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9210 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: Jul 12, 2012 4:10 PM by BowieLinda
queen4124 Rookie 1 posts since
Sep 22, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 28, 2012 12:47 AM

33 y/o female, out of shape, want to start but scared! Advice???

Hi everyone,

I'm a 33 y/o female who has really never run a day in her life but has always been envious of those who do.  Don't get me wrong, I've tried! In high school gym class we had to run the track for a grade and even then I couldn't do it.  I've been in shape before but due to working out on ellipticals/stair machines and walking on treadmills, never by running or jogging. I started to fall out of shape a few years ago after being on some medications that caused a weight gain. I became very discouraged because it was so hard for me to lose weight, even with doing all the right things that I let myself go. Now I'm 4.5 months post partum after my first child and feel awful!  I have never been this out of shape in my life!  I have no energy, feel sore all the time and have never been this heavy. Granted I'm not that big (166lbs) but I'm only 5'3 and have never seen this kind of weight on me.  I'm scared that I will just keep going up and feel worse if I don't do something NOW!


I want to try to start running for my health, before my health becomes a problem. I want to start running for energy and stamina and not feel like an old lady at the young age of 33.  I'm scared to start though. I feel like I'm not going to be able to do it. I feel like others who have done it must have been in much better shape than me and were runners or joggers before, even though I know that isn't true. I'm scared I'm going to hurt myself. I am scared I will get discouraged quickly and give up.


Does anyone have any advice for taking the first step?  I know the first step out the door is the hardest and I want to overcome this.  Any help is greatly appreciated!!

  • Michellchristine Rookie 1 posts since
    Jun 28, 2012

    Hello!!! I too have never run a day in my life...I am 34...about to turn 35 next month, and I have always hated, despised running!! I am not in the best of shape either, after my second child, I still have not been able to lose the rest of baby second is turning 3 in August.  I recently became inspired to try running after a good friend of mine finished her first half marathon...While I don't see myself ever finishing a half marathon, my goal is to at least to be able to complete a 5k.  My friend started out with the program, Couch to 5k and it worked for her.  I am now 3 weeks into the program myself and while I can't say that I suddenly love to run, I have been able to make it through the workouts.  It is like baby steps to begin running...the workouts are 3 times per week for about 20-30 minutes...the first week involves jogging for 60 seconds/walking for 90 seconds for a total of 20 minutes.  For the first few times I tried this on the treadmill...I wish that I started out on the ground in the first place because it makes a huge difference...the treadmill seems to make it easier for me.  So checkout and click on the link for Couch to 5K, the entire plan is mapped out for you.  I am repeating week 2 this is getting ever so slightly easier for me but I still do not love to run...I do however like the feeling of accomplishing something and that makes it worth it.  Good luck and I hope this response was helpful to you!

  • EMTTrix Pro 60 posts since
    May 20, 2012


    Don't be scared!  I'm 30 y/o 5'5" when I started "running" I was 252 lbs!  If I can do it so can you!  I have lost 27 pounds since January, all by running and eating relatively clean...dont get me wrong I live in Wisconsin...I still enjoy beer brats and potato salad!  I also do weight/strength training.  Honestly I was nervous and embarassed at first when I started.  Thinking are people staring at me, am I being judged, does my butt look ridiculously huge<~~~really the thought went through my head...So I started jogging/walking in intervals on the treadmill at my gym...I went super late at night when no one was there.  then when it got nice out I wanted to run I did.  Honestly, I got over it quick.  As far as injury...just take it slow, do intervals, check out a Couch to 5k program.  Remember to stretch good before and after, warm up with some brisk walking for a minutes or so and go easy in the beginning.  I have every confidence that you can do it.  Now you just need to find the confidence in yourself.

    Weight Loss 32 lbs loss to date (since 01/2012)

    5k Races 2011

    Chicago Monster Dash 10/29/2011 - 53:10

    5k Races 2012

    Chicago Polar Dash 1/21/2012 - 49:00

    Hartland Healthy Life 5/19/2012 - 43:08

    Summerfest Rock 'n Sole 6/23/2012 - 39:56 PR

    Run with Wolfes 9/16/2012 -

    Susan G. Komen 9/23/2012 -

    Chicago Monster Dash 10/21/2012 -

    7k-10k Races 2012

    Chicago Get Lucky 3/18/2012 - 1:01:36

    Obstacles/Mud Runs 2012

    Dirty Girl Mud Run (WI) - 8/19/2012

    Keep on keepin' on!

