First 'Race' Done - Where next?

Firstly, I must confess to being a 'long time lurker', and have never had the confidence to post until now, probably because describing myself as a 'runner' seems quite generous! Apologies if this isn't posted in the right section, but any advice would be warmly received.

To give you a bit of background, I am in my twenties and have historically been useless at running. I love playing sport, but have suffered a number of health issues - primarily, but not exclusively due to asthma - over the past years that mean that my fitness is nowhere near what I would like it to be.

Anyway, I started running more regularly in January, mainly because I discovered that it was the best thing I have done to help my mood/self esteem etc. I started slowly with a walk/run programme and, despite having to take time off at various points due to chest infections and the like, managed to 'run' 45 minutes non-stop the other week.

I have had a ropey few weeks with training since then, but did manage to complete a 10k Race for Life yesterday with a friend in 85 minutes. It was slower than I would have liked and I had to walk a bit, but I wasn't too gutted given that my health hasn't been great this week and it was very wet and on grass etc (Not that I want to make excuses, mind). We did also raise a decent amount of money, so it definitely seemed worthwhile.

So, my question is this. I obviously want to keep running and want to set myself a new target - probably another 10k race within the next 2-4 months - ideally in under 75 minutes. I think I know what I need to do to improve my time training wise (although all advice would be very much appreciated), but I wonder if anyone can make any recommendations of the kind of race I could enter. The thing I loved about the Race for Life was the spirit and the fact that I knew that I wouldn't be embarrassed however slow I was. Are there other races out there that might be suitable for my kind of standard? Given the reasons why I started running in the first place, I don't want added 'stresses' from racing, but I do think that a new target might be a good thing.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. Any advice would be awesome.


  • I might as well say it because someone will sooner or later - the best thing you can do now is get yourself off to your local parkrun - 5K, 9am Saturday morning, Free...go once and you'll be hooked.

  • Thank you parkrunfan - I can't believe that I didn't know that these existed - they look great! Unfortunately I work most Saturdays, but I am definitely going to try out my local parkrun when I can - it looks like exactly the kind of thing that I was looking for. Thanks for the tip!

  • No worries, which is your nearest venue?

  • It looks like it's going to be Guildford. I won't be able to make one for a few weeks at least but love the idea of doing a couple in August if I can. It definitely could be something for me to work towards - what a great idea!

  • Thats the beauty of it - they are there every week, go along whenever you feel like it.

  • just to back up parkrunfan (as if he needs it), yes definitely go to parkrun, you won't regret it! don't worry about being good enough either, typically people of all abilities go!

  • I could enter. The thing I loved about the Race for Life was the spirit and the fact that I knew that I wouldn't be embarrassed however slow I was. Are there other races out there that might be suitable for my kind of standard? Given the reasons why I started running in the first place,


  • Sounds to me like you'd prefer big mass participation events to smaller more competitive ones. Parkruns as already mentioned are great for all abilities and tend to have a very inclusive and friendly atmosphere. But really any kind of 'big' event that's got thousands rather than a couple of hundred entrants sounds like what you're looking for.

    If you fancy the look of a particular event but aren't sure if it'd be something you'd like, maybe due to thinking you'd be too slow for it, you can usually look up the previous year's results and see what sort of times are being run. I often check this out on smaller marathons as I'm reasonably slow. Don't have any problem at all with potentially being last, just want to make sure (for the sake of marshals etc) that it would be by minutes and not by hours!

    P.S. When you mention added stresses from racing... well... most people find that running and training is actually a great stress reliever, especially if you train outdoors..


  • Thanks all for the advice.

    Runs-with-dogs - you're completely right. The main reason I have started running is for stress relief, and it really is working. My worry has been that starting to race might add unwanted pressure to the one activity that generally is a pressure free zone for me. Having said that, I do think that having something to work towards is important too! Yeah, I know, doesn't entirely make sense, huh!?

    I will definitely look at times for any race before entering though!

    Thanks again!
  • Another option is to visit your local running shop and see what flyers they've got for upcoming events - beyond that, Parkruns are brill if you can make 9am on a Saturday (volunteering is a great way to meet folk too). I started running last November, did a 10k in April, another in June and I've a half marathon in September (rescheduled from the end of June due to flooding) with a marathon in October.

    Basically look at what's upcoming and pick a race that you've got time to prepare for that interests you - stretch yourself a little, whether that's doing more 10k races or eventually going for something a little longer. Keep on running, and I find that having something coming up, no matter how many months away it might be is good motivation to get you out the door. Mix it up a bit, run the occassional shorter, faster run, or a longer very slow run to build up your strength and endurance.

    It's an addictive thing, running, I'm thinking about an ultra in the middle of next year - could I do it now? No way. Can I get fit enough in time? Reckon so, though there's a lot to do... Will that stop me? No way.

    The other thing I find great to motivate is reading some of the books written by runners - 'Feet in the Clouds' got me into trail running, Dean Karnazes two books make great reading if you like the idea of running longer distances, and I've just finished Scott Jurek's ultramarathon book. Reading about someone else's experiences makes me want to put my shoes on NOW and just get out there... image

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