21 stone to 26.2 miles in 18 months - can it be done?

On a recent night out with my bosses I brought up the subject that, after two years of mad working/travelling, I had started running again which is a very good sign that things in the business have calmed down and I can refocus some time on me.

I have put on 5 stone (32kg) in the last two years so I know I can lose it. I have always had the ambition to run a marathon.

One thing led to another on the night out and my bosses agreed, should I complete a marathon in 2024, they would donate an amount to cancer research, the quicker I ran the more the amount. The numbers were enough that I couldn't really say no.

This is my starting point :smile:
nnzfn5u4n64x.png

I haven't run for two years though I was running half marathons every three months just over three years ago.

Week 1 of C25K was tough so I repeated it, moving onto week 2 on Sunday.

I know I need to work on my core which was my weak point and gave me knee issues previously.

Any advice welcome!
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Replies

  • Jeanette_Hills
    Jeanette_Hills Posts: 2 Member
    It's normal to struggle with the early stages of the Couch to 5K programs, so don't worry too much about repeating a week. It's also smart to work on your core to prevent future knee issues.
  • snowflake954
    snowflake954 Posts: 8,400 Member
    I wish you luck! You have a nice goal. If you don't injure yourself doing too much too soon, you'll have a shot at it. Take things slow in the beginning.
  • TheMrWobbly
    TheMrWobbly Posts: 2,523 Member
    Thanks @Jeanette_Hills and @snowflake954

    I will definitely be taking it slowly in the beginning - not a lot of choice :smiley:
  • sarabushby
    sarabushby Posts: 784 Member
    You can totally definitely do this! It sounds like you’re starting the right way :)
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,030 Member
    I'm not a runner, but am a li'l ol' lady recreational athlete. My runner buddies tell me that "runger" is a real thing, and I know that as any training plan advances the physical demands get more taxing (so may require a relatively smaller calorie deficit if any, better nutrition, other recovery measures, in order to make the desired athletic progress).

    That implies to me that it would probably be a good plan to focus harder (though still sensibly moderately) on weight loss in the early stages, and more on fueling/nutrition later. As a much smaller person, I lost around 50 pounds (23 kg) in a bit under a year, and it was only too fast for a short time.

    With discipline and good plans, you should be able to accomplish this - both the weight loss and athletic goals.

    As a cancer survivor, I appreciate your doing it with cancer research as part of your motivation. I'm cheering for you!

  • TheMrWobbly
    TheMrWobbly Posts: 2,523 Member
    Great point @AnnPT77 - how to fuel and lose weight later. Do runners find "their weight" that they can comfortably run at?

    Great to know you are a survivor, my Mum had many more years after treatment and I want everyone to have a better shot!
  • Djproulx
    Djproulx Posts: 3,084 Member
    As others have said, your goal is a good one! Very achievable in 18 months with a consistent effort.

    I agree with other responders who suggest losing the weight early in the training process. It will not only make running less taxing, but it is usually easier to function in a calorie deficit when your training mileage is modest. As you move from your base mileage work and into a marathon "build", your mileage, hunger and fatigue build. You'll need adequate calories and good recovery to be sure you reach the starting line healthy on race day.

    Good luck!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,030 Member
    What a difference 3 weeks made to my heart rate

    celkwj7d281o.png

    Who knew?

    That's excellent!

    Yes, do the right stuff, and fitness happens . . . can start happening pretty quickly, too. Nice work!
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,421 Member
    This is just way cool and motivational and I sincerely hope you’ll keep us updated.

    I can truly say that, starting at 56, obese and an utter and total couch potato, I do things now that amaze me, and I still can’t believe it myself. I don’t actually pinch myself but I have a good “who are you?!!”!look in the mirror every morning.

    You can do it, but don’t be like (sorrrrry…..) the running equivalent of the chicks who come to MFP “my wedding is in two months and I need to lose 50 pounds!” You’re right to be thinking ahead, asking questions and making a plan.

