Overweight beginner - Marathon Madness

Ok, so here's me. I am starting this thread as an online diary and hoping to get a little support along the way. I am still working out why I find myself with a place to run the Marathon 2013, yes - I said it, 2013. April 21st. Ten months. I figure I've got about a thousand miles of training to cover between now and then.

So, after hanging around on the boards for while I worked out that some runners consider it highly insulting that a beginner would attempt something like this and to be honest I saw such derision and venom that I almost quit before I had even started. I know that this isn't a great idea, that I shouldn't have allowed myself to get so out of shape, that it is going to be hell on Earth but do you know what - I am going to give it a go, transform my life and become a runner who aims to finish the marathon.

Ok - so here are the stats.

31 year old female

15.10 stone


I ride my horse 4-5 times a week but no structured exercise.

I do have a few things going in my favour - my husband trains triathletes so I have good advice on my side (should I choose to take it - I have been ignoring him for a few years now). I am also stubborn as hell.

So, tonight I begin couch 210k and I am going to take it from there. I will be having one personal training session, 2 yoga sessions and the running programme for now and we will see how we go.

The one thing I don't need on this thread is negativity. No thanks, no way. I don't mind you saying I am foolish (I know this already) but support and encouragement is very, very welcome.

I will be back to update x



  • I already feel stupid having written it down image

  • CindersCinders ✭✭✭

    Don't feel stupid BB, you've written it down and now it's given you something to stick with and work towards?  Is it London you're aiming for? image

  • Sounds great!  I'm a similar age, was a similar weight, trained for Edinburgh marathon over 8 months, lost 4 stone and loved every second of it!  Good luck image  I wish I'd blogged my journey, though I do have my training diary to look back on.  

  • Mitiog, so great to hear from someone else who has done it! What was your finish time?

    Cinders, yes I have a place in TLM to run for WellChild.

    Thank you for responding positively. I really want to look back on this thread in six months and see how far I've come. I have a great feeling that this is going to change my life, the size of my ar*e and my sanity.

  • I love your positivity, hold onto that and don't let anyone make you doubt yourself. In a few months time you won't believe how far you have come! Good luck!

  • BillieB: go for it. I got from 15 stone 6 down to 11 and a bit under a year. In that year I also went from totally unfit to running a marathon. Best year of my life, honestly. Funny thing is, weight is now going up and trousers still getting too big... Even better. It's good you've got it written down, you'll look back and remember how hard it was to get to running for 30 minutes while your knocking out 6mile + in the week and big 2/3 hour runs at the weekend. Enjoy!!!
  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    Don't despair....

    I was 15st 8 on 21st March started dieting WW online, just pointing on my iphone.

    On 1st of May i ran for the first time since school (i'm 41) now 12st 13, and did my first 10k last weekend, and have a marathon lined up in October.  Will I be slow, yes, will I be proud, yes image Go for it, you will have great fun running.  It's awesome.  You will not believe you are the same person. I looked at a photo of me at X mas and cannot believe it's the same person, dieting fantastic, running, fantastic, if you can marry the pair together it's really great. image

    EDIT: For the pedants i agree it's not a diet, it's more a change of lifestyle, controlling the size of portions and just trying to not nibble to much, and if you do nibble at sensible things.

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    Go for it BillieB!

    Only thing I'd say is VLM 2013 is a long way away, so why not look for a local 5k race or parkrun in a couple of months time and then try a 10k or maybe even a half-marathon in the autumn?  

  • Brilliant! image

    It's sounds like you have everything in place. Try not to get to bogged down in training otherwise you might not enjoy it as much. Keep it fun!

    Maybe find running clubs with people in a similar situation, and book a couple of events a long the way as something to look forward to. It'll be good practice to get used to how events work and meet some new people image

  • Thank you all so much. I really appreciate the good vibes. I have run before but didn't keep it up, went from running for 30 seconds to being able to run for an hour in 7 weeks. But the summer hols came to an end and life got in the way (teacher). I am really hoping to make good progress and hopefully that should spur me on. Thanks to the first positive message I felt inspired enough to go ahead and pay my £100 registration fee for TLM so that is another 'nail in the coffin'.

    I am heading out tonight (in my lovely new purple and black Asics trainers) for the first slot on my C210K programme and my husband is letting me (!) use his Garmin watch so can track right from the beginning.

    I have booked in for a 10k October 7th so that will be a real first milestone. I am supposed to be walking it with some friends for work as it is a charity event and I joked today that I was going to run it and then catch them up. Boy did they laugh. I haven't told them my Marathon plans you see. I'm not telling anyone until I have 10 miles under my belt! The local running club have said that they will take me as soon as I can run 40 mins without a break so that is something to look forward to!

    Thanks all, don't forget to pop by. I need you!

  • Good luck - let us know how you get on image

  • Good luck. I think stutyr's suggestion of doing some shorter races before the marathon is good - will help to keep you motivated.

  • Go for it!

    Good luck on your journey, hope you keep us posted on how well you're doing!


