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I've gotta start somewhere...

Hello all - I'm after some advice.

A friend of mine recently completed her first triathlon (Sefton) and it has been an inspiration to me. The comradery of the competitors, the variety of the events and the look of sheer elation on my friends face as she finished was enough to convince me that I had to have a go at this.

BUT, my problem is my 'butt'...

I am obese - I'm male, 42 years old, I'm 5'10" and weigh 336lbs. Please try not to laugh too much - I know I'm some sort of potato-on-legs, but I really want to do this. I have lived the sedentary life style too long.

I've set my self the long-term goal of completing the 2009 Sefton Triathlon, and the short-term goal of completing the Macclesfield 1 mile Fun Run (28th Sept 2008). So, first question - do people think these are realistic goals?

Secondly - The Bike Question. For a couple of reasons, I think I need a mountain bike rather than a road bike. Here's my thinking: The 2008 Sefton bike stage took place over an undulating grassy course; The sturdy-looking nature of the mountain bikes I have seen make me feel more confident that I wont bend the bike just by sitting on it; A mountain bike says "fun" and a road bike says "serious" - bear in mind that this is very early days for me.

The current bike shortlist pushes my meagre budget to the very limit: Carrera Vulcan Disc; Mongoose Tyax Elite; GT Avalanche 3 Disc; Each are around £300. Opinions?

Thirdly - How does a certified blob like me make the transition from walking to running? I've made a start on things and I'm currently walking 1.5 miles each morning before work, and whilst 'power walking' the fun-run might be acceptable, I sure as hell dont want to walk my first triathlon! So how do I make the walk/run switch?

So, apart from "Take up darts, mate", does anyone have any advice or opinions for me?

Thanks in advance.


  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    First of all, awesome, it's great to hear you're so inspired by this. Both these goals are achievable, especially the triathlon next year. On a professional note, I have to say get checked out by your doctor and make sure you're ready to start training.

    Once you have the all clear then take it steady and build into it. Start by doing walking programmes, and as you begin to feel fitter add some jogging to it, it may be from one lamp-post to the next or a minute at a time. Don't feel you need to do this every time you train, but as you improve increase the amount of time you spend jogging, but listen to your body. Think about mixing your training up so so you don't get injuries from doing too much too soon; swimming and cycling, perfect.

    Don't forget to think about your diet, you are going to need to lose some weight, and this will happen as you train, but you can improve a lot quicker if you eat well too.

    As for the bike question, a mountain bike will be fine. I don't know too much about these bikes but my brother has a GT Avalanche with discs and is very happy with it.

    Good luck and keep working towards those goals,

  • BEEFBEEF Posts: 43
    Check this out.....

    It's not me but it does go to show that anyone can do a triathlon. I'm 280lb and looking to do my first 70.3 next year so starting off shorter and building up.

    Good luck!

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Isn't inspiration wonderful..anyhoo, basically what they said, your 1 miler is an excellent short term goal & provided you keep consistent then you will be able to run that in fine style.

    What distances are in your target tri? If it is a sprint then a 5k run is only 3 miles so by end of Sept, you will be 1/3rd of the way there.

    You sound pretty sorted & know what you need, but keep on asking..soonr or later we will get to porridge.
  • legalbeaglelegalbeagle Posts: 208
    Good on you Cuckoo! Good luck with the training .. my philosophy on all this .. who care how long it takes - it's taking part that counts.

    Itsbeef - that's a great clip! It just shows you what a bit of determination and loads of encouragement can do!
  • BEEFBEEF Posts: 43

    I have total belief in the fact that it's completing events or competitions that is satifying. If winning was the only way on being satisfied with performances then there would only be one satified athlete per event.

    Good on you Cuckoo!!!

  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Good on you!

    My Dad left the Army after the war having contracted TB in Holland, he was told he would have to take things easy and put on a pension. He put on a lot of weight (almost 8 stone) and after a year was persuaded to go for a run by a friend from the YMCA (who told me the story), it almost killed him but he persevered. 18 months later he went for a review medical and they took the pension off him.