  • kraeuselig Rookie 1 posts since
    Jun 29, 2012

    Hi Queen,


    I am no poster child for athleticism but I was working out regularly at home until a few months ago when I started working again after three years of being at home with my little girl.  She was born in 2008 and I put on loads of weight during the pregnancy.  I didn't get the memo about only eating about 400 extra calories pe rday.  I really ate for two and ooh I was heavy and flabby after the pregnancy but living in Germany  with a very good public health care system every woman's pregnancy is accompanied by a midwife.  So you get birthing classes pre-partum and pelvic floor strengthening class for 8 weeks post-partum.  The PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES ARE ESSENTIAL!  YOU MUST STRENGTHEN YOU PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES  after birth before you start with any exercise program.  Just imagine what happens to your b--bs when you run w/o a sports bra and you get a good idea how you uterus is going to be thrown around w/o having those pelvic muscles holding it firmly in place.  It could be really detrimental if you don't. You could potentially end up with a collapsed uterus where your womb is basically hanging out of you hooha (sorry about being so graphic, but this is serious business for a woman).  A girlfriend ignored the midwife's advice and started running soon after giving birth and regretted it sorely.  She had to do much more to get her pelvic area back in shape.  I don't know what the options are in the States for doing a class but it might be worth it to find one or perhaps look for a book or traiining program on the internet.


    I hope this helps.



  • NancyGrace57 Amateur 9 posts since
    Jun 30, 2012

    Queen4124, I'm going to be 55 on Thursday, weigh over 200 pounds, and I JUST COMPLETED WEEK 1 DAY 1. I'm sweaty and pooped, but I did it. My advice to you is to try. At the very least, just give it a go. If all you can do is some of the running instead of all of it, you're still making progress. And if you do nothing for 9 weeks, you'll be 9 weeks older and no closer to healthy. I've been in shape before, but it's been a long time, and I really am starting from the couch. And I did it. You can too.

  • loislane078 Rookie 2 posts since
    Jul 4, 2012

    Queen, I could have written your original post. I am also an out of shape 33-year old who would like to begin running. I will be 34 next week and I haven't run unless someone was chasing me since high school. Like EMTTrix, I live in Wisconsin, so I understand the temptation of beer brats, with or without the brat, lol. I started running last week after I had to cross the street and my dog started running. Once we got to the other side of the intersection, she kept running and so did I. It felt good. The next day, we ran a little farther, and the same for the next three or four days until it got to be 100 degrees here and we couldn't go outside to exercise anymore. I don't even think I have gone an entire mile, but I am psyched to try and was shocked to discover that I liked running. Today, I bought some new shoes, shorts, sports bra and running shirt, so I am good to go. My goal is to run a 5K at the end of next month. I am absolutely going to check out the suggested website and Couch to 5K and would love to keep in touch with any of you on your progress. It sounds like we are all in the same boat (except I am not losing baby weight, just a beer belly). Good luck all!

  • NancyGrace57 Amateur 9 posts since
    Jun 30, 2012

    loislane078, just wondering where in WI you are. I'm in the Milwaukee area. Can't imagine ANY running in this heat!

  • JoMoGingerella Rookie 2 posts since
    Jul 4, 2012

    Queen, I feel like you were talking about me too in your post! I am so out of shape it isn't even funny and I feel lost and absolutely ridiculous every time I even think about getting in shape. I have done week 1 day 1 of C25K and it was brutal. I felt great for having done it by the time I got done tho. I think my big issue is encouragement. The programs that are out there are great, but they don't give you the moral support and that's essential in accomplishing anything. If you need someone to cheer ya on and maybe do the C25K program with ya, let me know and we can maybe email or Skype or something and e-run together lol but stick to it and don't get discouraged!!! We can do it lol

  • UserNameTaken Rookie 4 posts since
    Feb 28, 2012


    Well, you asked for advice on taking the first step.  I think we all would agree that your post was just that, the first step!

    I will start off saying that as a guy who has never been prego I can't comment on the possibility of your innards falling out of your hoohah, so I will assume you can look into that one on your own.


    I will also say I have not been running that long...  I am a guy, 5'6 and was 205 this time last year.  I got serious about losing weight and started in September and lost a few pounds(about 20) bumbling around, then in November I finally found what worked for me and lost almost almost 40lbs since then.. Right now Im running between 145-146lbs..  So if nothing else, you can lose the weight without any crazy diets or other nonsense like HCG...


