The Clydesdale corps: rules for big runners

Written by
Rule #1: Modify your training program
Just like your lighter counterparts, you'll benefit from long runs, hill repeats, speedwork, strength work all of it. The same training principles apply. The big difference is, you need to be more cautious about increasing your training intensity.

Rule #2: Pump iron gently
Many big runners tend to put on upper-body muscle mass easily and end up lugging a lot of unwanted bulk around. According to fitness specialist Bob Talamini, "On a perceived exertion scale of one to 10, you should be working at about a 6 or 7 no more. We're definitely not talking about one- or two-hour sessions in the weight room."

Rule #3: Eat big
When it comes to fuel, says sports nutritionist Alice Lindeman, R.D., Ph.D., it's a matter of proportion. "The general rule is to take in 20 to 23 calories per pound each day if you're a high-mileage runner, or 17 to 19 calories per pound if you're a low-mileage runner."

Rule #4: Drink bigger
"A fitter person generally sweats more than an unfit person," says Lindeman. "And a bigger person usually sweats more than a smaller person." Therefore, says Lindeman, big runners may need more than the standard recommendation of 5 to 12 ounces of fluid during every 15 to 20 minutes of running.

Rule #5: Choose your shoes carefully
"Clydesdales need a firmer, denser midsole," says George LeCours, shoe expert and resident Clydesdale at Saucony. "When you're shopping for a shoe, look for a heavier midsole made of durable polyurethane or very dense compression EVA material. Shoes with polyurethane midsoles tend to be heavier than those made with EVA, but polyurethane will withstand the beating from a heavier runner better than EVA."

Rule #6: Change shoes often
The midsole is the first part of the shoe to break down. A simple wear-test: Try to compress the midsole with your finger. If it feels brittle, it has likely lost its cushioning capability. Another rule of thumb for Clydesdale runners: Shoe experts normally recommend that you buy new shoes when you've logged 300 to 400 miles.

Rule #7: Keep things well-oiled
To protect yourself, smear Vaseline or some other sports lubricant on all potential chafing spots before you run.

Rule #8: Wear comfortable clothes
Clothing manufacturers now seem to be realizing that there are big runners out there, and are starting to include XL and XXL sizes in their lineups.