Welcome to a new feature I’ve been working on: Fat Girl’s Guide to Running. The title is meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but at the same time an accurate description. The fact is, working your way to become a runner when you’re already overweight or obese presents some unique challenges, and I want to candidly share my experiences and tips along the way as I walk/run my way through the Couch-to-5K program and beyond.
Fitting the Flub
When you are a plus-sized gal, finding workout clothes that fit, function, and don’t look completely hideous can be a major challenge. It seems to me that it’s completely unfair to deprive the people who need workout clothes THE MOST (hello, we’re the ones that need to be in the gym everyday, right!?) of having any good choices. (RIGHT!?) Thankfully, I found a few pieces that have worked great for me, and (bonus!) they’re very reasonably priced!
Plus Size Clothing for Running
Women’s Plus Old Navy Active Compression Pants
$34.94, oldnavy.com (available in sizes 1x-4x)
Being a big girl, I was afraid of anything too fitted or “spandexy”, yet I feel sexy in these pants. (For the record, Mike agrees!) They are fitted, yet not uncomfortably tight or revealing. More importantly, they prevent (gasp) CHAFING. Silky synthetic fabrics are your friend, trust me! There are also capri-length and short (9″ inseam) versions of these same compression bottoms, perfect for warmer weather! (I just ordered the capris myself…)
Women’s Plus Old Navy Active Running Tops
$26.94, oldnavy.com (available in sizes 1x-4x)
Again, slick fabrics, just fitted ENOUGH (yet doesn’t cling and show the “rolls”), and comfortable! I have this top in white (planning to wear it for my first Color Run in August!), which appears to be sold out, but they still have it in grey and this awesome shade of hot pink!
C9 by Champion® Women’s Reversible Compression Racer Bra
$12.99, target.com (available in sizes XS-XXL)
Most of my life, I was an A-cup sorta girl. It was a major achievement when I reached a B in my twenties. Then I had a baby — HELLO. These bras are inexpensive, come in cute colors, and for me the XL size fits well and offers enough support. The C9 by Champion line also has other styles that offer even more support, if you feel like you need it. Target also seems to clearance certain colors now and then, so you can get the same style bra for a few dollars less if it’s last season’s color.
SPIbelt™ The Small Personal Item Belt
$19.99, spibelt.com (available in assorted colors and prints)
If you’ve read any running blogs or magazines, you’ve surely come across people raving about the SPIbelt. I’ll add my voice to the chorus of praise: it’s lightweight, stretchy, and holds a remarkable amount of crap! The regular-sized SPIbelt fits waist sizes 25″ through 50″ and there is also a plus size model that fits waists 55″ to 75″! Personally, I have the belt pictured–the regular-sized SPIbelt™ Prints in the “Peace Signs with Black Zipper” style. (‘Cause I’m a dork like that…)
Your Smartphone and Running Apps
(e.g. Nike+ Running, Couch-to-5K)
This might seem obvious, but my iPhone 5 has been my most essential piece of workout gear to start running. I didn’t know the first thing about how to start running or train for a 5K race. Couch-to-5K has been my personal coach. (And guess what? I’m on week two and I’m already seeing progress. This shit works!) Several of my friends use the Nike+ Running app so it’s really fun to share, compare, and have a little friendly competition on there to stay motivated! Don’t forget you can load up your favorite running playlists on Spotify or RockMyRun. Eventually I’d love to upgrade to a GPS running watch to be able to see my time/distance/pace at a glance, but in meantime, I ALREADY own a smartphone and it does a great job!
Tips for Selecting Plus-Size-Friendly Running Gear
- BUY SYNTHETICS. I love all-natural cotton, hemp, etc. as much as the next crunchy-gal, but when you’re going to be working out, synthetic fabrics are your friend for their moisture-wicking ability and help with chafing.
- DON’T FEAR FITTED GEAR. “Fitted” does not have to mean “camel toe” or “look at my cellulite”. Buy gear that is close-fitting, but still comfortable. You’ll be thankful not to have all that extra fabric rubbing and flapping around.
- HAVE BODYGLIDE ON HAND. If all else fails, slick on some Bodyglide Her Skin Formula to keep any chafing (from clothing-on-skin or skin-on-skin) to a minimum.
- SHOES. I didn’t address shoes here for several reasons, the biggest of which is I feel shoes could be a whole topic in itself. I will say: don’t skimp on running shoes. While you don’t need the MOST expensive pair, don’t go running in a pair that you know is ill-fitting or worn out either. Poor shoes lead to injuries, pain and frustration, which means you won’t want to continue running. Also keep in mind, when you’re overweight that is EXTRA poundage slamming down on your feet, ankles and knees with every step you take. It’s well worth investing in the proper footwear to cushion your strides. I’m currently running in Saucony Kinvara 4s, but what works well for me isn’t for everyone. Look for a local running shop where a professional can assess your stride and recommend a good pair for you to try.
