Beginner to half marathon in 4 months

Possible? Or insane?

17 messages
23/04/2013 at 15:28
Hi all, I joined here a couple of years back as I wanted to get into running, did a 10k and felt amazing, then life overtook me and I've spent the past couple of years in a bit of a mess. I'm back to normal now (though a stone heavier), and I'm ready to get back into it. My aim was to build up slowly, but I've actually now got a place at the GNR in September. Tried to go out for a run last night but I can barely make 30 seconds without becoming out of breath/purple/dizzy. I can't slow down any more because I'm practically walking anyway! Firstly - am I insane to even think I could do it? Has anyone else gone from scratch to that in that kind of time? Should I just aim for a 5k and give up on the GNR idea now, focus on a smaller goal instead? Secondly - I get myself in a rut as I get very over-conscious/panicky about people seeing me when I run (or attempt to, as it would be), so I was thinking to start getting my fitness back I'd get myself an entry level treadmill - if it's indoors at my house I'll be able to focus on training, rated than worrying about being in public. Then when I get comfortable bad exercising I'll go back to doing 2/3 of my runs outside. What do you think? Sorry for the questions, just hoping maybe people have been in the same boat and have some words of wisdom!
23/04/2013 at 15:49

Hi Michelle, fellow newbie here though am a little bit further along than you. Are you doing a C25K plan to get back into things? I don't have/like treadmills and would rather you started outside as there are lots of threads saying the thing most non running people will think is that they are jealous you are running and runners? well, they will admire you for being out there training. 

Can you get from couch to HM in 4 months? Hard to say but I follow a 0 to a Marathon in 22 weeks thread so am sure with the right training it is possible but the main thing is to enjoy your running and stay injury free if you can.

BTW, I'm slow as well and started out like you not being able to run for 30 seconds and now 7 miles without a walk break is the norm Maybe follow the C25K plan and skip a couple of weeks if you progress quickly then re-evaluate when it's complete?

23/04/2013 at 15:55

  Hi Michelle,

  I'm just about to run my first marathon (this Sunday) with more or less the same amount of training that you are asking about. My answer to you would be: possible, yes; insane, yes.

  You absolutely can do it, should do it, and will do it if you're stubborn enough. Be under no illusions, though, it's difficult, exhausting and painful, but extremely rewarding. I wish you the best of luck!

  (As for worrying about what other people think, most of them will be thinking oh, look at her making the most of her life as I go home to drink a beer and eat a pizza. I wish I could do what she's doing. And as for the ignorant few who may think something different, bollocks to them. I said you had to be stubborn ).

 

EDIT:

I just saw Andi's post:

Andi McGill 2 wrote (see)

... there are lots of threads saying the thing most non running people will think is that they are jealous you are running and runners? well, they will admire you for being out there training.

+1

Edited: 23/04/2013 at 15:57
23/04/2013 at 16:41

I ran my first half marathon in March 2011 after 12 weeks training - when I started I could not run 100m so probably a similar level to you. I was also very self conscious of about people seeing me running.

I solved the latter problem by doing all of my training after dark - this will be more difficult for you training over the summer - but early mornings would work too - it's much cheaper than a treadmill, there's more variety and running on a hard surface will be good practise for the day.

There are many training plans on the internet, I followed this one:

http://running.about.com/od/racetraining/a/basichalf.htm

And I recommend it purely on the basis that it worked for me. I couldn't come close to running the 2 miles demanded for my first run in the first week - I just made sure I ran 2 miles total in that 1 session - so I ran as far as I could, then walked until I thought I could run again, ran as far as I could - I covered 4 miles and was a total mess by the end of it but I made sure I did each run and after a couple of weeks I didn't need to walk any more.

On race day I ran the whole way and my legs felt worse than they have ever felt before or since but it's still one of the best days of my life - you've got 4 weeks more than I had - you'll be fine!

24/04/2013 at 14:26

 

MichelleJ wrote (see)
Tried to go out for a run last night but I can barely make 30 seconds without becoming out of breath/purple/dizzy. I can't slow down any more because I'm practically walking anyway! ... Secondly - I get myself in a rut as I get very over-conscious/panicky about people seeing me when I run (or attempt to, as it would be), so I was thinking to start getting my fitness back I'd get myself an entry level treadmill - if it's indoors at my house I'll be able to focus on training, rated than worrying about being in public... 

 

As others have said, don't worry what members of the public think of you when you are exercising but I know that this is easier said than done.

However, I wouldn't go buy a treadmill just yet until you are certain you will use it enough to get the value.  As you are starting from near scratch, how about doing some step aerobics to music to improve your cardio before you venture out in public?

Or just find a quiet place like a country park or something where you can run without too many spectators.

Edited: 24/04/2013 at 14:34
24/04/2013 at 20:00
Thanks all for your kind words - I'd half expected to get slaughtered after posting that!

Andi - I didn't even know what a C25k plan was, so I def haven't been doing one! Just looked it up - looks like a great way to ease into it, so I'm definitely going to start with this. I'd hope I could get through it a little speedier, but the way I am at the moment, I'll prob need more time!

Perezoso - I have my stubborn face on ready

Icklemichael - thanks for the plan, and love your story. Running after dark would be perfect, but as you say, just so difficult in Summer! I'll have to actively seek out some dark woods I think...

Fergosi - aerobics is a good idea,deffo. I'll give that a try tonight - at least it'll get me moving, so it'll be a start.

