Confidence crisis

Hello all I've never posted on here before, but have spent hour after hour reading through other posts, so I really hope some of you will be able to help me. I am currently training for the Great Scottish half marathon in October. Originally I had planned to do the women's 10k later this month, but more on that in a minute. Prior to August 2012 I had never run before. I began getting in shape in March 2012, and have lost 39kg in the last year. I now weigh 95kg, and am still considerably overweight, but going in the right direction. I began with swimming, which I've done for the past few years, along with interval training. Once my fitness had improved enough, I used the couch to 5k app to get me running up to 30minutes. Since then, I've been running three times per week, and swimming 2/3 times per week, alternating that with interval training from time to time. I am now up to running 12k, which on my last run took 1hr 37mins. It's very slow, I know, but my aim is just to get around in one piece. My concerns are as follows: 1) the longer the runs become, the less strong I feel. I have no problems cardio-vascularly, but my legs get very tired. I can usually push through on the runs, but it takes me a very long time to recover. Why is this, and how can I improve it? I find even four days later my legs are still very tired, and I need to take two days off before the long run so that I can last it. This means that the amount of training I can do decreases. I usually try to swim the following day, but even that doesn't seem to help. 2) I have 'proper' running shoes (two pairs), but I'm not sure they're right. Years ago I had the Nike air structure triax and they were amazing, but when I got my shoes last year, they didn't suit me at all. After trying a lot of shoes, I had the Nike lunar eclipse. They were incredibly comfortable, but gave me problems with my knees and hips. When I returned to the shop for a new pair, I was recommended the brooks adrenaline shoes. They're fine for runs up to around 6k, but after that my feet go completely numb, beginning with my right fourth toe, before spreading all along the side of my food, right down to my heel. It's so bad that I can't feel if my feet are touching the floor or not. They also feel very hard, but I'm used to that now, I returned them to the shop, and then was given a pair of mizuno wave Shoes. These are much more comfortable, but they give me this stabbing pain in the same 4th right toe, although my feet don't go numb. It gets so bad, I have to stop and take my shoe off! I'm not sure if its supposed to be like that, but I feel I spend an awful lot of time stressing about how painful my feet are, and more worrying I sometimes trip onto/off kerbs because I can't feel my feel. Is this normal? When I had my gait re-analysed, I was told I have 'tricky' feet... 2) I have a training plan, but I'm beginning to worry that I'll never be strong enough to run the race. I'm not even sure my plan is right. The runs begin at 45 mins, but that is half as long as I run for currently. The longest run on the plan is 90 mins, and there's absolutely no way I'll complete the race in less than 2.15. I've been following the long/short plan to an extent, but substituting the long runs with where I'm currently up to. I'm now measuring by distance, rather than time, and adding 1km per week. Is that manageable? 3) It's now been decided that I need to have more shoulder surgery, which means I'll be able to do no exercise for at least 6/7 weeks, from the beginning of May. How can I keep myself in shape without being able to run/swim? Does this mean my half marathon goal is still achievable? How will I go about building my strength after that? I'm sorry this message is so long, but as you can see I'm slowly driving myself mad with all the doubts! Thank you for any pearls of wisdom you can offer! <img s


  • Sorry for the lack of paragraphs - it didn't look like that when I drafted it!
  • Hi Lotty,

    If you have been told you have "tricky feet" perhaps an idea would be get a professional opinion from a podiatrist. It might be they recommend orthotics and they'll also give you advice on what shoes woud suit you best. It sounds like you need to get this sorted out first. 

    You have lots of time between now and October to train so dont panic about that. If it helps put it into perspective, I'm also running a half marathon in October, the longest I have run since having bronchitis in January is 5 miles and I'm not in any doubt at all that I'll be able do it.

    Are you concerned about not finishing in 2.15 because there is a cut off time or because it's a personal goal?



  • Hi Screamapillar

    Thanks for your advice. I'll go and see a professional. It seems I have loose ligaments in my ankles, and although my shoes are good for the first wee bit, my feet start flapping about all over the place after that and my shoes become useless.

    That does make me feel better - thank you. I suppose I just feel panicked about the enforced rest I'll need to take, and how much time I'll lose because of it.

    I'll be happy just to make it round the course still running and I'm not worried about the time. I meant more that my plan doesn't seem very useful if it only suggests I run for a maximum of 90 minutes, when it already takes me longer than that to run 12k.

    Is there anything I can be doing to build the strength in my legs? I do a mix of long run/short run/hill runs, although the hill runs become harder to do as the long runs get, well, longer!
  • Hi Lotty, firstly a BIG congratulations on your weight loss thus far! I can't help with the shoe issue other than to agree with Screamapillar and go see a specialist.

    As for your times, maybe you are going too fast/doing too much even though it's a slow time? I'm a newbie too and recently began HADD training. Am now running slow and steady and my indurance has improved quite a lot and can run 5-6 miles on back to back days with no niggles or aches (like you it used to take me days to recover). Two months ago I needed a walk break after 1.5 hilly miles but can now (reasonably) happily run for 70 minutes without one, slightly slower than I used to but at a reduced average WHR. Am hoping my speed will improve with time.

    Good luck with the surgery and yes, plenty of time for training after you recover image

  • Thanks very much Andi. What is HADD training? I thought my speed was ok because I can still talk whilst running, and my feeling was if I went slower my joints would be even more tired because I'd take longer! But I'll try going slower today and see how that helps.

