I was a fat git in 2013. Now, I’m a slightly less fat git. Running has been fixing the problem, here’s how.
It all started with a family photograph. The offending photo was at my mums. I was back from work and at my mums to help celebrate her birthday.
I saw it a few days later And recognised the lard arse in the photo. It was me, no doubt about it.
The number of ‘x’ size indicators in my clothes had bothered me for a while. Now it was time to do something about it.
So I went for a walk. After about half a mile, I was a sweating mess and in a lot of pain.
If there was ever a WTF moment…
Looking back, that was the first no pain, no gain moment. The first of many such moments.
I kept going out for walks, though. And I managed to make them longer and faster.
Fast-forward to a year later, I was walking 10 miles and more and a good fast pace.
Did it happen without issue?
Not a chance.
I suffered with shin splints, back pains, all manner of leg pains and blisters. But I was losing weight. Clothes I hadn’t been able to wear for ages became a possibility again. And I felt better about myself too.
Then the seminal moment happened early one Saturday morning.
I was out for an 8-mile walk. It was a lovely summer morning and I felt great. I was pushing the pace hard.
Then a funny thing happened. I started running.
I realise now that it wasn’t running as such. More like a strange fat boy shuffle. But I was definitely not walking anymore.
It changed me in a big way. I got home and when my wife headed into the city centre shopping later that day, I asked her to pick me up a pair of trainers. Trainers for running in.
The decision to start running happened like that. I figured that I couldn’t take my power walking any further. So the next step was running.
It was the summer of 2014. I started out by doing the couch to 5K programme. I was adding in extra miles of power walking on top because I found that the 5K programme was too easy.
Little did I realise that I wasn’t yet running properly because I was stamping along like an old elephant.
My first piece of advice for anyone starting out is this: make sure you are running with correct form.
What is correct form? You should run tall with a wide chest. And you should feel as though you have to take the next step. Because otherwise, you’ll fall forward.
I adopted this weird safety shuffle which was actually more like a fast walk. It meant that I avoided more injuries. It also meant I was slow.
The next piece of advice would be: buy the best trainers you can afford. I was quick to wear out my first pair.
There is another bit of advice here too. Go to a proper running shop and have your gait analysed. They put you on a treadmill to see if you over or under pronate (roll your foot inwards or outwards). You could be neutral (no significant roll).
The benefit will be enormous. You’ll have trainers that are right for you.
It will also mean that you stand a chance of running with correct form.
You don’t need any fancy Lycra gear. Loose fitting, comfortable sports gear will do.
The only other thing you will need is tenacity. The determination to get it done.
Running is hard. You’ll get tired and achy a lot. But the weight will come off. And you’ll stop blowing like an old steam engine when you walk up a flight of stairs.