Is it sensible for me to start running?

I started this year weighing 25 and a half stone, but through diet and exercise (mostly walking) I'm now just 22 stone and this time last weekend participated in my first proper event which was a walking half marathon. The thing is I want to run and I want to run a 5k the whole way through before the end of the year. Am I being unrealistic? Is this something I should attempt? I'm not stupid and I know it'll take a while for me to do the programme and I'll be more than happy to repeat weeks if needed but I don't know if I'm stupid even considering it at my current weight? I'd really like some thoughts, suggestions, ideas etc. And if anyone can help with overcoming the fear I have of letting my neighbourhood see me running and no doubt laughing that'd be great too! (Btw I can easily walk a 20 min mile and my pb for a mile is a few seconds over 18mins which is slowly coming down, when I started my pb was around 22mins)

26 Replies

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  • Go for it - your walking will have been good preparation and the program starts off with a good mixture of walking and running. I would suggest you go to a proper running shop for advice on which shoes you need fairly early on in the program - it can make a huge difference to how comfortable you feel.

    I think we all had worries to start with about how we'd look running in public and quickly learned to stop caring ! And most people will think good on you for making the effort anyway.

    The fact you've walked a half marathon and lost so much weight this year already, shows you have a determined and positive attitude. If you want to be really careful, then perhaps speak to your doctor before starting the program but I think your walking training will stand you in good stead.

    Please let us know how you get on and best of luck with it xx

  • I was almost 20st when I started doing this. I am now on week 3 and really enjoying it. Just go slow. listen to your body. You may need extra rest days in between for instance. Keep on with your walking as well.

  • I would definitely check with the doctor first, as jogging pushes my heart rate way up compared to walking. Having said that, heart problems aside, I would have thought your weight would be no barrier to achieving your goal. And it's a fabulous one at that.

    As people have said, go steady, listen to your body and take extra repeats or rest days as needed. You might want to consider strength training in between to help avoid injury. Strength and flex is also by the nhs.

    Good luck with starting your c25k journey. Let us know how you get on.

    As for people's opinions? You just have to try and put it out of mind. Be friendly if you can, but just remember most people either don't notice, don't care or are impressed that your jogging. It's only a very small minority that will ever be thinking "oh look how funny that overweight lady looks" and even fewer that would comment. It's really hard, but the more you get out there and do it, the easier it will get. YOU are taking action. That's all that matters.

  • As my mum used to say when I was a plump and depressed teenager "you can diet, they'll be stupid forever"

  • I'm a teacher who lives in catchment area - I joined a local over-18s gym for Β£10.99 a month so I can get red and sweaty without the eyes of year 9 upon me. Would recommend it. Also I love the treadmill because it gives me numbers which make me feel better when it all feels too much or too slow and is supposedly easier than running outside.

  • With your already wonderful achievements you don't need to ask us if you should or could do this programme. You have totally the right mind set, you have come so far already, just add another badge to your collection and go for it. Take it easy, listen to your body and please let us know how you are progressing. As for neighbours or other people laughing, I don't think so, they will be thinking "I should try that too" All the very best with your new found health and fitness.

  • Get yourself checked out at the doctors and then go for it. the 9 weeks are well paced and slowly build you up. You may lose some weight as well.

    Keep a healthy diet as well.

    When I started I went to the local park and did early morning runs and then as my confidence built I changed to evening running. Do not worry about what other people think, this is for you not them.

    Read the blogs, you will find them helpful.

    Good luck to you :-)

  • Hi!

    Well done for losing the weight you already have!

    I do think it would be a good idea to check with your doctor first - get your blood pressure checked out and just make sure s/he thinks it's a good idea - but only as a precaution because like someone mentioned earlier, jogging / running can push your heart rate up a lot - it does to me! It can also be hard on the joints!

    Apart from that, I think it's a great idea! I've found exercise, in conjunction with a healthy diet, has helped me a lot in continuing to lose weight and just in general fitness, which diet alone can't do. Of course, any exercise is good but I've noticed more of a difference in the last few weeks since I started running regularly - well, jogging - I'm too slow to call it running :)

    As for being embarrassed, well, I understand completely about not wanting to run where you live - I still don't! Even though you may tell yourself most people won't bat an eyelid, it's what you feel like inside when you're coming up to them that counts! So it's fine to 'avoid' people until you feel more comfortable. - What I do is to drive to a local footpath and run from there so I see less people - just people walking their dogs and the odd solitary runner and they're generally friendly!

    But I have to say that the more I run (and I guess the more weight I lose), the less embarrassed I am... So have a go (as long as you're medically OK) and very good luck to you!

  • Wow I LOVE how much positive change you are making to your life. I would say go for it but just take it slow. We all have to start from where we stand (lyrics from one of the songs on the podcast)! and probably a good idea to talk it over with your Dr as well. Running is high impact on joints so think about getting some decent trainers and running on grass or gravel or treadmill to minimise risk of injury especially in the early days when your weight is higher and your muscles/joints weaker... Try not to worry about what your neighbours think, people are often scornful or laugh at others who are making positive changes as it scares them and makes them realise that they are not making the changes that they need. Easier said than done I know- the road ahead is long but exciting. Remember the community here will support you in the highs and low's.

    Keep at it!

  • Thank you so much guys, your comments have meant a lot to me. I'll be honest I was kind of expecting to get flamed quite heavily when posting on here, getting things like oh god you're way too fat, don't be so stupid, stick to your diet blah blah blah but I'm really glad you guys are really supportive :) I have been checked out medically and tbh the nurse was quite surprised that my blood pressure was as low as it was (the last time I was checked was a good year ago and it was bordering on the limit of where I might need to take medication to lower it) the only thing she was concerned with is my asthma but as I do take extreme care with that, always carrying an inhaler when I exercise, listening to my body and knowing when to stop, I'm confident that I can at least start the c25k without too many medical issues. I'll be doing a 5 mile charity walk next sunday for a local hospice but intend to start the course after that. I can't thank you enough for your support so far, and to be honest I'm scared as anything but I really want to try this even if I have to do week one every week for the next 6 months!

