the ultimate beginner!

Hi all.... just an introduction and a few questions from the ultimate beginner!

im 34, mum of one, smoker, and really unfit

im 5'11 and 15st 1lb image think that gives me a BMI of about 28. i wear a size 14 so although im not hugely overweight for my height, i need to lose some, and i need to get fit... properly and sustainably so.

ive decided to run for a few reasons, I need something that i can do alone, at any time. i need some stress busting too, so it will help with that, and some quality  me time, and, although ive left it a bit late to do anything about it, ive always wanted to be able to run & feel a little envious when i see people running! im determined to stick at this, i WILL be a runner!


i do a weekly yoga class so im fairly strong / flexible, but no cardio at all...

anyway, im doing couch - 5k. started last night and it didnt go too well... unsurprisingly so. im about as unfit as i expected, but the main issue was calf / shin pain. ive always had this when walking fast / long distances, but now that im going to be running i think i need to get to the bottom of it. im pretty sure its overpronation, seems to fit perfectly, plus, the more tired i got last night, the more i noticed my feet stepping in, it was crazy! this morning im not sore anywhere except there... and man does it ache!

im eyeing up a pair of saucony stabil cs2's and hopefully they will help.. any other advice?

im a size 8, so big feet for a girl, is there really a difference in mens and womens running shoes? there appears to be a shortage of them in size 8 ladies!

how often should i run at this stage? the couch to 5k programme recommends 3 x 3o mins weekly... does that sound right for me? is it ok to keep repeating a stage until im comfortable with it? (at this rate i feel like ill be repeating last nights stage forever!)

also... running clothes for the taller lady? having real issues finding stuff that doesnt show my belly or flap around mid calf!


thanks in advance for your help, im sure ill have many more questions to follow!


  • In answer to your question about men and womens shoes, there isnt really that much difference except womens shoes tend to be narrower and in more girly colours!. If you find a mens shoe fits and is comfortable then by all means wear them! After all, some makes have 'unisex' styles.

  • Well done on starting, couch to 5k is good program, but remember its just a plan. Feel free to repeat a week if you feel the need. I will be starting again when my chest infection clears.

    Walk/jog/run whatever feels right for you. Bones, muscles and tendons take longer to get fit than the heart and lungs. Lots of beginners feel aches in their shins. If necessary do one of the sessions as a 30 min walk at a steady pace.

    Remember to stretch afterwards, it makes sense to get into a good habit of stretching afterwards now, so it becomes second nature.

    You may find mens clothing to be longer in length, but the main clothing worry is a good supportive bra.
    Join in one of the beginner threads, ask questions and hopefully you will get a useful answer.

  • Hi Kat!

    I'm an inch shorter than you and find that Nike stuff is plenty long enough for me so might be worth having a look. Not the cheapest though.

    I've been doing the c25k too. I'm lucky enough not to have had any issues with pain while running, but if you can get that cracked I'd encourage you to stick with the programme as it is as I'm amazed at the improvements in just a few weeks!

    No idea about the overpronation etc ... but everyone seems to advise going into a running shop and getting them to take a look at how you run. That would have terrified me a couple of weeks ago but hang around the forums a bit and it makes you see how many people have started from complete scratch and got there.

  • i am terrified at the thought! i can imagine them making me run on a treadmill in a packed out shop while they all stand around me in a circle marvelling at my unfitness!!


  • I know how you feel! But yesterday, after only 5 weeks of running, I wandered into a runnning shop, tried on a bag, picked up all the shoes, sneered at the shortness of the tops and generally hung nosing about at stuff without thinking to much that someone was about to hustle me out for being a fakey runner! And that's with being able to run a total of 20 mins (once) without collapsing in a heap (couldn't run two mins at the start of the year).

  • I bought men's running tops as the women's ones are all skintight, which is not a good look on me in Lycra! Better colours too - so much of the women's stuff is pink! Men's shoes are broader apparently but no other difference. I think I may try some men's shoes next time I buy some as I have broadish feet. I looked at a guide that was in runners world magazine a few months back that explained a bit about pronation (and some articles on the website I think) and it listed different trainers in each category and then I ordered a pair online.

    Repeat everything as much as you feel the need. I went back to week 7 run 1 multiple times. You're only competing against yourself!
  • Gore women's tights are long enough for me at 5' 10'', but are pricey. When the weather is warmer I like capri tights (Nike and North face), which tend to come just under the knee on me, and are very comfortable. I never thought I'd wear tights but as I got into running more I wanted to more away from the baggy pants to something which might help me run faster, and found them more comfortable.

    I like Nike women's running tops. They are fitted, but not silly tight, and long enough to cover most of my bum!

    Good luck, enjoy yourself.

  • Thanks all! I braved the running store today and it was fab! The girl was super helpful. And didnt make me feel at all dorky!

    As I expected I overpronate, especially on the right, and I came away with a lovely fancy pair of asics (gt2170) can't wait to try them out properly, but I'm being sensible and letting my aches heal a bit more before starting again!
  • Good for you, hopefully the Asics will work out for you. I take a 7 in normal shoes, but an 8.5 in my running shoes, which means I have to have the men's ones as the women's only go up to an 8. Doesn't seem to make any difference. Sweaty Betty sportswear is cut quite long, and they have a variety of colours as well as pink. It's not cheap, but it's durable, and they have good sales. I also have (tall) American friends who rave about Lululemon stuff, but it really is expensive over here.

    When you get back to running again, try and see if you can run on softer surfaces such as paths or trails, rather than pavement, as it's kinder on the legs while you're getting used to it.
  • Well done you!

    How are you getting on now?

