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New to the forum ... and to running! (Read 2036 times)

    Hi all!  I've visited this site off and on for about 4 years now and have done a little "light" running over that time but nothing serious (mostly morning jogs with the dogs).  I haven't done much running at all for about 2 years now but my work keeps me very active and I feel I am good shape.  I have decided two things:  1)  I want to start running again because I miss it and really do enjoy it, and 2) I want to run a half marathon this September (9 weeks from now to be exact).  Here's some info about me:  I am an active 40 year old female with absolutely no health or joint problems and am not overweight.  I am able to run a comfortable (slow) 2 miles without needing to stop and walk a bit.  I am willing and able to give 100% over the next 9 weeks to training (running, dieting, etc.).  My dogs are willing and able to train right along with me Wink.  I guess what I'm after here is knowing if this is possible for me to accomplish or have set the bar too high??  Any thoughts?  Thanks!!     

    Scout7


    CPT Curmudgeon

      Well, I don't like to say that something is impossible, because the universe has a tendency to avoid absolutes.

       

      With that being said, I would say that the important thing here is not whether it is possible for you to run a half marathon in 9 weeks, but rather what goals do you have in life?  You stated two goals related to running: you want to start running more consistently because you enjoy it, and you want to run a half marathon in 9 weeks.

       

      To me, based on the description you have provided thus far, I would say those two goals are in possible contention with each other.  Which leads me to ask, why September, and why a half marathon?  There is more to your choice than you have given.


      Fat butt on couch

        The most important thing to understand about running is that it's a long term sport.  By this I mean that it takes a significant amount of time to really condition and strengthen your body to perform its best.  While this means that, as a new runner, you have years of exciting improvement in front of you -- even starting at as a youngster at 40 -- it also means you should be patient and give your body time to adjust.

         

        I'm sure you COULD do the HM in September...at least to finish it.  Would you optimally train yourself to put in a good, even effort across the whole race and do it in a way that you're really enjoy the experience?  Well, that is less likely though not impossible by any means.

         

        As Scout hinted, this sport also provides a ton of variety.  I'd recommend starting at a 5K and working your way up, if that fits into your goals.  I had been running for 10 years before I did a HM....I had plenty of fun in that 10 years.

        In full disclosure, I always err to the side of having people be conservative starting out.  I would rather people have good experiences in shorter races and let the addiction to the joy of running set in, then have them get in over their heads on longer distances races and end up injured or mentally burned out on a sport that may have provided them a lifetime of health and enjoyment.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         

          Scout7: 

           

          Well, to be honest, I hadn't really been thinking along the lines of starting running again until I discovered a marathon - in September - near some new friends (they live about 4 hours away from me).  The area is beautiful and I thought " ... hey, why not get back into running and do this half marathon and get to hang out with some friends for a weekend!"  Maybe not the best of reasons, I know, but still it has gotten me back into the running mood. 

           

          As far as life goals - without boring you with details - I have recently lost about 30 pounds of "winter weight" that I have been carrying around with me for the past 2 winters and am starting to do all the fitness related things that I used to do - bike riding, swimming, weight lifting, etc. - so one of my life goals is to never be out of shape again!  Basically, it sucks and I don't like feeling sluggish. 

           

          Any ideas / thoughts??

            Spaniel:

             

            I agree with your thoughts - don't do too much too soon or you'll wind up either hurting yourself , not having fun and throwing in the towel or both!  I am planning on training up to the first of September and reevaluating things at that point - if I'm feeling strong and able to run the longer miles comfortably then I'll register for the race and go for it.  If I'm not feeling confident that I can accomplish this in a safe and enjoyable manner, then I won't.  I think you're probably right that the wise thing to do would be to start out doing some 5K races to get a feel for things then move up slowly. 

             

            In the mean time, do you have any advice on how I should go about training in this short time?  Thanks for your input!!

             

            Oh, and by the way, why did you wait 10 years to do your first half?

            rlemert


                I would say that you can get into shape to run a half-marathon in nine months - based on the fact that that's essentially what I did when I started back into running in my mid-50's. You won't be as fast as you might eventually be, but you will be able to run continuously if that's your goal. You will also be more likely to get to the starting line successfully without injury.

               

                After nine weeks, you will be competing to see if the race will occur before the stress of your intense training causes you an injury.

                Going from 2 mile runs to about 10 miles or so needed to be able to run the HM is a significant jump, and in 9 weeks, meaning you have 7 weeks to build upto that 10 mile long run (with the last week being a taper sort of), is frankly a bit much.  I wouldn't do it.  

