Marathon madness!

I have just signed up to do my first marathon on 29th October, I am a complete beginner and would be grateful for any tips from the experts! I'm currently running 3 -4miles about three times a week. It's safe to say I think I've bitten off more than I can chew ????


  • hi colleen..

    you have about 3 months. Id say you want to do your last long run (approx 20 miles) by the start of October about 3 weeks before the race. You should increase your mileage on your long run really by no more than 10% per week. Im no expert and no elite (my PB is just short of 4 hrs) but I have done 3 marathons and each 1 has been faster than the last. I dont know what your ability is so its hard to say what you're capable of. You can always walk parts if you have to and dont have to aim for a time but you have to get your legs used to running for long periods. 3-4 runs a week is probably ok 1 being your long run with some shorter efforts in between but Id still up some of them to a bit longer, perhaps incorporate some speedwork, and some cross training will aid general fitness. If you had longer Id say (you might still have time for this) enter a couple of shorter races to build up your distance and race experience. Maybe a 10k and a half marathon.

    Dont take my advice as gospel Im no expert but overall ensure you dont overdo things/get injured and just try to enjoy!!

  • oh and make sure on long runs especially you dont get dehydrated and keep some jelly babies or similar on you to ensure your blood sugar doesnt plummet.

  • If you really apply yourself to the training required, are conservative in the time you expect and stay free from injury its doable providing your base fitness is reasonable now. I doubt you'll enjoy it though and as a result will probably never run another which is a shame as marathon running is immensely satisfying. If you're serious about doing it I wish you all the best, if you're not I'd smell the coffee and be more realistic in your goals.
  • A lot of plans are 16 weeks and you've less than that already. 

    Running a marathon is hard. Its a bloody long way. 

    The better prepared you are - the less it hurts on the day. 

    Have you any plan or are you winging it ? Doing 3 or 4 mile runs will leave you walking a huge amount of the race. Find a schedule and buck your ideas up.

    This may help you :



    Good luck - running is a lot like life  - you only get out of it what you put in. If you do the work you get the rewards. Or you can do the typical reality TV person training plan - do bugger all and crawl/limp round in 7 hours and make out that you've run the marathon. 

  • Thanks guys! Cougie I've got a plan to follow and Im on week two of it I'm goofing to look at the two u posted see if they look better thanks! Tri chick that's a brilliant pb. Blackbrogue I'm not worried about what time I do it in getting it finished will be my achievement im committed to it now so i may just get my head down!I've been looking for a half marathon to do but I have had to settle for a 10k at start of September,( I've done two before and ran them in just under an hour!) hopefully if I keep searching I can find a half close to home! Thanks again for all the advice!
  • why have you signed up for the marathon first? before trying a half which will give you a taste of what is to come, you need to try and book one for the end of August this will give a early focus to your training and and give a good guide to your level of fitness

  • I agree that getting a Half Marathon in will really improve your focus on the training. I can't see the 10k race contributing much to the aim in this case. The priority will be building the endurance base needed for the marathon, and running 10k in training will soon be considered a short run (I hope!). The 10k race during marathon training tends to be used more for sharpening up speed.

    While you are gradually increasing the running mileage, you can continue to improve your endurance through walking which is low impact. When I started, I often ran a few miles, and then went out for a long walk of 3 or 4 hours. Its not the sort of fatigue you get in the marathon, but its a start.

    October may seem like a while away yet, but in reality you have less than 3 months available for training. I would settle on a plan, and then commit to it.

    Where are you running the marathon?

  • It's do-able, but you have to commit to a sensible training plan and follow it as closely as you can - no skiving off or skimping on the longer runs! You have to be careful not to overdo it at first and end up injured and having to take time off to rest, and you also have to hope you won't come down with any bugs or minor illnesses that could make you lose a week of training.

    You'll probably be looking to get round comfortably rather than to have any particular time goal in mind. And you should maybe be planning a run-walk strategy. Bearing all that in mind, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to get round in one piece and enjoy yourself doing it. Good luck!

  • I agree that a half would be better there's one at the start of September I have found so that will be the one I will do! I will certainly do more walking to help -the dog will appreciate that. I'm running the Dublin marathon. I have got a plan and am committed to doing it. Im also trying to incorporate hill sessions that are being ran locally! My aim is to get round it this time in one piece and I will worry about my time for the next one I do! Thanks for the advice image
  • I have done Dublin and is a nice run , but watch your speed in the early bit especially through Phoenix park as runners seem tempted run too fast in this bit, the hills start after you leave the park , there is lots of crowd support just take your time , and remember you do not win the marathon in the first six miles but in the last six. don't worry about the runners who go past like greyhounds chances are you will pass them later.image 

  • Thanks William great bit of advice from you, it's great to hear from someone who has ran it before image
  • Hi Colleen

    How's the training going? would be good to hear if you are still on course.


  • Sorry I haven't been on in a while! Just to update you I completed my first marathon on 29th October in 5.18.03 and it was fantastic! So glad to finish it in one piece! Dublin was brilliant and I'm considering next year! I would recommend it to everyone and such an amazing atmosphere!

    Bill I know exactly what you mean about Phoenix park now!
  • Hi Collen

    Well done!!! thats a great time for your first marathon, you now need to look for your next marathon to keep the interest up, but fit in a couple of half marathons in to stay ontop of that fitness you have worked hard to reach, I am doing a marathon this sunday ( I have got the marathon bug bad and it's catching beware.) and again WELL DONE.


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