Author Topic: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?  (Read 9347 times)

ender

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Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« on: May 25, 2015, 08:19:31 PM »
A recent conversation with a friend of mine reminded me of a goal I have to someday run a marathon. There is a half-marathon in a nearby city October 18th. When I was in high school years ago I ran somewhat frequently but then stopped in college and... haven't done anything remotely similar since.

However, I am very sedentary right now, pathetically so. Before I "throw down the gauntlet" and spend a non-refundable non-mustachian fee (ok only $65 or so but still), I want to make sure it's even remotely feasible.

The Internet shows me a million training plans which look feasible, and not too bad.

So it's about 4.5 months away. Those of you who actually run, is this a pipe dream? has anyone else started from nothing and run something like this?

brooklynmoney

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2015, 08:44:37 PM »
I did my first half in May 2008 I started training  in February  of that year. I had never run more than 3 miles before that point but I was  otherwise active and in good shape . I used the Hal Higdon training plan. So  my answer  would  be  you  can  do anything  if you  put your  mind  to it.

norabird

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2015, 08:52:56 PM »
I've only done 5ks, but my runs for a while we're reaching 9 miles after not much time ramping up, maybe three months? A half marathon would have been doable (not at a fast pace), except that I increased my weekly mileage too quickly and hurt my knee. Follow a training guide and you'll be fine!

iamlindoro

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2015, 08:59:57 PM »
You have a TON of time.  No problem doing a half marathon.  Train consistently, and remember that whatever time you finish in will be a PR.  No need to set any land speed records.  Take it easy, enjoy the day, and make sure you're smiling at the finish.

I did a marathon as my first run race about 9 years ago.  Trained for about 3.5-4 months.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 09:02:53 PM by iamlindoro »

okits

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2015, 09:02:23 PM »
You must commit to the training and your nutrition, but yes, totally doable. And you will be so proud at the finish line!

The Money Monk

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2015, 10:57:00 PM »
A recent conversation with a friend of mine reminded me of a goal I have to someday run a marathon. There is a half-marathon in a nearby city October 18th. When I was in high school years ago I ran somewhat frequently but then stopped in college and... haven't done anything remotely similar since.

However, I am very sedentary right now, pathetically so. Before I "throw down the gauntlet" and spend a non-refundable non-mustachian fee (ok only $65 or so but still), I want to make sure it's even remotely feasible.

The Internet shows me a million training plans which look feasible, and not too bad.

So it's about 4.5 months away. Those of you who actually run, is this a pipe dream? has anyone else started from nothing and run something like this?

I agree with others that you have plenty of time if you use it properly to prepare.  However if you are worried you won't be prepared in time, I would wait to sign up as late as possible, unless the price doubles or something.

I would recommend finding somebody to do it with you, and hold each other accountable on the training program.

Happy in CA

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2015, 11:59:50 PM »
I went from being a sedentary 42 year-old smoker to running a full marathon in just under 6 months, so it absolutely is possible.  I joined a training program offshoot of USA Fit and it worked great for me - not only did I finish the race I made great new friendships.  Although a group training program does add expense and is not necessary to finishing the race, it does give you confidence as well as training companions, and most are not too pricey.  But however you decide to approach it, just do it!

zinnie

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2015, 02:19:42 AM »
That's plenty of time even if you are completely sedentary now. I say do it! Then start on your training plan right away.

kimmarg

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2015, 04:26:07 AM »
Half yes, full marathon no. i tried the full marathon after never having run over 5k in my life andi ended up in physical therapy as it was too much too fast of a change for my body (despite having 6months and following a training plan). Now some people have no problem and you won't know. Until you try so go for it. Just be sure to work into it gradually and if you do feel anything hurting don't wait to go see someone. In my case several weeks of "pushing through" before seeing the doctor and PT made it all much worse. So go for it, just listen to your body.

ender

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2015, 05:58:38 AM »
hmm. I will have to think through this a bit more but it sounds like this isn't quite as crazy as I initially thought.

I guess it's about 20 weeks away give or take. That's quite a bit of time for me to do short runs to "warm up" to an actual training plan :)

chasesfish

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2015, 06:17:52 AM »
Its possible, it really all depends on how you listen to your body on potential injuries.  The first thing you need is a pair of shoes sold at a fancy running store, the type they put you on a treadmill for.

After that, just start running and don't increase your miles by more than 10% per run.

marty998

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2015, 06:23:59 AM »
Its possible, it really all depends on how you listen to your body on potential injuries.  The first thing you need is a pair of shoes sold at a fancy running store, the type they put you on a treadmill for.

After that, just start running and don't increase your miles by more than 10% per run.

