Hi, An looking for some advice. I have signed up to do the London marathon next year, something I've always wanted to do. I've gone from doing no exercise to attempting to run a few times a week. Over the last few weeks, I seem to have made no progress, in fact it seems to be getting worse. I can barely run a mile, so the thought of 26 just panics me. My main issue is with breathing. I know it takes time to find a proper rhythm, and also as I'm unfit I'm going to struggle at the beginning, but I'm literally out of breath so much after 1km, that I panic that I can't breathe. Is this normal? It seems to be getting worse, not better. Others who started running the same time as me are already clicking up the miles which is adding more pressure. I feel like giving up, I really don't want to, and I'm determined to do this but I really need some help. Thanks for reading image


  • Are you running too fast ? You need to run at a pace that you could chat at. 

    If you can't chat - slow down. 

    The good news is that youve started early.

  • Slow is good.

    I did my first marathon recently and you just have to go at your own pace, if you are out of breath that quickly then you just need to go slower.  I know it feels ridiculous and that you think at times you could walk faster, but run slower image and over time you start to build up your stamina and speed.

    There is no magic it's just taking it slow n steady and just having to keep going, at times when your body says i'm a little tired you have to say to it hard luck now carry on.

  • When I started I could hardly run 7 minutes, I would set my self a distance like 3k and do it as slowly as I liked, alternating between walking and running as I pleased. Eventually set yourself targets once you've established that you can do the distance (eg atleast 15 mins solid running at some point during run) and then start to increase as you become more confident. 

    It is generally best to build up endurance and distance foundations first and then work on speed. Make sure you give yourself lots of recovery time and protein rich foods. Don't give up, if you have a bad run don't beat yourself up over it and just continue as before.

    Finally, GOOD LUCK, you've set yourself a brilliant target and I hope you achieve it.

  • Hi Emma,

     dont panic - everything you need is on the runners world website!
    If you havent done any exercise start with a couch to 5K schedule to build up your running slowly to start with, there is an 8 week one here. Dont be tempted to run further than it says!

    that should get you to christmas, and then you can start your marathon training after.
    take a look at this link too for some beginners tips

    basic marathon training schedules are here but dont look at this yet! just get the earlier one done first.

    it would probably be sensible to plan a walk/run strategy for the marathon itself. eg, run 5 mins, walk 1 min all the way round, or run to the first mile marker, walk 2 mins, and so on. This will help you keep going until the end!

  • Hi Emma, well done on getting a much-coveted place in the VLM next year.  Don't worry. You have plenty of time.  First advice, forget what everyone else around you seems to be doing . It's your body and your experience and you are unique.  

    Second thing, set yourself a realistic target. If you are a new runner, then this is probably going to be to get round the course (+ without injury - pointless if you trash yourself.)

    Breathing will come just naturally if you don't overdo it.  You may find that you are trying your hardest on every run. That's not how it works.  Maximum effort is for races, and short ones at that!  As others have said, build it up nice and slowly. You will learn the pattern of breathing that is right for the effort you are making.  Your brain will do this for you, it doesn't need to be consciously controlled. 

    Think of spending time on your feet rather than running miles.  It doesn' t matter if this time is walking or running in any combination.  Just try and push it out for a bit longer over time.  So spend 20 mins a session walk/ running, then in two weeks, increase it to 30 weeks, and so on.  Does that make sense? Let us know how you are getting on.


  • Slow down is my advice too , sounds like your going to fast .image

  • Thanks for all the responses!! I went running with a friend today and found it much better breathing wise - I think the distraction of someone else helps. Hopefully it can only get better from here. Just got to stop my dodgy hips from hurting now and I'll be all sorted image thanks again for the help
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