A beginner with a goal - needing help


I recently had a 'I'm not good at anything period', during which my sister suggested running the Bristol half marathon. For some reason the idea appealed to me and I decided I would: whether I passed through the finishing lines on my feet or a stretcher.

The only problem, small however it is, is that I hate running. I love sports such as tennis and badminton and get a great workout doing them. Needless to say, the years of studenthood are still upon me and I have excess alcohol and junk food reserves that I would very much like to shift without starving myself.

Having been reading this website I have leant all about correct running shoes and the run/walk routine and am keen to get started. However, I used to jog with my father (many years ago) and never dared stop - he scared me too much. The point being, I hated it. I felt great at the end of it, but I wouldn't have been able to do it without him. He enjoyed it: I hated it. He found a stress relief in it: it stressed me out.

So, what I really want is some advice. I want to get fit and I would love to like running. Aiming to complete the Bath (goal's shifted to more realistic date) half marathon would give me great pleasure.

So, I would be really grateful is someone could please help me and give me some of that motivation and good advice you all seem to have?



  • Hi Sabine,

    When is the Bristol Half Marathon?

    Sorry you haven't had a very positive experience when you ran with your dad. First its okay to walk. Setting yourself a goal it good, but is it realistic? Why not look around for a local 5k or 10k race, train for that using the walk/run method , it would give you confidence and then aim for the Half marathon.
  • Hi anyone,
    I would like some advice on the best way to apply for entry to the LondonM 2003, do I pick up form from store first or do I approach a charity (I know you have to raise a fair amount) or both?
  • Well Done Sabine. I am hoping to manage to get an entry into Bath too.

    I shifted 4 stone in 2001 by going back to swimming and have picked up running in the last 3 months. I have never been a runner but I wanted to see if I could run as far as I could swim.

    I started with just a mile. Easy peasy I thought (I had swum a 5k just a week before). It wasn't, and I had to walk/run to complete it. A few weeks later I joined a running club as one of their jogging section and I now average 10 min miles on flats. 11 on Multi Terrains. Above all this though...I love it!

    You have a goal, thats wonderful. You have given me one too. I will send that Bath entry form off when it arrives!

    I notice on the Bath Half Marathon website there are some training schedules. They don't start until late December so take a look at the Intermediate one and see if you could work up to the start of that one by December using walk/runs now to start with. If not..take a look at the beginners one, see what you think of that.

  • Hi Sabine

    Running was one of my demons too - very bad memories of PE at school, which was always so competitive and I was always the last round the field and in the last 5 rejects being picked for team sports!! In many ways, that's made me taking it up now - when I want, where I want, and competing against nobody but myself - so much more enjoyable. For me, the fact that nobody is forcing me and not setting too high goals for myself has been the key. If I'm too hard on myself it stops being fun and I'm less inclined to keep at it.

    Experiment with "being bad" some days and NOT following whatever schedule you've set yourself - it's nice finding out that the world won't fall apart and you're not letting anyone down!

    Good luck

  • Sabine
    The rewards outweigh the difficuluties. Personally i would have not wanted to run with anone else when I started out as a n overweight asthmatic last year. Bit by bit, 400m to start with building towards a mile, up to 2 etc. I sonn found that I enjoyed it and wanted more, sort of adictive I think.
    Ability -wise I am appaling, but I've got bucket loads of enthusiasm. I am presently recovering from a serious spinal injury and finding it difficult to accept I can't do what I could a few months ago. But I know it will come back if I stick at it. After 11 months I'm just about ready to run with others. Play it slowly,at your pace and set sensible goals.
    Above all, believe you can, cos if I can, anyone can.
  • I'm with Fiomac all the way - generally the only goal is to get outside and breathe some fresh air for a bit. Following detailed training schedules tends to get me stressed (but incidentally I don't think that would happen if I were actually training up to a specific race). It's funny, because with team sports I'm the total opposite. Oh well, running is something I do alone and it's just for me, and at the moment, I enjoy it best goal free.

    However you decide to set up your training, happy running!

  • Sabine

    Nail it. Aim for 1h 40 mins.

  • aime for a short run first...don't do a really long one as it will hurt and be extremely tiring...

    Try som efun runs where people of all abilities are there from peopel who walk/run and others that are reaaly fast...

    that way you will have poeple to share the experience with and usually there a rfriendly bunch as I have found out.....