    Anyhow, back to the point..  One of the things I did in November was join the gym..  I'd do 20 minutes on the thread mill, and then burn like mad on the elliptical stepper for as long as I could.  The treadmill, can't say I was doing anything remarkable.  I'd try running, and be gassed after 5-10 minutes..  I was doing it just as a way to loosen up really.  BUT, it got me in the habit of going to the gym.  And burning 800 calories or more per session on the treadmill was helping me lose pounds..  Losing pounds combined with building a cardio base in your body is going to make running alot easier..  Not that 5'3 and 166 is super overweight, but personally I think running is a poor choice as the primary activity when it comes to weight loss if someone is really hefty.  The persons pulse rate will be sky high, and you will spend so much time walking that the calorie burn is going to be pretty low for the amount of time spent.. The problem unique to running(unlike cycling or steppers) is when your legs get sore and need even a momentary break, you stop.. On a bike you can free spin periodically, on a stepper or elliptical you have little chance of losing your balance and hurting yourself so you can push yourself much longer..  Last summer, I decided to jog.. I made it 1/8th of a mile and had to walk 1/4 mile.. Then was good for not even another 1/8th mile.. I gave up.


    Well once Janaury rolled around with several trips to the gym under my belt with my small treadmill sessions, I decided to go for an outdoors run..  I was disappointed to be out of gas and walking at a point between 1/4 mile and half a mile..  I signed up for Warrior Dash(5K offroad run/obstacle thing), which was going to be on January 21st..  I was nervous.  At this point I was down to about 170lbs..


    During January I worked more on the treadmill, my goal being to atleast make it to 15 minutes without slowing back to a walk.. Sometimes I was successful..  Sometimes I got really bad stitches(cramps in your diaphragm..they suck)..  Warrior Dash came.. I'd love to say I killed it, but I didn't.. I did on the other hand FINISH it..  It took me like 50 minutes. 


    Ever since then though, even with my difficulties I had(it took me a while to not get stitches), I got kinda hooked..  Interestingly enough, I can't say I like it, but theres a strange enjoyment that comes out of it.  Maybe its the progress, or the amazement at my accomplishment or that I can do it.  I started spending more and more time on the treadmill. 


    Heres my first peice of advice..  You have to pace yourself, and thats where the treadmill comes in..  That was what made it hard for me up to this point.. I'd start out running what I thought was a decent pace, and found I was running myself down.  At this point I could keep 6mph for 10-14 minutes, but after that I'd get stitches so bad I was pretty much done for the day since even after slowed to a walk if I sped back up they would come right back.  In February one day I got on the treadmill and just said "screw it" and set it at 5mph, which is the slowest I can go and still jog.  I think I went about 25 minutes.  I kept going 5mph for several days even though for the first 15 minutes it felt like i was holding myself back..  After like a week I found I was able to go 40-45 minutes.....  After that, I would still start at 5, but after 10-15 minutes up the speed .1mph a minute until I got to 5.5...

    Long story short, I got where I could do 45 minutes at a top speed of 6.0-6.5...  Starting at 5.0 and ramping up..

    In May I started running outdoors again, and did 3 miles without stopping.  To me the funny thing is theres those Couch to 5K programs, 3 miles is a 5K just about..  To me it seems like the C25K program really drags it out..


    But yeah, back to what I was saying.. The treadmill taught me to pace myself.. I run now, its like setting cruise control.  I'm still not that "fast", averaging about 6.0-6.5 mph, but my endurance is going up where i can go further, it doesn't suck as bad, and I can do it more often.  3 months ago if I ran 4 miles one day, I couldn't think about doing it again for another few days.   This week I ran 4.01 miles Sunday in 40 mins, I don't know what happened to me Monday, Tuesday I did 4.20 miles in 39 mins, and yesterday morning I did 4.97 miles in 46 minutes.  I actually want to run today, but yesterday was a horribly long day, I didnt even sleep last night and now I am back at work again.. I doubt I will be awake enough to do it today


    So heres my pointers:

    1) If you havent been working out, start getting some cardio going on something a little easier to maintain when you are getting winded, like an elliptical..  Run the resistance low and just go fast.  Get used to doing that for 45 minutes to an hour at a time...  That will get your heart and lungs used to the demands.. 

    2) Get a decent pair of running shoes.. Note I didnt say expensive, and I didnt say tennis/skate/soccer/cross-training.. Make sure they are running shoes, and they have a decent amount of cushion.. Not too much, but not too firm.  Unless you're going to be running on soft surfaces, avoid the thin sole shoes.  And more expensive doesn't mean better.. I have one pair of shoes for everything be it concrete, black top, sand, grass, etc.  I've done 3 mud runs so far in the same shoes as I go running on the street with.. Its a 60 dollar pair of Asic's from Sports Authority.  I was going to treat myself to a new pair last week but didn't see anything I figured was much better.

