Running a Half Marathon as a Beginner

Hi I'm new here. I have smoked for over 35 years, although dont want to but find it hard to quit. I have been going to the gym on and off for 12 months and follow mostly a Mediterranean diet. I have never run before but have (after a couple of glasses of wine), agreed to run a half marathon in September!! I have found a 12 week training programme to follow and am quitting smoking on Monday. Does anyone have any helpful tips for me regarding diet and exercise??


Featured Content

Join the NHS Couch to 5K community

Couch to 5K has been designed to get you off the couch and running 5km in just 9 weeks

Start today!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

16 Replies

oldest β€’ newest
  • Hello and welcome! Great decision to take up running! Good luck on your journey! Helpful tips: dont smoke, eat healthily and be mindful of you alcohol intake. With regards the half marathon in 12 weeks ...... if you have not run for 30 years then dont attempt a HM so soon.

    Start the nhs C25k programme which will get you to running for 30 minutes consistently but takes a total of 9 weeks (ish). When you have sailed through that give some thought to training for a HM perhaps.

    However, it is your journey and your decision. I wish you injury free runningπŸƒπŸ»πŸ‘πŸΌ

  • Hi, thanks for the welcome and your advice. Whilst I say running a HM, there will be a lot of walking!! Not going to be unrealistic but anyway we get through it will be good exercise!! What's the NHS C25 programme??

  • It is a programme to get you started with your running. Try this link

    There is a podcast, week by week to build gradually your running time to get you to 30 mins running. Some can cover 5 k in 30 mins but most are a little slower than that. The podcast has music. There is also an alternative app, where you listen to your own music but the trainer butts in periodically to tell you what to do,

    This forum is the NHS C25k Forum, almost all on here are currently following the programme or have graduated and kindly input advice and support to beginners.

    Good luck with what ever you decide to do, but always go slow and steady to guard against injury as a new runner.

  • Thanks Jac for your sound advice

  • Eeeekkk... Don't do it, unless as you say you are going to walk.... a lot!!!!!

    Listen to Millsie-J ... I cannot add anything to that sound advice...except.. the only way, to achieve any sort of distance running is a slow and steady build up... the IC is a horrid place to be!

  • Hi thanks, I can asure you there will be a lot of walking!! Appreciate your comments. What is the IC??

  • Great.. we don't try to put folk off, but the road to running safely and enjoyably can be a long one... :)

    The the injury couch.. not a nice place :)

  • Ok thanks, understood and advice taken.

  • As others have said start with the C25k programme. As for diet, people find the myfitnesspal app really good. It's simple and effective. There is also loads on the internet about what foods to eat etc when running. Enjoy the programme 😎

  • I agree with a lot of what has been said. HM are quite a challenge and as you start to run You will apreciate what you have taken on. So dont get too disheartened aim to run 5km and walk the rest. Try and do some walking training sessions inbetween your running program so that your muscles will be used to both exercises. In august start adding you walking sessions on to your running program so you get used to running for a time and then walking afterwards. Look at the event you have entered and check for cut off times, usually they have enough time for walkers to complete as well sometimes they will guide you off the main road after a certain amount of time but usually they give you quite a good bit of time. Most of all have fun with your training and keep coming back on here for encouragement. Take care Rfc x,

  • I used Alan Carr's book to quit smoking - highly recommended and my sister in law quit by vaping... the C25k Oscars is brilliant and a great way to build up your stamina in a structured way. Also I would recommend that you train outside as it is different to running on the treadmill (and much more interesting) and finally get yourself some decent running shoes - my running (and achy knees) improved dramatically when I invested in some good shoes (brooks or Asics are the best ones ) good luck

  • Many thanks for the good advice. I do need new shoes so will check them out. I hate the tread mill!! Cant co-ordinate on it!! Will do if i can but will try more street running. Got the patches for smoking and have given up before so will be on them again in the morning.

  • Welcome to this supportive forum for new runners. It was originally set up for those using the NHS Couch to 5k training plan which aims to get total beginners running for 30 minutes at the end of a nine week programme. Because most of us have been introduced to running by this very gently progressive plan, we tend to be very hesitant to embrace other plans which push harder, because many of us have witnessed, or personally encountered, injury as a consequence of doing too much too soon.

    There are beginners half marathon plans, as you know, and if you are reasonably fit then the chances are you may get through without injury, but do not underestimate the stresses that running puts on your body. When you run, your muscles develop micro tears, which repair and strengthen on your rest days, which are sacresanct in the C25K programme, meaning you never run consecutive days, whereas some other plans do not respect this.

    To go from non runner to half marathon in twelve weeks seems, from our perspective, to be pushing it. I went from being an averagely fit non runner at the start of C25K at the age of 57, to running my first 10k​ in twelve weeks. There is no way I could have got to 21k in that timeframe.

  • Many thanks for your advice. I think there will be a lot of walking and not much running this time but hopefully over 12 months I will build up the stamina to run most of a half marathon. I am doing this for myself, not for a charity or to prove anything but just another way to stay fit and healthy.

  • Best of luck. Keep us posted with your progress.

  • Many thanks

You may also like...