Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
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Friday, 4 February 2011
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
I've been a runner of all dress sizes between 14 and 24 over the last 11 years – so I do feel that I have some experience in this area! One of the things I love about Women’s Running Network is its objective of “giving all women, whatever their age, size or ability, the opportunity to run together to improve their health, fitness, confidence and safety”. And it’s size that I am going to focus on here...
The average dress size for a UK woman is 16. There is no reason why somebody who is average size or over can’t enjoy running as there is no reason why somebody who is average size or over can’t build running fitness. “Thin” does not always equate to “Fit”. I have been able to overtake runners who are slimmer than me – and I’ve been overtaken by runners larger than me.
There are some things that any runner who is new to exercise needs to consider – but these are not exclusively for runners who wear larger clothes.
- Have a chat with your GP before taking up any new exercise regime.
- Follow the 10% rule – increase your run length by no more than 10% per week. This allows your muscles to build and joints to strengthen properly.
- Don’t run every day. Assuming that you are aiming for 5 exercise sessions per week, make no more than 3 running and make the others lower impact activity (cycling, walking and swimming are perfect).
- Do some strength work. Yoga or weights at the gym are great and I can show you some exercises.
- If you have any problems (for example, pain that happens every time you run), go to your GP and consider pushing for a physiotherapy referral. Most GPs are very keen to encourage us to exercise – and so should be supportive.
- Do go to a specialist running store if shopping for new shoes.
I have found running easier and faster when at the slimmer end of my weight fluctuations. I was advised when buying running shoes in a very gentle (and slightly embarrassed way) that my issues with overpronation might ease if I was able to lose a bit of weight – and I can’t disagree with that. However, I’ve been able to enjoy running – and to feel that I am progressing – when at the bigger end of my range as well as when slimmer.
If you are not enjoying running yet, don’t leap to the conclusion that it’s a shape/size issue. We’re all different – and some people take to running quicker than others. Building running fitness is best done gradually – frustrating though that may seem! If you are not sure that you are ready to run just yet, consider increasing your walking to get your fitness up initially.
Where things get more difficult is clothing. Sports shops don’t generally cater well for anyone size 18 or over – and even size 16 items can seem thin on the ground. It’s worth looking online – Simply Be and La Redoute have some sportswear in sizes over 16. Adidas & Nike do clothing up to size 18 – so do persist in searching! M&S has a limited sportswear range – but does go up to size 24. No Balls does bras up to 50G and Bravissimo up to K cup.