The step up from HM to Full Marathon

Hi Guys,

Newby here! (Must change my name..!)

I have been running seriously now for about a year or so and have done a few HM's over the last year.

However, there is definitely something within me wanting to do the full one. I don't think I will ever feel like a proper runner until I have done a full marathon!

I was just wondering how you guys found the step up? Was it a gradual thing or did you find it incredibl tough work? I can run 14 miles or so atm fairly okish...!

I also keep reading about gels and Jelly babies! Do these really work that well? Off to do the Nike RTTB half on sunday so tempted to give the jelly babies a go!

Many thanks,



  • My first race I entered was a marathon  - but I did do a couple of halves along the way. 

    If you can run 14 then you can do a marathon. You just need to adapt the training. 

    Get used to running a long run every week and ease it up until you can run 20 miles. 

    You could be up to that before the year end easily. 

    As to gels and jelly babies - you dont need them for halves. Your body has enough energy stored.  Once you run past 15 miles or so though you need to think about this. And when it comes to marathons you need to take energy on early.

    Er to summarise - I dont think its twice as bad as a half. If you train well then its fine. 

    Have fun at the half.

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    I was in a similar situation as you a couple of years ago, after my third half marathon I felt ready to try a full one.

    The training was harder, and takes more time & commitment, but I enjoyed the training and set a new HM PB during training.  The race itself was very hard (made the common mistake of running too hard, too early) and despite thinking at times that I never wanted to run again, within a few days of finishing I was eager to run another.

    I was worried about gels & hydration during training, and bought myself a running-specific camelbak (long-time moutain biker, so have used various ones over the years) and a box of gels.  I only used them during the long runs, and my initial worries about fuelling strategies etc disappeared.  Take them on your long runs of over 2 hours (probably 5 runs in total during your schedule)  and space them out at regular intervals, its that simple.


  • I don't know your running background but sensible running should see a fairly smooth transition to a full marathon. I started running in January and built up to a marathon in June, and have done a couple more since then (ok, my progress wasn't sensible/gradual, but you have been running for a while now so should not be an issue.).

    Have a look at a few plans so that you can see the sort of commitment required, and the base mileage you should be running before starting on a plan. Try and find a plan to fit in with your lifestyle. So far I have tended to adapt off the shelf plans.  My mileage was around 40 - 45pw for the first marathon. I stepped this up to around 60ish to get under 3hrs successfully but this weekly volume hasn't really suited me so I'm looking at something lower for the next one.

    I would recommend that if you have any recurring niggles or injuries, you get them sorted now before racking up the mileage. They could well come back to haunt you when you are tired from marathon training (been there, seen it, done it!!)

    The marathon race itself can be quite unpredictable compared to half marathons. Those last few miles have been far tougher than anything I experienced in half marathons when you are trying to maintain your pace.

    As for the Gels etc - yes its pretty confusing at first knowing what is required. You will get lots of advice in time,often conflicting,  and is not something you need worry about now. My own approach is not to bother with anything other than water in training (except in a 'dress rehersal'). In a marathon I take a Gel every 30 mins (having  practiced this in training so you know they won't disagree with you). So for example a typical  long run for me is to wake up, cup of coffee, bananna, run 20-22miles with no gels etc, get home and eat/recover. Part of this approach is adapt the body  to store more  energy. I don't bother with Gels in a half marathon.

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