    I struggled to start running but because i had an aim it helped me get fit....

    I currently run 10ks in 555 mins not fast by many standards but I'm pleased with it.....

    Gte out and have a go and don't be frightened to start walking.....
  • No point faffing around. Just put some mileage in and do it. easy.
  • Hello Sabine,

    The way many women seem to get into running recently has been through the Race for Life series. They are women only 5K fun runs that take place all over the country and it attracts all abilities. Many people walk the whole thing. It might be nice to start training for that then look for a 10K or two and then work your way up to a half marathon. If you try to bite off too big a chunk it might put you off.


    You can apply for the FLM 2003 either by getting the marathon Magazine that should be available in some of the larger sports shop chains. This is a ballot system and you might not get in. It's best to apply that way anyway. If you don't get in, many charities have guaranteed 'Gold Bond' places where you have to commit to raising a certain amount for that charity and they give you a place in exchange for that.

    All the best,

  • Hi Sabine
    I hadn't run for 2o yrs before training for the London Marathon. I followed the Runners World Penquin plan, which is a run walk plan. At 47 yrs 19st 2lb there was no way I was going to run the whole way. I made it own the day in 5hrs 17mins. Run walk helped me. Also as I have said before, don't consider what you are doing as training but as a way of getting out and just enjoying being out there. Don't be pushed along by others, go at your pace, I mean do you have to prove anything to anybody but yourself? and don't set targets too high, or you may end up being frusrtrated at not reaching targets out of your reach.

    Enjoy what you are doing, and I hope the weather at Bristol is better than last year when my son ran in the pouring rain.

  • Hi Sabine
    I presume you live around Bristol so if you want to aim for a 10k around Xmas look at the Wyvern Xmas Cracker in Weston. Enter early though as there is a 1000 limit and it gets an early fill up.Because a lot dress up there are a highrer proportion of people not obsessed with the demon of time. You will enjoy it.

    Good luck at Bath, I will be there at about 2 hours 30 min.
  • Hi Sabine.

    Your father realy put you off running for sure. When you start running there is nothing wrong in walking when you feel like it. In time you will walk less and before long you will want to keep on going as your body gets used to running.
    I didn't start running until I was 55, hating all sports when young. I started just running aroung the block, half a mile, and came back indoors coughing my heart up and completely knackered. This went on for ten days in which time I walked less and ran more. *Then* a miracle happened, my body must have agreed that running was doing me good as suddenly it decided that I should run around the block again, doubling my mileage. In 15 days I was running 3 miles and I just kept on going further and further and felt so proud of my efforts and enjoyed every minute of it. Before six months were up I was running in 10K races and ran two marathons two years later.
    Five years on I had a huge heart attack and was told that it had only been my 100% fitness through running that had saved me so ...... the moral of the story ..... just run as much as *you* want to and walk when you like, and before long you will amaze yourself with your achievements.
    I wish you every success. Tony
  • Hi
    I feel really good now that I know I am not alone with starting up running, although I am not running alot at the moment I seem to suffer with shin splints can anyone give me advice on an exercises to help with this or anyone that has suffered before and got through it

    please help

  • Sabine
    Well done for taking such a positive approach - I'm sure you've got lots of doubts but, in honesty, we all have (I've done 2 10ks in the last 2 months & an already nervous about one I'm doing next weekend).

    As others have said - walking is allowed (even in 'races' you'll see people walking parts - obviously not the Paula radcliffe type race but the ones you & I enter). I think the idea of the run in Weston is really good - I'm sure you'll enjoy the informality and get a confidence boost from it.

    Basically to start training pick a point about a mile away (depending how much of your fitness you've got) and set out. Jog/walk/meander (but try not to actually stop) when you get home make a note of your time - lo and behold your first Personal Best, time to find a suitable reward (red wine works for me). Leave it a couple of days then do it again, chances are you'll beat your PB (more rewards & off you go)

    enjoy yourself

  • Jen - just in case you can't find a sports shop with "Marathon News" in locally (they don't all have it), you can ring 0207 902 0189 to find your nearest stockist.

    Alternatively, go to:


    click on Entry info, then UK entry system, and then on the "here" link to find out the same info.

