T wice in the last week I have received comments from people claiming that they are too fat to run. Once via email from a very nice sounding lady named Donna and another in a comment on my welcome post from Khaleef, who is blogging about his weight loss over at his Fat Guy Skinny Wallet website.
I don’t like hearing the phrase “I’m Too Fat To Run” and I just don’t buy it either. As far as I am concerned running is not about distance, speed or even necessarily running, starting off walking is just fine.
Being fat is not an excuse
Of course there could be problems associated with weight and believe me I have some experience of it myself. I’m going to list the steps that I would take if I felt I was too big to go running but some crazy blog post had tempted me to give it a try anyway.
1. Get a checkup.
This first step is a disclaimer disguised as a step but something that is genuinely advisable. If you have not done any physical activity for a long while or feel you have any issues such as weight, bad joints, respiratory problems or anything of the sort you need to get checked up. Visit the doctors and get a check up, tell them of your intent to start physical activity and ask for any advice they have. It’s important that you get treatment for any ailments that could thwart your efforts or worse cause long term problems.
2. Get yourself some gear.
It would be easy for me to advise you to buy $150 shoes, some expensive sweat sucking running shirts and other hi-tech gadgets but I don’t want to waste your cash. I do advise you wear comfortable and fitting underwear. A pair of snug calvins for guys and comfortable everyday underwear, especially a jog bra or your most supportive regular bra, for women. You need some comfortable sports or walking shoes with comfortable socks and a pair of sports shorts and a light cotton T-Shirt.
3. Plan a route.
Running on a sidewalk probably isn’t a good ideas if you are on the heavy side as it can put a lot of pressure on your back and knees so you want to plan a route that allows you to start on cut grass or well maintained trails. Distance wise I would map out 1 miles and no hills.
Tips for mapping a route: The non-digital way works out well with a map and a piece of string cut to the same distance as a mile (worked out from the scale) and then wound around the trail until you come up with something good! Or you can use the something like Google Earth and their measure tool (take a screen shot of the map as you can’t save routes on it as yet). I would use RunKeeper.com which allows you to map out a route as part of the activity page.
4. Get dressed.
When the big day comes, get your kit on, have a move around and if you feel any areas that may rub then put some baby powder or even petroleum jelly on those areas. Not a nice thought I know but you may thank me later!
5. Warm up.
You need to warm up, Make sure you spend at least a few minutes walking and a little stretching for all your major muscles. Time to Run has a great article for a gentle runners warm up.
6. RUN, RUN, RUN.
Start out on the route walking or very lightly running. The first time out you don’t need to complete the course or go at any speed. I wouldn’t even take a watch or any timing device out with me at this stage. Even if you only make it 100 metres that is a great start. See it as the beginning of the rest of your running career!
7. Cool down.
When you are done you need to cool down to help the muscles to cool down and aid recovery. You need to walk very slowly for a few minutes again and then stretch all your main muscles again like you did for the warm up.
8. Document your awesome achievement.
Write down your achievement, where you stopped or how the course went, how you felt. I would suggest logging it on somewhere like RunKeeper or just writing it on a sheet of paper and sticking it to the fridge.
The first day will be hard, you may even hate it but you won’t the achievement and the fact that you now have a goal, a marker that will push you run by run to do something you may have not done for a long time or even ever before. If you didn’t make the mile then the challenge is to go out every two days until you can walk that entire mile. If you did make the mile then I suggest you take a watch out next time and start timing with the intention of increasing your speed until you reach a goal. I would say 12 minutes for the one miles is a good time to aim for.
If this post motivates you to go for a run then I need to hear about it and how your experience was. If you have any tips for me to improve this plan or you just fancy letting us know what you are thinking then please leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading and good luck.
Image modified from the original by Kriss Szkurlatowski.