Zero to Hero in 5 months


I am starting to run with the intention of losing weight and to get fit. I am just over  40 years old and around 185-190 pounds in weight (13 1/2 stone).

To prove my friends and family wrong I am going to attempt the Manchester 10k run at the end of May 2013 as the timing for this one seems right.

I will need support along the way and hope to get info from this website/forum.

I have bought some running shoes (for road running) from Sport Soccer for £70 - Karrimor ones which seem to have just come on to the market. They were reduced from £140, but that doesnt mean too much from this shop as everything is reduced anyway.

Losing 30 pounds in weight is my ideal.

Looked at the C210K app on my iphone and will attempt that, not sure I have the right one, so any recommendations here would be appreciated.

Also looking to change my diet from 3 take aways a week to something a little healthier. Does anyone have any meal plans to help my running and to lose weight.

I am not bothered about how long it takes me to run 10k, but I am bothered about finishing it and losing weight.

And thanks in advance for your help here.



  • good luck are not old or very overweight compared to many on these forums that run regularly .........

    just make your own meals and fill up with veg and fruit and you should see a difference...............

    regarding the shoes.£70 is a lot to pay for a pair of running shoes if you are not sure if they are the ones to suit you..........

    running shoes come in so many different types now that should help the way we run..but equally the wrong style can cause injury problems........

    my best advice is to try and not do too much too soon.........keep things easy and build up slowly and listen to your body and try and sort out any niggles 


     good luck

  • Thanks,

    Just did my first session, week 1 day 1.

    OMG, not good. Managed to get about 14 minutes into the programme when I had to stop. My right shin cramped up and I couldnt put my heal down. So had to walk back with a bit of a limp. I am flat footed and my shoes are built for flat footed people.

    Concerns are am I going to get this done, or will my shins prevent me. Hopefully it is lack of fitness and it will improve.

    Anyone offer any comments or advice please.


  • Be careful of shin splints - many a new runner have become a cropper of this affliction. Stiff shin muscles can be stretched and strengthened to support running. Ensure you have appropriate footwear. Have a look on this site for shin splints, or google.

    Start of with short distances, run walk, and find somewhere soft to run, even if it means getting those new trainers muddy.
  • agree with above.start off run/walking on soft ground............

  • will take your advice on the soft ground. Shin splints is something i do suffer from. At least it appears it isnt just me then and i can strengthen them. Will keep posting as things develop.

    Thanks for the advice.

  • Developing strong core muscles will help protect your lower legs from doing too much of the work & therefore being more prone to injury.  Also, posture when running is key; you should be a straight line from head to ankle, no bending at the waist!  Keep your back straight and your hips tucked under.  Ask a friend to watch you running so they can tell you what your posture is like.  Don't overstride; this will add unnecessary stress to your lower legs, keep your centre of gravity under your body rather than too far forward.  One of the worst health hazards ever invented is the chair!!  Swap your chair for a swiss ball & you'll get a great core work out!!!  To reduce muscle soreness, do leg drains after a run - spend 20 minutes lying on the bed or floor with your legs straight up the wall, give your feet & calves a massage.  This should help to reduce inflammation & completely fixed my sore shins which I had about a year ago.  Hope this helps!

  • Agree with Elizabeth on this one don't hunch the shoulders as this affects the whole posture.

    The back will naturally straighten if you get the head and shoulders pointing the right way image
  • Also the biggest and best investment I've had is the amazing foam roller image
  • Took my running shoes back, went to Snow and Rock and had better success. They used the Gait machine video thingymejiggy and I have some new shoes now. Next run is tomorrow. Hope my shins will be better otherwise i will be walking home again lol.

    I will try to keep my body upright a little more and focus on my posture this time, see if it helps.


  • Looked up the foam roller Jason, Trying to sort out the Jessica Ennis one from Argos as a good price (and I like the idea of wrapping my legs around her). Seems all local Argos dont have it in stock so will order one in I think. Looks like this might do me some real good as my muscles are very tight and bobbly.


