Almost beginner to marathon in a year?

Hi everyone!

I'm an occasional runner, currently hovering around week 4 of the couch-to-5k program, but I'm feeling really inspired to do the marathon next year. I am young, fit (in terms of other forms of exercise) and healthy, apart from the occasional knee twinge and back problem, both of which I do exercises for and am prepared to have more treatment for if it stops me running.

SO, if i can get to 5k, and then 10k within 6 months-ish, is a marathon in 12 months do-able? It's hell for almost everyone, isn't it? Am I delusional?

Any advice would be fantastic!!

Thanks for your help :)


  • if you have this motivation and determination then you are half way there.
    Work on a gradual increase in mileage up to 85 per week and try to find a training partner to spur you on during those cold, dark nights when you are pounding the streets for 10 miles after work!.But think of the glory and achievement of passing the line in about 3 hours.
    Keep at it and work hard till it hurts.
  • I went from non runner in Jan 06 to do 4 x halves in the same year. I've just done FLM, so that's 16months. It can be done if you are lucky enough not to suffer too many injuries. I've had one that knocked my mara prog into a cocked hat but I was still able to get round last Sunday.

    Plan your year carefully and you should be OK. Start with a 10k, then a half before summer gets too hot. More halves in Autumn and winter with a good programme thorugh the winter. I'm assuming you want to do FLM, so don't forget that the best chance you have is probably a charity place. You'll need to show some aptitude for fundraising befor they give a mara virgin a place. And also that you have a good running background too. i got lucky with my charity, they trusted me and I don't think I've let them down.

    Good luck.

    Oh, and join a club too.
  • StetsonUK - v'course you can go from couch to 26.2 in 1 year; but it'll take all of that year in effort. the biggest risk is doing too much too soon and getting injured.

    add a bit of strength work to the running (gym stuff and core strength training) and that should keep the knee twinge at bay and keep you on the roads.

    the RW schedules are good but don't stretch to more than 3-4 months so get yourself a copy of Advanced Marathoning by Pfitzinger & Douglas - don't be scared by the title! The best bits in it are the long term schedules which are quite bendable to an individual's requirements

    good luck - 26.2 is the best!

    the bat
  • Ooooh, I'm so excited now reading all of this! I already do yoga, pilates and resistance/weights training, so hopefully that'll help, as well as half an hour on a cross trainer every morning before work, so I'm not too much of a flump.

    I'll definitely be doing it for a charity, officially or otherwise, seems a shame not to!

    And thanks for the book recommendation batfink, I'll definitely check it out!

    Darn, now I'm pumping with energy and have a day at my desk to look forward to.

    SK :)
  • 85 miles a week????
    I have never run that many miles in the 4 years of training.
    It can be done on much less

    The secret is build slowly
    An increase in either speed or distance of no more than 10% per week.

    Get a good schedule sorted now and you will be joining us on the start line in 2008
  • Quite so Rio

    85 miles a week for some people may be a sure fire route to injury
  • StetsonK,

    Absolutely no reason why you should not try a marathon 12 months from starting running.
    I went from not running at all, a 5 spell in hospital after a 'bit of an accident' (see my website for more info), to running a cross country marathon in 12 months.
    So if you are reasonably fit and take it easy ou won't have a problem, the key for me was believeing that I could do it.

    So multiple fractures and severe head injury to marathon in 18 months was what I did, so if you are quite fit, not a problem


  • Definitely possible if you really want to. Biggest issue will be finding the time to do the training - 85 miles/week is more than most will do but you do need to work at it.

    Another book I've found useful is 'Marathon Running for Mortals' (or something very similar) by John Bingham and Jenny someone or other. Its written in a similar style as JB writes his 'penguin' columns in the RW mag and covers everything from getting started up to a reasonably comprehensive training schedule.

  • I used the Hal Higdon begginers schedule for my first marathon, I also had the
    'The Runner's Handbook: The Best-selling Classic Fitness Guide for Beginner and Intermediate Runner by Bob Glover and Jack Shepherd (Paperback - 29 Aug 1996) ' which I found to be a good reference.

  • yip stets it can. In fact I'm doing the same using Cliff Temples 52 week mara schedule. I'll polish my boots -you yours and we'll kick eachothers ar$e if need be:O)
  • I have secured my place for the Marathon next year, (due to an injury this year). Another good book is 'The Non-runners marathon trainer' gets you from non runner to marathon in 5 months. Its a get you round plan but very easy with good advice (and not too pricy on amazon).

    This is turning into a book club :-)‘s-Marathon-Trainer-by-David-A.-Whitsett&RCN=5&rgn=5&v=5&sp=
  • I've used "Marathon training for dummies" as a core and now on my 3rd Marathon

    YES it can be done, my advice is to build the miles as high as you can without making yourself ill (You will learn how high that means.. your body will tell you!)