                  Scout7: 

                   

                  Well, to be honest, I hadn't really been thinking along the lines of starting running again until I discovered a marathon - in September - near some new friends (they live about 4 hours away from me).  The area is beautiful and I thought " ... hey, why not get back into running and do this half marathon and get to hang out with some friends for a weekend!"  Maybe not the best of reasons, I know, but still it has gotten me back into the running mood. 

                   

                  As far as life goals - without boring you with details - I have recently lost about 30 pounds of "winter weight" that I have been carrying around with me for the past 2 winters and am starting to do all the fitness related things that I used to do - bike riding, swimming, weight lifting, etc. - so one of my life goals is to never be out of shape again!  Basically, it sucks and I don't like feeling sluggish. 

                   

                  Any ideas / thoughts??

                   

                  I think that Scout, Spaniel, (the others that just posted), and you are thinking about it right.  Other than the race (which happens to be soon), the lifestyle change is the goal.

                  The risks of overtraining over the next few weeks may outweight the benefits of the training during those few weeks (based on your other goal).  (But, I can understand that the race may provide the motivation that you need to get going now).

                   

                  Just like Spaniel, I was running for about 10 years before I entered a long race.  In fact, I never ran any race for the first 10 years.  For me, it was a change in lifestyle.  I was overweight, diagnosed with diabetes, and felt like crap most days.  When I opened my eyes to reality, I decided to be active.  I didn't decide to lose weight.  I didn't decide to run a race.  I decided to get healthy, and being healthy included running quite a bit.

                   

                  From there, it lead to what it is today for me (and many others that post within these forums).

                   

                  I've got a couple of quotes that I keep with me as it relates to running....

                  "If you realize that you can't do what you set out to do, then set out to do what you can do" (unknown, translated from Dutch to English).

                  "Begin with the end in mind." Stephen Covey

                   

                  So, I'd suggest you enjoy what you do, and if it means that you're prepared for the 1/2 marathon, do it.  But if not, don't. 

                  You're in the first couple of weeks of a lifelong journey.  In a few years, if you continue on this journey, you'll appreciate these first few weeks and remember the labor of those first couple hundred miles of training.  You'll remember the highs and the lows, the good days and the bad, and the victories of finishing the races.  But the races don't need to happen right away.

                   

                  (Maybe the goal is to do the race in September, 2012, and spend the next 61 weeks preparing for that race at that time.  By spending 61 weeks, you can be very prepared for the race)

                   

                  Cheers,
                  Brian

                  2014 Goals:

                  #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                  #2: 365 Hours training

                   

                    Good luck on the half marathon.  It usually takes a goal like this to really get you up and moving.

                     

                    I think it is possible to complete the half in 9 weeks of training, but it won't be a comfortable training period over the next nine weeks.

                      My sister went from pretty much no running (less than 10 miles a week for a month) to a HM in an 8 week time.  She joined a HM training group to help her along the way.  During the training, she ended up with some painful shin splints but did finish the race.  So yes, it is possible but like others have said, may not be the most enjoyable experience.  With that said, my sister is still trying to get her runs in and will be training with another group for the Nike Women's Half Marathon.


                      Fat butt on couch

                        Spaniel:

                         

                        I agree with your thoughts - don't do too much too soon or you'll wind up either hurting yourself , not having fun and throwing in the towel or both!  I am planning on training up to the first of September and reevaluating things at that point - if I'm feeling strong and able to run the longer miles comfortably then I'll register for the race and go for it.  If I'm not feeling confident that I can accomplish this in a safe and enjoyable manner, then I won't.  I think you're probably right that the wise thing to do would be to start out doing some 5K races to get a feel for things then move up slowly. 

                         

                        In the mean time, do you have any advice on how I should go about training in this short time?  Thanks for your input!!

                         

                        Oh, and by the way, why did you wait 10 years to do your first half?

                         

                        So it sounds like your goal is just to have a good time.  That makes your goal more realistic -- you just need to train enough to finish comfortably and not worry about pace.  So basically work up to running as much as you can, but no need to worry about fast workouts or anything like that....just get your body used to running again.  Do NOT try to "cram" due to the short training time.  Just do what you can do and build up, taking it easy the week before the race.  Then go out and have fun; preferrably, run as you feel and don't look at your watch until you stop it at the finish.  You can race the next one.  Wink

                         

                        I waited 10 years because I started running consistently in 7th grade....so 2 years of JH + 4 years of HS + 4 years of college running = 10 years before I was free to race how I pleased....no long races where I lived in the summers, 5K/10Ks only.  I also had coaches who did relatively low mileage, I had run 15 miles a couple times on my own in college -- not sanctioned by coach -- but never longer.  Just a couple weeks out of college there was a HM that a bunch of my college friends got together to run.  Not having raced over 10K before, I took it out very easy and used it as a learning experience.  I ran the last 3 miles very fast as I had a lot left from approaching it that way, 1:18-something finish.  But by taking it that easy I got hooked on the longer races and was running a marathon 4 months later (which was miserable because I did NOT use it as a learning experience nor train enough for it).  If I had blown myself up in the HM I may have been soured on it and stuck with shorter stuff.  Now HM is my favorite race distance.

