Realistic targets for a 40 something

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21/02/2012 at 12:27
For a few years I have gone to the gym, done half an hour on the x-trainer, and up to 5km on the treadmill and a few weights.

Recently some friends entered the Brighton half marathon and I had the urge to do likewise. A house move and other life events meant I didn't start training until 4th Jan, my training was started, knew I was hooked for life on running. My final long run 12th Feb was 19km.

Completed in 2:18:55 (Sun 19th) and feel great today, it hurt during the final 3 miles on the day.

Entered Chester half marathon 13th May and intend to do a proper training schedule as some training rules were broken to get to Brighton on Sunday.

I gave up beer/ wine for my training and am happy to continue this path, have two hours (more if required) available each day for training (more on Sunday), and am totally in love with running. Probably half a stone overweight (6'0" / 13st 10lbs)


How quickly/ long (months / years) would it take to get sub 2:00 for a half marathon?

Am I being crazy to think 1:30 for a half is achievable?

This year want to concentrate on half marathons, with the aim of my first full marathon next year, hopefully Brighton, loved the course

ps. hello and tia!

21/02/2012 at 12:41

May might be pushing it to get under 2 hours, but 6 months definitely if you put the effort in. 1:30 is a different ball game... I wouldn't even think about it unless you can run a mile in under 6 minutes.

But it doesn't matter, you have a sensible very achievable goal of 9 minute miles, go and do it!

21/02/2012 at 12:51
Thanks for the input.

Should have qualified my original post more and left May out of the equation for getting < 2:00. I want to still enjoy the training and avoid injury, possibly lucky to do so with so little build up to my first run @ Brighton.

Getting sub 2:00 within this year would be totally acceptable for me, and will be made my goal

Ok, so I am being crazy with the 1:30 delusion for the moment!!

Need to convert my training and timings to miles, I have used km up until now and everyone on Sunday was talking miles and minutes!
21/02/2012 at 14:23

The first three posts here are worth a read, and say what I would say in a lot more detail!

21/02/2012 at 14:59
Thanks for the link, food for thought. I have spent an age perusing the forums to the detriment of my work for the past couple of days...

My reasons for wanting to do the distance / times is purely personal, I simply love the feeling of pushing the boundaries of ones abilities. The feeling during a Sunday morning long run (I have only done a handful!!) is better than that of any sport I have participated in during my lifetime.

During my school days, Lassie Viren, Brendan Foster and co were my heroes. How I am now wishing I had carried on running beyond junior school, feels like I have wasted half a lifetime playing football and golf etc!!

22/02/2012 at 07:43
JakeUK wrote (see)
How I am now wishing I had carried on running beyond junior school, feels like I have wasted half a lifetime playing football and golf etc!!

Better than wasting half a life drinking and smoking!
22/02/2012 at 08:08
Unfortunately I have done my share of 'drinking with the boys' over the years!!

Another great by product of taking up running has been virtual abstinence from beer and vino A few celebratory drinks on Sunday my first tipple of 2012.
seren nos    pirate
22/02/2012 at 08:10
I would think if you know there are laces to improve on your training then sub 2 will be achievable in May if your training goes well.....

try and watch that the new enthusiam doesn't mean you do too much too soon and get injured.....

sub 1:30 is another ballgame........but age isn't againgst you on its own......plenty of fast older guys out there....

good luck and enjoy
22/02/2012 at 10:17

Hi Jake

I am 44 female

I can relate to so much you have said  I started seriously running around 8 months ago, before that was treadmill in the gym then at home.  Once I ventured out on the road I was truly addicted and really love it.  I have joined 2 running clubs, completed a fair few 5 and 10K races, road and trail, and am doing my first HM at Silverstone on 11th March

I too think back to my school days when I was pretty good at cross country and wonder why I never carried on with running  I guess thats just part of life though.  I can honestly say that its changed my life, I have virtually given up drinking (and I seriously liked my wine) lost weight for the first time without dieting and take more care about what I eat and drink

The way I look at it is, all the years I didn't run my body has not suffered so I should be able to run now until I am very old

Enjoy your running and good luck for future races and goals

Edited: 22/02/2012 at 10:19
22/02/2012 at 10:52
Thanks for the replies

seren nos, I didn't follow any training plan from Jan up to my race on Sunday and am really interested to see the progress using a proper training plan for my next race. The one I am favouring is the Ryan Hall from here, the ten week plan. Previously my training was gradually building the mileage through the week with a long run on Sunday. Hopefully my foolish exuberance has been done now and training will be gradual and steady

The 1:30 figure seems like a magical number and would be one of my greatest achievements (other than fatherhood!).

Booey, can relate totally to your experience, it would be interesting to compare progress as we are at the same stage in life! Likewise with the vino, have had my share over the past few years since the children arrived! Barely miss it now although it was lovely to have a few drinks on Sunday with friends after the race

Likewise, the very best of luck with your goals and times, it would be no surprise if we were running in the same race at some point!