  • Long brisk walks are a great way to get started, with minimal chance of injury. And on diet, remember small changes add up to a lot. Stick with it! Good luck.
  • Second run out and managed a minute more running before cramp set in again on my right shin. When running i feel like I am tensing my right foot and not letting it run naturally like my left. I never knew there was so much to running, i just thought pair of trainers and off you go - nothing could be further from the truth.


  • Hi John can't really help you on the shins but think what your doing is great. I am 45 now and after two hip operations put on a little more weight than normal always been a bit heavy but wouldn't say I was fat and I am nearly two stone heavier than you lol, I am 6ft though. Anyway back to the running I decided in Summer 2011 I'd run a 10k more to prove to myself I could do it. Did the Glasgow one that sept and since then have done a half and a full marathon (Edinburgh) and through out all my training I was doing fine no injuries until I bought a new pair of trainers and with in 5m I was in pain tried them a couple more times and still in pain so back to old ones and all was fine and did my first ever marathon in 4.12. So looking to beat that this year. So possibly the trainers could be causing the pain try getting fitted at a running shop.

    Hope it's ok and like me you get the running bug have hardly lost any weight lol but a lot leaner.
  • Good Luck John!  The only way to get there is perseverence, and trying to stick to a plan.  I remember when I started running, about 4 years ago (age 34) after doing no exercise for a good 15 years with the aim to do the Great North Run - I managed barely a mile up the road, then walked back in pain and exhausted, with shin splints, every couple of days I tried a bit more, though I was ready to quit at week 2.  16 weeks later I managed 2h 6 minutes in the Half.  Not suffered from shin splints since either.

    I'm not convinced about shop recommendations and gait analysis, I've had it done 3 times and only the last time (in a privatly owned little running shop in Leicester) did I get shoes that didn't cause problems - I've stuck with that brand since with no issues, but It cost me in the early months.  I do wonder If I'd have had the same hit rate on my own choosing on the internet!

    Weight loss wise - I think its individual, the best way for you is the best way.  I managed a 1600 Net kcal/day (so if I did 700 kcal extra exercise I'd eat 700 kcal more) for 3 months while doing P90X a year ago and lost 12 kg/26 1/2 lbs (and more importantly dropping 7% body fat) - very simple diet using percentages of kcal from Protein/Carb/fat.  50:30:20 month 1, 40:40:20 month 2 and 30:50:20 month 3 before ending on a carb rich diet for marathon training.  I don't get bored easily of the same thing so just froze loads of meals I made on a Sunday and doled them out over the week.  YMMVimage


  • Thanks Daeve, some position comments on the shins. I am going to stick at it and just try and go a little further each time. God comment about week 2 I think that could be important for me as that will give me the impetutus to try to push through it.

    Last day of beer and food today. tomorrow the hard work starts.

    Thanks all for the comments so far, I will need the encouragement and votes of confidence to do this. So I will probably keep updating this thread as time goes by so I have something to refer back to once I break the 10k world record hehehe.

  • Hi John,

    I'm in a similar situation, and have also entered for Manchester.

    I'm not sure on the shin splints issue, but I did start training with a personal trainer and one of the big things we looked at was nutrition. Ridiculous as it sounds the thing that has made the biggest difference for me was drinking much more water. I used to drink a lot of fizzy drinks but I've cut them all out and now drink around 3ltrs of water a day - the difference is amazing.

    Might be a good place to start?
  • Hi Chris,

    I have started to drink water but only around 4 pints a day. I heard about 2 ltrs is good so I think i am on track and have to agree without doing too much exercise so far drinking water is making me feel more awake and have more energy. I didnt drink anything apart from about 5 cups of coffee a day.

  • I DID IT

    only managed 10 minutes on week 1 day 1 and then only 14 minutes on week 1 day2.


    Last night on week 1 day 3 I managed the full 30 minutes with only slight shin aching and not real pain.

    I did a decent warm up, used the roller and off I went trying to watch my running stance all the time and keep upright.

    Dont get me wrong I was not sprinting away like Mo Farah, but I jogged it and feel delighted with myself. I just hope now I can keep it going.

    Thanks so far for the advice and encouragement. I wil be repeating Week 1 to ensure I can complete it fully before moving to week 2 though.

