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3684 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Jun 11, 2012 10:11 AM by badmatty
badmatty Rookie 5 posts since
Oct 22, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 2, 2012 4:14 AM

Help me define beginner

I think of myself as a total newbie.  I look at the amount of time I've been running and how late in life I started and figure I have to be a beginner.  I started to run last August and had problems with knee pain.  Someone recommended that I get fitted for proper running shoes and it was like a miracle.  I ran my first 5k road race on September 18th at the age of 38.  I was amazed that after losing 30 pounds in the previous 5 months and only running for a month, I turned in a 24:34 time.  I was so excited, that I ran and ran and ran.  In fact too much.  I ended up doing some damage to my achilles.  That put a quick stop to it.  I continued my fitness regiment otherwise preparing for a Tough Mudder event.  It was not till February that I could start running again and now that this mud race is behind me, I am again focusing on running.  I love it.  If you're wondering how much I've actually run; by my endomondo tracking (I use it religiously), I have about 300 miles under me.  My 5k times are about the same as last Sept.


I'm still a beginner, right?


I ask because when I signed up for my first 10k (Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod), I wanted to train and be as ready as I could.  I went to the training section here on cool running (love this site), and the times they say for a beginner seem unattainable for me, realistically.  They list as 48 minutes as a goal...I was thinking that and hour would be more likely.  My wife says shoot for 55 minutes.


When I speak with friends and look where I finish in the pack, I think my mid 24 minute 5k is pretty good.  I don't want to push it and re-injure myself, but I also want to set a challenging but attainable goal.


So, my questions are;

  • What is a beginner?
  • Does anyone have a suggestion for a reasonable time goal?


I'm sure you'll want more info, so feel free to ask.  By the way, I'm now 39, 162 lbs. 


Thanks in advance for any advice!!


My Endomondo Profile

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jun 2, 2012 9:14 AM (in response to badmatty)
    Re: Help me define beginner

    If you're still running mid 24s for 5K, 50 is a good goal for a 10K, with something below 49 a "stretch" goal.  This assumes good training, ramped up a little for the greater distance.  Also make adjustments if the course is hilly or for other conditions that may make it harder than average, such as heat or crowding.


    You're certainly newer than a lot of runners, which is pretty much irrelevant.  The point is not how long you've been at it but what you've learned.  And believe me, if you're a good runner you learn something about running and yourself every time you go out.  28 years of running and while I don't think of myself as a beginner, I'm still learning.  As they say, it's a journey, not a destination.


    Oh, BTW, I started at about the same age you did.




  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jun 7, 2012 4:03 PM (in response to badmatty)
    Help me define beginner

    Sounds like you are doing great Matty and I personally think that signing up for additional races (moving on to the 10K and so on) is one of the best things that you can do to further your goals for the future. 


    I also ventured into running later in life and the definition of beginner is really a personal distinction that sometimes indicates time of activity, level of regular activity or achieving progress.  Basically, you should determine when you no longer categorize yourself as a beginner because there are different measures depending on the circumstances.  When I placed in my first 8k, I was still technically new to running (6 months), but I decided to abandon the beginner title at that point.  So, your expectations are the most important as opposed to other labels or qualifications. 


    Likewise, a reasonable time goal for your first 10K is a variable that you can decide based on your best efforts.  (As Len suggested, there are other unknown situations that may influence your planned finish time and the experience is the most valuable).  The point is to be proud in completing the race and then quickly look to the next opportunity to compete, enjoy your accomplishments and improve at your own rate. 


    Congrats and best wishes for many happy miles and events.

  • protometal Pro 124 posts since
    Aug 31, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jun 10, 2012 6:11 AM (in response to badmatty)
    Re: Help me define beginner

    It has taken me over a year, but finally I don't feel like a complete "beginner", "rookie" or "newbie". I now have a lot of races of various distances under my belt and feel like I can finally call myself "in good shape". I still don't feel like a veteran though, as I'm still learning about my capabilities and running in general constantly. When I go to races, I can tell the majority of people running at my age and approximate speed are more experienced than I, but I really don't think it matters too much.


    I think a mid 24 minute 5k for your initial races is a great time. I took me about 5 months or so of running to go from 30 minutes to get to that point last year.


    Not sure where you saw it, but I don't consider 48 minutes a "beginner" time at all, especially for those of us starting or resuming running in our mid - late 30s. I ran 50:26 in my first real attempt to race a 10k earlier this year when I was running about 24 minute 5ks. With that time I was 36 out of 90 runners (and in the mid 200s out of 1300 overall, 48 minutes would have been in the top 25% of my age group). Now that I'm closer to a 22 minute 5k time, my hope is that I'll be under 48 minutes when I do my next one.


    I think that somewhere between 50 - 55 minutes would be a reasonable time for a first 10k with your 5k time. In my limited experience (maybe I still am a beginner), 10k is a tougher distance to figure out pace than is a half marathon. Once you get one under your belt, you'll have a better idea for the next one.


    The best advice I can give is to not worry too much about your time, especially for a new distance, and just give a good effort. Good luck!


    "Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"-- Henry Ford

    Upcoming races: Super 5k 2/3/13

    Select Recent Results: Brooksie Way Half Marathon - 1:49:09 (Half Marathon PR), Open Door Julie Run 5k - 22:16 (2nd place age group, PR)

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