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7674 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: Nov 5, 2009 2:29 PM by DeanMFT 1 2 Previous Next
DeanMFT Rookie 4 posts since
Nov 3, 2009
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Nov 3, 2009 2:04 PM

First Time Runner--Half Marathon

I recently got inspired to run a half marathon--I have not been a runner ever. I signed up today for the Austin Marathon, Feb. 14, 2010. Any training tips would be awesome!

  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008
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    1. Nov 3, 2009 3:28 PM (in response to DeanMFT)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    The only tip I can give you is that three months to go from "not ever having run" to running a half marathon is not much time.  Most 12 week training plans are taking you from an established running base (where you have been consistently running about 20 mpw for a few months) and then ramping it up from there.  If you follow general running guidelines for increasing your weekly and distance mileage along with long run:weekly mileage ratios, then 12 weeks is simply not enough time to go from zero to fully prepared to run a half marathon.   Maybe you can choose an event at a later date so you will have time to build up your running base and then train properly to avoid injury.

  • Ninerman72 Amateur 12 posts since
    Apr 6, 2009
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    2. Nov 3, 2009 3:52 PM (in response to DeanMFT)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    Wow-- good for you! That's quite a step for a "non-runner," since you have some time, i would just suggest to try and get out and run routes you know you can finish and then build on that. Ultimately -you don't need to try and conquer 13.1 in your training, but from personal experience if you can get to half that you should be fine. Also, listen to your body and come race day... "start slow." Can't emphasize that enough. Good luck!

  • Cindyd32 Pro 64 posts since
    May 13, 2009
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    3. Nov 3, 2009 4:20 PM (in response to Ninerman72)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    I would not suggest running more than 10 miles in training.  If you can do 10 miles you will be able to do 13.1 on race day.  I made that mistake and ran 13 prior to race and ended up with injury.  Most people will tell you 10 miles is enough as your longest run prior to race day.

  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008
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    4. Nov 3, 2009 5:10 PM (in response to Cindyd32)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    Sorry you guys, but I'm gonna call you on this.  If you observe the following "Rules of Thumb" for safe and effective training, then you can see that three months is not "plenty of time" to train.


    RULE OF THUMB #1 - increase your weekly mileage AND your longest distance by no more than 10% weekly


    RULE OF THUMB #2 - your long run each week should not exceed 40% of your total weekly mileage


    So do the math.


    Week One, for a brand new runner who has "never run before", run about 5 miles total  (3 runs of 1-2 miles each)


    Week Two: Run about 5-6 miles weekly total (2.25 mile long run)


    Week Three:  Run about 6 miles (2.5 mile long run)


    Week Four:  Run about 6-7 miles (3 mile long run)


    Week Five:  Run about 7 miles (3.25 mile long run)


    Week Six:  Run about 7-8 miles (3.5 mile long run)


    Week Seven:  Run about 8 miles (3.75 mile long run)


    Etc. etc. etc. until Week 12 you are running 10-12 miles total for the week with a longest run of about 5-6 miles.


    Now you are ready to run a 13.1 mile race?  Okay....whatever...

  • spicegeek Community Moderator 2,563 posts since
    Jan 14, 2007
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    5. Nov 3, 2009 5:10 PM (in response to DeanMFT)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    What does your current fitness regime look like ?


    I wouldn`t say it`s impossible but without a base of running 3 miles a few times a week you are risking injury for over use if you jump too fast into a half training program. if you have a good strength training base and have done a lot of walking you  could try a low milage program and use a run / walk combo. But I would suggest you monitor yourself closely and stop if you get any unusual aches and pains

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  • fatladyrunning Amateur 9 posts since
    Nov 3, 2009
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    6. Nov 3, 2009 5:44 PM (in response to DeanMFT)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    Question:  Is it realistic for me to aim for a half marathon for 5/2/10?

    About me:  I began the C25K program in mid-September, and am now up to running about 2-3 miles 4-5 times per week.  Before starting running, I was already walking 10-15 miles per week for nine months, so I was not technically starting from total inactivity.  I thought that I would keep with my routine, maybe going up to 4-5 miles, until the New Year, then starting on a half-marathon program.



  • crl8686 Legend 1,313 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007
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    7. Nov 3, 2009 10:02 PM (in response to DeanMFT)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    There have been a number of similar threads over the past few months.

    Typical novice (beginner) half marathon training plans are ~12 wks long; they start with a training base that includes about 12 mi/wk with a long run of about 4 mi. See, for example:   If you are starting from a base of no running at all, then that's potentially a problem since your projected race is Feb 14. Counting back 12 wks, you'd need to be at that baseline (12 mi/wk with a long run of 4 mi) by Nov 22. That's less than 3 wks from now. If you've been staying in good shape with some other form of aerobic exercise, you could probably do it. However, if you're out of shape and not doing any aerobic exercise now, then you'd be putting yourself at high risk of an injury either during training or during the event. Again - the half is not a distance to be taken lightly.