    He would annoy the hell out of me when we went running together, for the whole run (5 or 8 miles) he would talk incessantly and then have a pulse rate of 52 1 minute after we finished and he was 32 years older than me!! He went on to run for Lancashire, England at one point, took up race walking and did the Centurion 100mile race walk and the Manchester to Blackpool walk several times. He was always winning prizes and always running or walking when we went on holiday to Walse or Ireland. The last active thing he did was to go for a walk in the hills with his octogenarian mates, he suffered a bowel bleed the next day, was taken into hospital and lingered there for 3 months before he died - he was my inspiration and hero and he was so proud when I told him I had entered my first triathlon, sadly he died before the event. His words 'keep it up' ring in my ears when I compete and I am not ashamed to say I write this with tears in my eyes.

    So yes what you are talking about is perfectly achievable - but do it safely. Get a check up from your GP, combine a sensible healthy diet (do not do a fasting diet) with gentle exercise to start, swimming is good as is cyling and walking.

    Welcome aboard, 'keep it up'.
  • dannymackdannymack Posts: 58
    Nice one Cuckoo.

    Consistent training is the key to getting from walking to running (and from running slow to running much faster). You can definately do it.

    The run/walk idea suggested previously is a good one. Don't worry about how slow you are going or how many times you have to stop to walk. You're not racing the 10 stone marathon runner that whizzes past you - yet. What's important is that you keep doing it regularly and can therefore begin to progress and guage that progress.

    My other tip is to keep a training diary. That way you can see the progress you make. When you do start to get the miles under your belt it will also help you to stay within the "not increasing mileage by more than 10% per week rule".

    I'm to idle to do this properly but I've always thought a training diary that also details what you've eaten would be a good thing to keep. It would help you guage whether you're eating the right amounts for the training you're doing. It will also show you whether e.g. you feel full of beans after having risotto the night before = there's your pre-race meal sorted.

    As for the bike, whatever you feel comfortable on and is within your budget will be absolutely fine. You can always get a Cervelo P3C for your IM attempt in 2010.
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Blimey, Zac. That's an inspiring story. Every race must be a victory for you and a tribute to your dad. Thank you.

    Cuckoo: you're going to do this. You've obviously made a certain metal commitment by posting onto this forum and starting to get advice. Hold that thought and you'll do it.

    I'm probably echoing what others have said by saying start slow. You can't do it all in one day, and the targets you have set are acheivable but hard enough to keep you motivated. You can walk a 1-mile fun run if you like, but you'd love to run it, right? For a triathlon, though, you can't wing it... if you try, you will probably be disappointed or hurt yourself.

    Start with the low impact stuff like Zac says - swimming and cycling - don't try to get your heart pumping as fast as you can all the time, just take it steady. Stay in what we call zone 1 & 2 - an easy way to do this at first is to stay at a pace where you could just about manage a conversation, albeit a bit breathless - do this for several months then re-evaluate where you are. Maybe start running on a treadmill at first if you have a local gym, just to get you moving.

    An upside to this is that the lower zone training is great for weight loss. You should also look at your diet. Allow me to be unsubtle for a minute: why are you a 'potato on legs'? What is it that you eat that has resulted in weight gain? It is not a lack of exercise completely.. weight gain means energy in is greater than energy out. You have to do two things: decrease energy in, increase energy out (all within reason). Keep a food log: you don't need to start counting calories or measuring protein grammes just yet but you need to look for some obvious patterns where you are eating refined sugars, simple carbs and saturated fat to excess.

    But get that medical check up before you start anything. Just let your doctor know what you are planning to do, maybe get a blood sugar check if you have been very overweight for a long time.

    And don't forget to keep asking the questions and to check in to tell everybody how you are doing. Knowing that other people have visibility of your progress, even if we're just e-people on a forum, can be a great motivator. Maybe post on the 'What training' thread. If your PB is that you managed to jog TWO lampost distances rather than just one then tell everybody about it! A PB is a PB, no matter what the challenge.