Exciting stuff!
24/04/2013 at 21:14

Hi,

 I'm running the GNR as my first half marathon too-can't wait! 

I think there is about 20 weeks to go, which will give you 8 weeks to do the C25k then there are beginner half plans (icklemicheals link look good) , that take you from 5k through to race day over 12 weeks which should work out barring anything unforeseen.

I'm still very much a beginner too, but the best advice I was given was to run as slow as needed  to complete the planned time/distance and you will find you gradually get quicker as you get more miles under your belt. I was so self-conscious at first so used to run at 5am to avoid being seen-now I don't care. I figure those who run won't laugh because they know how hard it is, and had to start at some point themselves and those who don't run couldn't do it anyway so aren't worth bothering about!

Good luck, have fun and let us know how you progress. See you at the finish

25/04/2013 at 22:11

Hi Oscarsmum, nice to hear from another GNR first timer!

It's funny you should say that - I was going to get up at 5am this morning to do my first run, but decided I'd embrace it instead and went to the local park tonight. And it wasn't too bad. Well, I did find myself walking in the open spaces, and running when I got to the trees - but it was a start!

I was supposed to do the first day of a c25k plan - so 1 min on/1 off for 20 mins - but in the end I kind of did my own thing - 2 on, 3 off, 4 on, 4 off, 3 on, 2 off etc. I tracked it and I didn't make it very far, and I was barely running - fast walking (if that!) it would seem! 3.9k in 44 mins, with pace all over the place.

I came across 3 issues - firstly, my legs. I've always had, shall we say, "athletic" legs! They naturally have big muscles, and I cycled a lot when I was very young so they were pretty strong. But tonight they just felt so heavy, it was impossible to lift them up - it felt like I didn't have the strength to lift the weight of my own legs, and it was like they were made of lead. I don't know how to build the power up here?

Secondly, breathing was pretty impossible from the start. It was freezing, and so straight away my nose felt blocked so I could only breathe out my mouth, and I think I breathe too erratically anyway, as when I'd stop to walk I'd be nearly hyperventilating.

And thirdly, my neck/ears/jaw were killing me! Which seems weird - my ears were freezing, so I thought maybe it was to do with that, but then also I don't know if I was tensing them up and pulled something? Silly me!

So all in all, I have a loooong way to go - but at least I've made a start I guess. My mum has a cross trainer she's lending me, so I was planning on doing 1 day running, next day cross trainer, then back to running, with a day off a week. I'm hoping that'll be enough!

26/04/2013 at 09:34
MichelleJ wrote (see)

breathing was pretty impossible from the start. It was freezing, and so straight away my nose felt blocked so I could only breathe out my mouth,

You want to be breathing out your mouth when you run anyway.  Keep your jaw relaxed the whole time.

27/04/2013 at 07:40

Sorry, I should have said "I could only breathe in and out of my mouth" - I always had it in my head I should breathe in through my nose, out through my mouth... Don't know if it's right but I can't seem to do it anyway!

29/04/2013 at 14:03

No.  Just breathe in and out through mouth - don't breathe through nose at all.

29/04/2013 at 15:58

Thanks for the help, much appreciated

03/05/2013 at 11:52

Not to meaning to hijack, but is the consensus then that it's possible? A friend of mine is trying to convince me to run a half marathon with him in September. I am not ridiculously unfit and can run at least 20 minutes without stopping but I am wary of taking on such a challenge so soon. I aim to run Brighton next year but figure a year to train for that will be ok. Does anyone have any thoughts/words of encouragement? I would like to do the HM but don't want to ruin preparation for next year and potentially demoralise myself in getting a poor HM time.

[Apologies for posting in here but thought it better than to create a completely new thread and clog up the boards]

 

 

03/05/2013 at 12:43

You've plenty of time.  My beginners half marathon schedule was 12 weeks long.

You might have a time in mind for the HM but until you get well into training you aren't really going to know what time is realistic for you.

As long as you train as well as you can and adjust your target time according to how training goes, then I'm sure you'll finish with a great sense of achivement.  In any case, your first HM will be the only HM you ever do with a guarantee of a Personal Best so why not go for it.

10/05/2013 at 01:30

Hi,

I've also signed up the gnr!! My colleagues in work talked me into it!! im not convinced i can do it but im going to try! And I sound in the same place as you Michelle!! I started training last week, I'm finding it tough but I'm doing it slowly!! Hoping to build myself up!!!

x

11/05/2013 at 06:05

Hi michelle. I am also signed up for an autumn half marathon. It's my first and i have a bit more of a base than you. I did c25k when i started. You will be surprisd in a couple of weeks at how much you improve so keep going. I can rin 10k slowly so i've set myself the challenge of finishing in 2h30. 

11/05/2013 at 12:53

Remembering back to my first half 3 years ago (GNR) I was 95Kg and 5'11", thought I was fit (had been vaguely ~15 years earlier in University) but ended up on my first training run less than half a mile up the road lying on the grass verge in a complete state thinking why, and where's my inhaler!? 1 week or so later it was much the same but slowly got to 1 mile in 11 min without stopping, then the improvements started rapidly... 3 months and about (a pitiful) ~100 miles later, with a 10 mile longest run, I finished in 2:06 (in pain I add!).  Follow a decent plan and you shouldn't find it as hard as I did.

My advice is - wear sunglasses and run outside (it's a psychological barrier so people "can't see you") regardless of embarassment, the treadmill is a poor replacement for getting out there, especially this time of year (but better than nothing).


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