I have no idea what i am doing

Good moring to you all! well, this is quite surreal for me.... I have never done this before, I dont run, never have done, i walk quite a bit and i do exercise classes, thats my fitness. i'm 32 years old, dont drink much and eat fairly healthy with the odd takeaway now and again..

I've made the decision id like to do a half marathon, i've registered with run to the beat in order to get info on when i can enter for the oct run.

I've been going through the internet gathering information on beginners guides etc... but i have no idea where to start..??

When do i start what do i do!!!!! I've got until Oct...

Can anyone help advise me on the steps i need to take??? x

Thanks people!!


  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    Does the gym where you do your exercise classes have a running group?  Many do, and they're usually aimed at beginners, so it may be worth asking there.

    You will need to get some running shoes, so go along to a running shop and ask for some advice.  They should put you on a treadmill and watch how you run, then make recommendations based on your running style.

    And very important - get a good sports bra!

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    It sounds daunting to run 13 miles for the first time, but you have plenty of time to prepare.

    Its worth breaking down the distance and experiencing "racing" conditions prior to the event.  Have a look for a local parkrun (5k distance) and maybe a 10k run in May/June, as stepping stones to running the HM. 

  • I'm sure people will come up with more technical advice, but much of this depends on what you can do at the moment. Most beginners' schedules start with a degree of 'walk a bit, run a bit' stuff, but you might be able to run further than they suggest without stopping. It's very important that if you're not used to it you don't do too much too soon, and increase distances and/or intensity in only small amounts - it's oft-stated that no more than 10% increases per week are advisable. Maybe you should go out and see if you can run, say, a mile or for 10 minutes without stopping. It might give you a better idea of where you're at. It's conceivable, of course, that since you already do some exercise that you can start off at a slightly more advanced stage than that. Aiming for a half marathon is a good goal, but also look into running some much shorter races - parkrun (timed 5k runs for allcomers on Saturday mornings all over the country) is a friendly, free and very welcoming event for people of all competencies. Doesn't matter if you take 14 or 45 minutes to do it, it's a great place to find out about how you cope with what is just over three miles. But first, get out the door and just test the water, so to speak. If you really have to do 'run-walk' (plenty of schedules on the net), you'll be surprised at how quickly you can increase distances and finally run without stopping for a reasonable time. Good luck and take it easy. You have until October!

  • Hi Jo, like you I had a decent level of general fitness when I started running, and I would agree with what Peter says above, but add that the first few times you try running you should set off at what feels like an implausibly slow pace, e.g. not more than 50% faster than walking. Do that till you feel like you need to stop, then walk briskly till you get your breath back, then run (slowly) a bit more.

  • Wilkie - thank you for your response...i'll definately find out about the running groups in my gym or at least locally... and yes i did see about the trainers, so i'll look into that...i do have a sports bra, so im almost there!! ha

    Stutyr - yes i thought it was daunting to! ha ha - but good idea about testing the water with the 5k distance etc, so I'll do that..

    peter - thanks for that, i'll definately give the park run a go!! i'll get out there weekend and see how i get on, as you say i might even surprise myself! Thanks for the message

    the Litertin, i dont want to blow it all too early and make myself feel like i cant do it...

    Really appreciate all the feedback guys! I'm feeling really excited about it and will get out there this weekend to actually see what i'm capable off, slowly of course!! ha will keep you all posted and thanks for taking the time to help me!!


  • What's your local parkrun? Remember, you don't 'have' to run the whole way, and if it has two laps, it's ok to stop after one if you can't carry on. The people who organise them are doing it to help people like you get into running, so there are no expectations, no pressures. And hang around after for coffee, if there is a cafe. Good way to meet people and get some tips.

  • Hi Peter, it looks like highbury is my most local, says every Saturday at 9am.... i think id like to try that one, i havent done any running at all, do you think it would be ok for me to just go and do this, as you say i could run a bit walk a bit etc...

  • Well guys - i did it, i got out there this morning 9am tested the water and i was pleasantly surprised, I managed to jog without stopping for 10 minutes, then did a small run, a walk, a jog, a run, and then jogged home and i did 1.5 miles in half an hour! I was actually really surprised at my fitness level and ver chuffed with myself!! im going to train each week for 6 weeks then enter my first ever race of 5k end of March. Keep ya posted and thanks again for all the support x

  • Hey Jo, well done for getting out there! Slow and steady that's the key image Agree with Peter about parkrun events - just turn up and go for it. Went to Finsbury Park parkrun this morning and it's really motivating to run with other people. Have you thought about one of the NHS sofa to 5k training plans? If you like, I could meet you at one of the Parkruns (are you far from Finsbury Park? I live in E5 so that's marginally closer for me than Hackney Marshes) and run alongside you for pacing/ general support? This helped me when I started parkrun as I found it quite tough being overtaken (competitive spirit haha!) Keep going and eat well and you'll get there!! Go for it!!! 

