new to running need help!!

ok, i have lost weight through dieting and still have a fair way to go, but i have decided to start to run to help the process and get generally healthier.

i am unfit, but i have to start somewhere. i did a long walk last night brooken up by 3 short jogging stints. actually felt ok apart from pain in my shins. tonight i did the same but much shorter as my shins werent totally right, but i felt out of breath sooner.


due to work/family life my only option is to run from 10pmish onwards, which i dont mind as i never sleep early anyway.


i have put a thread on the health.injury section about my shins but does anyone have any adivcce about that and generally not getting out of breath? thanks



  • Hi Mike,

    Well done!  Running is a fantastic way to health. On average, it adds years to your life - I think the AVERAGE figure is 6 years.

    But there are a few minor issues you've got to get over... and trying to avoid injury is one of them.  Your biggest challenges are that  a) a new runner puts a lot of stresses on their bones, ligaments and muscles..  especially with the repetitive thud thud thud with every footstep.    and b) if you're a bit overweight still, those stresses are larger.

    So...  I'd give 2 pieces of advice to get you moving.  1/ Are you familiar with the "Couch to 5K" programme?  It is specifically designed to get an absolute complete beginner to climb off the couch, and ultimately get to running 5 km.    See the link at the bottom of this post. 

    and 2/ If you're really going for this, then go to a specialist running shop... one where they can analyse your gait. This involves them watching, or filming you whilst you run, and look at the way you move... and can recommend running shoes that help reduce your chance of injury. The gait analysis is usually free, although you'll probably be buying running shoes costing 60-100 quid.  But if you think it's a lot, you have to think about the savings you'll make every time you turn down a slice of cake in Costa Coffee!!  And also, if you compare that to the cost of a gym, that can easily be 35-40 quid a month.

    It's not impossible that your current shoes are not ideal, and might be contributing to your shin problems (I've not read your other post)

    At first, the benefits of running will mainly be general health, but with typical calorie usage being about 10 calories every minute.... once you get up to 40 - 60 minute runs (maybe even more), then it really does contribute to weight loss (I've heard it said that it is more effective than any other common sport.)

    But be patient.  The biggest danger can be overenthusiasm, because your heart and lungs will improve faster than your legs (and the stress on your leg ligaments etc quite often cause symptoms as they build up damage... until a proper injury reveals itself)... so it can lead to you overstressing them if you try to do too much too soon!

    Good luck... I'm sure you'll really love it.

  • Agree with everything the above poster has advised,the hardest part of running is stepping out of your front door in the first place.image

    Also try park run, (just google it to find your nearest) 5km run,timed with alot of like minded souls and no pressure to be the quickest

    Welcome to the club image

  • Parkrun is excellent , I was worried it would all be superfast club runners, they are there , but really nice and loads of people go with their kids , toddlers in buggies, jog with their dogs , and groups of friends fast walk around.

    I found it easier to keep going the whole distance as everyone else there , if I was on my own when I first started I wouldn't have put as much effort in.
  • Of course, in my post, I meant to say....

    But be patient.  The biggest danger can be overenthusiasm, because your heart and lungs will improve faster than your legs (and the stress on your leg ligaments etc quite often DO NOT cause symptoms as they build up damage... until a proper injury reveals itself)... so it can lead to you overstressing them if you try to do too much too soon!

    In other words,  in 6 weeks time, your heart and lungs won't have you particularly "out of breath"...  you'll be feeling good you'll be able to run further and faster... unaware that you've been accumulating microdamage to your ligaments (as your body is in the process of rebuilding them to adapt to the demands you're putting on them).   If you're not careful, this feel good factor leads you to run a bit further/faster than you should... and that microdamage gets worse, to the point it becomes a proper injury, and puts you out of running for 2-4 weeks.   

    Your body is remarkable... as you build up your running, it will make your bones thicker, denser, your ligaments and muscles (including heart muscle) stronger. You have to give it all enough time to make those adjustments.

  • when I started running I had shin splints so I didn't go for another run until they had stopped hurting, at first that meant only one run a week but I don't get them any more and can run 4 times a week. And I had to go slower even though I felt I could go faster.

  • thanks for the reply. going to be going out for a run shortly so will see how the new trainers help

  • well, kind of a good run. i was disapointed by how quickly i got out of breath but i was out for about 45 mins, alternating between running and walking. i certainly wasnt sprinting but i ran at a fair pace for about 8 or 9 stretches of 1-2 mins. kind of disapointed that thats all i could manage in a way but its somehting to build on if nothing else!

