10 k or half marathon - advice to a newbie please!

Hi there,

First a little background about me. I'm a healthy (but unfit) 25 year old female in a busy newly qualified teachers job. I decided last year that i had lost all sense of fitness (had an achilles injury a year and a half ago and just got lazy) and put on a bit of weight. I decided that 2013 was going to be the year i get fit and start running.

I've started a healthier eating plan which seems to be working and have also started running. I really would like to do something for charity this year, (a run) but am un decided as to which one the best one would be. Either the 10 k Bupa London on the 27th May, or the half marathon in October. There are pro's and con's of each. At the moment i'm making time for running and a bit of light resistance trainijg but with such a busy job that requires me to work evenings and weekends i am wondering if i am putting too much pressure on myself signing up for a run in May. I am a real beginner and will be training from absolutely no fitness.

What sways me towards a half marathon later in the year is that i'll have longer to train (albeit it being double the distance) and it would be much more of an achievement. I could take it a little slower to start with and then build up to running the half marathon slowly...

Thanks for any help - I'm confused!


  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    One of the best ways to prepare for a HM is to run a 10k race.  How about picking a smaller 10k race in May/June that you can train towards?  Do this without the additional pressure of raising money for charity, and if you enjoy it then you can target the HM and use it to raise money for charity.

    If you want to do it, you need to find time to train - can you run early in the morning prior to going to work etc?  For a 10k most of your runs will be under 1 hour, so you need to put in about four hours per week as a minimum.


  • Hi, thanks for replying.

    The thing is, i want to have a goal in mind and i think signing up to a charity run will really help my motivation and there's a specific charity i want to run for this year.

    It really is just deciding which one to do. I've built up to running 2 miles so far, continuing to slowly work harder & run a bit further.

    Also, in terms of training times i would be looking to do my resistance training in the morning before work and a couple of evenings, and the runs 3 in the week and a long one at the weekend.

    Very time consuming i know but i do really want to do it.

  • The park run idea is great - i will certainly be doing that a few times, thanks! image

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    From the sounds of it you are at the level to start a plan similar to this one:


    This is a 10 week plan for a half marathon, so you'd be looking to start it in July/August time.  As a build-up to this, you could follow a 10k plan that has three runs a week:


    Be realistic with yourself - although mathematically a half-marathon is just over twice the distance of a 10k, it is probably around three times as much effort and therefore requires three times as much training effort.  If you don't have the time to train properly for the Half, then sticking to the 10k distance may be wiser.

  • Stutyr's adice is good, as is David Falconer's. But if you're secretly wanting your 'charity-run-goal' to be sooner rather than later, I would add that you have plenty of time to get running a decent 10K in May, if you put the amount of training you describe. In fact it's more than enough.

    3 midweek runs and a longer one at the weekend, coupled with your resistance training will have you fit as a butcher's dog by May!  Unless, of course, you do too much too fast, and your injury returns... so just be sensible.

    Definitely do a May 10K... and then an October half marathon. Choose which one you want to be your main fundraising event.  Well done, and good luck.

    EDIT.. I just saw stutyr's 2nd post...  more good advice! But as a teacher, even a newly qualified one, I'd hope you can find plenty of summer time to get some good training in!



  • Why dont you do both? As you can run 2 miles just now you will be ready for the 10k at the end of may and then use the experience gained and the training you've done to build up for the HM in October? It's certainly achievable and it will keep you focused throughout the year. As said the jump from a 10k to HM is more than simply doubling it so would suggest you do the 10k first.

    Good luck.
  • Hi Run Wales..

    In regards to training over the summer....That's kind of why i asked about running the half marathon in October - i'd have the summer aswell to train even harder..

  • Thanks Bigeater...

    I can't expect to fund raise for both though.. You have to pay to run the charity events and also raise money...

  • David Falconer,

    Yeah i know what you mean about hayfever - on the plus side i don't get it! Never had it before so hopefully will be ok this summer!

    I'm not great with heat either to be fair, well running in it anyway. That's why i'm glad the 10 k is May and half marathon is October! In terms of running in the summer, very early mornings or evenings would be a perfect temperature no?

  • Hannah, pick a smaller 10k where you just pay the entry fee, run, and go home and use that for experience then do your charity run at the HM in October. Even for the HM apply for your own place and raise your money for your chosen charity, that way you can raise as much as you want without set minimums. I have my own place for VLM and doing it for breast cancer care but I have no pressure of fundraising targets as I chose them.

    Don't get caught up in wanting to do mass populated races, there's plenty other races out there that are superbly organised and have a great atmosphere.
  • Bigeater - thanks for your advice. I'm down to run the Bupa London 10 k but have already spoken to the charity who have said it is fine to do the half marathon instead - i just wont be able to get a refund for the run i've already paid for.

    Problem is you have to pay to enter both & it starts getting quite expensive image

  • Don't get fooled into thinking the Bupa want be hot - May can be scorching and it certainly was for the Bupa 10k last year! Good luck whichever you decide to do image
  • Hi Russellelly - The Bupa 10k is at 10 am - how hot can it be then?! Nowhere near as hot as running in the afternoon surely? 

  • 10am is when the elites start. I must have started at about 10:30 and by the end it was very sunny and warm. Not going to happen every year, but it sticks in my mind!
  • roebyroeby ✭✭✭

    could get very warm , after the elites go off they,ll put you out in waves, it could be 11.30/12.00pm before you finish and May can get very warm...........try to enjoy your running if you have a friend to team up with this helps to motivate you,Also look at joining a running club , they,ll have a wealth of knowledge and all abilities go.Parkruns are brill too and will give you a feel for running in a crowd....which often means faster.If you go regularly you,ll begin to see your times improve which will give you a big boost.

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