How I Ran My First Half Marathon

This is not a step-by-step guide on how to get off from your couch and run 5k, 10k and eventually a half marathon.

This is not an motivational or inspiration “you can do it!” read. I will leave that to BuzzFeed or one of those sites.

This is a short story, an adventure of how one day an out-of-shape software developer (like you, perhaps?) decided to out for a run and never stopped.

(Sounds like Forest Gump, right? It’s sort of like that except less glamorous and much more boring).

Let’s us begin!

In the beginning…

The universe was nothingness and then the big bang happened or something like that. Fast forwarding a few eons later…

I got started back in early 2015. I went to the gym and mostly did cardio work outs.

My favorite part was running the treadmill. My first runs were awful. My best run was a little over 1 mile in 15 minutes.

My stamina was bad. I was severely overweight. Poor eating habits (aka lots of coffee) and crappy sleep had taken a toll on me.

Maybe I am getting too old.

That was a BS excuse. (I’m in my mid-30s). I was justifying myself to avoid any real hard work.

But I didn’t stop. I wasn’t consistent as I wanted to be but I still went to the gym on weekends.

Lack of time and running on the streets

My workouts would be in the afternoon. But going to the gym and working out usually meant 1hr+ in the evenings. I didn’t have that luxury. I have a family and spending time with them is the most important thing.

I’d get home at 6:30-7p (after a 1hr and half commute). After the gym, I’d be back to my house at 8p. It’d be just enough to put my boys to bed. It wasn’t worth it.

Since I enjoyed running the most anyway, I decided to go out running around my neighborhood as soon as I get home.

It worked time-wise. It’d spend 40mins opposed to 1hr+ at the gym. As my time (and conditioning) got better, I’d be back home in 30mins. My distance was 2 miles at this time.

At this time, I discovered John Sonmez and his Get Up and Code podcast. I learned about pedometers and began to officially track my runs.

I discovered my distance was not 2 miles. I was running close to 3 miles!

I switched my routine to run in the mornings. It was a real challenge as I’m not a morning person by a long shot!

Little by little I started to run a block farther and then around a small park as part of my routine.

My stamina and conditioning was improving and so was my curiosity to push farther.

Breaking 5k per run

5k = 3.10 miles.

I never set out to break 5K. I ran a block farther whenever I felt I could push my body.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was doing over 5K on my weekend runs. The real good news is that I wasn’t feeling super tired after them. My recovery time was great.

What was my schedule? Simple: run every other day. Rain or shine, I was out there running my route.

Eventually, I’d go to increase my distance. I was stoke when I ran my first 5 miles. Then, 7 miles in a single run. I remember them because I was exhausted after those crazy runs.

Enjoying the plateau

After many months, I kept running 4-miles route. Occasionally, I’d run 5 or even 6 miles on the weekend. But I’d not push myself farther than that.

Boring, right? You bet! It was freaking boring…for the most part.

I didn’t realize I was conditioning my mind and body (even my soul). I ran streets with some steep hills. I ran boring routes under the hot summer, chilly fall, cold winter and rainy spring.

(I told you this isn’t a montage about how great running is or how you will enjoy each time you run!)

Even more plateau

I was in that plateau for over a year. It had some great accomplishments. For example, I ran 50, 60, even 70 miles in a single month!

My miles accumulated because I ran every other day, almost without fail.

When I moved to another state, there were better running routes. There are more parks and the scenery is spectacular.

Today, my weekday route is around a lake. It’s spectacular view each morning! (Yes, even in the cold winters or cloudy raining days).

On the weekends, I explore different neighborhoods by running. I discovered some hidden areas I’d never noticed by driving in a car. I’ve enjoyed nature. The smell of flowers around some neighborhoods. My curiosity to explore guided me.

Notice, I didn’t say anything about improving my distance. I ran because I felt like running extra that day.

This eventually led me to run my first half marathon ever! It felt great, and awesome to reach such crazy milestone.


I enjoyed my plateau multiple times and led me to run 13.52 miles in 2:17.

I never made my goal to run 5K, 10K or even the half marathon. I just run and enjoy my plateau.

Each run was a step closer to reach a milestone. I have reached this one. Now, it’s time to enjoy the plateau yet again (at least until I reach the next milestone).

Do you want to run a half marathon one day? Start running today and enjoy your plateau!

  • Richard Pierre

    Nice article