First Half-marathon

Updated on June 04, 2010
S.K. asks from Castle Rock, CO
14 answers

I'm hoping someone out there can help me I have agreed to do a half marathon in oct with my husband and a few other family members. I have never ran (I mean really ran or jogged). I need Jillian to come kick my a$$ and get me motivated to prepare me because anything over 3 miles kinda scares me. I am also looking to lose about 20lbs (post baby weight that just likes me too much to leave) Are there any good books or what kinds of foods should I be eating. How should I prepare myself for this? I am not just planning on a marathon but a life change I am 30 not overweight at least not by the bmi measurements but I feel like im 50. Energy levels suck and things that should be firm, arent. Where do I start?

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answers from Colorado Springs on

If you an ipod download the "couch to 5k" application. That will get you are great and gentle start into running. It did for me as I hadn't ran in 5+ years. Congrats to you for such a goal and best of luck!

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answers from Fresno on

My mom and I trained for a half marathon together. I am not, and have never been, a runner. My mom has run 8 marathons and 20 half marathons - loves to run. So she helped me train. What we did was start small. We walked (quickly, smallish steps but moving the feet fast) at least half an hour a day every weekday. Then on Saturdays, we'd walk longer. At first, it would be 1 hour. Then every week we would add 15 minutes to that, until we were walking 4 hours on Saturdays! Sundays we would take as a rest day. Then as I got in better shape, I would add a bit more time to my weekday walks. On Monday and Wednesday I'd walk for an hour, and on Fridays, 45 minutes. (Tues and Thurs, still 30 minutes.)

Anyway, I did my first half marathon and entered as a walker (no running allowed if you enter specifically as a walker), with a goal of 3:30. I ended up finishing in 3:06! I was thrilled! So I continued on with my training regimen and the next year I finished in 2:56.

Now, if you wanted to run, you could just train as above, but instead of only walking, alternate walking and jogging. For instance, walk 4 minutes, jog 1 minute, walk 4 minutes, jog 1 minute. Then as the 1 minute feels easier and easier, jog 2 minutes and walk 3 minutes. And keep increasing the jog times as you feel like you can.

Good luck!

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answers from Albuquerque on

Check out They have tons of great stuff on there.



answers from Denver on

Go online and Google "Couch to 5K". I would start with this program. I've NEVER been a runner, always hated it, but wanted to lose 20 lbs also. I started this program and within 2.5 months, I've lost 13 lbs without really doing anything other than cutting out most sweets. I started off only being able to run for 1-2 minutes at a time and then walking for 4-5 minutes, repeating this for 3-4x. This morning, 2.5 months later, I got on the treadmill and ran 3 miles straight with energy to spare. I have a bad knee that running is hard on so won't be training for any 1/2 marathons, but I can guarantee that this program will be a good start for you. Good luck!



answers from Denver on

Hi S.,
I am also going to do my first 1/2 marathon at the Rock n Roll in October. It's a little intimidating, but my only goal is to finish. The link below is giving me the help to get my training started. Now, I am comfortable running (ran the 5 mile Cherry Creek Sneak and the last leg of the Colfax Marathon Relay), so I am starting with the training schedule on the website. However, I have only been considered a runner since January. My best advice is to start running and see how far you can get. Then each time you run, try to do a little bit more. One other note, the more you run, the more you will want to eat. Try to really fill up on complex carbs, fruits, veggies, and lean protein. This was also an issue for me. I started running hoping to shed the pounds, but only lost one pound from January to May. I ended up snacking more and started to lose track of what I was eating. Now I am doing the on-line Weight Watchers and I've already lost 3 pounds in two weeks. Good luck on your quest for the 1/2 marathon, and I hope this helps!



answers from Salt Lake City on

I am currently doing the "Live the Life program" ( They have a 7 day free trial that we fell in love with so we bought the whole 12 week program. It gives you a grocery list, tells you 6 meals to eat each day, and gives you workouts for 12 weeks. We are really loving it. Whatever you do, good luck!



answers from Great Falls on

Wow!! I envy you attempting the half-marathon. I am hoping to get there next year after I am recovered from foot surgery. I have been researching shoes and found this info on the New Balance site.

