Really getting into running - what next?

Hi all, First post and short-term browser of the site. A bit of background - 36 year-old male, 180cm, 78kg, good health. I've recently returned from a 6 month tour of duty in Afghanistan where I used my downtime to focus on training. Mainly a mixture of weights and CV (treadmill, rowing machine, cross-trainer). Over the 6 months I lost 10kg in weight and toned up considerably. I can recommend 6 months in the desert with nothing else to do in their spare time but train to anyone who wants to get in shape! It's been almost 2 months since my return and my good habits have remained - exercising daily and eating healthily, not drinking much beer etc. My favourite distance is 10km and my PB is 43 minutes. I ran 20km the other day in 1:45. I found it surprisingly easy with plenty left in the tank. So far I've always trained alone, never really followed any kind of schedule. (Currently I mainly run 10km every other day, averaging approx 45min each time). I've never been in a race either. I think I could get much faster, and quite fancy racing 10km and half-marathons. I get a bit lonely sometimes, but my wife isn't keen on me joining a club due to work and family commitments! There's an overwhelming amount of training schedules on the web for both distances but I'm not sure where to start. I was hoping with the background info provided here, some of you friendly guys and girls may be able to help. I suppose my goals are sub-42 10km and 1:30 half marathon. Advice most welcome! image Cheers, George


  • Hi George, if you have a club near you, joining it needn't eat into work and family commitments any more than going out for a run on your own would. It would just mean more people to train with on evenings when you can make it, but I don't think any club is going to insist that you come to every session (my club has members that only come very occasionally, sometimes due to family commitments). If you think joining a club is something that you'd like and find helpful, look into the local options and see what they offer, then you'll be able to discuss it with your wife and you might both find that it fits into your lifestyle fine. Unless she's already not happy with the running every other day?


  • I'd second what litertin says - joining a club doesn't have to mean spending more time out than running on your own.

    You go to the club, you run, you go home - job done.  They won't mind if you don't go every time - at my club no-one goes to every session.

    It will give you company, motivation, and help push you on.

    Have a look on the England Athletics website to find clubs near you, and have a chat with them.  They should let you come along for a couple of runs before you commit to joining, so that you can see if you like them.

  • I'm a member of a running club and very rarely train with them due to work and family commitments.  I do however try to enter local races and run in club colours.  This improves the social aspect as there are always a few people I know who I can chat to and also provides extra motivation as it gives you real people to race against rather than a bunch of strangers.

    Other than that if you are unsure how to structure you training then most schedules comprise three weekly elements: long run, tempo and hills/intervals then just try to fit easy/slow miles around that.  You could do worse than looking at Smartcoach, whcih, whilst the schedules produced are fairly basic it allows quite a bit of flexibility and you can always tart it up as you go.

    Mcmillian running is also very useful for setting training paces for tempo session etc and gives good descriptions of what you should be trying to acheive with the various training sessions.

    Remember though that you training paces should be based on you current ability rather than you goal times.

    ...Did someone say Parkrun?

  • well done Lou! someone had to say it image

  • Confirming what others have said. Find a local club and go to whichever sessions fit with your home life and work. Your local parkrun (if there is one - click the link provided by Lou Diamonds above and find out) is a good way to find a club and just to find other people running in your area - and you'll soon find which other runners are about your speed. Okay, I know you want to go for 10K/HM (and maybe beyond...?) but a free 5K available every Saturday morning is a useful start! Start talking to people at parkrun and you'll find out about clubs, local races etc. Good luck!

  • Thanks, all. I really appreciate the feedback.

  • +1 for what others have said re parkrun, joining club, mixing in longer slower runs.

    I did the local parkrun regularly and eventually joined the local club that I most liked the look of. Because of my work hours I never make it to club training sessions during the week, however I still get to know clubmates through chatting at parkrun and wearing the club vest at local races and through banter on the club's Facebook group.

    Sure there are lots of people in the club that know each other a lot better than they know me because they see each other more regularly and/or have been running together for years, however any club worth your fees will still make you feel welcome even if you're only an occasional face. Just knowing a few people that race around the same pace as you can really improve your running experience if you're finding it a bit lonely. Over the last year I have gone from having hardly any to having many 'running friends' just from doing parkrun and joining a club and running is all the more enjoyable for it, but I still train mainly on my own, loosely following the advice here

    and the paces here


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