12

Any overweighters that became long distance runners? (Read 102 times)

StevenAU


    Hello guys so I never ran because I did not think I could.  I started on the 16th of december 2022. I weighed 121kg(267 pounds) when i started and now 116kg(255) over the last month. I have had a very tough life and overcame a hell of a lot of adversity and trauma. For the last 12 years i was unemployed. of those 4 years i have been in recovery from social anxiety and a lot of mental health stuff. i am doing really really well and have had a tone of growth and become quite a strong person. And i am seeing that strength play out in running. I really love the sport and the mental fortitude you get with it. So i started at slow jogging at a pace of 5.3kmph (3.2mph) pace. which i know is incredibly slow. However as a big person if i train harder my heart rates goes into the 160s and 170s. so my average heart rate stays below 164. and its getting lower as the weeks go on. so i am trying to train for a low heart rate. So i guess my question is how do people build pace. I am planning to drop to maybe 185pounds or 175pounds which is like 80-85kg. so my training consists of daily doing 36minutes straight and another 40 minutes of jog 1 minute walk 1 minute. Maybe i can increase the intervals like 3 minutes run 2 walk or something. 

    Herse what i am also finding i went for a super long jog i did not plan on doing it but i just said stuff it. I went 2 hours and covered 11kms(6.8miles). I was proud of myself as that's pretty cool for someone just starting out. Its also from mindset i have done a lot of internal work over the years and i am good at using pain as fuel. However i injured my ankles and food its getting better but i went for too long. my longest run i ever done was 1 hour and 20 minutes which was 7kms(4.3miles). So my new baseline i now want to do as i am running on a nice trail and finding it way easier outside then treadmill. I want to consistently do 5km(3.1miles) straight and do half hour intervals or just walk. 

    So i am just wondering how does this all pan out, my breathing is controlled and slowed and i have total concentration when running. Because the hardest addiction to overcome is anxiety. the addiction to thinking, i have had many years alone with my thoughts all day and they don't annoy me anymore which is why i am finding i am able to push my self more. It would be nice to run at a speed of 7kmph which is 4.3 milesph pace. I am not sure what to do. I have herd that its best to just go for a time frame rather then worry about speed. They say it comes later. and i guess carrying a lot of fat is also a factor in terms of speed and heart rate. I also know i can sprint too i guess thats a question on my intervals if i should try sprinting. 

    Any advice? i thought it was cool that i could slow jog for 2 hours even really slow its good for conditioning my heart rate and fitness level. I just feel like i am progressing but i don't know what to focus on really. Its also early days and probaly expecting too much. 

    Thanks guys with love Steven. Apologies for the grammar not my strong point <3 

    Altair5


      Steven - You have an interesting story. I've never been very overweight myself, my weight has gotten up to 180 pounds, but like to be like 160 for a race. I do have some thoughts anyway. Excess weight does put more stress on the body, you should try to lose some and a combination of exercise and diet changes will work well. I'm also trying to just run slowly and get in distances right now, work on pace can come later when I've built up a good fitness base. My thought is distance is the most important training tool for us right now and in your case perhaps more walking would allow you to go further without overstressing the ankles or other joints. Don't do too much too soon, make gradual increases in distance. General rule is no more than 10% increase each week, but I find it less stressful to increase at a much slower schedule and even just maintain a set weekly millage until I adapt. Running consistently is key for improvement, but throwing in a lower distance recovery week now and then is not a bad idea either. You may also consider other cross training activities, cycling is a good low stress fitness tool.

      "My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” 

      jsfuller


        I hate to be the first to respond because the most I ever weighed was about 200 lbs, and I lost about 30 of it biking before I got back to running, reaching a floor of 160. After 10 years, I'm back to 175. So I don't have the perspective you are asking for.

