Could I run a marathon

Hi, I am a reasonably fit regular runner. I probably run between 20-30 miles per week. My longest ever run was Bewl 15 which I completed in 2:09, my 1/2 pb is 1:37 and 5k is 20 ish. I have been runnin consistently for well over a year and last weekend ran Henfield XC half in 1:47 with out trying very hard, more like a hard training run than a race, a similar approach to the one I took for Bewl 15 above. Lately I have been entering races just to motivate me to do my long runs and find 8 min miles quite comfortable over the half distance. If I dropped my pace to say 9 min miles would I be abe to sustain this for the full marathon distance? I appreciate there is only one way to find out but wondered if I should just enter one and see what happens or perhaps not. I have no intention of increasing my training mileage so should I just stick to shorter races? Also I really can't see myself just going out on a training run of more than 2 hours but would run for longer in a race. I've never really looked at marathon training plans as what I currently do in training is probably as much as I can manage time wise. Any thoughts?


  • Probably.  You should try running 20 miles to see how to feel at 19.

  • Mmmm.

    Maybe I'll give the Dunstable Downs 20 a go on 9th Sept.

    That give me 10-14 days effective training time.

    Any suggestions on sessions I can do that might help?
  • How long is your usual long training run? I think you would get around a marathon but might find it quite painful if you aren't use to long training runs!!!

  • Well if I'm totally honest I'm not very disciplined with my long training runs hence I have been entering races to make me do it.

    My long training runs are probably 9-10 miles so 90 mins. I have run 2 hours a few times.

    If I drop my pace to 9 min miles then it will take 3 hours to run 20 miles which will be nearly an hour over my longest ever run of 15 miles.
  • "Also I really can't see myself just going out on a training run of more than 2 hours but would run for longer in a race."

    Based on your Bewl 15 mile result, Mcmillan would indicate a marthon time of 5:34 if you trained for the distance. From what you wrote, you do not seem keen on undertaking a marathon training plan which would have several runs in excess of 2 hours.

    If you don't train for the distance, you may probably still get round, but it is likely to be a memorable experience for the wrong reasons.

    I would look through some of the training plans on RW to see what you should undertake as part of the training, then decide if the distance is for you.


  • I am easily as fit as this plan would make you:-

    But other plans I have just looked at include some runs toward the end that are longer than I have run.

    I know it's off the origional track of the thread but I think a full marathon if it ever happens can wait.

    I might run the Dunstable Downs 20 miler on 9th Sept as indicated above to see how that distance feels. I won't worry about time and would probably pace at about 9 min per mile.

    Can anyone suggest any particular sessns I should try and get in before hand that would help.

    Or is it really a case of just making sure I get say a weekly 2:30 hour long run in once a week for the next 3 weeks (in addition to my usual intervals and runs) then tapering?

    I usually run quite short intervals like 12 x 400's or 5 x 1k's although I ran 6 x 1 miles last night at 6:20 pace, well 6:30 pace by the end 3 min recoveries.

    I assume but I don't know that I should probably go for longer interval sessions like that and longer long runs as best possible preparatn in time available?

    Also last week I was quite disciplined running Park run on Saturday, 5 miles Monday (intervals), 10 miles Tuesday, 7 Thursday and 13 on Sunday.

    Yesterday I ran 6 x 1 miles with 3 min recovery.

    So the question has changed somewhat,

    From where I am now what would be useful training to get me round 20 miles in 3 hours ish in just under 4 weeks?

    Sorry about the spacing, not sure what I've done there?..
  • Hi Also-ran  - can you confirm the calculation for Bewl 15 vs full marathon time ?

    Bewl 15 in 2:09          full marathon time of 5:34  ?


    - Just rerun the figures and it looks to be 3hr 54 min

  • Sorry - copy and pasted wrong thing : 3:54:38. Should have been obvious to me (that would have been some fade image).

    What concerned me more was the relucatance to train long. Now  we are looking a 20 miles which is still a lot further than previously run, and there is only a handful of weeks left to Sept 9th. Its not enough time to train, recover and adapt to longer distances. While the distance can be done, its going to be more of a learning experience  due to the time constraints.


    J1M , if you are going to be doing it, personally I would forget about intervals for now. Long Slow Run at weekend, medweek longish run(10+), and if you are up for it, a tempo run. Otherwise, easy/recovery runs.

  • Also-ran,

    Your advise makes sence. I can get a 2:30 run in each weekend until then (excluding the weekend before), I can also get a 10 mile run in each week during the week, do my hill session and still get a tempo run in.

    My usual tempo run is warm up for 10 mins, 3 miles at 7 min pace, warm down.

    Would you suggest something different?

