Tag Archives: training for a half-marathon

Week Four: I Think I’m Dying

So technically I’m on Week Four of my marathon plan, which means I should be running for 20-30 continuous minutes at a go and, acccording to my own system, reaching around 4 -5k.  Unfortunately, my running plans took a bit of a detour over the past two weeks due to a Greek holiday.  I set off with the best of intentions only to find that it was actually physically impossible to even THINK about putting on my running shorts in 40 degree heat…   So I did a lot of swimming instead and hoped for the best.  The good news is I didn’t gain weight.  The bad news is that I just did my first run in 2.5 weeks and it KILLED me.  My god.

Today’s route went up a few semi-to-evil steep hills (I did slumpingly run up the first one and then alternated floppy-walk-jogging to stop my lungs incinerating inside out) and then down a nice big one.  I ran continuously for about a 20-25 minute stretch which sounds good but most of it was downhill, which is not so amazing.   On the subject of hilly runs, which are an inevitability in the South Devon neck of the woods, this blog has a few interesting hypotheses on how you calculate the calories burned.  According to my pedometer, my run of 4k today burned 140 calories.  Yet when I entered the approx speed and time (around about 40 minutes) into the My Fitness Pal app, the number was nearer 350 calories.  Considering the app knows my height and weight, I’m hoping it’s the more accurate figure.

I’m taking part in the Exeter Race for Life on Sunday, which is 5k.  My friend and I are aiming to complete it at a ‘gentle lolloping jog’, although I’m a bit nervous that she will be much fitter than me.  I’ve done the Race for Life before, but many years ago and we didn’t take it particularly seriously.  In fact I think we got bored of walking so we made up a new method of moving forward involving hopping, skipping, twirling… we had quite the berth around us in no time.  But this time I really want to do it right, partly to convince myself I have any hope in hell of completing a half marathon in three months, but mainly because it comes three years after I lost my own dad to cancer.  If something I can do might help prevent anyone going through that heart-savaging experience, I’ll fight for every painful step.

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The Redhead Runneth…

Now I’m a fully fledged and unemployed journalist I am finding that the past 9 months of intense training have left me with a few interesting additions (mainly in the form of lbs and a death-defying liver) and subtractions (£££s).  I’m not exactly destitute but I DO have a hemorraging car and a very broken laptop, which means I’m not jumping at the chance to re-join my old gym.  I’m not reeeeeeally overweight either but I used to be a stone lighter and I was much happier with how I looked then. 

I’ve always wanted to run a marathon, not just to have a marathon-runner’s figure (although, let’s be honest, if running put ON weight how many people would still do it?) but because I want to be someone who is just that fit.  It’s also one of those things I want to do while I’m still supposedly at the peak of life fitness, before I hit 30 and my knees start disintegrating or whatever.  So I’m going to run a marathon, possibly next year’s London Marathon, but first I’ve set my sights on running the London Half-Marathon in just over 100 days…

Actually, after googling how to train for your first half-marathon, the results don’t seem all that bad.  I’m following a mixture of this plan, which measures my training in minutes, and this one which goes for miles.  As my old pedometer only measures in kilometers, I feel I’m already on a winning amalgamation. 

I’m going to blog my journey as I go, mainly to keep up my writing (now that my melted laptop has probably swallowed the diary I kept for 6 years) and share with anyone who might be interested in reading how I’m even going to attempt to do this.   As well as those who are doing the same – please get in touch 🙂

And just so you know, I’m not a good runner.  I was never fast at school, I go tomato-red within the first 10 minutes which is NOT a good look with red hair and I have horrible short, stubby legs which wobble when I’m going downhill like an unsteady shopping trolley.  Filled with sweating tomatoes. 

Today I launched my half-marathon campaign with a 3k run around my hometown of Dartmouth.  I didn’t run up all the hills, but I still sweated like a trooper and got many a wry and amused look.  It wasn’t too bad though… Something I would like to point out is that on the rare occasion I ran before I used to always do so  first thing in the morning (otherwise I would end up putting it off all day) before breakfast. 

This time, following the advice on the training programme I ran an hour or so after breakfast and I did find that it gave me extra energy so I was able to do more.  I also read that if you run first thing in the morning it helps you burn more calories during the day, which is always a good thing.  But I would like to try an evening run sometime too, just to compare as well as prepare for the possibility of someone actually giving me a job someday. 

If you’re reading this and are attempting something similar or have any advice or tips for a first-time half-marathon runner, I would love to hear from you.


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