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  • Love2Run4Me Legend 273 posts since
    Oct 9, 2009
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    8. Nov 4, 2009 7:23 AM (in response to DeanMFT)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    I too am training for the Austin Half Marathon.  However, I’ve been running for almost 6 months, and started training for the half about a month ago giving myself 18 weeks to complete a 12 week program.  I agree that if you are in good shape and do some type of aerobic exercise, you could do it, but it would take lots of hard work.  If you are completely inactive, then I would say to pick a race further out.

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  • PacerTim Rookie 2 posts since
    Apr 1, 2009
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    9. Nov 4, 2009 11:43 AM (in response to DeanMFT)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    You'll get lots of advice, but ultimately it's you that will do the training runs, figure out what routine works for your body and fitness level, and push yourself through training and through race day.   Don't let the half be your first race - look for a 5K nearby within the next month, following that up the second month with another 5K or possibly 10K.   If you run slow, or run and walk toward the end, don't worry about it.   It's all about getting started, not getting discouraged along the journey and pushing yourself that much further each time.  Increase in the beginning in 1/2 mile increments each week, then 1 mile increments in the last few weeks to reach a 10 mile training run for the half.  This will give you confidence to do your best when the big day comes.


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  • Smashville Pro 93 posts since
    Oct 20, 2009
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    10. Nov 4, 2009 12:08 PM (in response to DeanMFT)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    I'm going to chime in on the negative nancy side of this.


    You say you are not a runner at all, which means you clearly do not have the training base to do this. Yet, you want to run a half marathon in 12 weeks.


    It's simply not do-able and it's not safe. The C25K plan in and of itself is 9 that and you'll maybe...maybe be able to run about half of it and walk the rest, maybe alternating running a mile and walking a mile.


    Unless you're very fit, there's not any way you can do this safely.

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  • caesar_august Pro 85 posts since
    Aug 3, 2009
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    11. Nov 4, 2009 2:04 PM (in response to DeanMFT)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    When you say first time runner - is that you never run or is that you run on occasion?  I think it's possible, but you'll spend a lot of time training.  It is not something I would recommend you do, but if you're like me and have to set a high enough goal to get your butt off the couch then go for it!


    You can start doing split intervals - run in the morning, lunch time, and evening.  you can start slow - 1 mile for each run - and the slowly increase the mileage and time running.  Split training has many of the same benefits of doing 1 long run.  Your muscles may not have recovered completely from the previous runs, so don't push yourself hard.


    At one point during my training I was (and probably will next week) be putting in 10 miles a day (at least) - 4 mi morning, 2 miles for lunch, 4 miles in the evening - that's 10 miles in one day.

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  • DJBolden Amateur 6 posts since
    Mar 10, 2009
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    12. Nov 5, 2009 10:16 AM (in response to DeanMFT)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    I agree with the majority.  I think you should first clarify your fitness level.  If you are fit by other means, then it would be a challenge but possible.  If you are going from being a couch potato to a half marathon then I would suggest like the others, to slowly work your way into a half marathon.


    I started running in May of 2008, but first I started walking and working out at the gym.  After my first run, I started working out more at the gym and I ran a 5k race each month.  In 2009 my goal was to run 10k races; therefore I increased my cardio/strength training at the gym and continued to run 5k races in addition to 10k races throughout this year.  I have run over five 10k races this year and I am now getting ready to run my first half marathon race on November 8 in Atlanta.  For each race I allowed ample training up until that race date.


    Good luck with your decision.


    first 10k 1hr 22mins

    last 10k 1hr 5mins



  • CLS89 Legend 212 posts since
    Oct 13, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Nov 5, 2009 10:35 AM (in response to DeanMFT)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    If you have never been a runner before, this is definitely not enough time to properly train to run a half-marathon.  I'm not saying it's not possible, but the chances of doing it without injury are slim to none.


    However, if you are a reasonably fit person with no health problems, you can definitely finish.  The first half I did, I walked it with my sister.  (She talked me into it, I had no desire to participate.)  We finished in 3:17, which isn't great, but it's a respectable time.  I was very sore for the next week, but I finished, and it got me hooked on running!


    The 2nd one I did, my longest run before hand was 3 miles (I was still a total newbie to running, I didn't know about training obviously ), had to walk about half of the race, but I took about 45 minutes off my time...again, very very sore for a week or so.



    Long story short, as long as you don't try to run the whole thing or push yourself too hard, you can finish it.  In the future, if you want to really train for and run a half, follow the 10% rule (that Mary talked about in an earlier post).  Proper training for a half-marathon takes months...

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  • Smashville Pro 93 posts since
    Oct 20, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Nov 5, 2009 12:07 PM (in response to fatladyrunning)
    Re: First Time Runner--Half Marathon

    fatladyrunning, I'd say it's more than realistic.


    They say at most you are supposed to add 10 percent to your training regimen each week.


    You are running 2-3 miles 4 times a week...and you're shooting for May. I think even with the most conservative training program, you would be able to do it.

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    C25K Week: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

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