    Good luck!
  • Lizzie

    I had a shin splints problem and saw a osteopath and physio.
    They diagnosed problem as too far/too quick/too soon, a problem because my right hip was out of alignment so left leg compensated and wrong shoes. Try the remedy for the first diagnosis ie slow down, cut distance and if no joy get professional advice. It will save in long run.
  • Thanks for info re: entry forms flm3 - I picked one up, but as I will be 60 April 8 2003 (ageists need not reply!!) do I send £20 or £27 as I'm "only" 59 now, you should be so lucky to have such a dilema - ha!ha!
    I've also entered the Sept1 Flora Light 5K - have been building slowly for 5months so far and am pleased with prog.
  • Hi Sabine,

    I was the worlds worst at sports at school and have taken up running in my 30's because I don't want to be an osteoporotic house bound old lady. (Always looking to the future). I must live near you, I'm planning to do Bath too (Bristol was too soon!), although I haven't done a race at all yet. Looking for a friendly 10k locally to see how I go on, but at the moment, managing 5 miles without collapsing.
    What I did to get myself out there was to get myself a goal (treking in Peru in my case) for which I needed to be fit - can you think of something a bit more selfish and rewarding than the Bath 1/2 in the short term?
    I found the news that I burn 107 or so calories every 10 mins that I run acts as an incentive...
    Let us know how you are going.
  • Hi M

    Pleae see my previous message re Wyvern Xmas Cracker in Weston

    If you send an e mail to barry@rtwite.freeserve.co.uk with details of name and address he will put you on mailing list.

    Alternatiely go to www.runnersweb.co.uk for a good list of races.
  • Lizzy - I wouldn't disagree with any of the possibilities for shin splints, but even if you do only build up the mileage gradually, a properly assessed pair of shoes are essential, otherwise however gradual your build up, you're likely to get problems. Try somewhere like Sweatshop, RUn and Become etc - or one of the shops in the bar to the left of the forum messages. Don't just go for one of a large chain - while I'm sure there are some good ones, many give lousy advice. I seem to remember RW did a feature on this a few months back, or was that their main competitor who shall remain nameless!! ;)

    The following website talks a bit about shin splints, and I think it has some exercises:


    Best of luck, Iain
  • Hi Iain,
    I have taken up your advice, I couldn't get to a specialist shop but when I come across one I will make more of an effort and go in for some proper advice. I went for a run / walk on Monday night and bought a new pair of trainers, that are alot better, they are from a large chain shop but the guy there was actually really helpful. I have now realised that my other trainers were to big for me, and this was probably the main problem. I have not had shin splints this week, so far and have just been to practice sprinting and I feel really good ( touch wood ). Thanks for the website I will check it out.
    Keep smiling
    Lizzy *
  • I ran in the Flora Light Challenge 5k - and enjoyed it very much, I did it in 38mins as there was a lot of weaving in and out, I normally do it in 30mins - and it was my only chance to experience such a large quantity of people before FLM 2003 - I'm new to running and only want to get round - can anyone tell me if I would be ok to try 10k by mid November, I dont want to push too soon but I'm thinking of the Brighton 10k road race - would it be for serious runners only or would there be competitors like me.
  • Walk and run girl, you can even do a marathon that way
    Run early in the morning(less abuse0
    20 min a day of walk/run will get you there
    Good luck
  • I finally run my first 10k in 1hr2mins on Sunday 12th January - it was the Richard Burton 10k near Port Talbot - it nearly killed me! I learnt a very dear lesson - you do not drink too much on Friday night&late night & early rise and then ask your body to run up and down hills on Sunday, I felt like lead - boring but true!
  • Jen - brilliant well done you, 62 mins is a good 10k time especially for a first one. Hope it gives you the confidence to go for under the hour.

    Did you go for a FLM in the end or are you saving yourself for 2004?
  • Hello ,

    I wonder if theer is anybody in the Washington area Tyne and Wear that is training for around a 4 hour marathon. I visit requlary on business and am looking for some contacts to ring for training. Anybody out there interested?

  • Thanks Nick for the encouragement! Yes I am going for FLM3 - got in via 'Breast Cancer Campaign'- I know I've got a long way to go but I'm going to give it my best shot.
  • Mark
    there are a few 'geordie-type' folk who pop into the forum. You might find it best to start your own thread asking about running partners - probably in Gneral & URWFRC forums.

    Good luck
    Nick (Herts/Beds/Bucks borders so no use at all for you!)
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