Really helpful posters on here, hopefully I will be able to offer advice to newcomer older runners in a year or so
22/02/2012 at 12:37

I joined the forum as soon as I started road running and I can honestly say everyone on here has been so helpful, encouraging, informative and lovely to me  I really coundn't have done without them and their advice on many occasions

I will let you know how I get on with the HM

22/02/2012 at 16:14

Hi Jake,

You come across as a hugely motivated person and that resonates with me.  I think you've got every chance of achieving all your goals, given a reasonable amount of time.

I'm 48, I got to a sub 2 hour half mara in 6 months from nothing last year, and I didn't have your background in aerobic conditioning or running 5k on a treadmill. 

It's definitely achievable from your recent HM result, but nobody can reliably say if you'd do it by May.  There are so many factors - how will your body stand up to the increased training mileage, are you able to do enough but stay wide of injury, will you meet your weight-loss goal, how will you pace yourself on the day, blah blah.

 The 1: 30 thing, that's something else.  It'sprobably helfpul to think of each 5 minutes off your HM time as being a significant could well achieve this, but it may be wise to have several sensible intermediate goals and keep it as a long-term plan for the time being?

Best of luck, keep us all posted!

22/02/2012 at 19:24
Thanks questforspeed,

The 1:30 is definitely a longer term goal, one that I would love to achieve before the body tells me it is not possible!

It's amazing how much one's perception of the sport changes as we get more involved. When downloading endomondo for my phone I never realised there would ever be a need for anything more complex than this for training! My first watch purchase will be this week, and I can't wait to bash out a few miles with my HR being monitored

Again thanks for the feeback.

22/02/2012 at 19:57

also meant to add... What a blinding time for your first HM!!! You must have been over the moon, there must have been a good few young whippersnappers behind you
22/02/2012 at 21:10

JakeUK,  yes, I was pleased with the time.  Unfortunately, I developed an achilles tendon injury the very next weekend in a hmble 5K parkrun and that put me out of action for 5 months.

 But that's all behind me now and very much a useful part of the learning experience.  I now train when I feel recovered from the previous session, not just because my schedule says it's a traning day!

Go at it with a level-headed attitude, constantly scan your body for signs of overtraining, always take a day, two or three days off if you've overcooked it, and you'll steadily improve and meet your goals and enjoy yourself in the process.

 Keep us posted, right?

23/02/2012 at 16:08
Will deffo keep the world posted of my times Likewise, would love to know how you progress, can't imagine the frustration at being sidelined for five months. It must have been torture.

Just been out for my first run since Sunday, wanted to keep the distance down and just keep loose, 5km 24:39. Very pleased, felt nothing at all from the weekend run. One of my problems might be over enthusiasm and thinking I am still 25, need to keep this in check
06/03/2012 at 14:56
Hmmm, realised a couple of days after my < 25 min 5k that Endomondo was not being truthful! Have since acquired a 305 and am getting accurate times for training and beginning to realise the enormity of shaving five and 10 minutes off pb's!!

Averaging a touch over 10 minute miles for 10k training runs, nine minute miles are going to take some serious work in the short term over the full hm trip.
06/03/2012 at 19:01

Hi Jake, it's great that you've got these baseline paces now in you now. 

Even if it doesn't feel like it, there's a benefit in building a nice base of  miles at your 10k pace and also somewhat slower.

 Have you got a tempo run/ lactate threshold run in your schedule once a week?  That will help the speed side of things - that was my experience, anyway.   It can be quite short to begin with.  I did around 6 miles once a week for mine when I was training for the HM.  Remember, even that shouldn't be too fast - just fast enough that you'd quite like to slow down if you could - stick either term in the search bar and loads of stuff will come up from the experts on here.

Hope you're still having fun  and staying motivated - these things are really important!

Edited: 06/03/2012 at 19:01
06/03/2012 at 19:15
This first year of running is the most important. Build up slowly with a gradual increase in length/ no of runs. Don't worry too much about speed ie intervals - introducing these too quickly without a good solid base increases risk of injury. Or join a club - they could help with gradual intro of tempo/speed work.
It will come as long as you keep training and stay motivated.
I've been running 2 years now and this weekend did 1:29:48 for a half (I'm 44!) so anything is possible!
06/03/2012 at 20:07
Thanks for the replies guys, it is genuinely helpful and useful reading specific replies.

As for motivation, I have never been so addicted to any sport / hobby / whatever before. As soon as I am back from a run my thoughts turn to the next run wishing I was still out running (this seems like a common theme for newbies ).

The running club option really appeals, there were several around me that are easily accessible but having to commit to certain nights / times does not gel with my work / children, sadly.
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