Marathon for charity. Never ran before

Hello there, my name Is Rory o'shea and I am running the london marathon for clic Sargent. I finished chemo therapy last year and would like to help the charity that helped me by raising some money for them. The thing is I am 6 foot and 15 stone and not exactly in the best shape, I do play squash a couple of times a week but I do not run. I after any helpful tips that any marathon runner may have, I have been out for 3 runs in the last week, the first I only managed 1.5miles and the second 3 and last night I managed 5.7 all running at around mph out on the lanes. Your guidance is much appreciated. If anyone feels like sponsoring the link is.


  • Sorry I meant to say 5 mph and would really like to know how I structures runs and what distances I should be running
  • Hi rory,

    Great to hear that you are taking part in the vlm for such a great cause.

    There is a FIRST training programme for beginners see

    Its quite intensive, but has a very good structure to follow. If you have a target time in mind, RW smartcoach will be able to produce a custome made programme for you.

    Very best of luck!
  • I would suggest you have started a bit intensively, and are risking injury. I would follow the Couch to 5K programme, and then follow a 16 week beginners plan from about Christmas (ie. 16 weeks before London). The Smartcoach bit of this website is worth getting to know:

    Good luck - let us know how it is going.

  • Have a browse around the beginners forum - many have followed before you. The following thread may give some inspiration and ideas: "From 0 to a Marathon in 22 weeks."

    I agree with Dans post (couch/smartcoach). The FIRST plan is not one I would recommend to a new runner, its more one for someone with some running background at shorter distances who is going on to tackle the marathon distance.

    I would steer clear of intervals / intense sessions. Easy running, slowly building up the mileage is called for. Any weight you can lose will really help out on the day. Good luck.
  • Thanks a lot for the comments, will take the advice about not overdoing it and building up slowly. I will upload a picture soon and keep a log of my runs and time etc.
  • Why not just get a part time job and donate all the money you earn to the charity. I'm sure it would be a more efficient way to raise money and will come directly from you, who gained the benefit from the charity. I think the debt you owe is yours and not your friends and family's
  • I currently work 60 hour weeks and squeeze my running in at either 5 in the morning with my 2 dogs or at 9 o'clock at night when I have put my two year old to bed and cooked tea for my 7 month pregnant girlfreind, the money to raise isn't to repay a personal debt, its to raise awareness for a charity that does fantastic things for children and young adults with cancer, the money that people donate to the charity is to enable them to provide

    Service to cancer patients that is life changing and inspiring.

    All the money in the world could never repay the debt I feel towards to charity.

    Thank you for your comment though.
  • NLR - that's a bit nasty.

    Great motivation there for you Rory. Running is a great pastime - take it easy and build up steady. It's a good feeling when you hit the Mall.
  • Sussex Runner... I know you like to be controversial but come on. image

    I really think you should be an adult and withdraw that inaccurate and uncalled-for comment.

     Edit...   Rory... As others have said... I think you've started far too fast. You're seriously risking injury - either a sudden injury, or (more likely) one that builds up over 2 or 3 weeks as small amounts of damage accumulate. 

    You do have enough time to train for the marathon, but only just.  You don't have many spare weeks to be sat around nursing injuries. Don't be overenthusiastic! 

    Well done, and good luck.

  • Don't the charity have people who can advise their runners and provide them with guidance on training?

    They are asking people who've never done anything like a marathon before to put themselves through the training and running - surely they have some support for you. 


  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    Agree with what others have said: start slowly and steady. The only thing that I would add is - Don't get too stressed out - you've got time to get sorted and have time to train for the marathon distance.

    Good luck with your challenge and let us know how you get on.

  • Thank you for your support, the charity is sending me a personalised pack however I do think it's best to see what has worked personally for other people. Hopefully will be easier to find something that suits me after seeing what has worked for other people! I appreciate the comment but it was me who applied to do the marathon to raise money I wasn't drafted or anything!!
  • I know what you mean Rory, but surely they have some responsibility to help you succeed?

    Particularly as you could easily injure yourself in training if you don't have guidance.

  • I applaud you for deciding to take on a challenge to thank the charity that helped you Rory, but I'm a big fan of "working up through the distances" and NOT going straight to marathon. Some people do it successfully. Many don't.

    If you ARE going to take on this challenge (and it looks like you're committed NOW!) you are going to need a LOT of help and guidance if you are going to avoid injury, which is likely to be your main obstacle. You don't have a huge amount of time before next April to go from zero to marathon but I wish you all the very best with it and I hope you listen to the advice you get on here.

    Good luck.

  • A lot of training plans will start the week after Xmas so you have until then to choose a plan and get ready.

    Good running shoes will help. Go to a proper running shop

    Losing weight will help too. The less weight - the less impact. So you need to look at your diet unless you're all muscle. I'd swap squash for running. You dont want a squash injury to spoil your running.
  • I agree with the above except, don't do a c25k, you're clearly beyond that, no point in going backwards. c25k is really for people with absolutely zero fitness.

