First Half Marathon

T minus 18 weeks to my first half marathon.

I'm 32 years old, 5'11" and approx. 90kg (at least 10kg over my fighting weight).

A little background - I have done little to no exercise for the past 3 years, maximum 30 minutes kicking a football around per week and a little bit of cricket. The last time I ran any distance at all was pre-season football about 4 years ago. I was running 3.5 miles at about 07'10" per mile over a hilly circuit (280 ft elevation) according to an old running app I dusted off this morning.

Today, my first run in at least 3 years, I ran 3.54 miles at 9'23" per mile which felt steady, easy running.

What sort of pace / time should I be targeting for my first half marathon? I would like to push myself training over the next few months leading up to May's race.


  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Welcome back to running!

    That is a good steady pace and one to build on. I would download a RW training plan and slowly build up the mileage. Consistent running every week will be better than doing too much and becoming injured.

    For my first HM I had a a few goals, one to arrive at the start line, two to arrive at the finish line, three to run all the way between the two! Other goals were under two hours and a negative split. I managed all of them but I was more delighted with the first three!
  • Welcome Doug. As TT says it would be a good idea to download an HM training plan. The positive aspect of this is that you have 18 weeks to train for it, which should be plenty of time.

    I would start thinking about what your pace and target time when you've perhaps got 6 weeks into your training plan. It's difficult to judge what would be an ideal target pace with little data at hand. 9:23 pace for 3.5 miles is a good base and pleased that you found it easy. But can you sustain that pace over a longer period? That's where the training comes in.

    In addition, and again in agreement with TT, don't push yourself too hard. It's better to start and finish having put in 18 weeks of effort than really try and push yourself in training and then injure yourself. The key to running a half is knowing you can complete the distance and the training will give you that confidence. Remember, whatever time you run in the HM it's going to be a PB.
  • Thanks for the comments and advice.

    Slowly working on building my weekly mileage up from 0 to about 30 over the next 6 weeks in order to start one of the 12-week training programmes.

    Think I'll start with the sub 2:00 and see how I feel a month into it, maybe shift towards the 1:45 programme if I'm comfortable with everything.
  • How did this feel at 9.23 pace. I was similair when I started after a 3 year break from a full marathon and I'm down to steady 9 minute mile now for 10+ miles of running...
  • Hi, joining this thread as planning to do my first half marathon on 1 March and getting nervous as not done as much training as desired.

    Im 47, male, BMI of 30, been running occasional 5ks in the gym for about 4 years now, hadn't done any running outside of sports before that. Since the start of the year been averaging 2 5ks and 1 10k each week, 5k time on a treadmill around 26-28 mins and 10k 55-58 mins.

    Last couple of 10ks have been 55 so heading in the right direction at least but not done anything longer. After the 10k runs do feel a bit fatigued the rest of that day and into the next which is one of the reasons I haven't ran further.

    Original objectives were finish, try to enjoy it, and if possible get close to or under 2hrs. Realistically I think the third one is not practical for this year? Thinking 2h 15m might be do-able though?

    More importantly, what are thoughts on whether its still safe to go ahead despite not having done any 15k runs or similar? Would 1 15k run make a big difference?
  • > @jjharrison said:
    > How did this feel at 9.23 pace. I was similair when I started after a 3 year break from a full marathon and I'm down to steady 9 minute mile now for 10+ miles of running...

    I'm just concentrating on building up my weekly mileage at the moment. Running 3-4 miles Tues, Weds, Thurs, Sat and 5-6 miles Sunday. Resting Mon & Fri.

    Currently plodding along happily at 9'00" mile for the longer runs and approx. 8'05" for the 3 milers.

    No current plan until I start a 12 week training schedule 1st March.
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Hi London2020, well done for starting to run, it is an amazing way to become fit and healthy. However I do have to say a race in two weeks time with only a long run of 10km is going to be tough, basically you need to run the same again then add the rest! Take it slowly at the beginning, always better to do a negative split, even if it is by one second. Lower your expectations, see this as a PB because is it your first race, learn from it and plan your next one. 
  • I will run the first half marathon on April 5th.