    3) Once you get the shoes and get used to doing some cardio, use the treadmill to build some endurance but most importantly to get to where you know your pace and what works for you..

    4) Keep at it!  If you do it several days a week, you will build endurance and do it relatively quick.  Unfortunately if you get lazy and take a week or two off, you lose it just as fast.    Find a way to fit it into your schedule, and consider it to be one of the most important things you do, or most fun things you do, so that when something "pops up", whatever that popped up better be danged important.

    5) Keep motivated!!!  Running is tough.  Its why most people have excuses on why they don't do it.  Its going to kick your butt in the beginning..  When you have obstacles that seem to be hopelessly limiting you, use all your resources to figure out how to solve them, instead of just figuring its not for you..  Between muscle cramps, stitches, stomach pains, etc for a while it was one real uphill climb that I can see why most people quit..  Chances are whatever obstacle holds you back there is a solution to it if you look hard enough or talk to enough people.


    Oh yeah..

    6) Dont drink a bunch while you are running or just before.. It will slosh around and give you a stomach ache. 

    7) Same for eating.. I will not run if I ate within the past 3 hours..  You want to run before you are hungry, but also when you don't feel the slightest bit full.. 

    8) Avoid sweets and other junkfood before running..  It will give you a stomach ache.

    9) Try to avoid drinking while running.. The necessity to close your lungs while you intake water can leave you panting and screw up your breating rythm, atleast for me.. 

  • Richard True Amateur 12 posts since
    Oct 31, 2011

    I'm probably one of those people that you think has been running forever. I'm 50 y/o and have been running for about 10 years. Been in all the races from 1 mile to my first marathon this year.


    And here's what I think about when I see someone who is just starting out- you are AWESOME!


    In all my races, I can't think of any harder obstacles than the ones you are dealing with now. Sure, I have mental struggles and physical struggles as I tackle longer distances- but I have an advantage of experience and confidence of past success. You are facing all those things without knowing how it will turn out.


    So, I have tremendous respect for you; the most important thing for me was to keep a consistent schedule of running. I started out running every other day, whether I felt like it or not. And believe me, there were plenty of days that I didn't feel like it. Heck, even now there are days when it's mighty tough to hit the trail.


    My experience has been that the running community is extremely supportive of anyone who joins in. We know that people come in all shapes and sizes and that our challenges are tough, but we're always willing to offer a helping hand. Just remember, every day you run is a good day!

    4/15/12 Marathon 4:59:10

    9/15/12 5K Run For the Hills 24:21

    10/21/12 Rock N Roll Half Marathon 1:55:21

    Next race: Williams Route 66 Marathon

  • loislane078 Rookie 2 posts since
    Jul 4, 2012

    Oh, I'm not picking it back up until this heat passes, but I WILL pick it back up! 102 here today. I am in the LaCrosse area.

  • binalien Rookie 4 posts since
    Jan 30, 2012

    Hi Queen. I, too, spent a lifetime not running and admiring others who did. I started running in December 2011 so I have several months' experience with the joys and misery of getting started and my memories are fresh enough (and still being added to) that I have not forgotten what it is like. I have two major pieces of advice: 1) Start out slowly and build your way up. It will do you no good to push yourself until are sweating profusely, out of breath and getting sick on the side of the road. That is the type of experience that makes people give up too soon; and 2) The best way to lose weight is by eating less calories than you burn. Exercise aids this process and helps keep the weight off once you lose it, but it is not the main component to losing weight. Try comparing the difficulty of turning down your favorite high-calorie meal compared with getting on an aerobic machine long enough to burn the amount of calories in that meal. As tempting as food is, turning it down does not compare with the work of burning it off.


    You are starting at a great place looking for advice on running websites. There is a ton of info out there and the more you read the better prepared you will be to ease your way into running. If you are dieting along with it, read up on that too on fitness websites (as opposed to fad diet websites). Your body needs to get the right amount of calories to support its functions and allow you to stay active. My recommendation is to eat 500 less calories per day than you burn to lose one pound per week, but of course you should check with your doctor to make sure you are doing what is right for your body.


    I was lucky to have lost all of the weight I needed to lose before I even took up running, but I am still a pretty terrible runner. I joined a supportive running club, enter 5Ks through half-marathons and try to run three times per week. But at this point I am still embarrasingly slow finishing last on my club runs and in the bottom half of my age division in races. I think part of my embarrasment is that I look fit yet apparently I am not compared to other runners. Yet with each race my time gets a little better so I know I am making progress which is encouraging. Just keep your goals in mind and do not let yourself give up.