Ahh dangit broke that rule. I went from running a 5k once a week to doing 12k several weeks ago.... eeek. No injuries yet, though it's time for some new shoes.

Really did it just to get my legs to build a "memory" of what running a 12k is like. I find now that shorter distances are easier to do and I can go a bit faster.


forummm

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2015, 06:29:58 AM »
No one says you actually have to run the whole way. Just start out small and increase your mileage each week. When it comes to race day, if you need to run awhile, walk awhile, do that. My first marathon, I got injured about halfway through and walked the rest of the way. It took awhile, but I finished.

Able was I ERE

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2015, 06:32:17 AM »
Good luck!   You should definitely have enough time to train so that you can finish.   Remember, whatever your finishing time is, it will be the fastest you've ever completed a half-marathon (so don't be afraid to walk or jog if that's what it takes to finish).

Suit

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2015, 07:39:48 AM »
I've gone from fairly sedentary to a half marathon in 6 months before. Make sure you get fitted for good shoes, they're expensive but it's important! Also, start slow, stretch and make sure you hydrate. Another tip from a runner friend of mine is to drink chocolate milk after you cool down after a long run, it has a great ratio of sugars/fats/protein so it makes for a cheap, non-fancy recovery drink.

I think it's a fantastic idea for you to do the half marathon, it's a great feeling of accomplishment!

Bicycle_B

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2015, 08:13:29 AM »
Not crazy, but it's no walk in the park either to ramp up that fast.

It also depends a lot on your individual situation: age, native resilience of your body, the details of how distance-friendly your body is (perfect natural stride vs one that wears badly at distance), etc.

If you liked running before, it's probably a perfect challenge in that you anything from crashing and burning to an effortful but pleasant success are quite possible.

I suggest moving forward immediately, challenge yourself but don't kill yourself, and learn from whatever happens.  A very fun adventure IMHO.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2015, 08:21:12 AM »
PS:  To state the obvious, the wise course is too ramp up more slowly, such as train for a 10K in 4 months, and go for the half marathon in the 8 to 12 months range.  But it's not impossible, just difficult and causes increased risk of injury.

As a periodic runner and running club member (have done races from 1 mile to a couple of marathons, 8+ years frequent running, lots of dabbling in scanty training regimes), I have observed that those who would do the 10K the first year and the half marathon the following year are injured far less often. 

The typical rule I've heard and seen is not to increase mileage per week more than 10%/week, and not increase the distance of your long run more than 10%/week.  From that perspective, the question becomes "What can you with nothing worse than muscle soreness this week?" and "If you add 10%/week to that, does it suggest a 10K or a half marathon four months later?"

Another question is whether you just want to achieve this one dream, or whether you have other related goals ("become a faster runner" or "run regularly if I like the return to running" or "a trail 10K would be fun" or "run half marathons in scenic locations around the world" or "do a mini triathlon" or...).  Obviously, preventing injury is helpful in achieving the other goals.

Good luck regardless!

nereo

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2015, 09:03:16 AM »
PS:  To state the obvious, the wise course is too ramp up more slowly, such as train for a 10K in 4 months, and go for the half marathon in the 8 to 12 months range.
...
The typical rule I've heard and seen is not to increase mileage per week more than 10%/week, and not increase the distance of your long run more than 10%/week.  ...
I don't understand, based on your own formula, why a half-marathon wouldn't be completely doable for the OP.
Using your 10% per week, if OP starts at 2 miles he will be at the half-marathon stage in 20 weeks.
My personal experience as both a coach and runner says anyone who's in good enough shape to run/walk for 2 miles today can do a half-marathon in 3 months if they just stick to a good training schedule.

OP:  Stop waffling and just go out and start training.  Pay the fee and that will be a decent motivator.  Increase your mileage slowly and if in 20 weeks you aren't ready to run 13.1 miles, then just walk/run it.

partgypsy

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2015, 09:37:19 AM »
If you went out right now, could you run 2 miles, even if slowly? If so, it sounds like it would be possible. If you are not able to run 2 miles right now, it may not be (according to 10% rule).

Bill76

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2015, 10:08:02 AM »
Totally doable.  I went from running 3 miles at a time in January 2013 to a half marathon in April 2013.

As a beginner, I'd recommend using a run-walk method to get through your longer runs if you find yourself struggling.  Google "Galloway run walk" for details of what I'm talking about.

Follow the training plan.  Most importantly, if it says "easy run" or "slow run," take it easy!  Those runs are more about endurance and recovery, not speed.  If you push yourself hard on every run, you'll burn out or get injured.

Good luck!

