First half marathon at 55 - am I nuts?

HootDad

<font color=teal>Makes magical trips each year<br>
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
Hi all,

I am a longtime DIS member though I have not been posting much lately. I was listening to one of the Disneyland podcasts where Tony talked about doing the Tinkerbell half marathon. He said something that you hear a lot from folks who succeed at a challenge like that - "If I can do it anyone can!" Well, that got me thinking and I turned it around a bit to "If anyone can do it then I can!" Then on a later podcast I heard this forum mentioned and I figured I'd post my intentions and get feedback if you will indulge me.

Anyway, I am challenging myself to run the 2013 WDW half marathon. I am 54 years old now and will be 55 by the time of the marathon. And I have never run a marathon before - nor any distance close to that. I am in generally good health and work out regularly. The thing is, in addition to my age, I was involved in a project late last year (I directed a production of the musical HAIRSPRAY) that took all my focus an energy so I got out of what had been a regular exercise routine for about ten years. This resulted in my gaining about 15 pounds on top of the 15 or so I already needed to lose.

So, in a nutshell, I'm 54, need to lose about 30 pounds and I have never run any real distances. To tell you where I am now, I get up every morning and work out for about 75 minutes including a walk/jog of about 2 miles. I have started trying to push myself on weekends - last weekend I jogged 2 miles both days (although calling what I do "jogging" is a stretch of the term) and walked another mile and this weekend I intend to stretch that out to 2 1/2, maybe 3 mile jog with a mile walk.

So... am I nuts to think I might be able to do this? I will need to push myself obviously but I don't want to injure myself. I'm being real careful - stretching and all that - but have I given myself to high a goal?

Thanks!
 

FireDancer

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
I think you set a hard but obtainable goal. When I decided to do my first 5k I had to really push myself to finish a mile on a treadmill. I've since done God only knows how many short races, 21 halves, and will be doing my 3rd full this fall if all goes well.

I don't think your age will keep you from doing the race. You may have to train a little differently than someone younger but it seems like you live an active life and do exercise even if it hasn't been running. You are starting in a much better position than many of the sedentary people who do programs such as the couch to 5k and then progress to a half marathon so I think as long as you listen to your body, challenge it without pushing too far too fast, and keep your eye on your goal you will succeed.

Good luck.
 

John VN

DIS Cast Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2003
I never went to a fitness center, gym or even did any type of "work out". All my exercise came from bicycle riding. Upon leaving FW after our January stays, DW and I would see the thousands of people participating in the Marathon. In 2010 I said I wanted to do that and knowing I could not run I decided I would walk it. One year later I walked the Marathon on Sunday, the Half Marathon on Saturday and the 5K on Friday, a Dopey.

It is true that you have less time to train than I did but my guess is that if you train wisely and faithfully you will accomplish that goal and anyother one you set for yourself.

BTW, my 62nd BD is in a couple of weeks so GO FOR IT YOUNGSTER! :thumbsup2
 
  • HootDad

    <font color=teal>Makes magical trips each year<br>
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    Very helpful advice - thank you very much. I actually decided I'm going to track my progress here - more for me than anyone else ;-)
     

    Rose&Mike

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 25, 2008
    I think it's doable.:goodvibes Read all you can. Ask a lot of questions. There are lots of books/websites, etc for first time long distance runners.

    The WISH threads have tons of over 40 runners (myself included). And I think a lot of people would agree, you just really have to listen you your body. Ice is your friend.:goodvibes Cycling, strength training and yoga are great methods of cross training that you might want to look into as well.

    Look at it this way, let's say you start July at 3 miles. That gives you July-December to train. Adding only two miles a month to your long runs will put you at an ~15 mile training run before the race in January.:goodvibes

    Good luck!
     

    johde

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 27, 2002
    I think it's doable.:goodvibes Read all you can. Ask a lot of questions. There are lots of books/websites, etc for first time long distance runners.

    Good luck!
    I was thinking the same thing about reading. As a first timer, I liked Marathoning for Mortals. especially the chapter on goal setting. Not goal setting in terms of time, but goal setting in term of half marathon or full marathon, running or walking or some combination and the like. I ended up using their training plans for my first 2 half marathons before switching over to Jeff Galloway.

