Thanks for the suggestions. I can't do any weight bearing activity like kettle ball work (which I was previously doing), but yoga is a great suggestion so I will check it out. As for races, it seems like Loch Ness, Dublin and Newcastle are front runners for now!
Thanks so much for all your advice so far everyone.
I was aiming for Autumn of 2014 at the earliest - I'm guessing that a full marathon is more than twice as hard as a half, and that was hard enough! My friend suggested Loch Ness but I am a bit daunted by the hills, or Dublin, but I don't know anything about that. Either way I definitely need more time!
Is is there anything specific I can do to help increase my strength? I've got another 10k next week, and then nothing to aim for. I feel like my legs are still very tired after the half, but I only took two days off post race and have been doing 6 days exercise every week since then. Generally, I do one long run (though nothing further than 8 miles post race), one short run and one hill/speed run. The other two/three days I either do cross training or interval training. I'm not allowed to swim because of my shoulder, so I'm limited in what exercise I can do.
I posted a few months ago whilst training for my first half marathon. To give you a bit of a back story, I started getting fitter in March 2012, beginning with swimming and interval training, before completing the c25k podcast last summer. I set myself the challenge of running the GSR half marathon this year. in the process, I shed 9 stone and a lot of inches, and after several setbacks (surgeries and pneumonia just being a couple) I completed the race! My first ever run was the Wigan 10k in September, and the GSR my second race. It really pushed me to my limit, but I felt amazing after crossing the finish line.
I decided that I want to take the plunge and enter a full marathon, but I have a few questions to ask:
1) How long is advisable to wait from being a beginner to entering a marathon? I read somewhere that the body needs the time to strengthen, but I'm not sure if my goal of running in 2014 is wise.
2) What timescale do I need to give myself to train for a marathon?
3) I have already lost a lot of weight, but I still have weight to lose (about 4 stone) and don't want to put any more stress on my joints by lugging an extra 4 stone around the course. People have told me that once I start the marathon training the extra weight will fall off, but is this realistic or should I try and shift some more of the weight before I start training?
4) I entered the Berlin Marathin ballot but didn't get a place. Where would you suggest for my first ever Marathon? I live in Glasgow, but I will travel anywhere for the right course.
Now that things have calmed down, I wanted to update you on my progress and thank you all for the wonderful advice you gave me! My shoulder surgery went ahead at the end of April and unfortunately I was rather ill afterwards so I wasn't able to start training until the beginning of August. Even that was against the advice of my surgeon, but I wasn't prepared to miss another race after so much preparation!
I missed the Glasgow women's 10k in May, and so I entered the Wigan 10k in September,ber instead so that I'd have run at least one race ahead of the half marathon. I completed it in 1:12, five minutes faster than in training, and it actually felt like it wasn't that big a challenge - my training definitely prepared me well. It was also a massive boost to run with others since I've completed most of this journey alone and training partners come and go (mostly falling by the wayside!).
My my knees felt much better after the enforced rest post surgery, and like some of you said, allowed my body to recuperate after a gruelling 15 months of training and weight loss. I did lots of long hilly works to try and keep some sort of routine, although it was still pretty traumatic starting the runs again. Once I started training again I could only do 3 days training a week because my shoulder was still very painful, but it was a good thing too as I had plenty of time to recover between runs.
For the half marathon itself, I felt good and really positive about the challenge (and glad to finally run the race after so many obstacles). I have now lost 9 stone, and went from a size 28 to a size 12-14. I still have some weight to lose, but I feel much healthier and fit, which is what my goal always was. I started running segments of the route about two weeks before and that really helped me psychologically. I managed to run the whole distance (minus the .1) in training once, which really helped boost my confidence too. On the day, people raced past me on the first big hill, and I felt suddenly anxious - (was I running fast enough? Should I speed up to catch the faster runners?), but I stuck to a comfortable pace, and settled into a rhythm. After four miles, I saw all the sprinters walking and felt good about my choice to go slow!
What amazed me was how many people were walking by mile 8, either having given up entirely, or who had decided to run/walk alternately for the whole race. I felt a little frustrated realising one man was using me as his marker on when to start running again but I made sure that I overtook him before the end of the race! I ran the whole thing, and even though I felt I was pushed to my limit, I didn't need to walk and I felt very well prepared, especially after all the hill training I'd done. I finished the race in 2 hours 32, and knocked 15 minutes off my time on the training run! I raised £1800 too for Glasgow branch of Samaritans, where I volunteer.
I felt pretty smug smug for about two days, then I started training again - I've entered a 10k next week and didn't want to crash and burn post race. I feel like I maybe didn't take enough recovery time as my legs feel very heavy, and I just can't motivate myself to keep up the runs of 2 hours +! I've decided instead to concentrate on increasing speed, and I'm doing more work in the gym. I'll maybe even take a week off after the 10k, but we'll see.
Thanks so much to all of you who contributed and gave great advice. It really did make a difference and saw me through the race!