    Good luck, and welcome! [:D]
  • TheCuckooTheCuckoo Posts: 6
    Thanks for all the encouragement :)

    Ok, to answer some of your questions:

    This year's distances were Swim (150m) Cycle (5km) Run (2.5km) so Im hoping that next year will be the same lol

    I've already checked with the GP and she is pretty happy with things so long as I dont do anything stupid.

    The diet has changed pretty radically. I am now reading food lables to check thier fat / calorie / salt content - and make a decision based on that - rather than just chucking another frozen pizza into the trolley. I pretty much hit or exceed the 'five a day' advice now, whereas only a few weeks ago a vegetable was something that only happened to other people...

    A training diary also sounds like a cool idea, I'll try it :)

    Bopomofo - Im a potato on legs cos for me, chips were pretty much a staple. Combine that with virtually no physical activity and you can guess the result. You are what you eat, I think the phrase is.

    Thanks again folks, I really appreciate it.

    p.s. I love porrige... [:D]
  • BARNYBARNY Posts: 157
    yeah all the above but go for a comuter/touring style bike with slightly thinner but still off road tires... is a dam site easier to ride on roads which is where you will do most of your riding... this before you get you super ligh carbon race bike to go with your washboad stomach....

    Go for it man!
  • learnerlearner Posts: 100
    WOW, some great stories on here. Talk about inspiration. Call me sad but I printed a couple of these to have a read of when I fell like a lazy day.

    Cuckoo good on you, as long as you remember, to eat an elephant you take one bite at a time. Don't expect massive gains overnight, but trust that they will happen. I agree with run walk to start as less stress on your joints until your body is ready. Have you thought about a cyclocross bike, they are lighter than a mountain bike but have similar gearing. They also offer more versitility as you can still go off road but have the advantages of a roady.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

  • ashthetashashthetash Posts: 164
    Loads of good advice from everyone. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is kit. Specifically shoes. If you are not used to running then you will be putting a lot of new stress through your ankles and feet and it is worth having a pair of well fitting trainers that provide the proper support for you.

    There are several factors that make a shoe suitable for one person and less so for another. It is not a case of more expensive = better. You may also find you need to change your shoes fairly regularly if you start to lose weight as your feet may shrink and your gait may change.

    I see your from Chester maybe someone from that neck of the woods can point you in the direction of an appropriate sports shop in the area that will be able to provide you with specific advice.
  • Cuckoo,

    Not sure if you are aware of the Tri Shop in Chester Called "Tri-Active", its in the centre tucked away in Rufus Court. They do FREE Video Gait Analysis and will be able to advise the correct shoe for you based on these results.

    Give them a call on 01244 313 777 to make an appointment, very helpful and friendly staff from my experience.

    This is their web link:


    Good luck!!
  • TheCuckooTheCuckoo Posts: 6
    Morning my fellow porridge munchers!

    Bought my bike at the weekend - it's a GT mountain bike, and it's great!

    Took it out for a 3 mile spin yesterday afternoon, and apart from a sore backside I really enjoyed it.

    I also popped into "Tri-Active" in Chester for a nosey round and spent a while chatting to the sales assistant. Very friendly, helpful, knowledgable bloke. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

  • TheCuckoo

    This is the most inspirational thread I have ever read…

    TheCuckoo I wish you all the luck in the world my friend, keep us informed how it’s going for sure… No point me adding any advice as its all here and I am new myself… You sound like your having a blast, keep it up mate…
  • TheCuckoo

    You're an inspiration Cuckoo - you should keep an online diary of the ups and downs because when you reach each goal you set it will be wonderful to read through your journey - not just for yourself but obviously to inspire others :)

    Keep us up to date on how you do!

    Good man!
  • JonhinioJonhinio Posts: 289
    All the best for the training Cuckoo. If you want a bit of inspiration, have a look at this website.