    I would recommend continuing to work over the summer on slowing increasing the distance on the weekends, as well as a little bit during the week. Then come early September you can start looking for a plan to take you the rest of the way.
     

    HootDad

    <font color=teal>Makes magical trips each year<br>
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    Again, very helpful advice indeed. I definitely want to read up on it - the last thing I want to do is injure myself. I have a history of issues with my Achilles tendon, but a PT gave me some stretching exercises to do that have been immensely helpful. So far, so good. I did 3 miles yesterday (Saturday) - 2 1/2 jogging, and 3 1/2 today (Sunday) - 3 jogging. I was definitely pushing myself. I'm not really going for time obviously but I'd like to maintain at least a 4 MPH pace (I know, not a very challenging pace) - I did the 3 miles today in 50 minutes so it actually was not as bad as I was anticipating. I'll continue jogging in my neighborhood this week which I think is helpful because there are hills, etc. Next week I'll take off at least a bit - we're leaving Friday night for 10 days in Europe! Woohoo! And we're staying most of the time on the Greek island of Santorini that is not real conducive to jogging. (shameless plug - there will be pics on my blog after we get back). OK, no more babbling - like I said this is more for me than anyone else ;-)
     
  • ZellyB

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 18, 2010
    I'm crazy right along with you. I'll turn 48 in a few weeks and I've never been any kind of a serious long distance runner before. I decided to use the Galloway method to train for a local half-marathon in November and very recently decided to boost my training so I can run that half and then the full at WDW in January. I honestly never would have thought I'd consider a half-marathon much less a full even a few months ago, but after starting training in April, it feels very attainable.
     

    HootDad

    <font color=teal>Makes magical trips each year<br>
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    I'm crazy right along with you. I'll turn 48 in a few weeks and I've never been any kind of a serious long distance runner before. I decided to use the Galloway method to train for a local half-marathon in November and very recently decided to boost my training so I can run that half and then the full at WDW in January. I honestly never would have thought I'd consider a half-marathon much less a full even a few months ago, but after starting training in April, it feels very attainable.
    Cool, maybe I'll see you there! Good luck to us both!

    :thumbsup2
     

    runmommyrun

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2011
    You can do it! If you are running/walking 3 miles now, the half is 6 months away. It is amazing how your body can adapt in that timeframe. But take it slow and only add on mileage in small increments. My biggest mistake has been trying to take on too much, too quickly. And it is absolutely fine if you end up with a run/walk for the half. In fact, some more frequent marathon runners I know have consistently bettered their times with a run/walk combination. Marathon weekend is a blast, so if you have an interest, you should certainly try to do it. Have fun and good luck! It is amazing how people will cheer you on and get you to the finish line!
     

    princessCKL

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 9, 2008
    You can do it! I started running last June for the first time in my life. I was 53 when I started. I followed the Galloway training plan that you can get for free from the Rundisney website - Religously. I was nervous about not keeping pace so I did the San Antonio Rock and Roll Half for a "dress rehearsal" in October and I finished it in 3hours 15 minutes. In Feb. I finished the Princess Half at WDW in 3 hours and 17 minutes and I stopped for pictures 3 times so really more like 3 hours of running. I highly recommend Galloway and the run/walk/run method. I am signed up for the Tower of Terror 10k in Sept and will register for this years Princess as soon as registration opens up. I'll be 54 when I run those races.
     
  • bwolfe

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 19, 2007
    Never too old! My dad is 63 and is running the Peachtree next week. It's a 10K. With a good training program you can do it! We love the Jeff Galloway programs.
     

    HootDad

    <font color=teal>Makes magical trips each year<br>
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    Just back from our 10 day trip to Europe. What an amazing trip! One day visits to 3 cities (London, Athens and Madrid - well OK only an afternoon in Madrid) and a week in Santorini. I plan to post to my blog with details, thoughts and lots of pictures (hopefully) this weekend. (link below) Anyway - no running at all the whole time but if you've been to Santorini you know that I did a heck of a lot of stairs! Starting back p with my training tomorrow...

