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Couch to half marathon in seven months.

Three years ago, in 2014, I made a tipsy deal at a friend’s party in January to take up running. We started in February.

couch to half marathon

I don’t run purely for the sportswear, honest! (This is pre-run by the way!)

Now I was NOT a runner. I’m capatalising that! I’ve never been sporty, hated exercise and much preferred reading a good book. But I was thinking about the baby weight that I’d been carrying around for longer then the baby bag and also that I wanted to be fit and healthy to be around for my children longer.

So we started running. When I tell you that I struggled to the end of my road, I promise I’m not exaggerating. I was woefully unfit and every minute felt like absolute torture. But I kept going. Slowly, very slowly, I got to go further and further distances and I very definitely got the running bug. I signed up for some smaller events, and some virtual races where you just have to log your time and they send you a medal, (bling is good motivation!), and I did the 10k Race for Life. Which hurt. So I have no idea what possessed me to sign up for the Cheltenham Half Marathon.

I must have been crazy! I think because I knew that I needed to have an operation that year and I didn’t know how long I’d be out for, I wanted to do something big.

The training was tough. Just getting the distance in for the training runs was hard. Have a think and try and work out how you would get a 10 mile run in near you and I bet even in a larger town it might be tricky. Especially hard as I get very bored and don’t like to run the same place twice! The worst moment was the one when it was starting to get dark and I was too far from home and pretty exhausted and a youth club kicked out as I puffed by! Their ‘encouragement’ definitely helped me to pick up the pace again to get the hell out of there.

I think 10 miles was my longest pre-race run and I was so nervous on the day. Lined up at the start, I felt so sick. All I wanted was to not be last! Honestly? It was hell, I found it tough from the start. There were some pretty steep hills on the course, worse because they are near the end, so unfair! Then the last bit is on the racecourse where supporters aren’t allowed. It’s so much harder when you don’t have the pressure of people watching you to force you to keep running.

I gave in to a really painful knee and ended up walking/limping some of the racecourse section but I was determined that my children saw me run over the finish line. I gathered everything I had and managed to run the end, even getting a little sprint up for the finish line.

My legs had turned to jelly before I’d made it to the medal point but I wobbled round to meet my family and just burst into tears. It felt like such an achievement and I think I was also just quite relieved it was over! I was out for quite a long time after my op, and I have struggled to get back into it since but I can still go out and run a few miles and I think this year might be the one to sign up for a few events to keep me motivated.

So if you are wondering whether to even bother starting to run, thinking that you’re too unfit, please remember that everyone starts somewhere and absolutely everyone finds it tough at the beginning. Still now some runs feel easy and others like torture but one thing I’m guaranteed is that I always always feel good after!




  1. May 22, 2017 / 7:59 am

    Well done you! I cannot imagine being able to do that lol #BigPinkLink

  2. May 22, 2017 / 8:09 am

    How inspirational!! Great job, and you’re right, everyone starts somewhere! #bigpinklink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:36 pm

      I need to remind myself as it’s fallen by the wayside again!

  3. May 22, 2017 / 8:21 am

    Yikes, well done you! That’s a huge achievement! I’m the same, was never sporty at school, but got the running bug a few years back and I’m planning to pick it up again once this baby finally arrives. I’m fully expecting it to be horrible again at first, but I know once I get back into it I’ll love it. I’ve never been one for huge distances though, a 10K is about my limit, and more just plodding around local woods than organised races. But that’s the great thing about running – there are so many ways to do it to suit you! #bigpinklink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:37 pm

      I have been out of it for ages now but I really want to pick it back up again properly. Been attempting once a week but even that is difficult to manage some weeks!

  4. May 22, 2017 / 8:32 am

    It’s so important to let yourself start from where you are. In anything in life. It’s so hard after children, not just because your body has been taken over and you don’t know it anymore but because time and priorities have changed. I have so much admiration towards you and congratulations. #bigpinklink

  5. May 22, 2017 / 8:51 am

    Well done! That’s an amazing thing to do. I did a half marathon once… not sure I’d do one again! #bigpinklink

  6. May 22, 2017 / 8:52 am

    Wow, wow, wow!!! I so want to do this. I run every few months and convince myself i’ll do a marathon. Who the F am I kidding?
    You should be SO proud of yourself #bigpinklink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:41 pm

      That sounds like me now! I have ideas that I’ll run a big thing again, no idea when!! πŸ˜€

  7. May 22, 2017 / 9:28 am

    Respect!!!! I read posts like this and think, bring it on and then the lifts go at work and I have to climb a few floors and think maybe not! Congratulations as that is awesome! πŸ™‚

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:42 pm

      Haha brilliant! You could do it, honestly, I was as unfit as they come!

