Trying to be a runner


I've been running on/off since 2008 (mostly off) but have never really committed to a sustained, consistent effort. Started off in good health but pretty unfit. Completed a 10k (55min) then a few half marathons (PB 2:00:33), and the 2010 Brighton Marathon (5:08:22) on very little training, hence the poor times, and in the 4 years since starting running I've had spells of 6 months of not running at all.

In the run up to the Brighton Marathon I wasn't really focused (had some pretty major distractions, not making excuses, I just wasn't committed), but was pleased to get round. Now I feel that I want to commit to becoming a genuine, bona fide runner. I've entered the ballot for London 2013 marathon and decided if I don't get in then i'll do another spring marathon. 2 months ago I started running again and have slowly built up to 20mi a week, and plan on continuing to build up to about 30 before starting an 18 week plan in Dec. Any minor aerobic fitness I had built during previous bouts of running had been lost in the intervening running drought, so feel like I'm starting from scratch. But, enjoying getting back into it, and feeling like it's progressing steadily.

My soft target for next spring is to just beat my previous marathon PB. A slightly harder target, and more long term is to beat the PB a good friend of mine (3:57) who has run a dozen or so marathons, and routinely does little to no training for them, besides one weekly long run of about 11-12 miles. He smokes and drinks pretty heavily, and could be a good runner if he put his mind to it, so I hope to show him what less talent but more hard work can achieve. I don't expect to race sub 4hr next April, but I think somewhere under 4:30 should be possible with a sustained effort.

I intend to keep a kind of log of my experience on this thread, more of a way to keep myself motivated, by including some of you. Wish me luck.


  • Good luck.. I have been on and off due to having babies but like you are aiming for a spring marathon...although will be my first!

    I have a place in Brighton but also put into the London ballot...Not expecting to get in though.
  • Really struggled with energy last week. Still ramping up the miles slowly. Tiredness possibly due to not eating enough carbs, although I am slightly anaemic, so I suspect my body is just adjusting to getting back into running, after an extended layoff.

    21 miles planned this week (4,0,4,0,4,3,6) but I may see how I feel on Saturday and possibly skip the 3mi run. Can't quite decide if a run of that distance is really adding much value. I've been keeping a log of my runs in a spready, along with notes on how they feel, plus some additional data, such as quantity and quality of sleep (subjective on a 1-10 scale) and how much "energy" I feel I have during the day (again, subjective 1-10). I also note how many units of alcohol I drink, and have seen a correlation between hangover and energy and quality of run. breaking news!!: too much booze makes you feel rubbish.



  • by the way gemgemx, well done for returning to running after your babies.

    My gf and I are thinking of starting a family next year and I'm wondering how i'm going to find time to run with a baby to look after. Can't imagine my gf will be best pleased with me disappearing for 3 hours on a Saturday morning after being away at work all week. Guess I'll have to be imaginative and run to/from work, on lunch breaks etc.

    Not sure how other guys manage running when they have a new baby (I expect the sleep deprivation kills the running for a while). Would be interested to hear of anyone's experiences with this.

  • 21 miles last week, all reasonably slow (most had a slightly faster finish). Feel ok. Running based on time rather than distance, and this week had a 30mins on Mon, 45 mins Tues, rest today, then 30 Thurs, 45 Fri and 60 Saturday.

    I'm trying to listen to my body, and add 5 mins here and there, until I'm running about an hour a day, 5-6 days a week, then entend my weekend run. Hopefully this will have the effect of improving aerobic fitness and means my marathon training will "feel" easier at a slightly quicker pace. We'll see.

  • Sounds like you getting some fantastic base training in..quick note as per an earlier post. a 3 miler still adds huge value - especially if you can do it at a faster pace than your longer weekend runs.

    My hubby still did his weekend thing when I had my babies. He plays cricket which is like ALL day and he works longish hours but from a female perspective I was fine as he helped out where he could - Its important to not stop everything just because a baby arrives. Its probably harder now ...that all 3 are in school/nursery and doing after school clubs and weekend sports ....your life is not your own - but this makes it more important for both mummy and daddy to have "me" time. Hey and on Saturday mornings you could do the early morning feed then get into your running gear and go - babies are great alarm clocks!!!!!

    P.S Did you get into London - If not what marathon are you going for.

  • Cheers gemgemx, got the Elvis rejection from the London Ballot, so I've entered Manchester instead. It gives me one more week to prepare, which won't do any harm, so fingers crossed I can close in on that 4hr threshold.

  • Cheese and beer last night had put paid to my 30min lunchtime run. I'll do it this evening when i get home from work, try to drag my ass straight out of the house again before i get comfortable.

  • My entry into next years Manchester Marathon has taken on a slightly different dimension now that my mate (the 3:57 marathon guy mentioned in the opening post of this thread) has also now entered Manchester. As I mentioned, he's not keen on structured training, so I'm hoping I can give him a run for his money next April. To do this though I'm going to spend the next ~3 months til xmas trying to improve aerobic base. I understand from reading various threads that this means running below the lactate / anaerobic threshold, which for me means running at a pace that is marginally above a walk, and just doing mile after mile after mile. I did 21 miles last week, and upping it to 27-30 this week. Although I'm ignoring the golden 10% rule, I feel that given the pace/effort is only slightly better than walking, there's a lower risk of injury than if I was pushing the pace in these miles. My hope is that i'm not wasting my time and that I do see a noticable improvement in aerobic fitness (and consequently pace at a given effort) if I stick to this plan before starting the marathon training in Jan.

    I'll be throwing in one or two parkruns, just for fun, to keep me interested through the winter months, and doing some strength work and swimming to mix it up a bit since most of my "running" time with be at a very low intensity.

  • 23 miles last week, 5k of that was a parkrun (my first, and i'll definitely be doing more of them). the rest of the miles were commuting to / from work (run home monday, run in tues, home weds, in thurs) at a very pedestrian 11mi/min pace. trying to improve aerobic endurance, so made a nice change running a quicker pace.

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