    However, as others have said watch your initial mileage build up before you start a plan. When I started I could run a couple of miles, and increasing the distance (over a couple of weeks) wasn't too difficult. I had no problems increasing a small amount for each run, say 2 miles a day, 3 tmes a week, the first week, 2.5 miles a day 3 times a week the second etc. But I did injure my knee when I got cocky and decided to go from 4 miles max to 9 miles, felt fine, then two days later try 13...

    For anyones first marathon (well maybe not Mo farah) I'd recommend Hal Higdon. Nothing fancy, easy to followeasy build up of mileage, but enough to more than "get you around".

  • I did the Edinburgh Marathon this year and as well as their 16 week training plan they had a pre training plan for people in your situation  You might find this helpful.  If you carry on at your current rate of distance increase you will injure yourself and that's the last thing you want to do.  I didn't do any intervals or hill repeats or anything fancy when training for Edinburgh.

    Raising money for a charity is a great motivator though and will help you through the tougher moments of training.  It won't be easy but there is nothing quite like crossing the finish line of a marathon. 

  • If you're getting blisters, try some more expensive socks.

  • Thank you Elizabeth I like the plan simply because It has structur which is something I seem to defiantly lack. In terms of what people at about diet and weight I completely agree. I work as a chef so it's really hard to not pick as tasting foods pretty much the main part of my job! I have however cut out red meat except for once a week and I am eating more fish and chicken.

    It seems like when I run aerobicaly I am fine at the moment I don't become breathless and feel like I can run further then I do, however it's my

    Legs that are slacking majorly at the minute!

    Also I am finding it very hard to breath through my nose does anybody have any tips? Aids?
  • Yes, breathe through your mouth!


  • Hi rory,

    I would ignore the negative comments, not helpful!

    Also you should not discount the FIRST programme, it can be used for beginners and first time marathoners- as all of the paces are based on your current times and level of fitness. It really depends on how much time you had to devote to training.

    Best of luck with your training!
  • I have looked at the programme again and I think I will start using it so thank you for your post! I think I was a little bit discouraged by all the information! One question though in your experiance could a cross train be for instance a cycle? And would an easy run be say 2 miles or something?
  • Hi Rory. What a great cause you are running for. I wish you well.

    I am not an experienced runner by any means but just wanted to say that I followed Hal Higdon's half marathon plan (novice one) and found it great. Easy to follow for a beginner. Have looked at the full marathon plans too and they also look very simple to follow.
  • Rory, the main reason that I  discouraged using FIRST for someone new to running, who is going straight through to marathon distance, is that FIRST has a higher intensity level than any other plan I know,, e.g Week 1 Long Run 8miles at MP+30 seconds, Interval sessions every week faster than 10k pace, and Tempo runs as the 3rd session.

    Although the pacing is not going to be fast, I suspect that most gains, and minimising injury will be made from easy running. FIRST is not the type of plan I would recommend to someone just starting out, who really needs to focus on mileage building, and has said they need to shed some weight. I've nothing against FIRST, it works for lots of people, but I think its a bad fit here.

  • Even though I have no idea what I am talking about I do agree in principle, think I may follow the Hal higdon one at least for the first 2-3 weeks then depending on how I feel move onto the first. have already lost half a stone in a week that I'm Puting completely down to diet!
  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Hal higdon worked well for my first marathon. I didn't really do any speed sessions for it and the steady build up of easy miles got me through injury free.
  • Rory, I'd second the recommendation for the Hal Higdon plans.  Also-ran is talking sense about simply building up the mileage at an easy pace, and HH gives you a good straightforward schedule for doing this.  Good luck with it all, and hang around for advice whilst you're going through the training.

  • Well done on the lost half stone - diet is always the best route.

    Just one last thing on FIRST. The authors of the plan only have a 5k Training plan for novice runners in their latest edition and they don't recommend marathon distance (but then no one does to novices). If you want to find out more, then the book to read is "Run Less, Run Faster"

    Of course 26.2m can be done, and I am sure the mental battles you have been through will help

    I would go with a more straight forward plan, like HH. Your objective is to raise money for the charity. Something like HH will minimise injury risk - you definitely want to be on that start line. 

    Good luck Rory

  • Well done in signing up and starting. I ran the FLM (as it was then) for charity 5 years ago from a standing start. In a fit of New Year's resolution, I got a charity place in the first week of January and had to buy my trainers before I could train. My first run also 1.5m made me feel sick. I did a 16 week novice plan (and can send it to you directly so you can see what it looked like - given to me by a running personal trainer). I did, however, get overexciting and start doing speedwork and increasing distance to quickly and injured myself. I was quite lucky to get back out of injury to run at all and managed a fairly slow marathon. My lessons learnt is (a) if you are a working parent, assume you won't manage to stick to the training plan every week as work/children/baby no.2/tiredness etc will get in the way (b) that's OK - few stick 100% to a training a plan once you start asking around, for the same reason (so don't panic if life does interfere) (c) bearing that in mind, if you can, add in a small hadnful of extra weeks to allow for this - you sound on plan already (d) gently, gently, gently does it. Don't increase speed, mileage or long run distance quickly even if you feel great - what you can't see is the muscolar-skelatal impact until you injure yourself. Finally, when you get there, go out to enjoy that marathon and focus on geting round rather than time in that first. The London marathon has the MOST incredible atmosphere and it's just fantastic to run and soak it up.

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