         

        There used to be a guy in my running club who looked like he weighed 250 - 300 and he ran marathons - a couple a year, I think. So, yeah, it can be done. However, he has switched to biking now. I'll keep my recommendations simple and let others speak, too. In priority order (but a tie on #3 & #4):

        #1 Keep it fun - Whatever running you do - long, interval, whatever, the more you enjoy it, the easier it will be to keep the habit going. Some of us like to beat  through hard intervals every once in a while and enjoy the feeling afterwards of a job well done. That counts as fun, too.

        #2 Keep it safe - It's not fun to be injured and sidelined from running.

        #3 Lose weight - I'm always trying to get back to that 160 I used to weigh when I was like 38. It was so fun to run at that weight. You probably have loads of muscle from carrying around that weight. If you can lose the fat and keep the muscle, you will be a powerhouse! I only say this because you already said you want to drop to 185 or 175. Losing weight is one of the hardest & most rewarding things I've ever done. I'd rather run a marathon than lose weight (from an effort perspective), and vice versa from a satisfaction perspective. And I've done both. Oh, and I suspect having less weight puts less wear & tear on the body - which puts you in the driver's seat on how hard to work your body.

        #4 Run the right effort 85+% of the time - Heart rates vary from person to person. I aim for 120 - 140 average for my workouts. A better gauge is the Talk Test. You should be able to carry a conversation during your run, but not able to sing. If you are racing or running speedwork, then you are in the other 15%.

         

        Well, I didn't keep it as simple as I wanted to. I hope you find this helpful. Remember - there's no shame in running at whatever weight you want to be. I get so inspired when I see really heavy people out running. I so envy their zeal to run while carrying the extra weight.

         

        And don't forget to keep it fun!

          I once knew a guy that weighed about as much as you, or maybe more.  He ran a number of marathons in about 4:45.  So, yes, heavy people can run long distances.  You are doing things right by keeping your heart rate relatively low.  You are doing things right by going for time, and not worrying about distance.

           

          Recognize that everybody improves at their own rate.  I trained hard, and it still took 4.5 years from beginning running until I was able to run a marathon.  A friend of the same age improved the same amount in two months.

           

          I suggest keeping a running log.  The running log gives you something to look back a year or two to and see how much you improved.  It's a great boost on those days when you are feeling discouraged.  While I log my miles here, my real log is a series of 3 X 5 spiral notebooks, one book per year.

           

          It's good to run every day, with a mixture of easy runs, medium runs, and an occasional long run.  I define easy as one I can do every day, medium as one I can do two or three days in a row, and long as one where the next day needs to be a day off or an easy run.  Your weight is coming down, and your endurance is increasing, so you are doing everything correctly.  Just keep it up, and your speed will increase naturally.

          jsfuller


            I would like to also add that resistance training, strength training, or weight lifting (whichever name you choose for it) is also very good. It helps to keep the muscle during the caloric deficit required to lose weight. However, you already have a lot on your plate with getting a running habit and maybe losing weight. Only add weight training if you feel you have the bandwidth for it. And if you do, find people (e.g. a trainer) who know good form so you can "#2 Keep it safe". Wink While weight training is one of the best things you can do for yourself, trying to start a habit and then dropping it, or worse yet, exercise all together, well, that's not helpful. Plan for the long run.

            bulfrog


            Mr Slowly

              Hi Steven,

               

              Congratulations on starting your running journey.

               

              Unlike the previous posters, who all had good, relevant advice that you should listen too, I am also an overweight 'athlete'. My weight has yoyoed up and down for over a decade, I have my own issues for why this happens, but that's something for me to work on. Currently I am at a high point on the yo-yo cycle. I'm over 130kg today. So I understand a lot of what you're going through.

               

              Big guys can absolutely cover long distances. I've never done a stand alone marathon but I have done over 20 half's, at weights of 95kg to 138kg. I've also done 2 full Ironman triathlons (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km marathon) at over 120kg. My point is your weight will not stop you achieving great things.