    I have only 8 weeks, my first goal is to arrive at the finish line under 3 hours.

    I hope that I will learn a lot of experience from my first marathon 
  • Apologies to hijack a bit but I’m also training for my first half marathon at the end of May (and can’t seem to start a new thread). The issue I’m having is I can’t quite find a training plan that fits in with the time I have. For info, I did a 10k last year in 56:30 and haven’t run further than that yet. <div>
    </div><div>I am able to run 3 times a week. 2 of these need to be lunchtime at work, so I’m constrained by time. Can probably do 3-4 miles max for these runs. The third will be at the weekend so can be a long run. Doing any more sessions is really difficult just now given work and family commitments. </div><div>
    </div><div>My question is, will that be enough running to get myself through it? I’m thinking something like a steady 3 mile run, a slightly faster 4 mile run and increasing long slow run each week. Does that sound reasonable, or would there be a better way I could use that time? Any other suggestions? </div><div>
  • London2020 - in afraid I agree with TT, doing a half having only run a 10k long run in training week be difficult. You may be able to finish, but I doubt you'll enjoy it, and the time is almost impossible to predict. There's still a fortnight left, I'd try and get two longer runs done if possible, or at least 1 next weekend of 10 miles/16km - partly for the training effect, partly for psychological benefi , and partly to give yourself an idea how it will feel. Usually you'd need a few runs like that to practice fueling etc.

    Jimbo - 3 runs a week is enough for a half at the end of May, don't worry. I ran my first few marathons on 3 runs a week, though more has since proven better. Increase the distance of your weekend long run progressively. Whilst it would be nice to increase one of the mid week ones, 3-4 miles isn't bad. Take one easy. I'd suggest using the other to do some faster work - have a mile warm up and a mile cool down, and do something with the middle two miles. 2 miles tempo pace is good for a half, or alternate x minutes fast with y minutes easy (eg 2 mins fast 1 min slow). If you get a chance to add a mile or two on mid week, great , or if you get an extra chance to run then just do a few easy miles. If you can, in April then try adding some miles in to your long run at around the pace you hope to do the half in, usually the middle of end of the run (ie not the first few miles) 
  • good luck on your race
  • Little update on this thread. I'm still working on increasing my mileage until I start my 12 week training programme on 2nd March, mainly just slow long runs and shorter pace runs at the moment.

    Running shorter 3 mile runs at 7:50 and 9:00 for the 6-7 mile longer runs.

    I'd really like to target 1:45 so aiming to make 8:00 mile pace sustainable.
  • Thread update ... Race postponed (obviously) until later in the year. Chipping away at the mileage and improving. Not focusing on training plan for now but running approx 4 times per week. 1 long run, 3 others about 4 miles. Weekly about 16-20 miles, nice to get out of the house!
  • This morning's 3-miler felt my best yet. 7:45 pace to finish in 23:15. Still a way to go to get near the 7:10 I was running 4-5 years ago but I feel I'm progressing. Feeling fitter and enjoying the runs.
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Bit of a dis-jointed thread but good to see that you are still enjoying the running, and picking up pace.
    Make sure that you do a good mix of runs; easy as well as quick. Can you fit in a 'medium' length run in the week? Working towards a half marathon you'll benefit from feeling comfortable with a range of paces, plus flat and hilly. All the best.
  • Back with a quick update to this thread as I still haven't run my first 1/2 marathon race for obvious COVID-19 reasons.

    Weekly mileage at approx 25-30 miles.

    Concentrating on long steady runs at the weekend. 14 miles at 9:00 pace last weekend.

    Tempo runs of 5-6 miles at 7:40 pace.

    Some hilly intervals mid-week.

    I am also working on speed, trying to hit a 6 minute mile, currently at 6:20.
  • I was also training my second half marathon (first one I had to walk after 15k), until its canceled. At the moment struggling to go over 19k, regardless how slow I run, or pace it. Foot pain is killing me. I might have increased the milage too fast.
  • The foot pain might be down to your runners, keremyzc. Have you had your gait analysed?
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