    Again, very helpful advice indeed. I definitely want to read up on it - the last thing I want to do is injure myself. I have a history of issues with my Achilles tendon, but a PT gave me some stretching exercises to do that have been immensely helpful. So far, so good. I did 3 miles yesterday (Saturday) - 2 1/2 jogging, and 3 1/2 today (Sunday) - 3 jogging. I was definitely pushing myself. I'm not really going for time obviously but I'd like to maintain at least a 4 MPH pace (I know, not a very challenging pace) - I did the 3 miles today in 50 minutes so it actually was not as bad as I was anticipating. I'll continue jogging in my neighborhood this week which I think is helpful because there are hills, etc. Next week I'll take off at least a bit - we're leaving Friday night for 10 days in Europe! Woohoo! And we're staying most of the time on the Greek island of Santorini that is not real conducive to jogging. (shameless plug - there will be pics on my blog after we get back). OK, no more babbling - like I said this is more for me than anyone else ;-)
     

    Qltrgrl2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2011
    I ran my first half marathon (Princess) in 2011 at the ripe old age of 57. I am now addicted to the Disney races like many here on the WISH board. Be sure to increase your mileage slowly and ask lots of questions here. The runners on Disboards are very helpful.
    Good Luck and happy training
     

    henrylarry6

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Dec 28, 2011
    Though it’s hard but if you set your target and decide to achieve it then no one can stop you. And your age will also not be a obstacle in your way. Wish you a good luck!
     

    Tiger Lily 03

    Moderator W.I.S.H.
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2003
    How exciting for you to set this goal! My recommendation would be to shoot for a 15 munute/mile that you can walk/jog/wog. Anything faster will build in photo opportunities along the way.

    Our WISH group did this back in 2004 for my first 2005 half marathon. It has been a life changing time for me with 42 half marathons, 18 states and a member of the Perfectly Goofy group. (WDW has been my choice of my one marathon a year for these last 7 soon to be 8 years) I too was 54 when I began training and at age 62 I am still loving and living life.

    Our founding group had many versions of people who were at all ability levels. We figured we'd all strive for this crazy goal of our first half marathon understanding that if it did not work out that we would all be healthier for trying.

    You have good advice about finding a plan that works for you, I definitely love Marathoning for Mortals and avidly pursue this program since I feel it is more forgiving for my old bones.

    There are many who are on the events side of WISH in various stages of training for events. You are welcome to join into any of those discussions too.

    Happy training! And, find the fun.
     

    Robert 31320

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 19, 2007
    Good luck to you HootDad!

    I want to do a Disney race. Looks like it will be the WDW (at least half) Marathon in January 2014. Want to do the 2013 race but we can't swing it financially. Planning and training has already started for me for 2014!
     

    HootDad

    <font color=teal>Makes magical trips each year<br>
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    Thanks to all the responses so far, it really helps to hear words of experience and/or inspiration!

    I was away most of the last 2 weeks for a wonderful trip to Europe (I hope to have comments and picks on my blog in a few weeks). I wasn't really able to train - though anyone whose ever been to Santorini can attest to the fact that just navigating all the cobbled steps is a bit of a workout!

    I was able to pretty much pick up where I left off - I did 2 1/4 miles on Saturday and 2 1/2 on Sunday. I'll go for 3 this weekend. So far so good!

    Unfortunately I gained some weight while in Greece (too much baklava!), but I'm also doing Weight Watchers so I'm sure it will come back off.
     

    HootDad

    <font color=teal>Makes magical trips each year<br>
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    I haven't really written that much about my weight loss goals with this. I am a lifetime Weight Watchers member. For a a couple of years I doing OK but not great in the weight area - hovering about 10-20 punds above where I wanted to be. Then about a year ago a directed a play that took all my spare time so I could not work out - plus I injured myself - plus I was not following WW at the time - and my weight ballooned. When I started this I was at lest 30 punds over my goal - more like 40 really. Anyway, when I first started I dropped 10 punds in a week. Not necessarily a good thing IMO but still satisfying. Then I gained about 2 of it back (nor surprising) the next week. Then I went to Europe and when I got back I was actually a few pounds over where I started. Now I'm back, following WW closely and running almost every day. So then... this week... I dropped 10 pounds again. As I wrote - not necessarily a good thing and not something I expect nor want to do everyweek - still satisfying though.
     

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