Bristol Half Marathon Woes!

Hi all, I'm all signed up for the Bristol half marathon on the 30th of Sept (the day I move into halls at Bristol uni too!) and I've been running since the 30th of May 2012. I'm not naturally a great runner and I've never enjoyed it very much, but this is something I want to do. Anyway, I started off running with great difficulty, not even being able to get to the end of the road without wheezing and stopping. I can see improvement in my fitness as I can go further now and don't have the same breathing issues. I even started to love running because of the satisfaction I felt after a good run. Now, though, I've started to feel very lethargic and disheartened about it all. I don't think I'll be able to finish in my target time and at the moment I don't even feel like running at all. My training is suffering because of this as well as my weight loss (I'm aiming to lose weight through this too). Has anyone hit this morale brick wall? Does anyone have any suggestions how I can power through the lethargy? I don't know if it's my diet making me feel like this, or I'm getting ill, or if I just need to buck up my ideas and get out there! Thanks image Clare


  • Hi Clare, good to hear from you. I'm running Bristol as well image
    What kind of training have you been doing, and have you been trying anything new recently? You might just be a bit inder the weather with a cold virus or something, but dieting and an increase in training don't always go together well, as you start cutting calories just as your body starts using a few more. If you eat healthy foods and are training well, you'll be able to eat a fair bit without gaining any weight.
    Lastly, is this your 1st half? If it is, why not take some of the pressure off by focusing on enjoying the experience and having a nice race, rather than worrying about a target time? You're obviously still young, so you've got many years to set fast times of you like your first race!
    Hope this is of some help. 

  • kaffeegkaffeeg ✭✭✭
    I'm running Bristol too. It'll be great.

    Sounds like you are being too hard on yourself.

    If you have just started running and this is your first race - why have you put extra pressure on yourself to have a target finish time? Get rid of it! Through it out the window! Just run, and enjoy it.

    Doing it is the main thing. Starting, finishing, and pacing right. It's far too early to set yourself a target time. If you want one, I suggest setting it about 4 weeks before the race. You've only just started running. You can't set target times on 'wishes' but on ability. And you don't know exactly what yours is yet.

    Have you got a training plan? I'd find one, one that suits you. I'm running three times a week as I've had injuries and not sure my body can take more than that. How many times are you running?

    Mix your runs up a bit. Do different ruotes. Maybe run with someone else.

    You'll get there!
  • Hi Clare, I'll be running Bristol too.
    Like the others have said, if this is your first half marathon forget a target time and just aim to enjoy the experience of the day and the event.

  • Hi all, 

    Thanks for the replies! 

    My training at the minute is really slack. I've been feeling so just... lethargic and yuck (!) that I haven't even wanted to run at all. I forced myself to go out the other day and I felt like I was going to throw up. I've no idea why this sudden alteration in my attitude has come about but it's really getting me down! 

    Before I got all stupid like that I was running 4 times a week, usually about 1.5 - 2 miles each time. I'm a really poor runner and at the minute I physically can't run 2 miles without stopping about 3 times to walk. I'm frightened that I won't be able to even finish the half marathon at this rate. Argh!

    I'm thinking of joining my local running club, more to make myself get out there than anything else. Do you think this is a good idea? 

    Thanks again!



  • Nobody is saying you have to run the entire half marathon, there is nothing wrong with walking breaks. And don't be too disheartened by thinking you won't reach your target time; like I did with my first half, you have probably set yourself a very hard goal, so instead change it to something more accomplishable or better yet, just try to enjoy the race and forget your target time and not let your training become a chore. A few days rest if you're feeling lethargic might be a good thing, seeing as lethargy and lack of desire to run can be signs of over-training, or at the very least putting too much pressure on yourself. Perhaps consider some cross-training such as swimming or cycling. It is still working towards your goal but break up the monotony.

  • Hi Clare, don't be disheartened, and definitely don't think you're the only person in the same boat. I signed up for the Royal Parks Half in October at the beginning of the year, and at first my training was going really well - I went from only being able to run for 30 seconds to running for just over an hour (I cannot stress how slow my pace is though, as my ex-boyfriend used to say - I'm built for comfort, not speed). I pushed myself a bit far too quickly though and dished my leg, and then I just got lazy and out of practice and in a complete rut - I had that lethargic, don't care feeling too.

