Someone asked me to run a ‘half marathon’ on February 29th (Sugar Bowl Mardi-Gras run). I’ve decided to try and do it, but first of all, I can’t even figure out how long a half marathon is. Appears to be about 12 miles, but not sure and the website doesn’t say specifically. Second, I haven’t run in quite a while and am not in terribly great shape. I do, however, have a fairly physical job that involves constant movement and lifting, plus I’m young and not really overweight or anything, so I can’t say I’m in bad shape either. Biggest thing, though, is that I’m a smoker. About 3 packs a week over the past year and a half.
So my question is, if I quit smoking cold turkey and run until I can’t run anymore 5 days a week, is it likely that I can run this thing, or am I kidding myself?
It could be doable, if you put your mind to it. I would recomend you check with a doctor before hand. If you have any predisposition to knee injuries, they will defintaly appear when you run until you can’t run anymore. Good luck!
A half marathon is 13.1 mile. That’s quite a distance, even for a pretty well-trained runner. I doubt that you’ll be able to get in shape fast enough to run the entire thing - would it be too pathetic to plan walking part or most of it ?
Starting from scratch and running until you can’t run anymore 5 days a week is probably a better way to get an injury than to get in running shape. Your condition just won’t get better without intervals of rest. And six weeks is not a lot of time, really.
I would not recommend it. If you decide to try (who knows, you may decide you love running), get the best shoes you can find, warm up every time you train and if you think you feel an injury developing, cancel on the spot.
(When I was young and in pretty damn good shape, I overextended my training for that one grand event (210 miles of bicycling in one day). That was 16 years ago. And I can still that right knee whenever I really give it all on a run. It’s just not worth it.)
I hate to be a wet blanket, I salute your spirit and everything that would make someone quit smoking should be encouraged - so why not train to run a full marathon next year instead ?
It’s definitely doable, but it’s tough. I trained for two months for a very tough 15 kilometer (approximately 9.5 miles) cross-country race, and that wasn’t too hard, so I think you can do this.
You should quit smoking anyway, so do that. Then, if you plan on simply finishing the race rather than breaking any records, I’d recommend a training schedule where you run three times a week (and no running on consecutive days). Stretching and warming up are essential.
One of those weekly sessions, you go for distance. Start with 5-6 miles and run at your own pace, gradually increasing the distance. Don’t go for speed and don’t try to run the full 13 miles before the race; that’s just stupid. If you can run 10 miles or so at a reasonable pace, you’ll make it.
Another of the sessions, you go for speed. Run 1-2 miles, but run your ass off. Don’t injure yourself, but really work. Get your heart beating.
The third session, do a “body warm-up run”. Run 3-4 miles at midspeed. Don’t jog, but don’t exert yourself. No-one said this would be easy.
Don’t make the usual mistakes, such as over-exerting yourself. It’s not better training if you run more than you need. Going from nothing to running 10 miles a day is just dumb.
After the race, don’t quit training. Give yourself a couple of days off, but then start again, taking it easy. You’ve done it now, so you can reward yourself with taking it slower. Stay off the smokes. You’ll love yourself for it in ten years.
13.1 miles, and yes the .1 matters after you’ve gone 13.
A friend and I trained for one in 4 weeks once. We hadn’t been running much that summer (3 miles here and there - nothing longer.) - so we were basically starting from scratch. But we both had finished halves before, we were ok with walking if necessary, and it kicked us in …by far, the worst half marathon I’ve ever done.
BTW, I would guess that running as hard as you can 5 days/week for the next 6 weeks will most likely result in your injuring yourself and not have the desired effect. But if you just worked on running for the next 6 weeks in a sensible manner and with sensible progression, and were willing to do the same in the race (run part, walk part) you could finish.
If you do want to run the entire thing, you should be extremely careful. If you’re getting back into running after not running for a while, it might take you a couple of weeks to work up to three miles, which is considered a training base by many beginning marathoners and half marathoners, with a long run that increases incrementally once a week. Many long runs begin at 5 miles, with 1-2 miles added per week. You might consider following Spiny’s advice and walk part of it. Your goal should be to finish it, not to race it.
A few other suggestions: Make sure you have some really comfortable running shoes. If you get new ones, break train in them for several weeks prior to the race date so they’re broken in by the time you run the full distance. When I ran my first marathon, I lost a couple of toenails and got several blood blisters because I didn’t break my shoes in first. If you’re a guy, consider getting some bandaids to put on your nipples. Many of my guy friends get bloody nipples because of chafing after 5-6 miles. Some runner’s lube or body glide might not hurt, either, to prevent chafing on your inner thighs and on your armpits. I still have scars under my arms from not wearing body glide under the edge of my job bra. Also, you may want to practice drinking in the middle of running so your stomach is used to taking in fluids and processing them while you’re on the move.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve run, you are risking an injury if you train too hard. I don’t want to be Ms. Negative here, but you might want to prepare yourself to walk at least part of it. Do you know what the course is like? I do a half-marathon in Louisville, KY every April that goes through a park that is nothing but hills, about 1/2 way through. It’s much more difficult than doing the same 13.1 miles on a flat course. If you have a flat course, that will make it easier. If it’s hilly, be sure you incorporate some hills into your training runs.
Ans I second the body glide suggestion- when I was training for my first half-marathon, I got blistered tits from my jog bra. And yes, it did occur to me that "Blistered Tits" would make a great band name. Also, don't wear cotton socks, get the blister-free kind, and put baby powder in our socks before you put them on.
Good luck- keep us posted on your training!
BabaBooey, I think that considering your present state of exercise, you probably won’t be able to run the entire thing. You might be able to run most of it and walk the rest, though. Dunno, not having smoked I don’t know how much it impedes general cardio health.
– Ludovic, hoping to run a complete marathon this Sunday (had to walk 2 or 3 miles of the previous 2.)
I’ll keep sticking out like a sore thumb then, 'cause in my opinion this “run part, walk part” stuff is quitting talk. In all seriousness though I think it’s much better to run the entire thing but at a fairly leisurely pace, than to walk part of it. If this is your first race, remember to pace yourself. The number one newbie mistake (and God knows I’ve made it) is to try to keep up with stronger runners than yourself. That’s a surefire way to start wishing for death around mile 4.
Oh no, I think some of you got the wrong impression. I have four hours to do this race and although I don’t want to take up that full amount of time, I fully planned on doing a good bit of walking. Half of me is doing this to to stop smoking and get in better shape, and the other half is for the girl that asked me to run this for her . BTW, being that this is in New Orleans, there are no hills.
Sure you can. I don’t know how old you are, but in High School I was on the Cross Country team, and at the beginning of each year, to get us into shape, we had two weeks of hell. Two practices a day. Two distance runs a week (starting at around 6 miles and going up to almost 12).
Even having not run since the end of the previous year’s season (I was a slacker), at the end of those weeks, I could run 13 miles. I probably wouldn’t have placed well in a half marathon, but I could have finished it.
And you’ve got three times that to train in.
Make sure you stretch A lot. We did standard stretches (about 5 or 10 minutes worth) three times for each practice. Once before we started. Once about 1/2 to 1 mile in, when we were warmed up, and once after we had finished. The last one is actually the most important to training. If you skip it after a hard workout, by the next day your legs will be so tight that you won’t even want to walk.
I did a half marathon with something like that amount of training. Maybe a little more, but not much. I didn’t do very well, mind you, but I did finish - came in 1500th out of 2100 or so. My friend Mr. Kim came and brought this hung over chubby guy who smoked, and he managed to finish as well - 2056th, I think he came in.