If you’re a plus-sized beginner then the world of running can seem a little daunting and intimidating. However, it’s important to remember that unlike other sports you don't need to be a certain standard to get started or to join a group or club. Whatever your age, fitness level, experience or size running doesn’t discriminate!

Start slow

If you’re a complete beginner then the key is to start slowly and build up gradually. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Too much too soon will more than likely result in injury and frustration. It’s perfectly ok to start with blocks of jogging interspersed with blocks of walking.

As the weeks go by you should aim to gradually increase the length of the jogging segments and reduce the length of the walking segments, with the aim of being able to build up to completing a continuous run. If you’re starting from scratch you should give yourself at least 6 weeks of jogging/walking 2-3 times per week to get used to your new routine and to see improvements in your fitness.

Reduce the impact of impact!

As a beginner you may find that it takes your body a little while to adjust to the high impact nature of running. With every foot strike on the ground an impact of more than three times your bodyweight travels up through your lower legs, so it’s no wonder that running can leave you feeling sore initially.

In order to reduce the risk of injury it’s a good idea to take some of your running off-road. The soft nature of grass or dirt trails means that it is much kinder on your muscles, bones and joints as the level of impact is reduced.

You could also try supplementing your running training with some alternative low-impact activities such as swimming and cycling that will develop your aerobic fitness without the pounding.

Find a good sports bra

Whatever your size, a correctly fitted sports bra is a must for the ladies. Without one you risk permanent breast damage and a lot of discomfort. Breasts are mainly made up of fatty tissue and are supported by skin and fragile ligaments.

During repetitive, high impact sports such as running, the breasts bounce and pull on these ligaments, forcing them to stretch. As the ligaments are non-elastic, once they have stretched the damage is irreversible and let’s face it, that’s never a good look. Without correct support you are also more likely to experience back pain and shoulder problems, particularly if you have a big bust.

Beware of chaffing!

Unfortunately anywhere where areas of skin are prone to rubbing together or against clothing can leave you feeling as if you’ve been attacked by a cheese grater and yelping during that post-run shower! Armpits and thighs are areas in particular where you’re likely to feel the burn. To avoid this common running affliction apply a small amount of Vaseline to any chafe-prone areas before you head out of the door.

Ignore the critics

It’s very common to feel a little self-conscious when out running, particularly if you’re new to the sport. However, you shouldn’t be concerned about what others may think. The vast majority of other runners will respect you for joining the running fraternity. They, more than anyone else can relate to the struggles that you may face!

As for other non-runners, try not to worry about them. Simply enjoy the great benefits that you are experiencing from running that they are missing out on.