How I Used Walking To Lose Weight And Ease Me Into Training For A Marathon.
I’ve got to make things clear here. My description on the right hand side of the page is a lie.
I didn’t lose 70lbs just by running. I lost at least 50lbs by walking and eating right.
But that’s how I started on my path towards running.
When you’re obese, the thought of walking outside is daunting. You feel sweaty, self-conscious and silly but at some point you’ve gotta pick up the courage and start. Starting is always the hardest part.
I began by adding slow walks at lunch time in work.
I made sure that I was moving at a pace that was comfortable and sustainable at the time.
Slow and easy
I’d walk on a Saturday around town and be happy with managing a mile or two. I gradually increased this to 3 or 4 miles over time but I never got to the point where it seemed like I was pushing myself.
The most important thing was consistency. Sure, it may have been frustrating not to have been making much progress, but I knew deep down that any progress was good.
As the weight came off and the compliments flowed with the insults, I learned to ignore both the well wishers and the detractors. If you listen to compliments and take them to heart, you will do exactly the same with the insults.
You’ve gotta know who you are and fuck everyone else.
I continued on with this relatively simple regime until my month Inter-railing around Europe. Even though the continent was in the midst of a heat wave at the time, I refused to catch the metro or buses when in cities like London.
I remember walking from Tower Bridge to Camden High Street in 33C heat and being completely exhausted after it but proud of myself.
I remember walking from Berlin Central Station to Potsdammer Platz and getting lost 10 times along the way. Eventually I grew tired of being annoyed at being lost, went to a restaurant and ordered a litre of Beer and some Currywurst.
I quickly found my way again after the break.
Since then I’ve enjoyed the feeling of being lost.
It also dawned on me that exercise didn’t have to be a sacrifice.
It could add an extra dimension of fun into life.
When you enjoy doing something in life then you want to do it more.
That trip to Europe fostered a serious love of walking.
In the Autumn I started walking the 5 miles home twice a week. I remember trying to run half mile sprints and giving up after 100 metres, thinking I could never make the transition to a runner, let alone a marathoner.
I’d entered the Belfast Marathon by this stage and just couldn’t see how I could ever finish.
I continued to improve my fitness with only walking for the next 2 months. It seemed hopeless at times but I knew the alternative was to give up altogether on the marathon idea.
Walking had to be better than doing no exercise.
Sensible people would tell me to give up on the marathon idea as it would be too difficult, but I just kept going. I had to aim high as I knew I would risk slipping back to where I was if I didn’t try something radical.
Eventually I got to the point where I had to run.
It got to the point in October 2010 where my legs actually started running on their own.
I’d spent months upon months fearing running. I was overthinking the process in my head so much that I’d made jogging seem like an impossible challenge.
But in the end, it was easier than I could have ever conceived. It was a case of just putting one foot in front of other quickly.
You too can run one day, even if you’re obese.
If you’ve just started walking and want to eventually take up running too, then keep walking and you’ll get there.
You’ve just gotta remain consistent and have a clear goal in your head to succeed.
Enthusiasm, stubbornness and positivity can take you a long fucking way.