Please feel free to share your favorite products and advice in the comments!
I inadvertently got into quite a debate on Twitter the other day when someone shared a link to The Atlantic’s Eulogy for Twitter article. I made an offhand remark that, “I feel like Facebook is a lot closer to death than Twitter.”
Guess I best be ready to support my statements, right? (Eek!)
The people responding to me had very valid points. Facebook is deeply integrated in so many of the other apps and websites we use daily, and new ones pop up every day. EVERYONE is on Facebook, it seems. (Except my dad. Of course, he also still uses a flip phone and drives to the utility companies to pay his bills in person.) Facebook is growing and working with advertisers and developers to become even more powerful and deeply-integrated. What Zuckerberg and his people have built is nothing short of astounding.
While Facebook is great, it’s also… not.
I’m sure we’re only representative of a minuscule segment of Facebook’s billion users, but at a recent gathering of my friends, we all expressed Facebook burnout. The app is like an addictive drug that we want to quit, but can’t seem to stop.
Our consensus was this:
- It wastes time.
- It makes you feel less “present” in your daily life.
- It takes away from work and family time.
- It can make you generally feel shitty about yourself if you don’t “measure up” to the people on your newsfeed (and having all that stuff right IN YOUR FACE in the newsfeed encourages you to measure your life against others when ordinarily you might not think about it).
Yet none of us uninstall the app or close our accounts. Why? “I might miss something!” (I guess everyone is at least a little bit of a creeper deep down?)
Facebook has certainly done something very, very right. I applaud their business strategy; clearly they’ve won us all over! But I question whether it’s healthy for us? The people who can login once and a while are like social drinkers. They pop in, have a beer or two, have a little fun, then go about their lives. Then there those of us that are binge-drinkers and full blown alcoholics who can’t seem to stop even when it’s for our own good.
I speak purely from a personal standpoint here, but I’m curious if anyone else feels similarly? I can shut off Twitter. I don’t feel compelled to check it on my phone. I rarely tweet from my phone, except to share an occasional photo. I can unplug from Twitter easily. However, I find myself checking Facebook on my iPhone during every moment of idleness. I have had to make a conscious mental effort to stop myself. It’s a reflex. Waiting in line? Facebook. Doctor’s office waiting room? Facebook. Lull in the conversation? Facebook. It actually makes me feel a little ashamed of myself. I know it makes me less present in the moment with friends and family.
So perhaps my Twitter comment more accurately should have been, “I wish Facebook is a lot closer to death than Twitter.”
Then we could all break the cycle.
I can’t and won’t wish the death of something that employs so many people and in a lot of other ways is a great service. It’s really more about self-discipline, and I know that. (But I still kind of wish it would go away…)
Love for Twitter
Again, speaking from personal experience, Twitter has given me a lot more opportunities to interact with people I’d never normally talk with; primarily bloggers or journalists. Sure, I comment on their blogs, but those comments get lost in the ether quite often. I “like” their pages on Facebook, but their posts never seem to bubble-up in my newsfeed (maybe because they don’t pay to promote them?) so I don’t comment on them there. So Twitter has really been my primary means for networking and making friends in the blogoshpere.
(Does anyone even SAY blogosphere anymore? BLECH.)
Additionally, I feel like I’ve had much more positive exchanges on Twitter. I’m sure this has a lot to do with who you follow and connect with, but I’ve been witness to a lot more angry debates (particularly around election time), bullying and trolling on Facebook, and it seems easier to block it all out and ignore it on Twitter. Facebook has an undercurrent of ANGRY! or LOOK AT ME, I’M BETTER THAN YOU! on my newsfeed.
As a web developer, the fact is I just plain can’t QUIT Facebook. I think I’m ready to draw a line and go on a Facebook diet, though. It’s worth having an account and perhaps checking in occasionally, but I think I’ll stick to my digital-happy-places (my blog, Twitter, Instagram) for most of my virtual socializing.
What do you think?
Does Facebook impact your life (negatively or positively)? Is Twitter’s impact the same or different? Do you feel like you need to change your habits using either service? Which social network(s) have been most successful for you networking or promoting your blog/business?
Everyone has to start SOMEWHERE, right? (I totally looked cuter than I FELT.)
I wanted to quit at 20 minutes. But I made myself keep going. So I made it through the 30 minutes, though I walked more than I ran. (Sad face.) Onward and upward, Right?
I have SO far to go. My feet fell SO heavy on the treadmill or the sidewalk now. It’s kind of depressing, really. But it’s a start and whining or being sad about it won’t change a damn thing.
Today also marked another first: I left Myles at the gym’s daycare center! I’ve never left him with anyone but family before. When I picked him up, one of the girls was holding him, but he wasn’t crying or fussing. I was a proud mama! Now there’s no excuse not to go to the gym!