    1st marathon I ran all the way no walking - just under 5 hrs.. my training mileage tops was probably 35 miles a week

    2nd marathon I ran all the way no walking in just under 4hrs 30.. my training mileage was probably 40-45 a week

    This year I am starting to get a bit more serious and trained longer than the 16 weeks upping the weeks at 16-18miles (probably over 2 months) before getting up to 20-22 this month (3 runs so far, 2,20's and 1 22)

    I've been doing 50-60mile weeks.. my body's having a moan this week (head cold)

    Think about what your aims are first and then decide what will help.. my first was pureley personal - I wanted to do it on my own and run all of it - I trained alone and ran alone - it was fantastic.. totally my own achievement

    Last year I wanted a faster time but to feel better in the last miles.. I trained on my own to get both goals

    This year I have joined a club, more for off road side of things but the speed option is there... I might start looking at that.. although be warned I've found looking at others speed has already damaged my attitude for my 3rd marathon because I feel like a slow tortoise compared to the whippets at the club who were moaning about 3:44 marathon last night (reality check!)
  • Hello,
    I think it can be done, I have someone giving me a training plan and he said a year is no problem.....
    Maybe we will be flm virgins together ha ha!!!
    Good Luck with your training.
  • hi from a newbie.
    yes it can be done. i (stupidly) managed to do the blackpool marathon back in 2001 with no training at all for it. i turned up on the day paid and off i went. managed to run the first 13 miles but had to walk the 2nd half as my legs turned to tree trunks.
    kids came along and i never carried it on, but now have the time to start over and do things properly.
    just staring with the basic training that can be found on the site and build myself up so i can start to enter marathons again from next year onwards.
    after years away its been tough getting into it again, esp after years of cigs and chocolate, but doing my best to cut them down and out and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

  • Good luck with the training dave!!! Maybe see you in london marathon 2008
  • thanks kayleigh. hopefully so, if not blackpool is my fallback option, and at least not too far to travel.
  • Hi all this is fantastic to get all your advice - I started running in January and hated it; with a little push from my running partner i completed the reading half in 2.00 flat. I am hooked I am already involved in a charity and am hoping to get a charity place for the marathon in 2008. I had a son in Jan 06 mentioned I wanted to increase my fitness and now im hooked - my son thinks its great too as i have so much more energy for him and take everything in my stride at home and work (very stressfull job!) If I can make this improvement in this time then Dave I meet you at the finish line FLM 2008. ;-)
  • Returned to running lasy year (2006) after 4 years of doing not much - had done an IronMan in 2002, then got married, kids came along, and my exercise sort of went out the window.

    Decided in Feb 06 to get myself back in to regular exercise and very soon decided to try to get in to FLM 07. Then heard about GFA, so chose two Autumn maras - a first choice and a fall back - to try for sub 3 and auto entry to the "green start".

    It nearly all went very pear shaped when I got injured in 1st mara of 06 (September), but excellent sports therapy got me on to the start line of October mara, and I managed 2:59:28 - hence securing gfa for FLM last week.

    So, I'd say yes - it can be done. Good Luck.
  • hi Sonya, im sure you can make it. i'm walking proof that just about anyone can get round. sure i got passeed by all types as i limped home in 6 hours, (just under 2 hours for the first 13. think we should have a little newbies flm get together afterwards as i plan on staying on the night rather than travel straight back.

    ewll done dad of 2 on the times, and getting back from the injury. think theres nothing worse than sitting around waiting it even if you think you're ready. i dropped off a ladder a couple of weeks back, and luckily only suffered a slight muscle tear, had i broke anything my fresh start would of gone out of the window and i'd of been sat around wondering if it was worth trying again.

  • I'm definitely going to do it. i've ordered a couple of books, and I think even though the FLM itself will be punishing, I'm quite looking forward to getting into REALLY good shape, and using it as an excuse to give my body the TLC it really needs as I hit my late 20s.
  • Well done stetsonK, every ache and pain is worth it afterwards when you look back at your accomplishment.
  • StetsonK,
    you can do it... I went from not being able to run 1KM last January to finishing Dublin in 3:42 in October. The key for me was the same as everyone else has said... gradual increase in distances and consistency... basically making sure I got at least four runs in per week. I never did any speedwork... just concentrated on gradually increasing distance.

    Good luck!
  • What is a decent speed to start at? At the gym, I used to hover around 7.4kph - is that reasonable?
  • Whatever feels most comfortable for you, the ballpark is "can you carry a conversation"? You'll soon get to feel what pace your good at, but I'd concentrate on your distance, enjoying it and listen to your body. It will soon tell you if an injury is coming or its had enough. Just try and start getting in the regular runs and mileage under your belt. The plans and the books will help, but then general wisdom is to keep a running log and don't increase by more than 10% a week with some easy weeks built in.

    Why not aim for a half around September ish?
  • Thats what I been told get the distance up first and then work on the speed after, I have 8 weeks until my trainer said I will be able to run continsouly (excuse the spelling) for 30 mins! Then he said he will work on my speed..

  • Cheers Bats, good on you Stetson K. No one told me the pain that would hit after a real race - i'd never got that after a training session even when running 12.5 miles in a decent time. What i did find out during my first half was how much i caould push myself and how the crowd and other runners keep you going.

    Find what works for you vary your training and if your lucky you might have a good training partner they help to get you out on a damp dark day and you them - I have found when i least feel like running is when i get my PB's. So don't give up.
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