  • Teaching is tough - running helps so much to help u chill out and sort the old brain out.... If u ever doubt that it's doin u good put up 2 pieces of paper on a wall.  On one put a tick every time u get back and feel better for going out.  On the other put a tick if you don't.... Funny how one stays blank!!! (unless u r unwell, injured or overdoing it!!).  Good luck!! - what a story to tell your students (no excuses for them now eh??) - a great inspiration!! Go for it!!

  • Every time you go out running over the summer, imagine the looks on your students faces in September when they see you after the long break - you will be transformed and will be their number one hero!

    Don't worry about running with extra weight. It comes off, and I think if you have been heavy, you are a stronger person both mentally and physically - could a skinny runner do the distance you are doing carrying a sack of potatoes? No way!

    I was 16 stone 9 pounds at my heaviest and it has been a long road back to fitness. But I don't think I would change a thing, it has been a real learning process. Still a stone to go to get to my goal weight but the running has become the focus now rather than the weight.

    Best of luck, you can do it!

  • Just wanted to comment on the negativity point - there are often threads here from people who say things like 'it's always been my dream to run a marathon but I've never run a step and I've signed up for one in three months - do you think I'll be OK?'. The kindest response to that sort of question is 'no, you'll almost certainly get injured or at best will have a very grim time on the day - aim for a shorter race first'.

    You, on the other hand, have plenty of time to get some mileage under your belt and seem to have a good idea of what's required. You'll be fine. Work towards running four times a week, don't be afraid to walk/run on your longer runs to build up time on your feet, and find a suitable training plan to stick to for the last 16 weeks before the race. Good luck!
  • Wow. I can not thank you guys enough. Will definitley get those bits of paper stuck up Tigger! And yes, going back to school in Sept at least a stone lighter (well that's the plan) will be an absolute bonus. Heading out with the dog shortly. I have been nervous to start this first run/walk as that means there is no going back!

    The support has been immense so far and i haven't even started yet! image

  • Ok, so that is session number one of c210k done. I broke my Husband's Golden Rule - I didn't stick to the plan. I skipped week one of the plan and went straight to week 2 and I hope my body doesn't decide to punish me for it! Week one is 'run for 30 secs walk for 4.30 x 8'. I felt like I could run for longer fairly easily so I decided after my first running stretch to skip to week 2 which is 'run for 1 min walk for 4 x 8'.

    I was out for 40 mins, covered 2.51 miles and didn't feel like dying at all. The fourth minute of running actually felt quite euphoric. In short - I loved it.

    There were a few dodgy moments, the first being faced with a couple out walking coming head on at me along the little public footpath, I don't think they realised that I genuinely didn't have enough energy to propel myself up the verge as I ran so either they had to move or something drastic was going to happen. I stayed on course and they moved in the end as I heavily breathed a thank you in their direction.

    The second was when I cut through the park about half way round, I don't want to say too much but there was the distinct whiff of dog poo following me around for the second half image

    Thirdly a group of 'yoofs' were up ahead at one point and I started to panic as my next minute run was coming up, I almost gave in as I didn't want to run past them. Instead I crossed the road and got on with it - I wasn't even that bothered when one of the gits decided to show that they could walk at the same speed as my run and attempted to race me on the opposite side image

    Other than that it was brilliant, I can't wait to do it again, At one point I was saying to myself 'I am an elite athlete, I am a runner, I go running, just going for a run darling' - it helped!

    Oh and I definitely did the right thing going out in my massive Bridget Jones control pants, it really helped with the predicted tummy jiggling!

    Onwards and upwards.....

  • Well done BillieB . I know what you mean about negativity...but it's not like you are doing a marathon next week!! I too have booked into a 2013 spring marathon. Doing Brighton on the 14.04.13!! First marathon and am really excited and really scared. I have started running before and got myself up to 10k but then stopped! So figured if I book into some races it will give me the incentive to get out and run because I love it when I do. love the post it note idea....will be stealing that.

    Good Luck and I look forward to offering eachother words of encouragement.

    Definately worth booking in some races beforehand.
  • gemgemx: I'm doing Brighton too next year and really looking forward to it. Looks and sounds like a great race. Heard that the atmosphere is really good too.
  • Rest day today which seems a bit like cheating. I always thought that progress meant doing something everyday but everything I have read says stick to running four times a week so that is what I shall do....

    I did go on a pretty fast hack this morning so the heart rate was up for at least 40 mins of our 1.5 hour ride so that's something. The rest of the day was spent decorating so a few more calories burnt there I think.

    Some slight shin niggles today and a faint and distant pain in my knee but I knew that would appear again. I am hoping that the slow and steady approach will keep anything serious at bay. I have physio for my back Monday so may mention my knee, although I think it is connected as I have deep tissue damage in my lumbar that side and so it pulls my hip flexors and knocks my SI joint out. Hopefully the physio, yoga, stretching and running should allow strength development.

    So - no running today although I did sit admiring my lovely purple Asics for a while. Very Sad.