  • ladee5o Rookie 1 posts since
    Jul 2, 2012

    Hi Queen,


    I am 27, 5'6, 275 lbs and I ran (more like jogged) in my first 5K last weekend. I finished in 56 minutes and my goal was under an hour (yay me!). I've been jogging on and off for the better part of a year.. I was really into it in the fall but then spring came and I stopped. I started back again in May. This was my first year running. My sister played tennis so she would always try to get me to run, but I didn't like it. I felt like everyone was looking at me, that my butt was too big, that I was breathing too hard, etc. But I still went out everyday. My first suggestion is find the right type of shoe. Runner's World has a "running shoe finder" search that was very helpful for me. I started off very slow. 20 minute miles, and I'd jog about 1-2 miles a day. It was a mixture between walking and jogging. Now I do more jogging than walking. I also downloaded the Couch to 5K timeline. There are a bunch online that will give you three to eight weeks preparation. I didn't always follow them, but I did get outdoors and ran 4-5 times a week. Set goals for yourself with each week and I suggest not looking at the scale. It makes me sad because you'll never shed pounds like the Biggest Loser folks unless you treat weight loss like an 8 hour job. But I can say I feel healthier. I also joined a fitness challenge in my community. They're cheap entrance fees and a great way to establish accountability. I also like doing a variety of workouts, so I joined a spin club and go spinning once a week. Trust me.. I feel more out of my league on a bike than on the road. But the first step is to step out. Do what is comfortable but always push yourself. Find some accountability, whether it's your family, friends or your colleagues.


    And the 5K that I ran, had all shapes, sizes and ages on the route. And everyone was encouraging from my team members to random people who ran beside me. They'd say 'Keep going! Don't stop! You're almost there!' Everyone wants you to cross the finish line. Think of that everyday you get out on the treadmill or on the road. Best of luck!

  • Semperfirunninguy Rookie 1 posts since
    May 16, 2012

    This is what I told my Daughter who has shown interest in running lately. First of all do not do what I did and train 7 weeks and then run a 26.2 mile Marathon. I told her to get good running shoes. Go to a local Running Store not a Dept Store.. The reason is if you are not familiar with running shoes and how they should fit, the personal at these store can help. These stores are usually not in malls etc... They only deal with runners not all sports. Forget fashion, comfort on the run is most important, and remember the most expensive shoe is not always the best. I usually buy what feels right on my feet. This may not be the same for someone else. Some of these stores will have running groups you can sign up for. They have different paces and goals that each group wants to achieve. If not try the local Community College, as they may have a 1 credit running class. If that is not what you want then I suggest that after you have good shoes then go to the local track for starters. This is a good way for a beginning runner to keep track of how far they run. If you can only run one lap, great, then walk a lap then run a lap. Do this until you can run two laps etc... I told my daughter if she can not run a lap, then run the straight parts and walk the curved parts until she can run a lap, then increase the distance as she can.


    Before you know it you will be running 4 or 5 miles. When you finally get up to a couple of miles on the track, start looking for neighbor hood runs you can do. Try, this sight is great for tracing out a run without driving around in a car to figure out the distance.


    Write down you goals, make a plan and stick to it. The hardest thing to do is get started, but once you get a month into running and get over the soreness, you will crave the feeling it will give you. Buy a book or search online for a training program that fits your needs also a book for the beginning runner would be good. Remember no one can make it happen but you. If there is a will there is a way. Good luck. and Happy running.

  • BowieLinda Pro 136 posts since
    Jul 8, 2010

    I was going to say this but you said it beautifully NancyGrace57!  All of us are miles ahead of those who are still on the couch, as I saw someone else say here! 


    Also, please those of you younger than NancyGrace57 and me, DO IT NOW!  It is oh so much tougher to start OVER or start ANEW the older you are.  When you're my age, you will WISH you were "only" in your 30s and out of shape and trying to start running, believe me!!!


    We are all rooting for you!

    C25K Training begun (Treadmill) 6/1/10); restarted 7/11/12

    First run OUTDOORS - Club Fun Run 1.75 mile circuit time 26:06:72 on 7/29/10

    Proud C25K Grad, 8/7/10

    College Park Cares 5K Sponsored by Vecna Technologies, Inc. 9/25/10 44:04.4

    Fell off of the regular running routine, experienced the DC Derecho Disaster, and now aiming to get back on track!


    Jug Bay Run for Wildlife 5K 11/3/12

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