Hello, and welcome to Plus Runners!

Hi, I’m Sallie, and I’m a former plus runner and triathlete.  Now walker, hiker, biker, swimmer, and advocate for athletes at any size.

If you’ve landed here, it’s probably because, like me, you’re a Big Girl.  Big is relative – you may be a size 12, or a 22.  You may have never run a day in your life – or you may run every other day.  But whatever the case, you’re here because you’re looking for something to help you become more active.

And that’s where I come in!

I began running in 1999, at the age of 24.  I was 5’9, weighed 245 pounds, and wanted to keep up with my active friends.  Since then, I’ve run 12 half marathons, another dozen triathlons, and taken up hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming, and lots of other low-impact, healthy sports.  Recently, I’ve transitioned from running to hiking and swimming more, as a hip injury and extra weight made running a tough chore.

That said, as I’ve been active, I’ve learned that size is a consideration – but not a barrier to being active if you plan, train and enjoy the activity the way it’s mean to be done.  

Over the years, I’ve started to recruit new friends to a more active lifestyle.  Because, if we’ve learned anything, it’s that even if you’re a Big Girl, being active can save your life, improve your mood, and keep your heart healthy.   What’s more, just because you’re overweight, doesn’t mean you’re not healthy!  My goal is to encourage more future runners, walkers, hikers, to hit the road, and redefine your life as an active person.

Folks in large bodies who run – and keep running, and stay Big- are an anomoly.  People in bigger bodies who are active, though, are not.  The more I visited Weight Watchers message boards, new running groups, and the start line at races, the more I realized there was no ONE place for bigger athletes to get started as runners, walkers, generally ACTIVE people.  And that’s why I started this site.

I think that we should all strive to be as healthy as possible – at ANY weight.  We shouldn’t wait until we’re a size 10 or even a size 16 to get moving – because we CAN be active – and should be – regardless of the number on the scale.

We should also, frankly, be able to feel good about ourselves, and look good, doing it.  The most used pages on this site are the “What to Wear” page above, and the Newbie’s Guide to Active Clothing.   These are the places where I do my best to help you find clothing that makes you feel like the athlete you ARE!  Why?   Becuase it IS hard.  Most big box stores don’t carry good clothes for active larger athletes – even if you can buy everything you want online – and smaller, specialty running stores rarely carry anything over an XL.  Unfortunately, even if they DO carry the items, it’s rare we’ll know about it.

So if you’re looking for apparel, and inspiration, you’ve come to the right place.  It’s been a long time since I wrote here, and I’m not certain how often I’ll be present in 2019, but I hope that you find what you’re looking for.

Thanks for reading, and welcome!

44 thoughts

  1. Hey there! Love it. absolutely love your blog. 🙂

    Although I have been blogging on and off for a year now, I haven’t really figured out how to navigate myself through the wordpress. I don’t want to lose track of you. So hopefully our paths will cross again.

    take care – deborah

    1. Thanks, chica – I am not running the Pig this year. Um, we’re ALL doing the Cincy Triathlon together, remember???? YOu need to pick which leg you’re doing!
      (For those watching, this is my little sister, and she’s been swimming, so I’m trying to convince her to take on the Ohio River as part of the Cincy Tri.)

  2. Hi Sally,

    You are awesome and an inspiration! I’m glad I ran into you again. Love your energy! I Signed up for the Rock and Roll half marathon!

    The Latina Chica you met at Fleet Feet on Wednesday!
    Hey, what’s the pig?

    1. Evelyn!
      Great to see you here! I’m SO glad we ran into you at FF on Wednesday, and even more excited you’re doing RNR! It’s fantastic to know you stuck with it (and are doing SOOO well!).
      As for The Pig – it’s the Flying Pig (in Cincinnati, where I’m from). My little sister was under the mistaken impression that I was running the 1/2 there again this year, but instead, the extended family (at least a few of us) are doing the Cincinnati Triathlon instead! Crazy, but we could all use an excuse to train!!!

