Beginner or not ?

when do you stop being a beginner and start to be a recreational runner?


  • Hi there.
    I think the definition I used was when I moved from beginner to intermediate as defined in the "Runners Handbook" (by Bob Glover) - the criteria set is that you can run non-stop for 20 minutes.

    BTW if you haven't seen this book - I can wholly recommend it - it got me from a standing start to a marathon in 2 years.

    Good luck with your running
  • By that definition I would have been intermediate on day one. I guess its when you don't feel like one anymore! I still feel like a beginner compared to all these club geezers and Ive been running on and off for 5 yrs. When I ran my first race that wasn't the Great North Run and found that I didn't come last or even nearly last then I felt like I was no longer a complete novice.
  • Thanks, but I am still not happy with the answers.
    How can I ask RW? They must know as they are the one asking us what kind of runners we are?
    They must have their own definition, don't they?!!!!!!

  • No, not necessarily. It depends what you think you are to some extent. There are no 'rules'.

    If you're happy being classed as a beginner untill you've run your first marathon, some of us might think that a bit odd, but we don't really care!

    I'd suggest maybe for the first few months you're probably a beginner - however much you run - then you can probably move into a different sort of category?

  • What does it matter ?
    I was a beginner at Ironman once, but I was still training 20 hrs a week !
  • I felt like a beginner right up until my first race.......................
    Unfortunately I still felt like a beginner during and after it as well! I guess whatever your own personal milestone is should be the criteria by which YOU judge YOURSELF.

    Mine was the GNR and now I feel like i've earned my spurs (or at least a jolly nice medal anyway).
  • ok, here is my story:
    Since I was a young girl I always dreamed of running a marathon. That was a big thing for me. Now I realise that everybody does it & almost everybody can do it too.
    But when I'll do it I want it to be just right, just the way I planned .I just want to get every step right to get to it (i am a bit of a perfectionist ...).Anyway I feel that I am not a beginner anymore but I don't want to be over-pretentious.& it's friday night & i'm drinking wine doesn't help.
  • Soph NO
    A marathon was my lifetime ambition too, from a fat short sighted lass
    At the age of 37, I finally entered one in Cardiff, as i couldnt get into London
    It was one of the most demoralising experiences of my life, I had to walk loads and finished 8th from bottom.
    I never knew how my mental staying power could be tested
    But I crossed the finish line in just under 6 hours, dodging cars, and only my parents and hubby there( my dad wasnt too impressed)
    As I crossed the finish line, my forst thought was " Ill do this properly next time"
    Five weeks later i ran a half marathon
    You cant predict how your individual marathon will go on the day
    It may not be perfect
    it will probably be the hardest thing you ever do
    You wont achieve perfection
    That DOESNT mean dont do it, it is one of the biggest things ive ever done, even more than saving lives etc, cos i did it for ME, and it was a HUGE test of mental stamina, not so much physical
    But please dont spoil the occasion for yourself like i did with perfectionism
    Finish the first, be proud and then fine tune!!
    Soory, rant over,I m on the gin
  • rant not quite over
    I can do 72 hours with no sleep and still make life saving decisions
    But the marathon was REALLY hard
    Roll on FLM
  • I started running to do Race for Life, it was a real struggle, I was promised a double-up of sponsorship money if I finished in under half an hour, that drove me to do it ! 2 months later I did a 10K and following advice in RW mag I made it in 54 mins so was getting better so IMHO (others may disagree) I think I've made a leap from big red L's to green ones
  • Soph,
    It's NOT true to say almost everybody can run a marathon. There are very many people who would never in their life be able / willing to run a marathon. There are of course a multitude of people who could not run a marathon for a wide variety of reasons.
    Being a perfectionist (with oneself if not with others) may mean we don't acknowledge so well the great achievements in our life. It would really take a large slice of positive mental thinking to prepare for a marathon. Whether things go well on the day isn't necessarily down to our own ability. However if we don't prepare well, we'll be found out. That's for sure, certain, as eggs are eggs, definitivo.
    Go ahead Soph, make the move for the major milestone in your life. But please, remember to recognise how well you have done & acknowledge that. You could say your owe yourself.
    The Best of Luck to you.
  • Soph,

    You are "a runner" from the first time you lace up those running shoes and take to the street, mud, trail or track.

    Any other category is just for other people's convenience.

  • Thankyou
  • Thank you all.
    Benz, well done! I must say I do appreciate people who don't give up. I think that's a very good quality in life.
    I haven't plan for a marathon yet. I am quite happy just to do a few 10K and improve my time. Will do the Reebok one on the 17th of November.
    Final thought:I am not a beginner anymore.
  • See you at Brighton Soph
    The GNR was a much more positive experience, dont let me put you off
  • Hi Soph,
    Have a nose at the events site for the Brighton thread - there are loads of us going, and we're meeting up before and after for a bit of social.

    It would be good to meet you too if you fancy it :-)

  • See you all in Brighton!
    My best bit about running is when I finish & I'm thinking: I did it, wasn't too bad after all & will do it again!
  • It's all down to whether you perceive yourself as a beginner or a regular runner.
    To somebody who's only just taken the sport up, somebody who's been running for a couple of months will seem like a regular runner. But that same person would appear to be a beginner to an elite athlete.
    It's all down to your personal viewpoint!
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