               

              Now for sure weighing less is easier. (and healthier etc.) so it's something we both should work on. Congratulations on 5kg lost over the last month, that's great. Keep it up. And as bigger guys, we need to me more conservative than the whippets. You have to take time to build up mileage to avoid injury's. (the 10% increase per week mentioned before should be a maximum for you) You also have to be careful about higher effort 'speed' work sessions. Lots of easy miles is the key. (as someone else said, you should be able to talk. If you can sing its too easy, but if you can only get 1 or 2 words out it's too hard)

               

              As for running faster, honestly the best way to achieve that is just more easy miles. I understand the desire to try and run faster, but if you keep working consistently, putting in easy miles and building up your base fitness the speed will come. In 2 or 3 months you'll suddenly realise that your running a minute a km faster than you are today. Worry about speed work workouts in 6 months when you have a base, and your weight is down. They're the icing, you still have to make the cake Wink

               

              Feel free to stalk my logs here, or strava (https://www.strava.com/athletes/1271564) if you want to see what other big guys are doing.

               

              Good luck.

              Ironman, why be slow in 1 sport when you can be slow in 3

              StevenAU


                Steven - You have an interesting story. I've never been very overweight myself, my weight has gotten up to 180 pounds, but like to be like 160 for a race. I do have some thoughts anyway. Excess weight does put more stress on the body, you should try to lose some and a combination of exercise and diet changes will work well. I'm also trying to just run slowly and get in distances right now, work on pace can come later when I've built up a good fitness base. My thought is distance is the most important training tool for us right now and in your case perhaps more walking would allow you to go further without overstressing the ankles or other joints. Don't do too much too soon, make gradual increases in distance. General rule is no more than 10% increase each week, but I find it less stressful to increase at a much slower schedule and even just maintain a set weekly millage until I adapt. Running consistently is key for improvement, but throwing in a lower distance recovery week now and then is not a bad idea either. You may also consider other cross training activities, cycling is a good low stress fitness tool.

                Yeah i have been increasing my time by 10% each week, so i can see im making progress, thanks for reply. 

                StevenAU


                  Steven - You have an interesting story. I've never been very overweight myself, my weight has gotten up to 180 pounds, but like to be like 160 for a race. I do have some thoughts anyway. Excess weight does put more stress on the body, you should try to lose some and a combination of exercise and diet changes will work well. I'm also trying to just run slowly and get in distances right now, work on pace can come later when I've built up a good fitness base. My thought is distance is the most important training tool for us right now and in your case perhaps more walking would allow you to go further without overstressing the ankles or other joints. Don't do too much too soon, make gradual increases in distance. General rule is no more than 10% increase each week, but I find it less stressful to increase at a much slower schedule and even just maintain a set weekly millage until I adapt. Running consistently is key for improvement, but throwing in a lower distance recovery week now and then is not a bad idea either. You may also consider other cross training activities, cycling is a good low stress fitness tool.

                  Yeah i have been increasing my time by 10% each week, so i can see im making progress, thanks for reply. 

                  StevenAU


                    does anyone know why I can’t reply to peoples messages in this post, there’s no button to reply when people post

                    jsfuller


                      does anyone know why I can’t reply to peoples messages in this post, there’s no button to reply when people post

                       

                      I hit the "quote" button in the upper right of your post and then wrote this post. Is that what you are trying to do?

                       

                      I've been on Running Ahead a long time, but am very new to posting (and, honestly, probably won't post again for a long time after today - just a matter of my habits; nothing against anything in this thread).


                      an amazing likeness

                        does anyone know why I can’t reply to peoples messages in this post, there’s no button to reply when people post

                         

                        The reply button is at the bottom of the 'thread'....you reply to the overall conversation rather than an individual post. You can quote a specific post should that help target your reply.

                        Acceptable at a dance, invaluable in a shipwreck.

                        StevenAU


                          Hey Frog thanks for the reply, yes I have been doing the 10% increase each week I am finding I can do more and more. And you answered the question, I just felt that maybe the slow pace I do isn’t considered even running. But yeah my jogs are just right there not to hard and are easy runs. Thanks for your reply

                           

                          Hi Steven,

                           

                          Congratulations on starting your running journey.