    It's an odd one for me as I will intend to run the race slower than or at my easy run pace?

    Also should I do these long runs (both the long weekend one and the 10 miler) in challenging terrain or on the flat? Does that really matter?
  • J1M. For the weekly mileage you are doing, I wouldn't do two hard sessions in the week. Do one at most (tempo or hills). 9th Sept is not so far away, and you need to save your best for then. I think you will benefit most from easy aerobic running . A big risk will be increasing your weekly mileage by too much, so I would keep the intensity down, and maybe just stick to the short tempo session for speed.

    I generally do either my long run and/or midweek long run on terrain specific to what you are racing on. So if it is undulating or hilly, then that will give the best preparation (but run it slow!)

  • I'd not do a marathon off half marathon training unless I'd had some longer runs in the recent past.

    Half marathons are easy. Running past 20 miles is a hell of a lot harder - you really need the long runs. Really. 

  • Well thanks for your advise.

    I've got a pretty clear idea of what I can do between now and 9th September to help and I think I'll try the 20 mile course.

    I'll let you know how it goes.
  • Cougie,

    For me 1/2 in 1:47 is easy. In 1:37 is hard.

    I'm off for a run, I'll keep you posted.
  • A quick update, I've entered the dunston downs 20 on 9th September.

    Since last post I have run, aug 22 10 miles in 1:35, aug 24 tempo 4.2 miles in 30 mins, 25 aug 1:15 8.5 miles, 28 aug 2:30 16 miles.

    Day off today as my shoulders ache.

    I'll run 45-60 mins tomorrow and 10 miles easy on Saturday then just some easy runs in the week before hand.

    Thanks to those who put me off the marathon distance, you were right.

    I'll post my time and thoughs after the race.
  • J1M - not sure why you are bothering to enter long races if you don't like long distances and can't afford the time in training. Doesn't make much sense to me.

    Also, be wary of confusing the terms 'fitness' with 'endurance ability' or stamina. They are not synonymous. You train differently to achieve stamina (performance over time). The kinds of distances you have been training so far wont do a great deal to improve your stamina, so i think you are right to avoid doing very long races.

    Cheers and good luck, TD

  • The idea is if I enter a 20 mile race I will have to run 20 miles which will help my stamina.
  • in answer to your original question.  you probably are 'fit enough' to complete the marathon.  you might be able to complete the distance but you dont know what it has in store for you after 15 miles.  it really makes sense to get up to 20 miles+ in training.  i have done this every time i run a marathon and still find the last 4 miles really tough.  you dont want to have to endure this for 8-10 miles.


    Also i agree with tricky dicky, if you are not interested in running long distances in training, why bother race them?  Some of the fastest distance runners at my club (and in the region) have no interest in running beyond 13 miles or in some cases 6.2miles.  they can run 31 -32 min 10k's as that is what they train for.  everyone thinks that completeing a marathon is what makes you a 'proper runner' but there are plenty of hard core runners who have not completed anywhere near this distance.

    Good luck in the 20 mile race, i dont think you will have a problem completing it.  you may find it tough but you should be fit enough to finish.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I don't know if you're familiar with the terrain of the DD20 but don't be too put off by the uphill start.  It levels out to give your legs a rest, but take it easy getting up there.  Rolling back down at the end is fun, if you've got any quads left.  I "won" this event three years ago in prep for the Beachy Head marathon, but it's billed as a "challenge" rather than a "race", so don't kill yourself trying to get on the podium.  image

  • Tricky Dicky,

    I'm looking at this more as a long training run rather than a race. It's not that I particularly feel the need to run a marathon but as the half distance has become easy and ive achieved 20 mins 5k time I want a new challenge.

    If I want to improve on my half time I will need to train longer and harder anyway and include longer runs. Also I have realised recently that I enjoy XC more that road racing so times are a little less relevant as conditions usually dictate.

    As continuous improvement is one of the main things that keeps me running I was thinking about new challenges and posted the question.

    I agree, completing a marathon is not necessary but I wanted to go into new territory, I am going away for 6 weeks in October/November so not time to train for a new road pb hence I came up with this idea.


    Thanks for the tip re the course, I was never planning to go at this one hard. It's more of a day out in the countryside for me and while I'm keen to see how the distance feels I'll be in no rush.

    There are a lot more questions I would like to ask but I'll be getting the answers in a few days anyway.

  • Yes Yes Yes. you could run a marathon.  You may be slower than you want but you will definately do it.

  • Just in case anyone is interest I couldn't run the DD20 due to a staff infection in the week before. In fact I couldn't run at all for 12 days.

    I did however learn enough from upping my mileage over those 3 weeks to know the answer to the question.
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