    And smile to yourself sometimes. I’ve discovered that if I just smile and tell myself how genuinely amused I am at me doing this stuff, I can get through almost anything. Smiles and laughter relax the face and the rest of your body follows suit. Cheesy, but damn me if it doesn’t work.
  • TheMrWobbly
    TheMrWobbly Posts: 2,523 Member
    A good start @AnnPT77 @Djproulx almost, but not quite a stone down in the first month and I will keep focusing on this.

    Give or take a couple of years we sound like we have the same starting point @springlering62 and would love to hear your success story.

    The one thing I can definitely say - the chaffing is real!
    x45m69fqu2q5.png
  • Djproulx
    Djproulx Posts: 3,084 Member
    A good start @AnnPT77 @Djproulx almost, but not quite a stone down in the first month and I will keep focusing on this.

    Give or take a couple of years we sound like we have the same starting point @springlering62 and would love to hear your success story.

    The one thing I can definitely say - the chaffing is real!
    x45m69fqu2q5.png

    Try Body Glide on arms/legs, and/or Aquaphor on soft tissue areas......
  • This sounds like a fantastic goal. As others have said build slowly, and complement your running with basic strength training to prevent injury and shore up weak points. Active recovery is also a great thing to add on. Massage gun, salt and ice baths, foam roller, static and dynamic stretching. All good things to hit your mileage.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,030 Member
    Great point @AnnPT77 - how to fuel and lose weight later. Do runners find "their weight" that they can comfortably run at?

    Great to know you are a survivor, my Mum had many more years after treatment and I want everyone to have a better shot!

    I was hoping some of the runners might have a perspective on the bolded.

    In general, I think the "ideal weight" question is very personal and individual and depends on overall body geometry, body composition (muscularity vs. fat), personal preference, cultural context, health history, and more . . . including what weight allows for a sustainable maintenance calorie level.

    As a generality, ideal weight is a question I suggest people discuss with their doctor, in the context of healthy boundaries. (Yes, I talked with my doctor about it myself.)

    Certainly, running is a sport that will somewhat favor a relatively lighter weight for performance reasons, but fast or extreme loss can also compromise performance.

    I don't have a perspective on what would be best for running, or even any idea how to think about it. I'm a rower, and while being vastly overweight (fat weight) hinders performance, height and muscularity are positives, so the best rowers tend to be pretty heavy, relatively speaking. At 5'5" (short for a female rower) and a late-starter (in my late 40s), I'll never be remotely elite, and for various reasons prefer to be low to mid in the normal BMI range, like BMI 20-22. If I were male with a similar relative build, I'd likely want a little higher BMI than that.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,030 Member
    BTW, I endorse Bodyglide or a similar anti- chafe product, too - helpful.

    Also, as an afterthought, a stone in a month is pretty fast loss - maybe faster than essential for your overall schedule targets. With athletic goals in the picture, moderate loss rate is especially important (to minimize muscle loss and facilitate athletic recovery).

    Sometimes the first month looks faster because of water retention shifts. Going forward, I'd suggest something like 1% of current weight per week as a maximum, and 0.5% can be better/more conservative. Fast loss is appealing, but it can be counter-productive in various ways.
  • Djproulx
    Djproulx Posts: 3,084 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Great point @AnnPT77 - how to fuel and lose weight later. Do runners find "their weight" that they can comfortably run at?

    Great to know you are a survivor, my Mum had many more years after treatment and I want everyone to have a better shot!

    I was hoping some of the runners might have a perspective on the bolded.

    In general, I think the "ideal weight" question is very personal and individual and depends on overall body geometry, body composition (muscularity vs. fat), personal preference, cultural context, health history, and more . . . including what weight allows for a sustainable maintenance calorie level.

    As a generality, ideal weight is a question I suggest people discuss with their doctor, in the context of healthy boundaries. (Yes, I talked with my doctor about it myself.)

    Certainly, running is a sport that will somewhat favor a relatively lighter weight for performance reasons, but fast or extreme loss can also compromise performance.

    I don't have a perspective on what would be best for running, or even any idea how to think about it. I'm a rower, and while being vastly overweight (fat weight) hinders performance, height and muscularity are positives, so the best rowers tend to be pretty heavy, relatively speaking. At 5'5" (short for a female rower) and a late-starter (in my late 40s), I'll never be remotely elite, and for various reasons prefer to be low to mid in the normal BMI range, like BMI 20-22. If I were male with a similar relative build, I'd likely want a little higher BMI than that.