It is pretty basic on "how-to" but I almost thing that is better if you haven't really done any running before - less to confuse yourself with. Hope this helps!



answers from Denver on

The Non Runners Marathon Trainer by David Whitsett really put me on the right track when I was training for my first 1/2 last year. You can do it! It made me feel SUPER! Best of luck!!



answers from Salt Lake City on

You have already received some good suggestions. I just wanted to emphasize how important good running shoes are. I bought mine at a running store for $100, and when those wore out, I went back and bought the same shoes (newer model, but basically the same shoe), because I loved them so much. Also, stretch like crazy before you go running, and/or after you run, and even the days you don't run to avoid injuries. Be sure to really stretch your calves/heels (stand on a stair and lower one foot at a time, then the other, repeat, etc). Many common foot injuries can be avoided by stretching your calves regularly. Also, avoid running on CONCRETE if at all possible. Concrete is much harder than asphalt believe it or not. On a scale of 1-10, concrete is a 10, and asphalt is like a 6 or 7. I always run on the street instead of the sidewalk. Those rubber running tracks are even better, or dirt that isn't rutted, but those are hard to find.



answers from Denver on

Get something fun to wear. I always feel more like running when I feel like I look good. Embrace your motherness too! Some fun mom phrases printed on cute shirts at Good luck, enjoy! I will be running the Denver 1/2 with my husband too!!


answers from Columbus on

I can't answer about specifics, because what works for one person, may not for another. What I do is to find something I enjoy doing and then it isn't so much of a workout - to start. I love to rollerblade, so I used to put the kids in the trailer and go. I am now doing that again. Once you start to notice a difference in yourself, you'll want to keep doing it. I started rollerblading again and running. I started to notice my clothes getting looser. I didn't see so much of a a change on the scale, but that doesn't matter to me so much. Then, I started to cut out sugar. I'm not saying I don't occasionally enjoy a cookie, but I don't eat dessert every night and you know what? I don't crave it. I don't want it in the least. That's also helping, I'm sure. It's also about baby steps. I'm also looking into a marathon next October. My SIL started on a training program that told her how many miles to get in each day. I don't know the website name, but I'm sure if you search marathon training, you'll get a lot of different sites to choose from. The biggest thing for me was to keep pushing through in the beginning until I started noticing a change in energy level. When I workout, I feel so much better the rest of the day. You CAN get "addicted" to working out in that you feel so good, you want to keep doing it. You could try rollerblading, biking, dancing, etc.-anything you can do to get your heart rate up is good. Once you start getting in better shape, move on to training. The problem is that if you really don't like to workout or run, it will be so much harder to make yourself do it. Start with something you like!! I wish you luck!!



answers from Provo on

Rule number one: Get fitted correctly for GOOD shoes! Please save yourself and do not just buy shoes that "feel" good off the wall at any store. Go to a running store and have someone watch your stride, see if/how much you pronate, and fit you to a shoe that is specifically made for the way you run.

One of the most important things about becoming a runner is to fuel yourself correctly. Also, though you will likely lose most of your weight, especially in the beginning and just by changing your eating habits, know that if you are fueling and hydrating yourself properly while running long distances, you will not necessarily keep losing weight-so don't get frustrated if you plateau. (in fact it is common to gain a few pounds when training for a marathon) Make sure you are getting plenty of protein in your daily diet, and the obvious, cut out the junk food, stick with the good stuff.

I jumped into triathlon last year, and it evolved into a love for distance running. The thing that helped me in the beginning was to just go a little further every day. Someone mentioned Hal Higdon's plan; you can check his 12wk half marathon Novice plan here:
Another that is highly recommended is here:
Runner's also has one, I believe their's is a 9wk prep plan.

Strength training will also make a big difference in your ability to run, so it is wise to plan some strength training into your workouts. Specifically core strength is a big asset when you are a runner. Cross training is also helpful and can help you avoid repetitive motion injuries as you increase your mileage.

Though I have never been a fan of most running books, I have found one that I absolutely LOVE, and I highly recommend. It's called Run Like a Mother. It's not only helpful (hits nutrition, speed, strength and cross training, etc), but it hits a lot of the things people won't tell you about-feminine "issues", bodily functions, etc. And it's written so well it's almost like a long conversation with a friend about running-and fitting it into life as a mom.
Good Luck-hope you end up loving running!



answers from Detroit on

My suggestion would be to google half marathon training programs and take a look at those...they have a 12 week one by Hal Higdon, that's a good place to start. you can repeat weeks to get you to October. But take a look and it will tell you how far you will need to run each week to train properly. This is going to take a great amount of time and dedication, but it can be done!! Another suggestion would be to sign up for a 5k, and a 10k before your half and run them. Signing up for them holds you accountable gets you pumped to keep pushing for more miles.



answers from Denver on

S., first congrats!! Half marathons are so much fun!! I have done several myself and hope to do one this September (Boulder Backroads!). I am in the same boat as you, needing to lose the post-baby weight--I have lost 22lbs already using the Bodybugg, which is a great tool to manage your calorie consumption and activity level. You can read about it on or Also, the website will set you up with half marathon training at the level you want to be (beginner, intermediate, professional). It's really helped me in the past! Best of luck, and I hope this helps--if you are interested in the bodybugg, email me and I can tell you more about it! ~S.

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