Q: I have tried to take up running in the past, but being naturally slothful and weak, have given up at the first hurdle that came along. This time, to make sure I stick to it, I have entered myself for a 10k (it will be in March 05), and got sponsorship. No backing out this time! I am probably the most unfit I have ever been, so this is a bit of a challenge for a wimp like me. I'm looking for some Truth about my chances! I'm going to track down that GBR book you talked about elsewhere (hope I got the initials the right way round!), but anything you can tell me in the meantime would be great.

I'm doing a run/walk programme I got from a magazine, currently building up to half an hour steady running (not a pretty sight I can tell you), then building up to an hour. All being well, I should be able to run for an hour at a time, about 3 weeks before the 10k. All the training is currently on the flat, and quite slow (OK very slow!).

My questions are, does this sound like the right way to go about things? I'm not looking to be fast (luckily!), but am determined to run the whole 10k. The programme focuses on running for a given time (1/2 hour at the moment), and doesn't take into account distance/speed. To have a realistic chance of running the whole 10k, when should I start looking at how far/fast I can run? Is half an hour walk/run OK to start with, or should I be doing 1 hour walk/ runs from the start? I feel OK after a half hour run/walk, and could probably manage to keep going. I can only manage to fit in 3 runs most weeks, so running more frequently isn't really an option. Also, is being able to run for an hour enough? What sort of time should a wheezing, unfit, lard ball be able to do a 10k in anyway? Love the site by the way! Cheers. - L., 11/19/04

A: Forget about running for time. And before you think about running at all, if you are as unfit as you suggest, you'd better talk to your doctor first to see if you are fit enough to begin a training program. Having said that, congratulations on putting down the channel changer and getting off the couch. That seems to be the hardest part for folks who haven't discovered the joy of being active and everything that goes with it. You don't have to be fast to experience these joys.

Now, the training part. Your goal should just be to finish. Save the time goal for the future when the old you is just an imprint on that couch you'll be taking to Goodwill from lack of use soon....right?

Clearance from your Doc and Galloway's book is all you need now. Talk to the doc. Get the book. Read it. And get it done. And that's The Truth.

Good luck to you. The Rage

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10kTruth.com is a place for runners who have the attitude to train harder and smarter, who want to race faster and stronger, to better their race times and lower the chance of injury. The Rage and Manciata answer running and training questions with their own unique insight and spew. You'll also find running advice and inspirational quotes by sports legends and others who epitomize the spirit of 10k Truth.