                         

                        MTA:  I hear you about the lifelong change being most important.  For many years I was 100% competitively driven.  100+ mpw etc etc.  Then real life (job, family, house) kicked in and eventually the fitness wore off, and the PRs stopped.  I got frustrated and more or less quit for a year.  Then I went on a backpacking mountain elk hunt and was sucking wind doing the same hunt I had done the year before....I could not stand not being able to do whatever I wanted physically without a second thought!  So I got back into running; albeit not at anywhere near the same level, and now even if I'm racing slow at least I am fit enough to handle whatever I want to do.

                        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                         


                        Turtle

                          Good for you on getting back into the swing of running! Why don't you try working toward a 10K this Sept. That would be doable. Of course it depends on if you are doing the race just to finish or if you have a time you want to beat. Good luck with whatever you do!

                          Spectrum Health Irish Jig 5K - March 15, 2014

                          Gazelle Girl Half Marathon - April 13, 2014

                           

                          “Why are you going to choose failure when success is an option?” 
                          ― Jillian Michaels

                           

                          “Unless You Puke, Faint or Die, Keep Going!” 
                          ― Jillian Michaels

                            So it sounds like your goal is just to have a good time.  That makes your goal more realistic -- you just need to train enough to finish comfortably and not worry about pace.  So basically work up to running as much as you can, but no need to worry about fast workouts or anything like that....just get your body used to running again.  Do NOT try to "cram" due to the short training time.  Just do what you can do and build up, taking it easy the week before the race.  Then go out and have fun; preferrably, run as you feel and don't look at your watch until you stop it at the finish.  You can race the next one.  Wink

                             

                            +1.  Because of your goal (Have a good time) and because you will evaluate your fitness level before the race, I say work towards it.  But I must throw in the same words of caution that the others have said, be cautious with building your mileage. 

                             

                            I was sorta similiar to you.  47 y.o., training for a HM for a cause, not overweight, ok shape, but I wasn't as fit as you.  I had more time to train - which was good because I couldn't run longer than 2 minutes.   I decided to screw what everyone said and walk the race if I wanted.  My hubby would not accept the silly notion of walking; he was fit, he had run before, he was a gym rat, and he could easily do 5 miles from the beginning.  But on race day, there was only one of us at the start line -and it wasn't my hubby.  There is an adage something like, "If you don't train hard enough, you may not finish the race.  But train too hard and you may not start the race."   (BTW, I also finished the race and more than slayed my goal time.)  So carefully, carefully build up your miles.  Don't risk injuring yourself and not even making it to the race.

                             

                            My additional advice: google HM training plans, the LONGS are very important, walk when you need to, taper for 2 weeks before the race (It seemed counterproductive to me at first but it lets your body rest.), set a realistic goal, pull out if need be, and have fun on race day.  At first, I was fixated on trying to get my goal time but then I realized that I would NEVER have a 2nd time for my first.  So I partied, danced, socialized, and couldn't have had more fun. 

                             

                            But remember your primary goal is a new lifestyle.  If it doesn't work out for this race, there will be plenty more.  Good luck to you.

                              Thanks all for your encouraging words!!  I've been really slammed with work these past two weeks but have managed to get my runs in (early morning with the dogs - doesn't get any better than that!!).  I feel good before, during and after so I guess I'm doing something right - and I'm not too exhausted to put in a full day of work afterward either.  I think I might be on track for the marathon but these next two weeks will be the test as I am increasing my mileage a bit.  We'll see how it goes.  Bottom line is I feel good - what more can I ask for!

                                Thanks all for your encouraging words!!  I've been really slammed with work these past two weeks but have managed to get my runs in (early morning with the dogs - doesn't get any better than that!!).  I feel good before, during and after so I guess I'm doing something right - and I'm not too exhausted to put in a full day of work afterward either.  I think I might be on track for the marathon but these next two weeks will be the test as I am increasing my mileage a bit.  We'll see how it goes.  Bottom line is I feel good - what more can I ask for!

                                 

                                Nothing, really! Smile

                                Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

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