    This might seem like a silly question, but how long is a good cool down length. I usually walk for five minutes after a run, as well as stretching, but my legs seize up so I'm beginning to think it's not long enough. I really am a beginner!
  • Hi Lotty, try a stationary bike good - for CV and legs and you can also do sprints and inclines but without pounding your feet. 

    I don't usually warm down so I am a bad example image

  • Well done on the weight loss!

    Agreed with the others about seeing a podiatrist for your feet, they need to be comfortable.

    As for training, maybe find a plan that covers specific mileage sessions rather than time, which is what I did. There was no point saying to me 'run 6 miles in 50 minutes' or anything like that, I'm simply not fast enough.

    Walk,Jog,Run has a range of plans, I chose the Beginner half marathon, which had me running three or four times a week, and cross-training too. I know it works, because all 95kg of me just finished my first Half this morning.image I have been running since the end of July btw.

  • There's no reason you can't rejig the plan so that you add some longer runs based on distance rather than time.

    I like to run the whole distance before a half but if the longest run you can manage to do is only 10 miles you'll still get round OK.

  • Thanks very much Tina and Screamapilkar. I ran 8 miles non stop yesterday, so feeling a bit more confident about my prospects in October.

    I'll miss the women's 10k next month, but I've signed up for one in October to give me an idea of what races are like. As for my plan, I'm loosely following it for now, but I'll get a new one that's based around distance once I'm recovered. Thank you for all your advice - much appreciated!
  • you'll do it for sure; plenty of time and knowing that following a plan rather than just randomly running around. Enjoy! (and let us know how you get on!).

  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    Lotty - Congratulations on everything you've achieved so far. You'll love the Great Scottish Run, it's a great event.

    For confidence think about what you've achieved, not what you've yet to do. Runners do have a tendency to focus on what we've not done, rather than the things we have. Think back to before your journey started and think of telling that person they just went out and managed to run 8 miles. That they'd lost all that weight. That they planned on running a half marathon. Trust me there will be plenty on the start line that haven't gone as far as 8 miles yet. Continue to work at it and you'll achieve your goal.

  • Read this: The Marathon and Half Marathon - A Training Guide by Graeme Hilditch.  It has a training plan and lots of good advice re injuries etc.

    I lost 3 stone last year through running.  39kg is amazing.  Well done.

    I'm not an expert but I would say you are running too far at this stage.  A period of enforced rest might be a blessing in disguise.  Let your body recover from the work it has been doing over this last year.  If you are worried about the weight, then have you looked at the diet/nutrition side of things as well as the exercise?

    Before you start running again, as others have said, the first thing is to get your feet seen to by a podiatrist.  Then just start again with very small increases in distance and speed.

    Good luck.

  • Hello everyone!

    Now that things have calmed down, I wanted to update you on my progress and thank you all for the wonderful advice you gave me! My shoulder surgery went ahead at the end of April and unfortunately I was rather ill afterwards so I wasn't able to start training until the beginning of August. Even that was against the advice of my surgeon, but I wasn't prepared to miss another race after so much preparation!

    I missed the Glasgow women's 10k in May, and so I entered the Wigan 10k in September,ber instead so that I'd have run at least one race ahead of the half marathon. I completed it in 1:12,  five minutes faster than in training, and it actually felt like it wasn't that big a challenge - my training definitely prepared me well. It was also a massive boost to run with others since I've completed most of this journey alone and training partners come and go (mostly falling by the wayside!). 

    My my knees felt much better after the enforced rest post surgery, and like some of you said, allowed my body to recuperate after a gruelling 15 months of training and weight loss. I did lots of long hilly works to try and keep some sort of routine, although it was still pretty traumatic starting the runs again.  Once I started training again I could only do 3 days training a week because my shoulder was still very painful, but it was a good thing too as I had plenty of time to recover between runs.

    For the half marathon itself, I felt good and really positive about the challenge (and glad to finally run the race after so many obstacles). I have now lost 9 stone, and went from a size 28 to a size 12-14. I still have some weight to lose, but I feel much healthier and fit, which is what my goal always was. I started running segments of the route about two weeks before and that really helped me psychologically. I managed to run the whole distance (minus the .1) in training once, which really helped boost my confidence too. On the day, people raced past me on the first big hill, and I felt suddenly anxious - (was I running fast enough? Should I speed up to catch the faster runners?),  but I stuck to a comfortable pace, and settled into a rhythm. After four miles, I saw all the sprinters walking and felt good about my choice to go slow! 

    What amazed me was how many people were walking by mile 8, either having given up entirely, or who had decided to run/walk alternately for the whole race. I felt a little frustrated realising one man was using me as his marker on when to start running again but I made sure that I overtook him before the end of the race! I ran the whole thing, and even though I felt I was pushed to my limit, I didn't need to walk and I felt very well prepared, especially after all the hill training I'd done. I finished the race in 2 hours 32,  and knocked 15 minutes off my time on the training run! I raised £1800 too for Glasgow branch of Samaritans, where I volunteer. 

    I felt pretty smug smug for about two days, then I started training again - I've entered a 10k next week and didn't want to crash and burn post race. I feel like I maybe didn't take enough recovery time as my legs feel very heavy, and I just can't motivate myself to keep up the runs of 2 hours +! I've decided instead to concentrate on increasing speed, and I'm doing more work in the gym. I'll maybe even take a week off after the 10k, but we'll see. 

    Thanks so much to all of you who contributed and gave great advice. It really did make a difference and saw me through the race!



  • Brilliant, well done Lotty image

  • That is brilliant, well done image


  • congratulations, you should rightly be very proud of yourself.

  • Thank you!

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