how I trained to run 🏃 for 13.1 miles (a half marathon) in just 33 days – even without any previous running experience

If you want to know how long it takes to learn how to prepare to run 🏃 for a half marathon, then the experts out there will tell you that you need anything from 12 to 15 weeks. But how the hell did I manage to train myself for the same in just over 4 weeks?

And even better, how did I manage to run a whole half marathon distance in just 2:00:22?

Did I have a training plan?

Did I follow a specific diet?

Did I push myself insanely?

How could a person with no any previous running experience progress in such an incredibly short time?

Well, there is no secret to it, but only a simple truth that says,

Good, and consistent practice will always give you the results.

Put the hours into it and the results will come.

Back in early June when I first started to think seriously about running, I realised that I had to have a special routine for at least 3 months before I was to be ready for a half marathon.

But here this, I’m not running to lose weight, or to do catch up with any health issues or even to follow the doctor’s recommendations. I’m in a pretty good shape, considering that earlier this year I was busy with the Insanity Fast & Furious by Shaun T.

But if you like workout, you’d know that a month without any workout takes the body back to squire one. Now up to the time I did my first 3 mile run, I hadn’t done any workout for about 3 months. I knew my body was getting lazy. I didn’t gain any weight but you know what… we all know how it feels like when we are not as fit as we know fit should be.

So I decided that I wanted a new challenge.

And because it’s summer here in the UK, I realised that even the weather was on my side. No excuses. Even though I have never run before, this was it… this was the time to finally prove whether there’s a runner in me.

But there is one secret reason that I think, somehow, it adds to why I decided to run in the first place: I’m growing old.

Since I turned 30, three years ago, I kind of feel my youth is slowly running away from me. There are mornings where when I wake up and my neck wouldn’t turn to the left – as if somebody was trying to strangle me while I was fast asleep.

So as I observed these little changes, I told my wife, ‘I’m not ready to grow old. I must stay young… Young forever!’ And she knows me that I get these phases all the time in my life. One time I exercise a lot and the next thing you hear is, I don’t give a shit.

In the past I’ve joined gyms, bought a bike to cycle but I haven’t been on it since last summer, I’ve played basketball… and now for the first time in my life, I wanted to run… to run like professional.

So the first thing I did was to decide that I’m going to run.

This is very important. Nothing happens until we decide that we want it, and even more, the moment we show that we expect it to happen. And the way we show our expectations is by doing the things that are necessary to do to get what we want start rolling our ways.

I felt that I can run, even though I have never done it before.

I’ve seen people complete a half marathon, people who I think if they can do it I can do it, too. People who look overweight but driven with determination to do the impossible. People who are old and, some would say, fragile, but yet they train and complete a half marathon.

That gave me courage, if these people can do it… I can do it too.

I really didn’t want to over think about it all. At first, all I wanted to know is,

  • What does it mean by 5k?
  • What is 10k in miles?
  • How long is the half marathon in miles?
  • And do people really run the full marathon without pissing themselves?

Once I had an OK understanding of these numbers, I chose the right app, RunKeeper that’s, from Google Play and the next day I was off.

But you know, funny things happen when you do something for the first time.

What you accomplish on the first day doesn’t seem to have any good meaning until days or even weeks later.

My first run was back in 18th June 2015 for 3.25 miles. And the average speed was about 9 minutes per mile.

The next day, I was in pain. My legs felt heavier than ever. But again I didn’t want to over think about running. Besides, my beginner half marathon program or running plan told me that I will be ready around early October. So I was not in a rush and took sometime off before, seven days later… on 25th June, when I decided to resume with my running.

After that I tried to maintain an unplanned running every other day. So some days I would run for 4 miles, then 5 miles, then 7 miles, then 5 miles again, and in the end I felt confident enough to go for it.