  • Firstly, you have got until Ocotber. Stop worrying!

    You can enter a half in July and still be ready for it. Get a traning plan from the Runners World site. Stops you looking at a blank calendar and wondring what you should be doing about it. 

    Get a few 10k's under your belt to get used to the race atmosphere.

    And about July start following the four month plan. Oh and one last thing. when you DO cross the line...you'll have a PB!

  • Hi helenN

    I do have that sofa to 5k plan, which was so helpful, Ive tried to gather as much info as i can from everywhere and think I'm going ok, I've been out saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, last night and will be out again Sunday. aiming for 3 nights a week now.. currently I can run jog steadily 30mins non stop, at the moment im not sure how far this is as Ive literally been going round my block. Thanks for the offer of meeting up, Finsbury park is a little bit further from me, but i have found a park run in ally pally which is very close to me, so i may give that one a go next saturday! thats a 5k which is currently what i'm aiming for...

    Thanks John, i guess I just feel like its gonna take me ages to be able to get to a half marathon i cant even contemplate it at the moment, but i think im doing well so far.. I've going to do the Rabbit Run Regent Park 30th March, then i want to do Race for Life 10k in June...

    Thanks again everyone for your support and encouragement! Really helping! xx


  • Take your time. 

    As a England Athletics qualified coach I get lots of e mails asking for help as the sender has entered a half in a fortnights time, they are chronically overweight and have a wooden leg. What training plan should they follow and what advice can I give them?

    Well the traning plan involves entering next years race instead and the advice is reading the traning plan I have just given them and following it to the letter.

    Many people (including me) take Christmas off and start half traning in January ready for the season openers in March. And those are the longest 8 weeks of the year!

    Stay in touch and let us know how you are getting on. A steady jog at any distance taking any time makes you a runner. Them's the rules!

  • Qualified coach you say..... Excellent.

    Still haven't built up to having the wooden leg installed but I'll contact you in a few weeks.

  • I look forward to it Mr Bond...
  • ha ha ha thanks guys!! no wooden leg as yet, however John, you may be able to advise. I seem to be struggling a little, my training plan advises a run Tues, Thurs and Sundays, so i'll been trying to extend my time, just by a little each time. The best i've done so far is 37 minutes quite comfortably, however last sunday i struggled getting to 20 minutes! and last night i managed 20 mintues just about but the last 10 minutes killed me!!!! I'm worried that im going to get to the event on the 30th for the 5k and struggle all the way through when i know ive been comfortable before!!


  • IBJ (In before John).

    Are you running too quick? Are you taking it properly slow and steady?

    Are you doing too much other exercise around the running or otherwise wearing yourself out with day to day activity?

    Is it your legs getting knackered or are you getting out of breath?

  • no I'm sticking to the same pace, i know this from my little app i have on my phone, 10 minutes a mile.. no other excercise involved, just running at the mo, 3 times a week.

    i feel like my body is giving up on me... before i've felt quite energised, like i could have carried on but last two times, Ive felt that what was an easy last 10 minutes is a real struggle, chest starts burning, legs get heavy etc!

    When i first started running i was eating more, as i read lots about eating pasta and toast and all the stuff i tried to cut out previously. But then I found i was putting on weight (not good when id been dieting for a year and lost a stone and a half) so i thought, ok, go back to my normal eating - Alpan for breakfast, salad for lunch with a snack and an apple, then on run days, an hour and a half before the run i had a protein ball from the health food shop. do you think its that - that i've cut back on the food again?


  • It could be - try eating something more substantial over the 24 hours before your next run and see if it helps? Lunch doesn't sound like much to me especially.

  • ha ha ha.. i was a cornbeef salad... but its what ive been used to having during my dieting to anything more than that, i seem to be gaining weight!

    But will give it a go - thanks Rob!


  • sorry - "it was a cornbeef salad" not I was!!!

  • Try drinking a chocolate milk within 30 mins after your run. The sooner the better. Or a carb bases shake, I use SIS rapid recovery. It help me a lot on my next run. Without it my legs feels very tired the next few days. You can make a half mix first and see how it go.
  • Also, maybe slow the pace a little more... to say 11 or 12 minute miles.

    It will feel really slow, but will help you to run further. Once you're used to the distance, you can then start thinking about speed on shorter runs.

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