    I also found the C25K programme too hard the first day but now I'm on week 4. So I made up a week 0.5 and did the following:
    Day 1 - Run only every other one.
    Day 2 - Run two, walk one, run two, walk one, run two
    Day 3 - Run three, walk one run two, walk one, run one.

    Day 1 week 1 - Run the first proper day of C25K.

    A few tips I got from these forums:
    If you can't run the whole session, just walk it but don't give up. 30 mins walking is better than none.
    Running doesn't have to be any moer than a jog and jogging doesn't have to really be much faster than walking pace. The fact is you are raising your heart rate. Running too fast too soon is not recommended.
    Go to Sports Direct. They stock Karrimor running tops that are cheap and long. Also cycling tops are longer as cyclists are bent forwards and need the length to cover their bottoms.
    Get proper running shoes (You've done that)
    Put your name down for a 5K. Perhaps a race for life this summer? It keeps you motivated when the weather is bad or you just don't really want to go out. 
    If you are flagging during a run, just tell yourself "to the next lamppost (or similar landmark) and just before you arrive at that landmark, change the goalpost to another one just further up."
    Remember, you are making more progress than the seasoned runners on here. You and I as newbies have the most to gain.
    I sometimes find that I'm not enjoying the run when it's hard going. So I've been posting my elation, after a run, on facebook. Whenever I think I can't do the next run or interval, I imagine all my friends faces with a look of disappointment. It spurs me on.
    Best of luck! Keep us updated. 

  • thanks so much everyone!

    i really feared when i started, that all the 'proper' runners would laugh at me puffing my way around the streets like a baby elephant!

    few updates...

    firstly, im really starting to see progress! still working on the first stage of c25k because i want to take it slow, and really be comfortable with each stage before moving on. ive lost 7lb at my last weigh in, and can really feel the difference already. i can also feel myself getting fitter, being able to run further, walk thru the stages less, and generally feeling healthier (and wanting to smoke less!)

    i love my new asics. they have cured my shin splints (more about that later) and are so comfortable to run in. ive also invested in a few items of running clothing, have discovered that decathlon's mens running tops are really generous in length, and super comfy too.

    pain - AGGGHHHHHHHH. my knees. ive self diagnosed medial ligament, as its only sore along the inside of my knees... sore to touch, swollen,  one side even looks a bit bruised. i stupidly followed my dads advice (he also runs) to 'man up and run through it' yesterday and last night was actually in tears with the pain. right leg in particular - which is the same leg as was worst with the shin splints. obviously im built, or am running a bit funny. the pain started gradually when i got my new trainers, but has got worse and worse, to the point where im hobbling about in agony today. weirdly, its not that sore to run or walk on, not sore to bend my knees etc, but just sore all the time. ive been resting it as much as is possible working 2 part time jobs and having a 3 year old, and have been icing it intermitedly, taking ibuprofen, and wearing a compression bandage, but what else can i do? is it the kind of thing that once rested properly until pain free, will be stronger and good to run on again, or will it continue to bug me?

    i know the importance of resting it, but im so motivated seeing this recent progress, and dont want to lose what ive gained so far from it.

    i do feel like im still overpronating on that right foot, might it be worth considering some orthotic insoles for my trainers?


    thanks in advance everyone!

  • Firstly well done on your weight loss and getting out there!

    If you have had shin splints, it will have impacted other areas on your lower legs. This will take a few weeks for all the painful tender areas to fully recover even with your new shoes helping.

    If you've onlyjust got the Asics shoes I would give them time before you splash out any more money on orthotics.

    You'll also be putting a load of new forces into your knees running on hard surfaces, which is adding a new burden to your body. You say bending your knee isn't hurting so maybe you could do some squats (body weight only) against a wall at home to build up the surrounding muscle groups around your knees. These exercises will help add stability around your knee and this will definitely help you with your running technique.

    As an oddball suggestion, it might be worth running somwhere you can find a shallow puddle or two and run through them so you can see your footprints on the ground afterwards? You might find your stride is longer on one leg than the other and this could be causing you an overcompensation injury on your right knee.

    Please don't take this as a lecture, but ibuprofen can be more hindrence than help with some running injuries. Rest, elevation and ICE are the best cures.

    Good luck and hope your knee feels better soon

  • thanks jellybelly!

    i feel like my knee problems only really started when i got my new shoes and my shin splints ended, i guess its more that they just appeared at that stage in my running career LOL. they are still super sore. not taking painkillers now so that i dont over use and hurt them more, but as they are, i cant imagine ever running again. still very swollen and bruised looking. its weird, they are less painful when im walking than when im just sat still. when should i start to worry? its been 4 days since i ran, and they hurt just as much. i really want to get back out there, especially given the chinese takeaway and 2 cans of fat coke i had last night!

    i reckon i do have a wonky stride. i know that its long, which isnt ideal, but being almost 6ft tall, and with gangly legs, its hard to avoid, and i feel a bit weird taking wee steps... i also think i run too fast. have been conscious of both those things, and also that i run with a flat foot / heel strike, but again, i feel like im running like a constipated emu when i try to run forefoot / smaller strides / slower.... all tips greatly appreciated!

    when can i go back out, do i need to be totally pain free again?


    thanks so much for all your help everyone!

  • Hi Kat

    How are your knees feeling?

    Have you been running?
  • Runnin! I can barely walk! Ended up

    At a&e, pain just got unbareable! They diagnosed medial ligament tears both knees, and I'm hobbling around on crutches and off my face on codeine image I've honestly never known pain like it!
  • Ouch !!

    Did they work out how you did that damage specifically?

    Codeine is bad stuff, good for pain but fogs your brain. Snapped my little finger when I fell running a couple of years ago and they gave me codeine. Days blurred into nights....

    Will you be allowed to run again once healed?
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