  3. oh wow… thank you for this! I found your site while looking for wetsuit options for my first tri in September. I am bookmarking your blog and checking back often.

  4. So glad I found your site through The F Word. I’ve been toying around with running lately and unfortunately I’ve got a little knee problem that keeps flaring up, but your stories are so inspiring that I am determined to get back at it once I am able to. Rock on!

    1. Thanks, Heather!
      So glad you’re here! Running is truly one of my favorite activities – even though I’m slow and big. I’m posting a new challenge on Monday to help get folks motivated for fall – consider joining???

  5. Just wanted to let you know that this big girl just ran/walked her FIRST 1/2 marathon at this past weekend in San Francisco (Nike Women’s Marathon)! Your blog is a life saver!! Thank you so much for keeping up with it. You are truly an inspiration.


  6. I just happened upon this web page while looking for running clothes that would fit! I think what you’re doing is fantastic! I’ve never ran in my life and recently just worked up to 5 miles on the treadmill…I’m a size 14-16 and have lost a considerable amount of weight this past year but still have a belly and junk in the trunk!…Keep it up!!

    1. Pennie –
      Thanks for the note! Five miles on a treadmill is like a marathon in my mind!!! I hope you keep coming back (and maybe we’ll make an outdoor runner out of you, yet!!!)

      Here’s to junk in the trunk and bellies!!!

  7. i am still scratchin the surface of your site, but so far i like what i see.. I have been searching for info and techniques and all around info for *plus runners*. I am 39 5’5 and 240lbs and i have solid muscular legs, but a 3 child tummy, and not as much core strength as i would like. I have 44% body fat overall.. i am new to running, 1 month now. liking it alot!! just got out and did it one day.. love the way it makes me feel! I am having trouble getting a good stride and carrying myself the right way, does that make sense.. i am having a hard time getting myslef comfortable while i run.. is this possible?

  8. From one Sally to another, I love your site! I’ve been running since I was 15, and after two babies I need to get back into it. Your site is inspiring!

  9. Thanks for this wonderful site! I want to start running and you’ve provided me lots of great information and motivation to begin my journey.

  10. Hi there. I’m a plus size gal who enjoys running, hiking, skiing and tons of other activites. I just strated back in to a running program and I’m currently training for a 5k race and then a 1/2 marathon in July.

    But I also wanted to let you know that if you have a Dicks Sporting Goods store in your town, they carry some plus size clothes. Not as much as the smaller sizes. I was there this past Friday and bought some running tops and jogging pants.

    Happy Running/working out to everyone!

  11. I found your site from surfing the web. I am a big girl whose main fitness issue is finding exercise tops/wetsuits etc that fit my bustline. The rest of me falls within normal chart range. I want to enter the Long Beach Sprint Triathlon in September this year.

  12. Just happened on your blog today- how cool is this! I’ve been on and off with jogging for about 1year now. I started my journey at 5’5 299 and now I’m at 250.

    I could use some tips on how to better handle jogging in relation to picking up more speed (15min mile ave right now) and building endurance?

    Sha in Boston

  13. Amazing! I was so excited to come across your blog!

    I ran/walked my first half marathon last fall at 240lbs, with a finish time of 3:49 (it was the Ottawa Army Run, and I am happy to say I got zero flack for being near the end of the pack – they held the course open until the last runner crossed the line!). My runner husband inspired me to do it, and it was amazing to realize that I really didn’t need to be thin to run. I’m focusing on my 5k time right now.

    Your blog is *so* needed – I HATE having to wear men’s athletic shirts that are ridiculously long in order to find something that fits my torso. Can’t wait to read all your archives and get caught up.


    1. Tina, that is an AWESOME story! I’m so inspired by people who just get out and do it – we all need to hear each other’s stories!

      The Ottawa Army Run – I already love them because they gave you no grief about being BOP 🙂

      Like you, I’m focusing on my 5k time now – just as soon as I get the all-clear 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to look cute doing it!

