Half marathon to marathon fear!

Hi everyone, this is my first post.

I have been running half marathons for four years at one a year. HA i know all that training for a measly one but i absolutly LOVE it. I am doing 2 this year and am really tempted to put my training to good use and do a full marathon in October but I am terrified. I am currently at 11 miles and running 2 days on one day off until my body takes no more then i rest for 2-3 days. This is usually in the form of 1 long run and one run of 6-7 miles of fartlecking (when i can make my legs move).

Can anyone give me inspiration, motivation, and good kick up the bum and let me know what extra work needs to be done to achieve the marathon status.

I have more difficulty with the mental side of long distances than the tiredness, but also the fear of dehydration and the pain that comes post 13 miles.  any advice, scary or inspiring is welcome.

oh I am also doing a degree that is 9-5 mon-fri and working from 6am-12 at weekends so sometimes find energy can lack due to this.




  • not wanting to put you off, but from experience you should get your long run up to 20 miles min.
    Also i read somewhere that the halfway point in a marathon is not 13 miles, its 20 miles, as the last 6 miles are so hard - i would agree with that! keep it in mind when training.
    good luck!

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    I think I'd focus on building a strong base this year and then moving forward to marathon's next year. There's noone saying you cant - anyone can run a marathon if they're stubborn enough - the question is - how much will it hurt.

    How long is your long run? You say you're up to 11 miles. Is that in your long run? Are you just doing long runs and Fartleks?

    I'd recommend looking at a good half marathon plan and build yourself up from there. A marathon is a great aim - but you need to respect it.

    As Max's mum said - the pain does not come at 13 miles - it's after 20 that it starts kicking in. I did my first marathon this year and up until 18 miles I was having a great time... then for the last 6-8 miles it was just focusing on the end line and pure stubbornness that I made it. This time - i'm focusing more on quality long runs and making sure that i'm putting the miles in my legs to carry me over the finish line.

    One of the biggest success factors in a marathon is positive mental attitude and good mental endurance. If you're struggling with shorter distances - you'll dread the longer marathon runs. When they work - they're great; but when they're bad.... they can be really bad.

  • HI there, thank you very muc for your help,


    At the minute as i am building up to the half after allowing last years half fitness deplete my long run is 13 miles, is october too soon to think i can keep on building my distance? I upped my distance to 12.5 yesteday and intended to keep on going and moving the distance up.....

    I have another agenda.... I have been diagnosed with MS for four years now and as training is going well this year for hte double halfs im running i thought the push to do a marathon, just incase my MS takes a turn for hte worse and i never do one...... this against the thought that if i run it bad I will scare myself off doing one again if I am lucky enough to stay healthy for the oppurtunity.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    Hi Paula, If you keep building up slowly (no more than 10% in a week) and keep a track on any niggles and knowing when you need to step back a bit - anything is possible.

    For me - i'd decide: what is my "A" race? Is it a marathon or half marathon? This will indicate the training plan and what you need to do as the training plans are different. You say that you want to run 2 half's this year - that's already an achievement from last year - why not continue building a good base this year to move onto marathons next year?

    If you have an existing medical condition - i'd check with them before changing to a marathon training plan. Marathon training can take a lot of toll of your body and you need to be aware of that. It's best to get the all clear and then take any issues as they arise than waiting in the dark hoping that something doesnt happen.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  • Hi Paula,

    First I'm going to disagree about the last six miles being the "second half" of a marathon. That doesn't need to be true if you've trained adequately and run sensibly (i.e. not too fast for your fitness level) and fuel sensibly (eat early, eat often during the race) on the day.

    To train for a marathon you need to put in lots of miles per week, and run long runs. I run five days a week, including Sat & Sun, and Tue-Wed-Thur usually (so resting Mon & Fri), but with some flexibility. Long runs, start increasing by one mile each time and later 2 miles at a time, until you're at 20-22 miles. You don't have to do this every week - you could do that length every second week with a shorter long run on the weekends inbetween. When I first started increasing the distances I found that the first time I ran extra miles, those extra miles felt awful - but the next long run, when I'd increased again, those miles I'd found so hard were okay - it was the new "last 2 miles" that were hardest - so if you only reach 20 miles in training, and that only once or twice, then miles 20-26 are likely to be hard. But if you reach say 22-23 in training, well the last three miles is just a parkrun and you can run a parkrun...

    A great side-benefit of marathon training is that once you've done a few runs in the 18-20+ range, 13.1 miles isn't a "long way" any more, which makes half-marathons seem so much easier!

    Fuel your long runs - doesn't have to be gels (£££). I use Kendal mint cake, fig rolls, jelly beans, malt loaf. And carry enough fluid with you, or do loops back to where you've stashed your drinks. As you get more used to long runs, you won't need to eat so mush during the run - last November/December I needed a sugar hit by 75 minutes; now (two ultras (50K and 30 miles) and one marathon later) I often run 2.5 hours with just water with added electrolytes (Elete is my preference) but I still eat during the longer runs, and during races.

    Something I got from ultra-distance ( marathon) training is B2B - back-to-back long runs, so at the weekend you might follow a long run on the Saturday with a semi-long run on the Sunday. Gets you used to running on tired legs (then have a day off on Monday).

    There are lots of marathon training schedules available online. You want to find one that you think will basically fit your life-schedule - if you can't fit it or adapt it, it's not the right schedule for you. And you want to find one at least 20 weeks long - don't increase mileage too rapidly.

  • Paula - I wrote that before seeing your post at 11.45. If you're already at 12.5 or 13 miles long run then, yes, you might be able to reach marathon this October if you're determined! When in October? Preferably have done a few runs of 20-22 miles before your marathon, not just one.

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