In fact, to tell you the truth, I never planned or even expected to run the whole half marathon distance in just over 4 weeks of training. But the more I ran, the more I felt better at it, the more I felt stronger, the more I felt confident that I can do well and surprisingly, the more I seemed to love running.

But something else also happened.

Whenever I went for running, I obviously cross path with several other runners. But to my surprise, most of them seemed in some kind of pain. As I tried to wave hello! to them, most of them couldn’t even smile back… I though most runners do run because it’s a good thing to do, and that it feels great to!

Anyway, let’s talk about diet.

I am not on any special diet.

I eat what my family eat. If it’s chips, I ate chips and ketchup. If it’s pasta salad, I also ate pasta salad and mayonnaise. I just ate and still eat what we have on our family menu. No special diet or protein drink or anything.

I don’t even do other exercises other than press ups. So all I now do is run for about 3 to 4 times each week.


…after I ran 7.77 miles (see the number?) on 18th July for 1:05:46, with the average speed of 8:28 minutes per mile, I realised that I was good.

At this point, my legs were all into running.

And so on 20th July I decided to go all the way.

I decided to run the 13.1 miles distance.  And I completed it in 2:00:22 with the average speed of 8:48.

It was unbelievable.

I felt so good.

But there were some things that I will have to do them better next time.

In this run, I didn’t have water. And so I felt so thirsty that I almost snatched bottles of water from other runners. I also had an idea of stopping at the shop to buy a small bottle of water, but then I didn’t carry my wallet with me. And I remember, at one time I felt like jumping into the little springs to drink water the old fashioned way.

But I decided that I must not stop. I decided that my time way more important. And so I kept going.

I kept going to the point that I couldn’t feel my heart beats. I didn’t know what was going on. So I quickly decided to examine every part of my body.

My head was good… even without water, there was no headache or anything.

My arms felt normal.

My tummy was fine.

But my knees were a little bit tired.

My feet were fine.

My leg muscles were feeling the stretch… and somehow that felt uncomfortable.

I had to do this just to make sure that I was still alive as I couldn’t feel my heart pounding even after I placed my right hand on my chest several times.

And even thought this was not an official half marathon, here is how I compared to the real world marathon races.

If I was running the 2015 Bath marathon I would have been the 4717 out of 11599.

And if it was the 2015 Brighton half marathon, I’d have been the 3366 out of 7677.

In 2015 Wokingham Half Marathon I have been the 1200 out of 1674 (those who finished).

In 2015 Reading Half Marathon – 4030 out of 13336.

The maximum height was about 650 ft and the minimum was about 250 ft.

Yes, I’m not even on the top 1000 but the truth is, there is some hope.

I am going to keep running until next Spring when I will run a real half marathon.

My aim?

Well, to cut a whole hour out of my time. Now remember, I’ve completed the 13.1 m distance in 2:00:22. To cut half of that is a big challenge. But I think there’s a possibility. If I can get fit enough to run under 5 minutes per mile instead of 8 minutes, I’d have accomplished my goal.

Of course, there’s no pressure.

I’m not stressing about anything.

But one thing I know is that next year this time, I’d have achieved my goal.

over to you

If you are working on to lose weight, or to simply get fitter, here is one thing I know for sure: if you put the hours down, you will definitely get he results. Push yourself if you have to… but not too far that you lose your heart beats ;).

And when you will not feel like doing what you’ve decided or what you are supposed to do, just do this one thing: don’t over think about it.

Just get up and start to do it.

There were days that I felt like I didn’t want to run, but all I did was get outside the house… it’s hard to walk back in once you are out there. In fact, some days I only said that I’d run for a mile, but five miles later I was still running.

So don’t over think about it.

Just go and do it for three minutes, for a mile… Before you know it, you will find that you’ve created a momentum fast enough to carry you all the way to next day.

I use this same technique when I don’t feel like writing: I say to myself just write a first draft of about 100 words. But two hours later I’m still tapping away to my keyboard.

Well, I wish you all the best.