it isn’t possible for you to touch the floor, support your hands on a pair of blocks or the seat of a folding chair. Press the thighs back and lengthen the torso forward, lifting through the top of the sternum.

In this pose the front-leg hip tends to lift up toward the shoulder and swing out to the side, which shortens the front-leg side. Be sure to soften the front-leg hip toward the earth and away from the same-side shoulder while you continue squeezing the outer thighs. Press the base of the big toe and the inner heel of the front foot firmly into the floor, then lift the inner groin of the front leg deep into the pelvis.

Hold your torso and head parallel to the floor for a few breaths. Then, if you have the flexibility, bring the front torso closer to the top of the thigh, but don’t round forward from the waist to do this. Eventually the long front torso will rest down on the thigh. Hold your maximum position for 15 to 30 seconds, then come up with an inhalation by pressing actively through the back heel and dragging the coccyx first down and then into the pelvis. Then go to the left side.

This explains what to do in painful detail, but the important part for me was squaring my hips forward.

Please, please, please be careful! I don't want anyone to overextend or hurt themselves!

03-25-2008, 03:44 PM
Well I started a C5K (couch to 5K) 3 weeks ago, and I have NEVER been a jogger or runner! It takes time, start slow, and you do not need to run at 6,7,8,9mph to be a runner! I tried running at 6mph and thought I would surely die! Now I am closer to the 4.5-5mph jog and it is MUCH better!

03-28-2008, 05:51 PM
Wow am i glad i found this thread, i too have just started jogging last week. The way i started was i quit smoking 8/9 month's ago, and while i was out on my walk one day i thought to myself i wonder if i can make it to that tree or that bench ect ect, Today was the first day that i jogged my furthest ever. I have been a walker for a few yr's now, I go as far as i can & stop catch my breath and start again, What alway's get's me is the dog, she look's at me like it's about time we started running,lol. I'm off to the runnery first thing in the morning need some new running shoe's.

03-29-2008, 11:51 AM
You are such an inspiration. I am most impressed with your progress. I started at a weight only marginally higher than your current weight, and I am struggling to break the 4 mph barrier myself. I can do 3.9, but often I have to slow down to 3.8 when my shin starts bothering me. I also started having back pain, just the last week. I through in some incline, (increasing after each minute), don't know if that had anything to do with it.
Anyway, just wanted to say YOU ROCK, LADY!!!

01-05-2009, 03:40 AM
Just an update. I did manage to run in a few triathlons this past summer (One had a run of 3 miles and one had a run of 6 miles) I did both with almost no walking. Of course we won't talk about how I got lazy and stopped after the summer and now I have to regain some of that progress... but I just wanted to put that out there for those beginning heavy. Even if you've never run before it's possible! My longest run last summer was for over an hour and a half!

Back to work now... I'm training for more Tris this summer one may involve a half marathon.

01-05-2009, 11:29 AM
Hey, here and now is all that counts!

01-05-2009, 09:12 PM
It's been awhile since I first posted on this thread and since then I've been running on the elliptical. I'm now up to 60 minutes and when it gets warmer (and as I loose more weight too) I'm ging to transition to tredmill and then the great outdoors.

01-06-2009, 12:13 AM
It's been awhile since I first posted on this thread and since then I've been running on the elliptical. I'm now up to 60 minutes and when it gets warmer (and as I loose more weight too) I'm ging to transition to tredmill and then the great outdoors.Just so you know that running on a elliptical and running on the treadmill or outside is completely different... BUT with perseverance and by starting very slowly with a program like the Couch to 5k, it can be done.... Keep up the great work...:bravo:

Idealmuse -- at lesat you're back at it :D Good job :carrot:

01-07-2009, 12:57 AM
True, they are different beasts (elliptical and running) but any cardio progress is going to help you become more prepared. It certainly can't hurt! Congrats!

01-07-2009, 01:23 AM
Oh yea, I can imagine! I'm just taking it easy for the sake of the joints. And also I don't want to be flopping around outside just yet. lol