    Fear has now set in though, and I'm determined not to let myself down, so I'm just making myself go out and run. I'd be lying if I said I was enjoying it though, oh how I puff and pant and silently curse! On Monday I ran a whole 5k without stopping and I was so relieved. I still can't imagine running for 13 miles though. What is that all about??? Crazy talk! image I do feel good after I've been out though, and you're right - once I started seeing the breathing become easier, and my legs turn to jelly less I was enjoying it a lot more! I want to get back to that feeling again!!

    I'm not a natural runner either, and I'm short (5'2") and about 3 stone overweight, so I console myself with the fact that I'm working way harder than the skinnies who sprint past me looking gorgeously healthy whilst I'm a purple mess! image To be honest, I'll just be pleased to finish. I've never run a race before so I'm excited on that front, but also terrified of being the last to finish, people having to wait around for me and basically being a pain in the arse to other runners!

    If you're feeling blah feel free to drop me a message! I can't give you any advice about training/races/nutrition or anything useful (doh, sorry) but I can totally appreciate the effort being put in. My training plan is just to get my bum off the sofa and get out as often as possible - even if it's only a mile or two.

    Hope you feel better soon anyway, I'm sure it'll all come back and then you'll be sprinting over that finish line into the arms of a stretcher-bearer carrying an oxygen mask and some cake (that's what I'm hoping for anyway)! George image

  •  I'd find one, one that suits you. I'm running three times a week as I've had injuries and not sure my body can take more than that. How many times are you running?


  • Hi Clare,

    I agree with the general theme of the thread so far in that I don't think you should be getting to stressed about times, having to walk, how far your running at the moment, etc, etc.

    The thing that stood out for me is that you sounds like you need a bit of help with the motivation. So yes one of my suggestions would be to look into finding more people to go out running with. Having a look to see what running groups/clubs you have locally certainly sounds a good idea to me, it might help you get into a new routine, and give you more support. 

    If you have a local parkruns that would be another great way you can get into a routine, have some low-key race experience, and get to chat with some fellow runners.

    I guess you might not currently be that local to Bristol, but if you are in an easy travelling distance you might considering coming to one of the free Bristol half marathon training mornings to get some more professional advice and get to chat with other entrants many who will also be 1st timers.  

    If you need to take a bit more rest now thats fine but I would suggest you try going out for some long walks. This hopefully won't be so tough that puts you off and tires you out, but gets your body used to spending more time on your feet and prepared for some of the longer runs you''ll be doing later in your training.

    Good luck image

  • Again, I have to say thank you so much for the replies. It's lovely to have some support on here. 

    I went out for a run today - well, I've literally been back in the house about 5 minutes! - and I didn't feel as good about it, as I think I've actually been a bit ill recently, but after mapping it on Mapometer, I've actually improved my pace today. I'm still quite slow - I'm running a 13 minute mile - but I ran a lot more than I usually do too. So, all in all, a good run. 

    I'm going to try taking some vitamins every day to see if it's my general health that's not too good. I've got that feeling like before you get the flu, all achey and lethargic, but I've had it for about 2 weeks now. Hmmm.

    Chimpster - I'm definitely not local to Bristol. I live 4 and a half hours away! image
    Thank you for the suggestion of taking longer walks. I usually walk my dog about 3/4 miles everyday so I'll just increase the length of those, which I'm sure she'll be thrilled about, being a border collie! 

    Georgeporge - Thank you so much for that message. It put a smile on my face and sounded so much like me! I'm really worried about getting in the way of all the 'real' runners and coming last. I tell you, even if there's one person in front of me near that finishing line I'm going to sprint past them even if it means my legs fall off and I collapse. :P
    Also, I'm intrigued by the offer of cake.  I shall be sorely disappointed if all I'm presented with is a pat on the back and I not a slice of Battenberg...

    AlexReu - I like that idea of forgetting a target time altogther! I know that I'll be ecstatic for just finishing anyway, though possibly more out of relief than anything else. image 

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