  8. May 22, 2017 / 9:35 am

    This is fantastic! My sister did a blog this week about starting running in her 40’s and its slowly changing her life. Sounds like you are doing really well and even makes me wonder whether I should try?!? Nicky xx #bigpinklink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:43 pm

      Why not give it a go? Your sister sounds inspirational!

  9. May 22, 2017 / 9:50 am

    Well done! I love running but definitely go through the process of “why am I doing this?” “am I nearly there yet?” “I might die” followed by “woo-yeah, that was fun” (a couple of hours after the finishing line πŸ˜‰ ). I’m not as fast as I once was, and my distances aren’t great, but I love the quote “you’re lapping everyone on the couch”. As you say, everyone starts somewhere πŸ™‚ #bigpinklink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:44 pm

      I love that one too! At least I’m not just sitting on my butt I tell myself when I have to walk!

  10. May 22, 2017 / 10:36 am

    I tried the Couch to 5K last year, but I was very heavy and failed miserably. Oddly though I did enjoy it and I should really try again! #BigPinkLink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:44 pm

      What have you got to lose by trying again? Even just getting out for a brisk walk is better then staying in!

  11. Ellen
    May 22, 2017 / 11:06 am

    Eeek well done you! That’s amazing. I really hate exercising and for me running seems like the worst form of exercise So I am in total awe of anybody who does it. My sisters are both doing a half marathon in September and funnily enough they didn’t ask if I wanted to join them…‍♀️ I will only be 2 months postpartum though to be fair so even if I was a runner I don’t think it’d be very realistic! #bigpinklink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:51 pm

      Definitely not realistic or advisable! I also used to hate running. And still do when I’m actually running! πŸ˜€

  12. Tracey Abrahams
    May 22, 2017 / 11:20 am

    Ive got a good friend of mine who runs half marathons. She says every step round the course is usually hell but the feeling once she finishes is really addictive.

  13. May 22, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    That is such an achievement! I need to start doing something but running isn’t for me… My ankle gives way after 2 paces.

  14. May 22, 2017 / 2:00 pm

    Wow well done!
    I’ve never heard about virtual races before, might have to check them out x

  15. May 22, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    Way to go! Finishing a half marathon is a great accomplishment!
    I’m not a runner because I don’t want to wear on my knees, but your ideas here apply to any fitness goal. Everyone starts somewhere, and making an effort is always better than not.

  16. May 22, 2017 / 6:31 pm

    Wow well done you, I’ve only ran about 3 miles in my life but I haven’t done it for ages, I’d love to get back into it! #bigpinklink

  17. May 22, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    I too am a bit of a runner, and decided last year to up my game in turns of distance. Then, a few weeks ago I did my first 10K. Next one signed up, and after that maybe a half marathon.
    Trouble is, now we have a sodding allotment I’m struggling to tear myself away from my radishes to get running! Maybe this week…maybe…
    Thanks for hosting bigpinklink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:54 pm

      Those training runs are ridiculous! Just take forever!

  18. May 22, 2017 / 9:53 pm

    That is a seriously huge achievement, well done you!! I started running for a bit after I had Wills and was urprised how quickly I found myself able to go further, little bit by little bit. As it stands, I haven’t run for months… I don’t know, it kind of feels like if I’m not at work I’m with the kids, and if I’m not with the kids I’m at the PC or doing the food shopping. But I really must make the time… #BigPinkLink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      I find it’s great to get head space and I’m a much happier mum if I’m running regularly.

