I am zero, want to be hero!


I have decided that the time has come to do something about my appalingly low levels of stamina and general fitness. I am 23y old, skinny, and get tired when catching a bus. Goal: running half-marathon.

I was hoping you could point me in the right direction - having done a bit of research, I have realized that there are thousands of approaches to running, and... got lost.

I have researched a Runnersworld-recommended running shop in my vicinity - so I will get a pair of good shoes soon.

But how about the training schedule itself? I have found "Hal Higdon Marathon Training Guide - Novice Supreme" which seems to be nicely set up. And hey, 2.5km (1.5 mile) should be doable for the first run. What do you think about this schedule?

I have also heard about the idea of "jogging" for X minutes, then sprinting for Y seconds/minutes and so on - what do you think about it? How do you call it, what is its purpose and... is it a good idea for a beginner?

In general - any tips and advice would be really appreciated.

Thank you so much in advance!


  • Well done for making the decision. A half marathon is a challenge but is very achievable. I would recommend having making smaller aims along the way. That might narrow down the mass of advice out there, and also give you the satisfaction of passing milestones on the way. You can't run a half marathon if you can't run 5k so I would make that your first target. There are some good plans out there - google NHS 5k or couch to 5k or BUPA 5k etc. These will start with a mix of walking and running which is a sensible way to start and build up. I know you have looked at the Hal Higdon plan and think 1.5 miles is an achievable start, but I wouldn't underestimate how hard that can be at the start - you are young which is an advantage but you say you get tired catching a bus image

    Once you can do 5k you can build to 10k, then you can build up to the half marathon.

    Once you can do 5k you can look into your local park run (google it) which will help with motivation, track your improvement etc.

    The plans with speedwork - the ones with the y seconds of sprinting are best avoided for now. First work on being able to run continuously and worry about speed later on. Speedwork too early can lead to injury.

    Good luck and let us know how you are doing.
  • Thank you!

    C25K sounds fantastc - I will definitely give it a try. I understand that I should run as slow as possible, making sure to run for the designated time (e.g. 10 minutes), rather than focusing on the distance.

    Also, I understand that the natural progression of training plans in the running world is: 5K; 10K; half-marathon; marathon. (as opposed to starting with 10K plan or taking half-marathon training just after 5K). That will definitely help me when searching through the Internet.

    Are there any... runners-dating sites? image. I mean, a nice place where I could find a fellow Londoner who I could join in running once I learn how to put one leg in the front of the other?



    Also... do you know any good apps for Android for running? I was hoping to have something which could monitor my running + distance + have the schedule pre-installed... I have seen "Couch-to-5K" by Active.com. Have anyone used it? Is there some other system/application/website which could be used to keeping track of the running?

  • Don't get me wrong, people do launch into hm's (and plenty of under-trained people will be lining up at he London marathon in April), but in my opinion it is more fun, and more sensible, to build up progressively. You could target a spring 10k and summer/autumn half marathon for example.

    In terms of finding fellow runners, you can ask on here, but I doubt you will have much luck, though plenty of people with good advice. However, getting to park runs will give you the opportunity to meet others or you could check out local running clubs. Ask them how far you should be able to run before joining - some may have beginner groups some may expect you to run e.g. 40 mins minimum. You can also look on the Run England website as I think they have groups for new runners (I think it is jog Scotland for anyone North of the border). Also your local public gyms might advertise informal groups.
  • No idea abou apps, sorry - am a techno clutz. But if you look back through the gear threads you will probably find relevant advice e.g. http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/gear/app-for-recording-runs/236259.html.
  • Sorry, can't do linky links. Clutz, I told you!
  • Power to you, Dante!  Go for it! image

  • try Runkeeper for your android, you can put in training schedules and it keeps track of your progress and distance, and its free!

    as for people to run with, consider parkrun www.parkrun.org.uk

    its a free, timed 5k event run all over the country every saturday. its for all abilities, so dont be worried you will be too slow. I believe this weekend may be a 'resolution run' as well, and i know our local one will have 'running buddies' to help first timers.

    good luck and well done!

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