    I'd suggest that the question is more precisely: "How much should you weigh?", since your initial question suggests "running comfortably" as a desired end state. That requires a bit more information and your definition of comfort will evolve as you gain run fitness. Finally, you'll probably reach a point where easy runs will feel easy, though hard runs(marathon pace) will remain uncomfortable, you'll just be running faster while doing them.

    I believe that a focus on leanness is helpful for endurance athletes and becoming leaner WHILE consuming adequate calories, managing your appetite and getting adequate recovery (sleep, foam rolling, etc.) is the key to optimum results on race day.

    One information source that may interest you is Matt Fitzgerald's book Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance. The book does not offer a quick fix approach and may be more suited to those interested in performance over a longer time horizon. With that said, he offers a 6 step plan for peak performance as well as lots of information on foods, strength exercises and examples of how elite performers fuel their workouts and recovery days. IMO, it is useful for anyone interested in learning how endurance racing (running, cycling, triathlon, etc) results are closely tied to leanness.


  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,421 Member
    edited May 2023
    Regarding weight to run at, I have been a regular runner and am considerably heavier than would be ideal. Hasn't stopped me doing a couple of ultra marathons in the last couple of years.

    My top tip is cross training, am sure that has helped me stay happily injury free. Yoga/Pilates are great for your core and relieving any stiffness. I also swim and hike regularly.

    I second this. Cross training has been amazing for me, cross training in the sense I do yoga, weight lifting, Pilates, stationery and outdoor cycling, cardio, aquafit, tons of walking, and short runs when I have the chance. Mixing it up has helped with strength, flexibility, balance, even alertness. Not to mention (*gasp*!) toning and shaping.
  • TheMrWobbly
    TheMrWobbly Posts: 2,523 Member
    Thank you for the help everyone.

    I have ordered the bodyglide @Djproulx and a percussion gun @whitedd7 which my SO is very keen to try.

    Mixing up the routine is definitely in the plan, @littlegreenparrot1 swimming seems a sensible option for low impact at my current weight and I am going to sign up for a month to see if I can fit it in the timetable. I need to find a yoga or pilates routine and not be embarrassed to work out in front on my SO. I agree on the walking @springlering62 and take our dog for 3.5ish miles 3 times a week, though I am not sure that works different muscles than running.

    My MFP weight loss is set at 1.5 lbs a week @AnnPT77 , I am not undereating, I just think I had a lot of excess and the first couple of weeks were a bit dramatic. It will settle to a more sensible rate.

    Feeling good and smiling makes people wonder what you have been doing!

    Thanks again! Please keep the advice coming.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,030 Member
    Thank you for the help everyone.

    (snip)

    My MFP weight loss is set at 1.5 lbs a week @AnnPT77 , I am not undereating, I just think I had a lot of excess and the first couple of weeks were a bit dramatic. It will settle to a more sensible rate.

    (snip)
    .

    That's a sensible target rate at your current size, for sure. Keep in mind, as you go forward, that the estimates from MFP (plus other calorie calculators and even fitness trackers) truly are just estimates - basically a population wide average for people with similar demographic details. Most people are close to average, a few may be noticeably higher or lower, and a rare few are quite surprisingly far off.

    After the first 4-6 weeks or so, your own results are the best "calculator" of your actual calorie needs. Exclude the first couple of weeks from your average, if they look really unusual retrospectively, and add a couple of more weeks to get a fair multi-week period to average. Use your actual average loss rate to consider whether adjustments are needed.

    I'm one of the weirdos, for whatever reason: MFP thinks I'd maintain around 1500 calories plus exercise calories. My good brand/model of fitness tracker (one that's close for others) is in that same ballpark. If I ate 1500 + exercise, I'd lose around a pound a week (as compared with nearly 8 years of calorie counting experience). That's unusual, but it can happen.

    Personal results trump calculator/tracker estimates.

    Best wishes!