RunHappy

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2015, 10:18:15 AM »
Go for it!  You have enough time to train.  I love running and I love running half-marathons.  The couch-to-5k program is great and I think they have a couch-to-half program as well.

The entry fees can be quite expensive so I've cut back on which ones I sign up for.  I stopped doing repeat races unless I really LOVE them.  Some races like Ragnar Relay are seriously expensive (entry fees + travel) so I do MAYBE one a year. 

Aminul

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2015, 03:38:50 PM »
I agree with nereo -- pay the race fee.  It's great motivation knowing you've already spent the money.  You have plenty of time to train and be ready. 

Personally, I've found using technology has really kept me on track with running.  I use the Nike+ app on my phone to log all of my runs.  The app speaks to me every 250m and keeps me within my target pace (fast or slow depending on my desired distance), which has really helped me become a better runner. 

dandarc

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2015, 03:46:29 PM »
Couch to half marathon is totally doable in 5 months. 

I'd register for the motivation, then get cracking.  Might want to try a 5K in a month or so, and a 10K sometime before the half as it fits in your training plan, if running races will motivate you.

Do a sensible build up - don't try to run 50 miles next week.  And don't try to run too fast.  Walk if necessary.  These will help avoid injury.

As Nike used to say "Just do it!"

Lis

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2015, 04:00:16 PM »
There's a really great (free!) app called Couch to 5k (or C25K). Over the course of five weeks, three times a week, it trains you with the walk-run-walk method. You start out walking for one minute, jogging for 30 seconds, walking for one minute, etc. for a total of 30 minutes. The next day is walking for 1.5 minutes, jogging for 1 minute, walking 1.5 minutes, etc. until you're jogging for 30 minutes straight.

For me personally, music doesn't distract me enough for the 'hate hate hate' that runs through my mind while I run. I paid for an app called Run, Zombies! where you're a runner for your town gathering supplies and avoiding zombies. Yes, zombies chase you. I like listening to the story while I run. Plus, as a young person, putting anything in a game helps!

bluecheeze

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2015, 04:25:01 PM »
Very very possible. I did it as a new years resolution/bet from sister that we would run the Feb 28th half together- 2 month timeframe- well even less if I subtract the 2 days of recuperation from the holiday.

My training plan was to run longer (timewise) every session. The first day I made it maybe 5 minutes. I ignored pace. 5-6 days a week I ran. Normally I added a few minutes and once per week I added 15-20minutes. Maybe not the best plan but I finished that half in 2hrs 16 minutes and was one of most satisfying accomplishments I had ever made at that time in my life. My sister beat me though :-/  Nowadays you can probably find something on the web that will take you step by step safely.

mikesinWV

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2015, 09:29:09 AM »
I ran my first half a few years ago.  Since then I've been adding longer races.  Last race was 50 miler in the fall. 

There are a few good comments that I've seen so far so I'll summarize...

1.  Pay now, and tell everyone you are doing a half marathon.  You won't want to tell people that you couldn't do it b/c you didn't train enough. 
2.  Jeff Galloway is a great resource. In my first half, I ran 9 mins, walked 1 min.  Ran 9, walked 1, etc.  My friend ran the entire time and beat me by 20 seconds.  When the race was over, I was felling much better than him. 
3.  Don't increase total mileage in a given week by more than 10%. 


jonchappelle

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2015, 11:29:35 AM »
No you aren't crazy. Worst case scenario: walk the whole thing. Check for event time cutoff limits. Half marathons are generally very forgiving in this department.

Is it worth it? yes and no.

Yes: if this triggers a life change in you, you start exercising more frequently, eating healthy, etc. I would recommend starting smaller, 5k's. They are generally cheaper. Races help motivate you to stick to a plan, and starting small means you can build up to something greater. Plus running in a mob of people is always fun...

No: You're paying 65$ to be catered to with sugary beverages, most likely on public roads, in a race you will most likely not win. Walk outside your door, there's 13 miles of trails/roads all around you. Take a bottle, drop it off somewhere and run some loops, or get a camelbak, etc. Running is one of the cheapest sports out there.

I've done my fair share of races, so I see it differently now.


Alternatepriorities

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2015, 02:40:48 PM »
"hmm. I will have to think through this a bit more but it sounds like this isn't quite as crazy as I initially thought.
I guess it's about 20 weeks away give or take. That's quite a bit of time for me to do short runs to "warm up" to an actual training plan :)"

I went from running a mile to running a marathon in 20 weeks a few years ago. I did end up walking part of the marathon, but it was a really good experience.

ender

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Re: Beginner to run half marathon? Am I crazy?
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2015, 05:08:15 PM »