Some help and reassurance for a new kid

Hi all, hope you're well.
I thought I should sign up in the hope that some other runners out there could offer some reassurance after a significant confidence drop. I've come to running pretty late in life. I'm 42 now, never been a runner, started with C25K just under two years ago, and was absolutely delighted at going from struggling with the 60-second runs through to being able to 'run' comfortable non-stop 5K.

I was genuinely surprised at how much I started to really enjoy it, and pushed on to 10K runs. I 'competed' in two formal 10k road races in September and October of last year, finishing in 1hr 4min and 1hr 3min. Inspired by just how much I started to like it, and by friends who completed it, and eager for another goal to really push myself, I signed up for the Stirling Scottish Marathon which takes place on April 29 this year, and started running training in November.

I'm genuinely enjoying the training, and it definitely makes me feel great. But I'm noticing a few things:

- I had hoped that running would start to help me lose some weight. I'm just over 5'8 and just under 13stone. My weight has remained pretty much static.

- I'm really slow! My 10k times, above, are pretty slow by all accounts. My fastest 5k is29min 57sec. On December 29 I'd build myself up in confidence to try a non-stop 20k. I managed it no problem, but again, pretty slow - 2hr 43min 22sec. Yesterday I had a shot at my first half marathon distance, and did it in 2:41:00.

I had initially thought I was reasonably fit and that a sub-5hr marathon was a sensible aim, but my times would suggest I'll be lucky to beat 5hr 30min.

Should I just be looking to finish, be proud that I've gone from no running to half marathon in about 18 months, and forget about times? Or am I doing something wildly wrong here? Does this progress seem reasonable? It's so hard to judge when you only run on your own (something I love, but it does make it hard to get context).

I worry that I'm maybe not running enough? I've done about 60km in January so far, and trying to give recovery time so that all those Achilles and plantar aches don't become monsters.

Anyway, thanks for reading etc. A new, enthusiastic, and s-l-o-o-o-w runner!


  • JGavJGav ✭✭✭
    Lot's to think about.  Can you share what the average running week looks like - not an aspirational week but what you actually do. 
  • senidMsenidM ✭✭✭
    Think you're very early on in your running career (I know you think 42 is old, but its not!!!) So don't worry about times for the moment, completion is enough, how long it takes is not as important as finishing.

    The real concern here is either injury - so you need to keep it slow and sensible while you build up the miles

    or, by setting yourself a target time and failing badly, disillusionment with running.

    Its a long slow process to becoming a runner if you start late and overweight, but it can be done.

    Unfortunately the extra exercise alone will not shed much weight, I'm afraid you may have to consider what and how much you eat before you get down to that lean, mean running machine.

    Good Luck with the Marathon - just make sure you finish.
  • > @JGav said:
    > Lot's to think about.  Can you share what the average running week looks like - not an aspirational week but what you actually do. 

    It's been fairly mixed, but from November to now I've been trying to do two shorter runs (5km, 7km etc) during the week, followed by a longer run on Sundays (they've been 10km > 23.3km so far).

    When Achilles and plantar pain has kicked in I've replaced runs with gyms sessions, swimming etc, but new job means it's much harder to do those, so for last few weeks it's been predominantly runs.

    In fairness, I can see myself progressing - I'm doing 5km and 7km runs in <6min/km whereas that wasn't possible before. My overall average pace including long runs is now at 6min 33sec/km. And the fact that I managed 22.3km non-stop yesterday does feel remarkable.
  • NickW2NickW2 ✭✭✭
    On the weight thing, I had a similar experience - expected to lose weight when I started running lots but my weight has remained pretty similar. I think I just eat more when I run more. I also don't eat particularly healthily.

    I would not be too worried about the time for your marathon. Completing a marathon in itself is a great achievement from a base of not being able to run more than a minute 18 months earlier. Decide your target a month or so before (so around the end of March) once you have a feel for how your training has gone.
  • Hi Martin

    That is a great story. You are doing great and you will be surprised how you plateau and then have a surge in improvement. 

    Your three runs per week are a great base for building fitness. Try mixing it up with some hill sessions every couple of weeks and interval training- this will get your speed up faster. Take is easy on the long runs and don't push hard to avoid injury. 

    Concerned you are getting some pain- make sure you check your trainers are not work and correct for your gait. Check your form so you aren't over striding.

    Lots of tips for beginners in my book :smiley:  

    Good luck! 

    Jake Fricker (Author of "I am a Runner" and qualified coach)

    5k- 19:03
    10k- 39.28
    HM- 1:28.25
    M- 3:07.59
  • Thanks all for taking time to comment so far - it's reassuring that's there's other people out there who've been through it all, and who don't think I'm totally making a mess of it.

    Definitely going to try to forget about my marathon time for now, and just enjoy the training, then see where it takes me. To be fair, friends, family and even myself would never have thought it was a realistic prospect before, and I can some of them starting to believe, which is lovely.

    Need to keep reminding myself that actually finishing will be the major achievement - finisher's metal and t-shirt way more important than an arbitrary time right now!
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