Am I Really Ready for that 5k, 10k, or Marathon?

Am I Really Ready for that 5k, 10k, or Marathon?


It’s becoming increasingly popular to run through mud, get splashed with soap suds, and bombarded with colored paint as creative 5ks and marathons are this summer’s hot trend. After completing a 5k Mud Run recently, I thought to myself “this will be the last time I ‘run’ in a race”. I didn’t train, I signed up a week before it started, and mentally I wasn’t invested in the run. Why then am I running my first half marathon—13.1 miles—In October?

At the urging of friends who run I decided to join them in entering a random drawing for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. I had heard approximately 30,000 women are randomly selected to run the hills of San Francisco and I figured that even with 30,000 runners my chances of being chosen were low, so I signed up. Murphy’s Law: I was chosen – my running friends were not. The upside of the shock: A Tiffany necklace as a finisher’s medal at the end of the race. What more could an inexperienced runner want? So—my training started immediately and I am now seven weeks in. It has not been easy. You would think being a fitness instructor it would be easy to work in a training regimen, but it’s hard to balance a personal running schedule and finding time to do strength training with teaching classes. But after some careful research (there is a lot of information on the web about what you should and should not do when training for runs of any length), I have figured out a plan.

If you’re interested in training for your first half or even full marathon, here are some tips:

  • First: it’s recommended that you have a base of at least 15 miles per week for about 1 year before considering a marathon (struggle #1 for me, I was running, but not consistently).
  • The next thing to consider is: are you trying to finish for time or are you just trying to finish? (I just want to finish). This determines how many miles, days, and weeks you need to train.
  • Third: Do you have a prohibitive medical condition or concern? Heart conditions, orthopedic injuries, or even your age if you have led a largely sedentary lifestyle needs special consideration.
  • And last but not least: Make sure to include strength training in your training plan, even if you dial back the intensity. If you don’t strength train and you are running long distances, you can break down muscle tissue. It’s best to consult your doctor and even a fitness specialist to make sure your body is up for the challenge before you begin.

Check back for more about my progress, struggles and successes. I’ll include more tips and helpful research on running. If running a race interests you and you are starting from scratch, get together with friends and pick a fun 5k, find a training plan for beginners and do it!

About The Author

Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office