    [color=#000000]I started reading his blog on the realbuzz website and he's quite inspirational.[/color]
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    Cuckoo - doubt I can add anything to the approach and kit posts above but... I can tell you this.

    In Feb 2006 I weighed 134 Kgs. That's 295 lbs, or 21 stones and 1 lb in old money. I hadn't played any sport for 4 years since I hung my rugby boots up, but I had never done "running" or any endurance activities. I could only just swim 25m at any one time. I had just been diagnosed with Diabetes II. On the plus side my diet was actually quite good - not much fat though beer was way too high.

    Triathlon was not even on the horizon.

    As a family we joined a local leisure centre so that our children could swim at more times available to us than the local council pool. A rather concerned staff member gave me a very gentle gym program - treadmill walking and some weights.

    After 6 months I had lost 7 kgs and had got to about a dozen lengths at a time swimming. I was also "interested now" - so got a new program. And never looked back. The walking became walk/run combos, and the CV machines started. I worked out my own weights program, got it checked by my program instructor who OK'd it. The weight just started falling off me... almost every week the scales were dropping. Twice a week at the gym and a swim or two started to ramp up. I no longer had to walk during a 15 minute treadmill run. The CV bike was boring so i was hitting the rower with a vengance. People I had known for years at my rugby club were being complimentary.

    2007 started and I knew what I wanted to do by the end of February - our leisure centre has a top ten list every month for the members that have visited the most often. I was in the top ten every month of 2007, and topped that list something like 9 times. I swam first thing in the morning at 6.45 am for half an hour at least three times a week. I was one of only ten people who attempted tyhe leisure centre challenge - 2000m row, 1500m bike and a 1000m run (but "unlimited" and untimed transitions :-). It nearly bloody killed me. But I... err... did it three times! On my 45th birthday in September 2007 I ran 5K for the first time ever on the treadmill at the leisure centre. By November 2007 I was down to 16 stones - and whilst visiting a friend in Austria entered my first ever run. 3.5K "hobbylauf" - fun run.


    Ironically as an ex-tight head prop (number 3) ... that's the number I got. yes, that is a blizzard! You should have seen it at the end of the run!!

    So in 2008 I've now run 3 x 10Ks, 1 x 8K (5 Mile), 1 x 5K runs. A few weeks ago rather than drive down to the festival we went to as a family, I cycled down to meet them... 66 Km. And a fortnight ago i completed my first aquathlon


    The run time for that 5K was the second fastest I've evr done. Oh - and it started with a 750m openwater swim.

    In less than a month I shall enter my first triathlon. 2.5 years ago I had never run longer than 7 minutes or swam more than 25m in my life, and hadn't been on a bike in 30 years. I am in love with this marvellous sport - it is what I DO with my life and I LOVE it.

    I tell you the above because I have been where you are. You can I am sure be where I am now if you want it enough. This isn;t to pump myself up or pretend I am anything other than what I am ... FTR I was last in my aquathlon and still haven't managed a 10K in under an hour which is pretty darned slow. But - I don't care!!! I do this thing and I LOVE it!

    And I hope you can take care in your training, do your thing... and love it too.

    Hope to see you one day on a tri course mate :-)


    PS OK - one word of advice after all. Get hold of a copy of Joe Friel's "Your First Triathlon".

  • notmilknotmilk Posts: 35
    I would only add - do add a weights session if you can. This will raise your metabolism and allow you to burn fat whilst you sleep. You don't need to go overboard but it's non-cardio and easy on the body (apart from the aches when you start).

    Good luck with it and welcome to a new you!
  • Didds.. well done mate - it's people like you that inspire the rest of us! Hope to see you on the circiut sometime too
  • julesojuleso Posts: 279
    Hi - admittedly I haven't read this entire post - but am going to recommend the 5k run training guide on the Runner's World site. Really good; I think you start off by running for 1 minute, walking 2, and gradually build up to 5k over six weeks. http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/news/article.asp?UAN=1461
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