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  1. #1
    Registered User RevolutionFF's Avatar
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    Obese Client wanting to Run 10km

    I have a client who is clinically obese - weighing in at around the 250lb mark and probably about 5'10 tall or so.

    He has booked himself in for a 10km run/assault cause at the beginning of April with his work mates. It is something he really wants to do, and I think this a great step for him as it shows his intent and motivation is there to better himself and show his team that he can achieve something such as this.

    My main concern though is the effect of the excess bodyweight on his joints on a repetitive load bearing exercise mode such as running. A 0-10km effort in 3 months is a big ask IMO.

    My plan is to use cross training methods as his main cardiorespiratory builder - kettlebell swings to improve the posterior chain, rowing and cycling to improve CV capacity and some resistance circuits for muscle mass/body comp. I plan to use the treadmill as a skill builder as such. Starting with walking and intermittent light jogs and gradually building his ability to run for longer periods.

    Does anyone have any experience in training someone in the same situation?
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  2. #2
    Registered User WoofieNugget's Avatar
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    He's definitely very ambitious. Do they maybe have a 5km division? Three months to get up to 10k is just begging for an injury.

    Sounds like you are taking the right approach, but he's much better off on a bike than a rower - for his long workouts he can use the bike but he will also have to ramp up his longest run to at least 8km. For the running program check out Hal Higdon's programs or just go to the Runners' World web site, they have lots of beginner programs. Most of them for someone his size should involve a run/walk format where he gets lots of breaks.

    However, if he has never run before consistently as much as I would hate to I would be honest with him and tell him it's not a good idea. He could definitely do it in 6-9 months with proper training but 3 is WAY too fast. And I have coached marathon runners for ten years, for what my opinion is worth.
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  3. #3
    Registered User PeteratCastle's Avatar
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    Yeah his joints will be an issue.

    everyone coming to a PT has a similar story to be honest so I'd expect most people have trained someone like this. 3 months is a very short period for him to go from 0 to 10k and it will require a lot of will power. I would be very clear on that with him, it's going to be very hard work. (5k would be better)
    How often is he coming to see you? (2 or 3x a week?) What will you tell him to do when he's not in the gym, go for walks etc? Does he live near a hill that he can walk up several times a week?

    There's a big difference between running on a treadmill and running outside, you have to get him used to that after about a month and a half (In my opinion).


    What are you doing for his diet?

    Your program is pretty good TBF.
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  4. #4
    Unregistered User Demonia's Avatar
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    The shear fact that he's willing to put effort into something that big is great.. but short time period to get ready for it was kind of dumb.
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  5. #5
    Registered User InsanelyFit's Avatar
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    New Year Resolutioners....


    Maybe he might lose his motivation after a week or two?
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  6. #6
    Registered User RevolutionFF's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. He is not a new years resolutioner. It was something he booked in mid December and I have been training him for a few months now.

    He is serious about his goal, and I feel training towards something will really keep his motivation OUTSIDE OF SESSIONS high. His problem has been missing sessions on his own and poor nutrition.

    Just hope this doesn't bite him in the ass and cause joint problems.... I've had clients come to me with knee and hip problems after jumping on the marathon band wagon.
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  7. #7
    Registered User pcproffy's Avatar
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    3 months should be enough time to prepare for a 10k but it is ambitious. You only have to build up his long runs by 1/2 mile per week. Plus if you've been working with him for months he should already have a fitness base. If the run is THE goal right now then I'd suggest training more directly for it. If he wants to get good at running then make him run.

    Some cross training is ok but sounds like you might emphasize it too much in this situation. Does SAID need to be smashed into your head anymore? I hate catchy acronym concepts but there is truth to it. I've seen top tier swimmers who are pathetic with casual jogging. Girls who can bust an hour on the elliptical are dying with 10 minutes on a treadmill. Only go to cycling/rowing if he needs some joint relief or variation from boredom.
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  8. #8
    Registered User RevolutionFF's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by pcproffy View Post
    Some cross training is ok but sounds like you might emphasize it too much in this situation. Does SAID need to be smashed into your head anymore? I hate catchy acronym concepts but there is truth to it.
    Yes, I agree fully with SAID principle. To be good at running you must get out and run. I just feel in his situation at this current time that too much emphasis on the running side of things with his excess weight at the current time will be to his detriment in the long term.

    I think a 50:50 split for him atm may work. I have used swings with massive success for improving running economy, so will definitely be including these. Longer walks on inclines, with intermittent runs to start and building up to being able to run for 30 continuous minutes will be his first goal.