  • Nice one!  Keep it going gently so you don't injure yourself - it definately gets easier at week 3.  I agree with the water thing - too easy to be dehydrated and not notice.

    I'm on day 4 today and the last 3 have been really tough to the point where I wasn't enjoying even the first mile (Day 1 - 35 min 140 HR treadmill; Day 2 - 8.75 miles 147 HR; Day 3 - 40 min 140 HR treadmill - all 10.30min/miles).  I know it'll get better soon so I keep going - gently! (I managed an 8:08min/mil HM last year, I can't imagine that at the moment) - I lost the fitness but it'll come back with a bit of perseverance.

    The hardest thing I'm finding is the weather - last 3 years I've started training in May after 8 months of nothing, but at least the weather and light was decent when the going was tough.  Now, it's miserable.  On the positive side - get used to going out now, and it'll be a doddle come Spring!  Character building image

    I love having my Garmin GPS watch and all the uploaded stats so I can see how far I have come - worth looking into if you haven't got one.

  • will check the watch, sounds expensive though and have already spent about £120 on shoes, jacket, gloves, socks, roller, dri t-shirts etc.

    But if i think it will help it will be money worth spending. I use my iphone at the moment for music and C25k programme. This GPS i assume is something totally different to that.

  • If you're taking your iphone with you on runs you should be able to use it somewhat like a GPS watch.  The Garmin Fit App (among many others) will do it for 69p - prob several free ones too but but I've only experience with the Garmin one via my family members without a Garmin watch.  We still share the data on the Garmin Connect website.

    The main advantage of a watch is it's easy to see on your wrist your pace so you can modify it in real time - my experience of using a GPS enable phone is carrying it is less comfortable and an armband means you can't see it in real-time, only after the run.  This and you can have it do advanced thing like race a virtual partner, program intervals and upload training plans to it, have it tell you to speed up/slow down etc.

    I gave up carrying my phone on my long training runs - it may not weigh much but it adds up over the miles and I ended up with an aching arm on occasion (maybe just that I'm weak!).

  • Hello John. I have done exactly what you are just setting out to do as I set out to run the NY marathon from the couch in 6 months. I had never run any real distance before and here is a brief summary of what I know.

    1. Gear - Now £70 might seem expensive for a pair of runners but it will seem even more expensive if they are not the correct type for you. Without going into details too much, just get yourself along to a neutral supplier (not sports direct or asics) who has the equipment to look at your running style (normally a treadmill and video camera) and advise on what kind of runner you are. Runners needs for example. This is very important that you get the correct shoes early on as you will avoid injuries later.

    2. Get yourself checked out by your GP and explain what you are about to start. You say you want to lose 30lb so it would be wise to get nutritional advise at the same time. It may be wiser to do lower impact training first to lead into a running programme. this might not be what you want to hear but again, injuries will be less common if you do good prep before hand.

    3. Set yourself a decent and realistic target. To do this you need a proper running plan and I have used the asics programme but there are many others. Set you goal and a time you expect to do it in and it will work everything out for you. I would set your sights on something higher than 10k maybe a half marathon and see what you think. Personally, I did a my first 10k run after 3 months training and I found that little events along the way help to focus you on the long term aim and keep your interest and enthusiasm intact.

    These are the basic starting blocks that I would suggest to anyone as I have made all of the mistakes for me to help you not to. If you want to know more then I have a blog about the whole thing. Good luck with it.

  • John you could try the Runkeeper or Endomondo app on your phone.

    you can program schedules into them so it makes it easy to follow training without having to think too much. The app tells you when to change pace, start an interval, when youve done a mile, etc etc.

    and they are both free apps.

  • Thanks all.

    I missed commenting about my running shoes and this is something I should have commented on earlier.

    After advice from the first few posters I went to Snow and Rock who have a Gait machine and spent about 30 minutes using their treadmill and getting the right shoes.

    I then took back my Sports Direct Karimmor ones and got a credit note which i have used to buy the jacket, etc.

