How I managed to train myself for a half-marathon in six months


I'm not that fit of a person, about half a year ago I had well over 100 kg. That's when I decided to start running to get in shape. I began with workouts of around 2km, I couldn't do more, I ran out of breath. But each time I went running again, the easier it was. Supposedly you need to exercise at least 30 minutes to start losing weight, which is about 5 km of running. I clearly remember the first time I managed to run that distance, the feeling was overwhelming, and I sensed the ecstasy - when you get the impression you could run until exhaustion. After you hit that half hour mark, you start progressing faster, which made me think about doing a 10 km or even a 21 km run this October on Ljubljana Marathon.

Which I did, and it was awesome! And I think you can do it too, because it's really not that hard. After running a 21 km half-marathon (with the time of 2:14:02, which is not that great, but still), I did a bit of contemplation on my workouts, and I can tell you a bit about it. The half-marathon was my 40th run this year, not as big a number as you would expect. The whole "training" took me half a year. I say training, but I didn't stick to any methodologies, I just went out two or three times a week. The more you run, the easier it becomes, and I noticed I run best after work, specially if I'm stressed or pissed off at someone / something. Running clears your head.

The Ljubljana Marathon Route

My longest run ever - October 28th, 2012: the Ljubljana half-marathon.

The exercises took me through three different conquests. At the beginning, running out of breath was my biggest problem, but you overpower that after ten runs or so. Later, the physical pain set the limits (sore muscles, side stitch, etc.), but you triumph that too, mile by mile. The last phase is the blood circulation problem, which makes you dizzy after long runs, preventing you from thinking straight. If you manage to survive that, you're good to go. My longest run before the half-marathon was about 17 km.

Training for Ljubljana Marathon

The list of my runs in from April to October 2012. Click for a larger version.

Needless to say the half-marathon is a major test, both physically and mentally. The first three quarters were easy, but I became totally exhausted the last few kilometers, stuck with my messed up malnourished brain who was asking me "why the hell did you have to do this shit?". But I managed to somehow run to the end, counting minute by minute - the kilometer signs were too far apart. The physical pain was immense, you notice it when you stop for a few seconds to drink and your legs start to shake, but you keep on going, like the others, your body can do much more than you expect from it. When you come to the finish line, everything is paid for and forgotten, and knowing you did something so extreme fills you with pride.

I would like to thank everybody that cheered for us in that cold weather, specially my support team that gave me the final bits of energy I needed to complete the race. You guys rock!

The Ljubljana Marathon Finish Line

Closing in on the finish line. Your support group is invaluable at those critical moments. (photo by Iva Pirc Šepec)

You can barely walk for the next few days, but that's simply a part of it. Like thinking of what your challenge for the next year will be. Doing a 21 under 2 hours or going for the big one? Everything's possible, even if you are an overweight geek who smokes too much. Believe me.

The Ljubljana Marathon Medal and Certificate Line

This makes it worth it. Take that, bucket list.

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written 1.11.2012 22:42 CET on chronolog
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