A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Getting started as a fluffy runner

on July 24, 2014

At my last Weight Watchers meeting, I got stopped by a woman on the way out to ask for tips getting started as a runner. I’d mentioned during the meeting that I started running when I was early in my weight loss journey and still at 250-ish pounds (more about how I got started here). She had a lot of questions about running as a chubbier lady and I tried to answer as many of them as I could. I thought I’d also talk about some of them here (with the caveat that I’m not a physical therapist, trainer or sports medicine professional of any kind – this is my experience only! Check with your doctor!).

August 2012

August 2012

I started running in August 2012 and as you can see in the pic above, I definitely didn’t have a typical runner’s body at that point. I still don’t really, but that’s beside the point. πŸ™‚ I’ve talked before about how to get started from a running and fitness perspective (here) but there are some body specific issues that I’m going to get a little honest about here.

Chafing: A real issue when you have a lot more loose skin and places to rub. While reading about running may lead you to think that only long distance runners need to worry about Body Glide, the truth is we chubby chicks know that rubbing happens when you walk a lot, much less running. I definitely chafed in lots of places with even relatively short runs when I was heavier. You don’t have to go with just BodyGlide, which feels a little “athlete” specific and was intimidating to me to start with. Check your local Target or WalMart – Monistat makes an antichafe cream that hangs out with the other yeast infection medications. It doesn’t contain any medication for yeast. I think it just lives there because Monistat makes it. πŸ™‚ Anyway, it works well for chafing. Deodorant also works in a pinch.

Wear fitted clothes: I know, I know it is the last thing I ever wanted to do – expose my rolls. However, not only does something more fitted and wicking help with the chafing problem above, it also helps hold in some of the jiggling. Compression was always helpful for the bouncing of my belly in particular. I got most of my plus sized workout gear from Old Navy. Their compression gear works well, goes up to plus sizes online, and goes on sale fairly regularly. Target also has a reasonable selection in their C9 line. I’ve got a couple of links down below for more resources. The other thing I noticed when I wore loose cotton clothes – it just made me feel heavier because they added bulk and lots of sweaty weight. I tend to gravitate toward fitted bottoms that come up over my belly a bit and looser tech shirts on top.

Sports bra: A good sports bra is a must if you weight comes along with other generous endowments. I cringe remembering how long it took me to get a good sports bra. My chest got seriously sore from the bouncing in my 5+ years old clearance sports bra I used forever. The Old Navy bras are decent, the Champion bras at Target better and the Moving Comfort bras expensive, difficult to get in/out of but absolutely the best for support of my DDs (well, DD then – a casualty of weight loss). More tips on finding plus size sports bras below. If you’re only spend money on two things as a plus size runner, buy one good bra . . .

Shoes

– And good shoes! Don’t be afraid of the running store! Going to the running store at 200+ pounds to get fitted for good shoes was terrifying and yet so important, particularly because I was heavy. Added weight is a risk factor for many running related injuries, particularly plantar fasciitis, which I’d already struggled with. Getting good support for your feet is essential and be aware that as a heavier runner, you may wear your shoes out faster.

Don’t be afraid to check out men’s sizes for things like arms bands for your phone or belts: They tend to be a little larger and more forgiving than the women’s sizes.

Find a way to drown out the inner voice: I know I am not the only person who hit the road and felt like everyone was staring at me, galumphing along with fat rolls bobbing, red faced and wheezing. When you have thoughts, know that you are not the only one who has felt that, I promise you; I also promise you that most people are not noticing you at all and if they are, they aren’t thinking the negative thoughts you think they are. I also know that’s easier said than done. For this reason, I had to listen to music or an audiobook or something to drown out those thoughts and the sound of my own labored breathing. I’m amazed at people who run without music and listen to their own thoughts when they run. Their inner dialogue must be much kinder than mine is. That has gotten better over time, but I wasted a lot of time worrying about what I looked like running when I started. The important thing is that you are moving, not what anyone else thinks when they see you running.

Finished my first 5K!

Finished my first 5K! (199 lbs)

What advice would you give a newbie fluffy runner?

Other Resources:

Tips for plus runners at 24to30.com and saltyrunning.com

Resources for clothes at fitbottomedgirls.com and thefatgirlsguidetorunning.com

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6 responses to “Getting started as a fluffy runner

  1. I had to wear 2 sports bras when I first started running. And agree 100% that getting fitted for proper running shoes is a must. Yes, it will be expensive but worth it to help alleviate any knee and joint pain that can happen from old or not proper shoes. You may have to even go get fitted every 6 months or so, because as you start dropping the weight you will tend to walk differently/run differently as the weight falls off!

    Best of luck to her! I wish her much success!

    • The double sports bra would have definitely helped in the beginning!

      I’m thinking about going to get refitted now that I’m a more experienced runner and have lost some weight. It might be good to rotate between different types of shoes.

      On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 8:59 AM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

      >

  2. […] Getting started as a fluffy runner Jul […]

  3. Great advice! I definitely 2nd that sports bra tip…so important to make sure the bounce is minimal!

  4. […] – Running: Getting started and Getting started as a fluffy runner […]

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