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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    4,516

    Question How fat is too fat...

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    ...to run? I have some long term plans that involve running (tris) and would really like to mix up my training coming into the cooler months. Weight loss is, of course, a goal. But, I don't want to do any joint damage by starting to run before I've lost much weight.

    Any thoughts out there? Knott?
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
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    10,557
    Never too fat to run!

    Even if only 20 feet! If it's 20 feet without pain, you are good.

    Seriously, if you haven't run in a long time start off slow. Maybe run past a driveway, then walk until you've recovered from that effort (no panting, no fatigue, no pain), run past another driveway, walk until recovered, etc.

    Your joints have been dealing with your weight every second of every day. If they aren't bugging you now they are adjusted to your weight now. It's the new activity they need to adjust to. And ANYONE who hasn't run in a while should start like that! Not just someone who has extra weight at the moment.

    Go for it!

    Just remember, nothing should hurt. If it hurts, run even shorter differences between walks. If you just can't run at all without pain, you should really check in with your doc. (I'm assuming your doc already ok'd the tris?)
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tampa, Florida Area
    Posts
    44
    I weigh 230 and I did a sprint tri in May. My goal was to run the entire run portion, and I did (although the bike leg was my best leg, woo hoo!). I've also run several stand alone 5Ks and a 15K. I am slow -- so very slow, 15 minute miles slow. But I followed the Couch 2 5K plan, and worked my way up to running slow and you know what? I love it. I am not good at it, but I love it. I always thought I had knee problems and so couldn't exercise, but I manage just fine and don't actually have any joint pain. Biggest suggestion is invest in GOOD running shoes -- go somewhere to get a run assessment, etc. (or, if you decide to do the minimalist running thing, start even slower).

    I really think the couch 2 5K plan was key for this working for me -- it's just the right balance of challenging but not overdoing (do NOT cut out the walking warm up and cool down!). I was amazed that I want from total non athlete to triathlete in 8 mos. (Started C25K in Sept of last year, started spin classes in Nov and bought a bike soon thereafter, and then started swimming in January, culminating in the race in May).

    Be careful, of course, check with your doctor, the usual. But really? Go for it! I found I felt better, wanted to eat better, and I did lose about 20 pounds (i've regained 10 after falling off the wagon a bit, but am starting to creep down again).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,203
    Years ago, I did a training program with a running club in your area. It was very similar to the Couch-to-5kprogram, although it wasn't called that. I ended up really enjoying running, which had always been a chore before. I had no injuries because it is a very gradual program.

    I stopped because I moved out of the area and did not have s suppotive running group in the new city. I never picked it up again. Yet.

    PM me if you want the name of the organization. It was very convenient to you, and I think they are still active.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    1,944
    Like they said, go for it! But having the right shoes is probably going to be pretty important for you. And if you're worried about joint damage, it never hurts to run on softer surfaces (grass, dirt, etc.) - it actually uses more muscles to trail run vs. road run so you'll burn slightly more calories too.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    2,543
    Blueberry, I started running when I weighed over 300lbs. I began by walking a block and then trying to jog a block. Each week I tried to go a little farther until I could run an entire mile. It took several months. But I was going from completely sedentary to trying to be active. You have the benefit of being a cyclist!

    I didn't have special shoes--although, it never hurts to have a good pair of running shoes if you can afford them. I wore sweats, shirts, and shoes from Walmart.

    It may seem hard at first, but keep at it. You can do it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    I think that the greater the load on your joints, the more important it is to have good running form. Like Knott says, if it hurts (during or after your run), learn a different way of doing it.

    Yoga is great for strengthening the stabilizing muscles in your hips and feet that are so important for running. If you don't already do yoga, do some targeted hip and foot exercises a couple of days a week.

    "Good shoes" (or good running surfaces for no shoes) are important, but just be aware that when we say "good shoes," we mean shoes that fit you and don't have an excessive heel-to-toe drop. When someone at the shoe store says "good shoes," they often mean shoes that are expensive and have a lot of trademarked "features." Make sure they fit. If they squeeze your toes or foot bones together, if the sides of your feet rub the sides of the shoes, if your toes aren't completely straight, find another pair.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,316
    Limewave, you weighed over 300 lbs when you started? Wow. You look fantastic in your avatar pic. What an inspiration.

    Blueberry, I tried an experiment in August. I planned to do a 5k every day in August. I got five days in when I hurt my knee -- I overdid the jog portion. I was attempting to do what Limewave described: alternate walking with jogging, and slowly increasing the jogging portion. I ended up hurting my right MCL and I was off my feet and in a knee brace for about two full weeks, and I'm still limping when I get up from sitting for a while. And I was wearing the cushiest running shoes Nike makes, according to the Shoe Dog guy at Road Runner Sports.

    I suggest if you go to get good shoes, make sure the person who is assessing you is experienced. My guy wasn't. He'd just moved here from Arizona because a buddy of his got him a job at the store. He was an athlete, but maybe not so much an expert in helping people with special needs pick out shoes.

    I weighed 225-230 when I hurt my knee, so yes, I'd say I was too fat to run, but that's me. You may be in a lot better shape than I.

    Good luck with your search for good shoes and taking up running.