    Will see how session 2 goes tomorrow image

  • Rest days are very important - it's during the rest days that your body repairs itself after the previous day's exercise. Non-load bearing cross training is a good idea - most people tend to do swimming or cycling, but riding sounds like an excellent idea too. I'm guessing it would be good for core stability too?

    Enjoy the rest days - you'll be looking forward to them soon!
  • Yes RR the riding is fantastic core work, I am going to start riding Bareback to help even further although my first go the other day made me very aware of how much i rely on my saddle for some support!

    More shin pain as my foot strikes today which is making me wary about my run/walk today. I should just press on or perhaps have a two day break? The plan does allow this but in my head I was going to do run/off/run/off/run/off/off/run. This can change though.....

    Advice anyone?

  • If your shin is hurting, I'd listen to it and not run.  Just go for a brisk walk instead or a bike ride or swim.  And when you run, try to do it on grass if possible, just till your body starts adjusting to these new demands.

    I also do a stretch where I place my heel on a step and point my toes down towards the ground.

    Oh, and well done.  Six months ago I started out just running 1 minute and walking for 2; weight wasn't my problem, but many years of chain smoking and abusing alcohol was.

    Now, on my weekend long runs I'm comfortably getting into the double figures for mileage and yesterday I ran a ten mile race up, off road, muddy, slippy and some ruddy great hills.

    Anyway, well done, these posts really inspire me.  I'm an avid follower of Boottrunks; take a look at hers if you need some inspiration at some stage.

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    BillieB,it might just be a niggle, or it might be something to watch.Your biggest risk at this stage is injury due to your sudden change in activity. Some traiing books would suggest a walking plan for a few weeks before doing ANY running, as it takes some time to buils up the mechanical strength in the legs.

    "Noakes"- which is a massive tome about running, contains at least one plan for beginners where they have just walking for the first 3 weeks- 3-4 days per week, 20 mins per time, THEN go on to run/walk. If your shin hurts, perhaps spend a week or 2 just walking before runnig again. It feels frustrating, but it may save you grief in the long run. Of course, if you already walk a fair bit in your day- to - day life, it may not be necessary.

    Take it slow.

  • Everyone is doing really well, its very inspiring to read.

    I too find the rest days difficult, mainly because I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and I miss it on my days off, but I know that if I push myself too hard I will end up injured, disheartened, burnt out and fed up. I try to find other ways to feel I am still being productive, such as sorting out the menu for the week. I also like to spend a bit of time gently stretching out my muscles, which helps alert me to any little aches and pains that might be developing.

    I think if we can strike the right balance between running and resting we are more likely to stick with this and keep enjoying it - it shouldn't become a chore.

    Today was a day off for me so I am already looking forward to tomorrow mornings run - rain or shine! (but probably rain!)

  • Hi All,

    Thanks for all of the advice - today has been a naff day. The first glow of my Marathon plan has worn off and I am feeling a bit beat already.

    The knee pain has been with me all day - I can feel it throbbing as I type. I have been trying to persuade myself that it isnt really there but it is. You know that feeling you get in your legs when alcohol hits you all of a sudden? Well that is what my right knee feels like, a bit hot, a bit fuzzy/numb and a bit throbby. I ran for 8 minutes. 8 minutes! Grrrrrrr. Didn't do my walk/run today, thought I would give it as long as I could before heading out again so I will try in the morning. If I still feel my knee throbbing I am going to try a 40 minute walk and aim to cover at least the same distance overall. I reckon I can do that.

    The shin pain is still there. Bloomin' annoyed.

    I have physio on my back tomorrow and I just know my knee is connected. Damn the horse that threw me 6 years ago, If only I had trusted my instincts.

    Onwards and upwards. I must sleep - I have a 5.30am alarm call for Marathon training image

    Thanks again, I appreciate it!

    Easy.Does.It - very inspiring to hear about your double digits. I will feel llike I have conquered the world when I get to that stage. Amazing!

  • Hang in there, sounds like you have had a very discouraging day.

    If this was easy everyone would be doing it - but they aren't, because it isn't. If you can get through the tough days and stay motivated you will be one of lifes winners - something to focus on to get you through.

    You can do this!

  • Ok, well I'm back with my tail between my legs. Seems like I failed before I had even started and my physio told me to rest and to Re-start tomorrow. He wants me to do at least three weeks of walking four times a week before I run again and is certain that will remove the pain that I experienced from the first time round. He has also sent me to the Osteo as he wants me prodded before he continues my muscle work.

    So, I feel a bit like a fraud with my online diary being on 'Runners' world. Will you still have me for the next three weeks? Great thing is that in 3 weeks I head off to Spain to a lovely villa in the mountains, it will be perfect for a two week gentle bootcamp (if there is such a thing) as my husband will still train out there everyday. I can swim, bike and gently introduce the running all in a beautiful environment.

    So - it seems I am down but not out.

    Take care of yourselves (and your muscles) - I have decided that this will be my cheesy Jerry Springer style sign off from now on..... apologies.

  • ...the good thing is that April 2013 is still.a fair way off and you have the time to rest and learn how your body reacts and know when to ease up..when to push


    Don't feel a fraud..the resting and walking is all part of the journey
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