Marathon advice wanted please

Hello all,

Im looking for a bit of advice, even if it's critical.

I've just got back into running over the last month as I'm trying to shift some unwanted excess weight. Last Sunday I did 20km in 1h55, and today I did 20k in 1h53 and felt like I could go on. My friend is running Chester marathon in 5 weeks and I'm tempted to have a go.

I ran a marathon last September and disappointing struggled from mile 16 and finished in 4h17m when aiming 3h45m. This did put me off running but I' love to set a PB even if its only by a minite.

I was thinking if I can run 30km 3 times in the next 3 an half weeks and have a 10 day taper would that be ok to run a marathon off the back of 2 months training?

Any advice, hints or tips are appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

All the best Michael


  • Hi Michael.

    You may well (or not) be able to complete the run but do you really expect to do well on such poor training? What do you really hope to achieve? Why not do the job properly - build a good base then complete a suitable training schedule and run next year? Normally a 3 week taper before a marathon is best, that only gives you two weeks to double your distance! If you have unfinished business from your last go, learn from it and prepare properly. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

  • Hi Peter,

    Thanks for the advice.To answer your questions

    Do I expect todo well? No (As a 25 male, I think well for a marathon is sub 4 hours)

    Achieve? To enjoy running around instead of hating it. Also the mileage will be good for training and calorie burn. To be able to say I've completed 2 marathons (ie the first one didnt efeat me)

    Do the job properly? I will do one Spring 2013. I'm trying to pick and leaning towards Edinborough. I' thinking of doing Chester aswell.

    Can I do a shorter taper as I've not done as much training, therefore don't need to rest as much? If I can run 30k on thuesday, I'll only have to find 29% in 3.5 in weeks. Is that doable.

    Thank you though for advice, maybe I need a firm word with myself advising not to do it.

    All the best Michael


  • I wondered if people could give me some advice too. I've just booked myself in to my first ever marathon (Bewl Water in May) and I'm terrified! I've only ever done 2 half marathons and found that a massive challenge! I need some advice on how to train for a whole marathon. Any help would be appreciated. I'm worried I won't be able to do it!!
  • Andy - there are plenty of training schedules, choose one and go for it. Set yourself an achievable target and most important - enjoy the experience!

    Michael - I'd just be realistic over the outcome and then you won't be disappointed. But it is likely to hurt! If you want to do any justice to yourself, as I said before, build up your mileage slowly and go for it next year fully prepared. You are asking for an injury!

  • Andy as Peter said plenty of training programmes and you have plenty of time to build up the mileage.

    Michael only up to 20 k and 5 weeks to a marathon? You are under trained, yes you could do it but you will hate which you said you didn't want, it as it will be hard, not to mention the risk of injury. At 25 you have time on your side to train properly and enjoy it. If you target a spring marathon and train properly sub 4 at your age is a soft target - I have 20 yrs on you and can do 3:15 but that is the result of 2 years building up. Like you I did one and finished it was hard and I hated it so trained properly for the next and absolutely loved it and have not looked back since and have done 3 ultras this year.
  • Peter and JeremyG thanks for the advice and I know your right. I've canned the idea of doing Chester and will start buiding up for a marathon in spring. The aim is build up to 40 miles per week by the end of December and then do a 16 week marathon training plan, does that sound ok? Also i'm 14stone1pound and need to be a stone lighter so I can lose this pre xmas.

    Anyone recommend a spring marathon? I live in Chester so close would be nice but as I said before would consider Edinborough for a minibreak.

    All the best Michael

  • Good luck Michael - sounds like an excellent plan! Don't forget to let us know how you get on. To me the key is to enjoy it - you have to to keep going out and doing all the miles. And to not get injured! If you want a good time, just have a trawl through the events on this site and look for thse with high PB recommendations. Oh, and don't just rely on your training to lose the weight - it's far too easy to think that just because I'm running so much I can justify this and that extra. Keeping a close eye on what you eat and especially the portion size is key!

  • Manchester is end April and close to you.  