      Thanks for reading, and keep us posted on the journey!!!

      1. So I completed the Ottawa Race Weekend 5k yesterday, and I really wanted to share with someone I know will totally get how exciting this is – I finished in 43:50 🙂 Three minutes and nineteen seconds faster than last year, despite the staggering heat and baby strollers everywhere!

        Here’s to people of ANY size being the best they can be!

        (and thanks again for such inspiring blogs – I love that there is a “community” of people you’ve fostered who know they have a place among smaller athletes – it means a lot!)

      2. Tina,
        First, CONGRATULATIONS! First, on the finish, second, on the PR (despite the staggering heat and baby strollers – that IS amazing) and third, for telling us about it!!

        It’s so inspiring to hear from readers who are out there getting it done – and having a blast doing it! Here’s to you doing everything you can to be active, at any size!

        (And thanks for the thanks – I too love that there’s this amazing group of people out here changing the way they view their lives. Kinda cool, right???)

  14. This is a great idea. I found your site through a triathalon thread on Active.com. I am subscribing for sure. Thank you for letting everyone know that not all big girls are unhealthy and inactive!

    1. Thanks, Rocky – trying hard to give people what they need! I’m glad to have you as a subscriber and promise to give you something worth reading!!!

  15. Hiya! Your site is awesome! And you make my laugh when reading about things that otherwise make me embarrassed. I am signing up for my first tri event and really appreciated your take on plus size tri clothes. Thanks so much.

  16. This site is great. I am a Big Girl too and am doing my first super sprint triathlon. I have found clothing for swimming, running and biking. Even a great sports bra (Enell). I am a 40 D so it used to hurt when I would exercise but now I can do everything. What I can’t find is a good triathlon clothing – the switch from swimming to biking. Hopefully your links will help me.

  17. This last weekend marked my best-ever 5k finish time of 41:42! Two minutes and eight seconds faster than my last race, and – here’s the kicker – I ENJOYED the race! I enjoyed the scenery, the other runners, and the perfect weather.

    Thanks again for having a site where I can happily post this news 🙂

    1. Tina – Sorry it took me so long to reply!!! Congrats on the PR an dmore important – on the ENJOYING the race!!!

      I look forward to even more updates from you this fall and spring!

  18. I had read your blog over a year ago, and saved it as a favorite. I just “found” it again this morning. I love it! and I love your attitude!!!! I’ve been cycling for over a year and have already done 2 century rides, and plan on getting another one or two in this year. Recently I started running more, and have decided to run the Little Rock 1/2 marathon in March 2012. I’m already up to 8 miles and I’m excited!!! I KNOW I’ll be able to do it!

    1. Thanks, Pennie!!! I’m so impressed with all the work you’ve been doing and I am so pleased you’re stopping by! You will have a blast in Little Rock – I hear it’s a wonderful race and I think you’d really enjoy it – and if you’re already up to 8 miles, you should be well on your way to getting to 13.1 by March!!! For my first race, I started at about a 5 mile base and was doing 13 in 16 weeks – you’ll do great!

      Just remember to get yourself a stretching routine and a core strength routine along with the running – it’ll make it SOOOO much easier and will prevent injury. If you’re like “what the heck?” just go to your local running shop and ask if they have clinics after the local run – and if not, check out runners world (www.runnersworld.com ) for some great tips!

      Good luck and keep me posted!!!

  19. Any chance you will be doing a post on what to wear in 2012? I am doing my first triathalon in July….and am scared to death! But I figure if I at least look like I know what I am doing, it might help. I am size 16, but I am a DD up top, and all the links from last year’s post, everything is sold out! And thing you can tell me would be helpful, so happy to have found your site!!!!!

    1. Sheresa,
      Great question! I’ve actually just completed a piece for Triathlete magazine on Athena sized gear – that will be out in early March, (I’ll get you a date soon) – so look there first. In the interim, for tops, concentrate first on getting a really good bra!!! I just found a great one from Moving Comfort that I’ll post about soon – keep watching!