                           

                          Unlike the previous posters, who all had good, relevant advice that you should listen too, I am also an overweight 'athlete'. My weight has yoyoed up and down for over a decade, I have my own issues for why this happens, but that's something for me to work on. Currently I am at a high point on the yo-yo cycle. I'm over 130kg today. So I understand a lot of what you're going through.

                           

                          Big guys can absolutely cover long distances. I've never done a stand alone marathon but I have done over 20 half's, at weights of 95kg to 138kg. I've also done 2 full Ironman triathlons (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km marathon) at over 120kg. My point is your weight will not stop you achieving great things.

                           

                          Now for sure weighing less is easier. (and healthier etc.) so it's something we both should work on. Congratulations on 5kg lost over the last month, that's great. Keep it up. And as bigger guys, we need to me more conservative than the whippets. You have to take time to build up mileage to avoid injury's. (the 10% increase per week mentioned before should be a maximum for you) You also have to be careful about higher effort 'speed' work sessions. Lots of easy miles is the key. (as someone else said, you should be able to talk. If you can sing its too easy, but if you can only get 1 or 2 words out it's too hard)

                           

                          As for running faster, honestly the best way to achieve that is just more easy miles. I understand the desire to try and run faster, but if you keep working consistently, putting in easy miles and building up your base fitness the speed will come. In 2 or 3 months you'll suddenly realise that your running a minute a km faster than you are today. Worry about speed work workouts in 6 months when you have a base, and your weight is down. They're the icing, you still have to make the cake Wink

                           

                          Feel free to stalk my logs here, or strava (https://www.strava.com/athletes/1271564) if you want to see what other big guys are doing.

                           

                          Good luck.

                          Altair5


                            Steven - Unlike Facebook where you can send a reply or a thumbs up emoji to a specific post, this site just has a continuous "thread" of posts. You can use a quote and you can edit that quote to just feature the relevant section. You can also underline, italicize, and/or make bold the words you want to stand out. I rarely use the quote feature, usually just start with the name followed by a dash of the person I write to, like I did here.

                             

                            What is considered "running" may be a matter of controversy, but I think the definition is a gait where at some point both feet lose contact with the ground. The slow pace doesn't matter and it can even be slower than your walking speed. That said, slower running is often referred to as jogging or shuffling. I'd be interested in any contrary opinions.

                             

                            Great you are increasing your time by 10% a week! I prefer measuring my runs by distance, but many go by the time. Just to caution that 10% is considered the maximum weekly increase and it may be easier to take your time and increase by a more modest increment, like 5%, each week.

                            "My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” 

                            bhearn


                              If you are planning to drop that much weight, that should be the priority. Trying to push the running pace could jeopardize that, because of injury risk. My advice is don't sweat the pace until you are lighter and fitter and have a solid base. If you are losing weight, you are improving yourself daily. Any running you do in the meantime should be in support of that goal.

                               

                              I speak as someone who was not that heavy, but I was around 215 for many years before losing 50 pounds. I started running after that. But I have kept the weight off now for 22 years. I've gone on to set several age-group American Records in ultrarunning.

                               

                              The answer to your title question is that many of the best ultrarunners used to be quite overweight. There is a theory that having been overweight permanently changes your muscles, making them more energy efficient, and that this is a benefit giving you more endurance when you are lighter.

                              AndyTN


                              Overweight per CDC BMI

                                I have no new advice which others haven't already said but I want to commend your efforts. I lost 30 lbs after I started running seriously but that is completely different than your situation. I am always impressed at the people who are 250-300 lbs I see at my local half marathons. They are having to work hard for almost twice as much time as me and none of them are walking. Generally, the running community is not snobbish like snowboarders and we respect the beginners out there putting in the effort, if not inspire us more than the really skinny fast runners.

                                 

                                Also, you have been running in the summer in AU. You're going to be very impressed at how much better running feels when the temps get cool. Good luck and keep posting on this site once a week as it will really help you keep up with the training.

                                Memphis / 37 male

                                5k - 21:01 / 10k - 45:20 / Half - 1:40:17 / Full - 3:38:10

                                12