  • Thanks for the advice Peter. I agree about watching what you eat, I've avoided snacks and alcohol an seems to be working as I've lsot 7lbs in the last 4 weeks.

    McFlooze: Thanks for the recommendation.

    I'm going to be honest and say I'm still tempted by the prospect of Chester Marathon and wish I jsut had an extra 4 weeks on it. I'm having a rest day tomorrow then trying 30k on thursday morning. If I can do 30k in 3 hours and not feel near death then I'm going to keep considering Chester Marathon. If I can't do it I'll have to resign to taking all your advice and leaving it until next spring.

    Thanks again.

  • Hello,

    Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I'm still contemplating the idea of running Chester marathon. Since my orginal post I've done 3 decent length runs:

    6/9 18.5m @ 9.53/mile

    9/9 10.5m @ 8.48/mile

    12/9 15.5m @ 8.53/mile

    I've also managed to lose some more weight and now weigh 13st12.

    Do you think I will have a decent chance of doing an enjoyable sub 4h marathon (9.07/mile)? If Yes, what recommendations for the next 3.5 weeks?

    Thanks in advance

  • Hi Michael - congrats on your weight loss achievements! No-one can really answer that - if you run it though you'll soon find out! If it was me, I'd look to get one more long run in, ideally a 20 miler to give me the confidence in going the distance and then taper off to ensure that I was as fresh as poss on race day. You're not going to gain much fitness/endurance in the next three weeks but you could knacker yourself out! I'd also not put too much pressure on myself either - just accept that you are under prepared and relax and see what happens.


  • Thanks for advice. I think you're right about the pressure, I need not get worked up if I don't hit a PB of 4h17m. It'd be nice to see a bit of the Cheshire country side and be involved in the day.

    I'm still planning on doing a Spring Marathon. If I keep up with the commitment to running and weightloss I think I'll be looking at a sub 3.30-3.45 depending on training.

    Kind regards


  • I ran a marathon, hugely undertrained at 15 miles but was committed to at least starting it. I started very conservatively and was caught by the 4.30 pacers at about mile 20, stayed with them for 3 miles and exploded at mile 23 and it was an unpleasant final 3 miles. I made it over the line and not too long after the pacers. 

    Common sense told me I should not have done it.  Circumstances told me I had to and I enjoyed it thoroughly apart from the final miles.  Character building!

  • I like your style SwimsLikeAWalrus! I'm definately going todo it. My only question is do I pace myself for 4h17 to beat my current PB or do I pace myself at 4h and try be a hero?



  • The former of course - if you still feel good at 20 miles you can get your foot down, if you don't....

  • Fido2Dogs - Agreed!

  • I trained quite well for 8 weeks building up to this year's Liverpool marathon however my training went a little wayward in August due to a holiday when I didn't pull on the trainers for the bet part of three weeks. I've come back a little undercooked but I've completed 52 miles this week including a 19 miler yesterday.

    I've another tough week ahead probably about 55 miles with 22 on Saturday but I'm still going to line up on the 15th. I'd like to run it in under 4 and actually ran my 19 yesterday at 3:30 pace but doubt I could have continued at that pace for another hour. I know it's going to sting at Liverpool but I'm looking forward to it.
  • Good Luck andtjs21. I think you'd easily do 4 hours it if you've done 19 miles at that pace. I'm still not 100%, I might do Tatton Park HM instead on 4th Nov as I might be better prepared and its a shorter distance. Still weighing up my options!

  • Hello all,

    I've fortunately decided not to run the risk of injury or disappointment and not run Chester. I've decided to set some traing goals to finish the year off and then start a FM programme on Jan 1st for Edinburgh Marathon. I'll also do 2 HM in the build up to the marathon.

    My training run goals fr 2012 are:

    1 mile in 5.30 5k in 20 mins, 10k in 45 mins, 10 miles in 1h15, HM in 1h40, Kilomarthon in 2h10 and 20 miles in 2h45m.

    Good luck to all those with races planned.

  • good decision Michael.........good luck fior the next 12 months

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