    Roxy
    Getting in touch with my inner try-athlete.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Newberg, OR
    Posts
    758
    Here's a bit of inspiration for you, Blueberry!

    http://wimp.com/beinspired/
    Road Bike: 2008 Orbea Aqua Dama TDF/Brooks B-68


    Ellen
    www.theotherfoote.blogspot.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
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    10,557
    Quote Originally Posted by channlluv View Post
    And I was wearing the cushiest running shoes Nike makes, according to the Shoe Dog guy at Road Runner Sports.
    There's the problem right there. That guy didn't have a clue what the heck he was doing.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,516
    Thank you all! I really appreciate all of the inspiration.

    I do have a couple of small issues I'm working on - and will watch very carefully as I start to experiment (did a little last night late with no apparent ill effects). I have a knee that's been grumpy since a direct impact fall on concrete (sporadic pain, mainly on stairs). It's been X-rayed and had an MRI. The doc can't find anything wrong, and the PT can't either. Short of scoping the knee, they've told me to just go with it. It has been well over a year - but the more exercise I do, the better it feels - so I'm going with it.

    They did OK tri's - well, they think I'm crazy for my ultimate long distance goal, but otherwise are OK with it.

    I'll go in search of shoes. I have Fivefingers that I wear hiking and around - but I don't want to put that much stress on my feet (and knee) yet (have been working on dropped metatarsal heads that are improving and were not aggravated last night). I have a pair of shoes that may or may not be running specific that I played with last night - I'll be looking for something with a wider toe box as those are a tiny bit narrow. And I'll look for something with not much drop - any recommendations? My feet have really taken the fivefingers to heart and have widened in the toe significantly (not a bad thing - just an odd fit thing).

    Thanks again - you all rock!
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,516
    Because I'm not convinced more cushioning and engineering necessarily equals more protection for my body.

    However, that's why I am looking for different shoes for running. Preferably something that would have some cushion, but not re-cause heel problems. I just don't want the "thickest pad shoe" out there, but I'm definitely looking for a running shoe. Since you work in a running store, do you have suggestions? I'll visit my local store, but they have a track record of being hostile at best ("these are the shoes that should fit you. therefore you should buy them. no, they shouldn't feel uncomfortable - they'll be fine with time")

    I've had zero discomfort with fivefingers and other shoes that allow my feet to be feet when wearing them for regular, daily wear or hiking. In fact, I've found that the discomfort I had experienced in hiking boots went away, and my balance improved.
    Last edited by Blueberry; 09-22-2010 at 03:52 AM.
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    1,944
    A lot of "what shoe" depends on how you run. Are you a heel, midfoot, or forefoot striker? duckfoot, pigeon-toed, or are your feet pointed straight ahead? Do you overpronate at all (and I don't mean wet footprint test - overpronation that will cause problems generally starts with a cave-in at the ankles)? What surfaces are you more likely to run on - asphalt? concrete? dirt/grass?

    Minimalist shoes definitely have their place. But if you are a heel-striker at all or if you see yourself running on sidewalks frequently, I wouldn't suggest them as your long-term dedicated running shoe. And if you don't already have the form that running barefoot teaches you, it's easy to get hurt in a minimalist shoe (like Nike Frees or Newtons) without knowing why you're hurting.

    I know how you feel about the running stores though. I stopped going to the one here after they talked me into a pair of shoes that hurt like @(#*$&@( after about 5 miles - and while I paid full-price, they were massively discounted by that store at the marathon expo that very afternoon. They wouldn't rebate any of the money.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,557
    It takes some experimenting. Everyone is unique, regardless of how much the shoe companies may claim to categorize and match foot to shoe. Sometimes you may be surprised by the results of your experiments.

    I find Chaco sandals (Z1 and Z2) to be the best walking and running "shoes" for my body mechanics, whether I'm 145 lbs (triathlon) or 190 lbs (half marathon).

    Shoes that work with your particular mechanics will feel good, make you *want* to run, and make running feel like less effort. Much the same as when you first get on a bike whose geometry really matches your body's riding style: suddenly you are flying!

    The right shoes should feel as magical as the right bike.

    (And assuming a stout person automatically needs cushy shoes is ridiculous, the soft midsole deforms too readily and causes instability, which leads to injury. Salesclerks like you (Roxy) encountered drive me CRAZY.)
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 09-22-2010 at 06:37 AM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,023
    Blueberry - (feels weird to call you that!) - look into the EVO from Terra Plana for running. I haven't tried them yet, but most of their shoes run quite wide to allow the toes room to spread, so these might be a good option for you. They have very little toe spring, and a low heel. I run in their Aqua 'sneaker' for most of my longer runs because when I bought them, the EVO was not widely available. I have not tried the EVO's myself, but I have heard really good things. They are a minimalist shoe, but they are not quite as minimal as a VFF. Oh, and their customer service is top notch. Ranks right up there with TE in my book!

    Terra Plana EVO

    My biggest issue isn't necessarily finding the right cushioning or stability, my issue was width. 99% of modern footwear companies don't make shoes that fit my short but wide, flipper-shaped feet! After a summer of huaraches, VFF's and barefoot, my feet are even wider now. Finding shoes is a major pain. Seriously, now my Sanita clogs, my hiking boots and my cycling shoes are ALL too narrow.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

 

 

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