  20. Thank you for this site! I’ve struggled with my weight forever, but have completed 2 full marathons, and this year have already done one half, and have two more coming up! Love to read about fellow fit BG’s.

    I hated my photos from my last race, and though I generally hate photos of myself, hated them even more because my clothes were all wrong! I have a hard time finding flattering running clothes. I prefer pants because I hate my legs, but cropped pants tend to look bad.
    I’m going to check out the stuff you’ve posted, but please keep us up-to-date on flattering and supportive running clothes!

    1. Aw,thanks Carrie!!!! Glad you found us!!!! Congrats on finishing two fulls – that’s amazing stuff!!!!! I’m glad that you especially found the shopping resources – be patient with me, as I try to keep the links updated. In general, all of these retailers listed at right have an offering – and if you just search for “XXL” or “extended” in their search box, even if my link is bad, you can find something 🙂

  21. OMG, Sallie!
    Thanks so much for creating this!
    As a woman who has gone from size 18 to size 4 and everything in between, I have spent hours scouring the internet for similar sites and ideas, and there just isn’t a whole lot out there, which is sooo frustrating. We def needed a site like this! The whole pt should be to get everyone moving, regardless of size or body shape. It should not be a huge conundrum to find shorts that don’t ride up or chafe when you run! This type of mindset is what keeps people sedentary and unhealthy!
    Anyways, thanks much for starting this. So inspiring. I will be perusing the rest of your writings.

    1. Hi Megan!
      I’m glad you found the site – and hope you find it helpful. I am amazed that there are so few sites out there for folks who just want to spend their hard-earned money on good apparel, but I guess I get it 🙂 In any case, I hope that you keep moving and stay in touch!


  22. Just found your site after doing a google search for “overweight traithlete”. I’m overweight (by a lot) and attempting my first spint triathlon in 3 weeks. Both hubby and I are doing it (he’s overweight too). I’ve been so nervous everyone is going to be teeny tiny and just laugh at us. I’m not even sure I can finish the bike, and I can’t run (due to previous injuries to joints), but I will do my best just to finish. I look forward to looking through your site some more, especially the clothing part as I am clueless about what to wear and still look decent. Thanks for sharing your journey and experiences with others!

    1. Hi Jennifer!
      Welcome to the site (and thanks for the great note!) You will be ABSOLUTELY fine at the race – just take it at your own pace, and trust me when I tell you that the people on the side lines will be so impressed – and the athletes running with you will know how hard it is (and only the real jerks will judge!) I hope that you’ll find it really fun – and I know you’ll be fine as long as you just take it as what it is – your FIRST race of many! Good luck!

  23. Sally,
    I found your blog while doing a little internet surfing…THANK YOU for this informative and inspiring blog! I’m an active size 12, always the “big girl” in the crowd, but the one who can out run, bike, hike, and walk most of my friends. Trying to find peace and acceptance with my body has been, and continues to be, a task. You make me feel good about myself and my physical accomplishments. Im so happy to find someone with whom I can relate. Cant wait to read more of your posts!

    P.S. The info on the sports bras…most appreciated. 🙂

  24. I found your site when looking for larger size tri clothing , and have signed up to read more. It is so great to read about other plus size ladies doing tri’s. I have been doing short distance (max was a 400/12/3) but enjoy every minute, mainly the swim. One day I will do an Olympic distance, if I ever give myself enough time to train! Will be great to keep up with you and continue to inspire me with my own journey.
    My 9 year old daughter has also just started tri’s as well however she is a good runner, something I don’t pretend to be. I am also involved with our local tri club and keep persevering with others in our community to give it a try, even creating a distance in our local events with that name, and an appropriate distance, plus transition training for the beginner. I too am hoping to inspire others. Great work, and fabulous reading. Had a giggle several times at some of your pieces, very funny 🙂

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