    Marathon Rookie, I admire your enthusiam for a marathon but the very thought of that kills me to be honest. It would be just too much for me to comprehend at the moment. Althought it is something I really want to achieve in my life to say "I did that".

    Daeve I agree with you on the armband, it may get too much for me once i get running properly and I will probably need to look at a watch. Checked out prices today and seems to be around £130-£160, so that will need to go on hold at the moment. However your advice makes total sense and I will look at this further down the line.

    Max's mum and I will check out the apps, thanks.

  • How many time a week are you expecting to run? Yes a marathon is daunting but I would say that a goal of 10k after 5 months is a very low target and you will not get the results you desire (weight loss and fitness) which only come with sustained distance running. How much do you weigh and how tall are you?

  • I am 5'5" and weight 199 pounds (14 stone 3), I look like a medicine ball I think lol.

    I am trying to do the C25K and running 3 times a week. Just redoing week 1 again as the first 2 runs i only managed half of it before my shins cramped.

    I usually have 3 take aways a week with snacks and stuff and maybe a little cider and now eating senisbly rather than strict dieting and no alcohol. I am hoping eating sensibly and running will lose my weight gradually and i will get to 12 1/2 stone by May for the 10k.

    2 wheatabix for breakfast with semi skimmed milk.

    Microwave rice and tuna in spring water for lunch at work.

    Normal meal in the evening such as pasta or chicken salad etc.

    Snacks is fruit if i have it. Drinking 2 litres of water a day at least now.

    If you can offer any suggestions on my food it would be appreciated folks.

  • Dieting is tough for most people - that said once you get going it can be quite easy if you are clever.

    3 takeaways removed a week with alcohol is probably around 3500 kcal over your normal intake (depending on the takeaway, fish & chips is a lot better than Indian typically for example) - that alone is 1lb a week weightloss if you're weight was level before.  Add the exercise in and you're away!

    The biggest thing for me was having a decent breakfast and then not getting hungry - in fact just doing that rather than a small one or just coffee seemed to kickstart my metabolism.  2 Weetabix (37.5g) is only 134 kcal - hardly enough for me to get me through the morning and I weigh less than you!  I try to eat every 2-2.5 hours if I can, 5 meals a day is better than 3 with long gaps.

    You could go the numerical route - calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate) to see what calories you need to break even, then factor in excercise and give yourself a decent deficit.  3500 kcal for a 1lb of weightloss i.e. 1 lb a week = 3500 kcal deficit (500 kcal a day).

    i.e. My BMR is about 2000 (+ ~500  for activity) = 2500 kcal to break even.  I'm aiming to lose 1lb and a bit a week (i.e. 500-800 kcal/day deficit) so eat around 1800 kcal balanced diet with moderate excercise.  I eat more when I do a long run (1hr+) burning nearer 1000 kcal.  It goes up and down a bit depending on what we're eating in the house and what I like more - but averages out in a week.  I use Myplate on to track it all as 99% of food I eat is in the database.

    It's not an exact science, everyone is different (some need to eat a lot less to lose it, others can eat more) - but I'm a scientist and like to do things this way - keeps me motivated (I also track my weight v calories v excerise done and play with stats).

    You can eat too little as well which makes your body want to store fat, so you get diminishing returns - a lot of people fall into that trap.

  • Thanks for the info.

    I think what i shall do is do as I am doing, as my eating is better and i am not getting hungry. See how it goes for 2 weeks and then change my eating habits again if i dont see any weight loss and try the above method.

  • A good run tonight. Felt stronger but shins ached a little after about 20 mins. Managed the full 30 mins though and distance covered was more than last time so I must have been faster. (2.89k in the 30 mins).

    One more run for week 1 before moving to week 2.

    I think i am getting addicted.

  • Well done John, doing my last week 1 run later. It is a bit of a wake up call for our bodies isn't it?

    Daeve, good advice re dieting. I ama bit of a bugger for not having breakfast.

    Stopped at about age 16 when nobody nagged me anymore.

    Have been having porridge for brekkie when I have time before work.

    Can I just add that my friend has to lose 4 stone. His doctor said he can eat as many carbs as he want before midday and then no carbs after that.
Sign In or Register to comment.