  • Couch to 5k is a great way to build it up. It starts with runs of 1-2 minutes and gradually builds up to running for 1/2 hr. I found the first few runs of 2 minutes really hard, but can now run (albeit slowly) for up to 45 minutes with no walking.
  • Mike firstly welcome to the club. It takes a particular kind of lunacy to do what we do but I sense you are made of the right stuff. (I see fit people) 

    You have already received some really great advice and I whole heartedly endorse it but I just want to add a couple of my experiences to ponder.

    Don't worry about your breathing too much, if you are genuinely struggling and in pain then slow down/stop as you think best but if you are just "breathy" worry not. I sound like an asthmatic pig for the first 5 miles of any run I do always have done always will. On the plus side i have very good headphones and people get out of my way in plenty of time as I approach image 

    And the advice I give all my newbies; don't lose sight of the fun side to this, all by obssessing about times, distances, gait, niggles or whatever you choose to fixate on (and you will), targets are important, they give your training direction and are great motivators but the amount of runners who turn this into a mind sapping chore is incredible. This comes from the man who was doing "airplanes" between the puddles on the path I was running along on Sunday

    Once your body accepts what you are doing to it than it largely becomes mental so don't give yourself too hard a time, your fitness is what your fitness is but it'll get better and why? because you have decided it will and are doing something about it so give yourself a pat on the back image


  • thanks for the reply, lots of sensible advice there. i have made a docs appt for tomorrow morning so will see what they say about my knees, been feeling them a lot so hope its just normal aches/pains from starting exercise

  • Hi Mike, you have definitely picked a good way to shed weight. I'm often a 10pm or later runner too, you are not alone!

    In early 2004, I was 26 and hadn't really exercised hard for 5 years. I was on my feet all day for work and lifting a lot of very heavy stuff about, so I was big and strong, but fat and unfit with it - 17 and a half stone and a heavy smoker.

    I quit the fags, and a couple of weeks later, I went for a run. To cut a long story short, by the end of 2006, despite having had a really long break in training (a big chunk of this was due to injuries sustained banger racing rather than lack of motivation), I was running a good 25+ miles a week and weighed about 12 stone.

    A new relationship distracted me from running for a while, but we're engaged now and we run together. I've been into/out of running over the intervening years and weight has fluctuated a bit, although never to the previous level of excess. 

    My brother has had a similar but more extreme experience. He was really fit in his teens and early 20’s – he ran a gym at one stage, then the shift work disrupted his eating and exercise patterns, and he got unfit and overweight to the extent that his BMI was into the severe obesity range.  He came out to jog a couple of miles with me at some point back in about 2008, despite tipping the scales at over 19 stone, it was mind over matter, he couldn’t speak after a mile, and probably sweated 2 pints. I think I could walk just as quickly as we jogged to be honest! However, by late 2009 he had shed 5 stone, and completed the Great North Run. He went on to run the 2010 and 2011 London Marathons - although he did put a stone on in a week after the last one pigging out on holiday in the USA!


    As somebody who started running when terminally unfit and clinically obese, the best bit of advice I think I can offer you is about your question about getting out of breath.

    As 'Run Wales' has said, your heart and lungs are what is restricting you at present, once you fix that, the next restriction is your legs, then you need to look out for injury. So, the first challenge is to get fit enough that your legs are what is stopping you going further. This requires you to endure a bit of discomfort and apply some mental toughness. If you go and jog at the moment, you'll soon find that:

    a) sweat starts to bead on your forehead

    b) you are panting and struggling for breath

    Your body will be screaming at you to stop, and you will. Sooner or later, you'll need to be able to make yourself confront your urge to stop, in order to make real progress, you need to find your 'second wind'.  As far as I know, no matter how fit you get, you will ALWAYS have a moist forehead and generally be 'feeling it' on the breathing front at some point into a run where you are doing anything like your best pace, and when you're unfit, a jog is the best pace you can hold.

    My approach was to pick a distance and jog it - initially, it was only about 800m, and I was flat on my back grunting like a pig for 10 minutes afterwards. The next night, I made myself do it faster. I think when starting from the couch, you need to ensure that you are tough on yourself and push towards goals and make progress - you have to get through that barrier somehow, it gets way easier when you do - that's when the injury risk 'Run Wales' describes kicks in!

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