  19. May 22, 2017 / 11:01 pm

    I sometimes consider running….. you have inspired me to consider it again
    I always used to be more of a sprinter than a long distance runner which is part of what puts me off… that and the actual running
    Great post #bigpinklink

  20. May 23, 2017 / 1:35 am

    Congrats…it helps to find something you enjoy…I hated everything I tried until kickboxing…hate the conditioning but love the kicking and punching. #BigPinkLink

  21. May 23, 2017 / 3:23 pm

    Arrrrrrrrrgh!!! I’m doing my 10k on Monday and you just made me cry with your ‘bursting into tears’ moment. Somedays I struggle to do 20mins (like yesterday when it was roasting by 9.30am!) so I’m crossing everything that the excitement will help me round the course on Monday. πŸ™‚ #bigpinklink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:56 pm

      I’m so proud of you! You smashed it! We went out the other day and it was awful in the heat!

  22. May 23, 2017 / 5:56 pm

    Well done. I keep meaning to try this but never get round to it. I know I should #bigpinklink

  23. May 23, 2017 / 8:20 pm

    Well done you. I think the freedom you feel when you’re running is worth it, even if you still puff and pant. It’s been a while since I got out there, I really should. #bigpinklink

  24. May 23, 2017 / 9:16 pm

    Wow well done you!! I just cant do it, me and running just don’t mix, but I envy anyone who does!! #bigpinklink

  25. May 23, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    Wow well done! I’m not a runner, never have been and when I had a operation on my knee a few years back and I was told I was strictly forbidden from running by the consultant I wasn’t too unhappy (it’s a bloody great excuse!) I just need the motivation to do some other form of exercise! #bigpinklink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:57 pm

      Yes that’s proper medical advice! Follow that!!

  26. May 24, 2017 / 10:20 am

    Awesome achievement! I also did the couch to half marathon a few years ago. I always hated running and had put myself down as a ‘non-runner’ but I started with literally 5 mins and went up a minute a day. In the end I loved my running fixes, but alas I think my running days may be over. Bladder issues! #bigpinklink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:58 pm

      Oooh is there a proper app? I didn’t know that! Sorry about the bladder issues, you have my sympathies, pelvic floor toner?

  27. May 24, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    That is awesome. I think the last time I actually ran was for a bus back in 2010 when I still in the UK. I loathe running. Good for you!

  28. May 25, 2017 / 1:36 pm

    Oh well done Lou this is fab! Like you, I couldn’t even run to the end of my road, but I started running over a year ago and just last week I managed to run 5.5K! It’s hard work but agree, anyone can do it if they want to. #BigPinkLink

  29. May 27, 2017 / 11:20 am

    well done lovely! you’ve done amazing, you must be so proud of yourself! i really need to get myself fit! #bigpinklink

  30. May 27, 2017 / 8:42 pm

    So very impressive! Be proud and loud! #bigpinklink <3

  31. May 28, 2017 / 10:58 am

    I was really intrigued to see how you handled this as I am just about to do the Couch to 5K with my daughter. I do a lot of Pilates and Walking but don’t really push myself with Cardio and have been toying with running for a while now but at 50 my motivation is low! Then my daughter said she had to keep fit over the summer for Hockey next September so a friend suggested we try the Couch programme. As you say starting is the tough bit then it gets easier! Here’s hoping anyway. Huge congratulations to you for the half marathon! Wow. #bigpinklink

  32. May 29, 2017 / 7:32 am

    Wowzer that’s fab! I’ve signed up for a half for next March something to focus on when I am back in the UK. I have to say I love running! #bigpinklink

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:59 pm

      Oh that’s brilliant, if you’re moving to a new area, it’s a great way to find your way around.

  33. September 28, 2017 / 7:17 am

    Well done to you. I had no idea that there were no supporters around at the Racecourse. Tewkesbury was hard enough and there was LOTS of support everywhere. My body still hasn’t got over the shock.

  34. October 19, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    Loved reading this. I did two half marathons before falling pregnant for the first time and actually I enjoyed running much more than I ever imagined (mind you I was in Sydney by the beach at that time). I haven’t run in 4 years and am now thinking I am going to set myself a goal fir a few months down the track (pardon the pun!) Now all I need to do is buy a pair of trainers!

  35. January 11, 2018 / 3:48 pm

    I absolutely salute you for your honesty , I dont feel alone in hating excersize anymore …fabulous ! Well bloody done xxx

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