    I have seen it too many times with new clients coming to me after running marathons and such with joint problems. And these are people who are 5-10lbs overweight. Not 60+lbs overweight.

    I think a good goal for him will be to finish the 10km. He has said he would like to impress his team, but ultimately finishing the course will be a massive success to him.

    Thanks for all the replies so far.
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  9. #9
    Registered User NeedsToCut's Avatar
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    I'm not a personal trainer (obviously) lol but I'm actually eager to see if your client pulls through with his goal, it'd be really good. If he wants it bad enough and trains hard enough hopefully he achieves his goal! why not have him run once to see how far he can go until he has to stop than when it's time for the 10k, if he can't complete it but he runs a farther distance than he did when he first starts training it'll show him that he did improve so it doesn't hurt his motivation to keep working out!
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  10. #10
    Registered User SFT's Avatar
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    I think cross training is a great idea. Specific training is going to have the most transfer, but we cannot ignore the value of alternative training methods with decrease joint stress that allow for subsequent higher training volume.

    A few articles to consider:

    Modelling the Transfers of Training Effects on Performance in Elite Triathletes
    Unfortunately I could not get the full text for this one. From the abstract, it appears that there was a cross-training effect in elite triathletes. This clearly isn't your client, but it does suggest that even in highly trained individuals, there may be a cross training effect. Swimming did not have a significant transfer, but I don't think anyone should be surprised by this.
    *****://www.thieme-connect.com/ejour...5/s-2002-19276

    The Impact of Resistance Training on Distance Running Performance
    Resistance training may have an affect on running economy, but not likely VO2 max or lactate threshold in trained runners. In untrained, LT may be improved.
    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/conten...00007/art00005

    I think people think too much about SAID at times. If we are talking an elite athlete, then I would agree that he can't omit running from his training. I think it should be thought of as a continuum as well. For instance, the transfer of swimming and elliptical to running could be assumed to be different. Swimming is non-weight bearing exercise that includes low amplitude movement of the legs. This is in contrast to elliptical training which is weight bearing and is a great amplitude movements, closer to that of running.

    From the sounds of it, this guy just wants to complete a 10k. Do you have any estimates on his VO2 max? If he is fairly de-conditioned, then a mix of running (both lower and higher intensity), uphill walking, elliptical, and stationary bicycle training should be ideal. At the very least, these modes of training will allow for central adaptations such as increased cardiac output and stroke volume. In addition, they do use the same muscles to the point where there should also be some peripheral adaptations such as increased mitochondrial density, capillary density, and aerobic enzymes. Ultimately running with lead to improvements in that skill and subsequently training economy.
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  11. #11
    Registered User acrawlingchaos's Avatar
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    If he wants to get better at running, and has full clearance for exercise.... run his ass straight into the ground. When you're done, running him, run him some more.

    The best way to get better at running, is to run. Three months is more than enough time if he is diligent about his run work on his own time.

    If he thinks he can do gym work and just hop in a 10k, he is in for a rude awakening.
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  12. #12
    Registered User RevolutionFF's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by acrawlingchaos View Post
    If he wants to get better at running, and has full clearance for exercise.... run his ass straight into the ground. When you're done, running him, run him some more.

    The best way to get better at running, is to run. Three months is more than enough time if he is diligent about his run work on his own time.

    If he thinks he can do gym work and just hop in a 10k, he is in for a rude awakening.
    Try slipping on a 30kg vest and doing your training for a 10km. Yes, he already has muscle in place to work with the excess fat - but his knees and hips would take a pounding to go from 0-10km in a short period.

    We came to a good understanding today that he just wants to finish the race. Performance is not a key goal. Plus, it's not a straight 10km I also found out - the course is spread out across the 10km.

    I think a good aim for him is to be able to run for 30 minutes continuously in the next 6 weeks or so (depending on how he reacts). At least then we have something to work with and he can finish the race in an intermittent run/obstacle/walk fashion.

    Again, thanks for all the feedback so far.
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  13. #13
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    Sounds like a good plan. Some of these posts might be relevant if it was a life or death goal of performing at a certain level in a 10km. However, it does not seem like that is the case. I think you are doing a good job with keeping his goals realistic. Finishing a 10km is no small feat for someone who is out of shape and overweight. I would continue with the cross training because it will work. He should be even more motivated to lose weight as well because every pound he loses will make that race that much easier.
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