  • ...It is hard to change things but you've taken the biggest step and actually started so you're on your way now!

    I'm sure you'll do fine as long as you listen to your body and take care... It's better to stop if you experience any difficulty because you can always redo the run another day.

    Good luck with the charity walk and post on here and let everyone know how you're getting on, please?

  • Hope I'm not tempting fate but I don't think I have ever seen anyone get flamed on this forum, it really is the most supportive nicest forum I have come across on rhe web - you are among friends here. Best of luck to you Helen! :-)

  • Wow Helen! I so admire you.You will certainly get there. What a superb attitude and commitment. I'm 66, have asthma and high blood pressure and up till a year ago grossly overweight. I had never ever run in my life or exercises since I was 15. All my friends and family forever were telling me I was useless at fitness since then. I put on stones fater my children were born and last year the elder one said they were going to adopt but were worried about whether I'd live long enough to be there for them (they were serious and upset because of my health issues and unfitness). The next day I decided to lose weight and exercise. Siince then I've lost 3.5 stones and started C25K 9 weeks ago. My doctor is SO happy with me and my family is over the top proud!!! What's more my BP has come right down and my asthma is hardly noticeable. You have already done better than I have and will be wearing the tshirt and sporting the badge absolutely definitely.

  • Well done on getting this far and being determined to do even more. Your positive attitude is the key factor in reaching your weight and fitness goals. I'll echo what ktaylor217 said about being kind to your joints. Do all you can to minimise impact (shoes and running surface) - there's a big difference between walking and jogging and a damaged joint takes a long time to recover. Keep listening to your body and if ankles, knees or hips start to hurt you need to go back to walking. It may be worth starting out on a treadmill and comparing calorie burning stats between a brisk walk and a jog, there is less difference than you might think.

    You are doing so well, and the podcasts do take a sensible approach to building up the amount of running, so while your motivation is high just go for it.

  • Hi

    You've already been checked out medically and you are taking a sensible approach to your ongoing progress. With regard to people near where you live - it's a bit like where I live. People had put me into a category...........fat, lazy, drink and smoke too much. I guess I was a talking point. When I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes 4 months ago and advised by the medics to lose weight and get some exercise I started to turn things around.

    I stopped smoking, rarely drink now and getting plenty of exercise. I eat healthily and have lost 1,1/2 stones so far. I stepped out of my comfort zone. However, that meant I was stepping out of their comfort zone as well. But, I have no intention of putting my health at risk just to please other people - that's their problem. Interestingly, those others are still.........fat, lazy and smoke too much!

    You've done wonderfully well so far. Take things at your own pace and enjoy the C25K.

    Best wishes.

  • Go for it!!!! I started in the winter, going out in the dark and ran with a light raincoat and kept my hand in my pocket to hold my phone.I am mid 50s and fat!! I now go out in daylight (I admit it is still very early), but I have leggings and tshirt without a covering coat and even more importantly , I now hold my head up proudly in knowledge that I can do this thing. YOU CAN TOO....Well done x

  • Good for you Helen. I'm sure you will do brilliantly on C25k as you have totally the right attitude. A lot of us on here had never exercised, were/are larger than we would like and were not too keen on being seen in running gear. I started out as a stealth runner - I didn't even tell hubby I had started C25k until about week 4 as I was afraid I wouldn't stick with it. Yet here I am 1 year later having just done my first 10k and (an even bigger hurdle!) I have been down to drop No2 child off to school IN MY RUNNING GEAR! C25k is fantastic, the folks on here are the nicest and most supportive in cyberspace. You can definitely do it! :-)

  • Pingle - that was a seriously brave thing to do! Good for you. :)

  • I think the only things I would recommend are: perhaps get some decent trainers so you don't cause yourself any problems and run on grass or track so you don't jar your joints. I am very small and heavy and I considered that protecting my joints was an important decision for me when I started.

  • PS I meant to say, well done so far and good luck with the programme, repeat weeks as necessary and enjoy it :)

  • Well I'm just about all prepped and ready to go, I've downloaded the podcasts, got some trainers (might not be the best but unfortunately all I can afford at the minute!) and I've just ordered a holder for my phone so I can wear it on my arm whilst I'm running. I've also been on google maps and found a field/wooded area not too far away which I think I can run on without bumping into too many people! I'll need to investigate it first though in case its uphill, bumpy etc but I've decided I'm going to start next week once I've got my latest charity walk out the way (don't want to jeopardise that!) Thank you for all your comments and I realise it was a really stupid question to ask today as I was sat watching the programme 'Obese, a year to save your life' and the guy in it was jogging at around 30 stone and doing fine!!!

  • You go girl! Let us know how you are getting on now and then and good luck. :-)

  • Very best wishes - enjoy your running journey. :)

  • Hi

    Never think that your question was 'stupid'. You clearly needed some support and this community has provided it. I love the support of being part of this community so, ask all the questions you like because someone else might just see the difference the support can make. Enjoy your programme. Blessings. Brenda

  • Yay, it's 'next week' what day are you going out for your first run? You can do it, just take your time and follow the plan.

  • Wow, you are amazing and a real inspiration to me, I absolutely love your mindset and what you have achieved so far is a real credit to you. I'm really wary of running from home so have got a parking permit for a local park and drive a short distance there to run three times a week away from prying neighbours. Good luck with your running, would love to know how you're getting on.

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