I'm 36 and started running 6 months ago, whilst overweight (5"11' and 15 stone 6lbs / 1.80m / 98kg) as I used to be a lot fitter in my younger days and thought I could still do it, I quickly found that my fitness was appalling and vowed to improve.

I ran my first 10k within 5 weeks of starting training, finishing in 59:07 and was completely and utterly shattered.  4 and a half months later, I have now lost around 2 stone / 12kg, so still a bit overweight and improved my 10k to sub 52mins.  My 5k has gone from 29:08 to sub 24mins.

Last weekend I ran my first half marathon, a very hilly Bedford half in 2:02:28, which but for the hills, I am quite sure I could have got under 2hrs.

Generally I am only running twice a week, one long steady run (6-9 miles) and a fast 3-4 miler.  I find it hard to run more frequently as I was diagnosed with degenerative joint disease in my knee and I'm in a bit of pain after running and it takes a few days for this to go down.

I haven't really changed my diet since starting running, although I do have a passion for water now, so am drinking at least 3 litres a day.  I plan to change my diet from 1st Jan.

My main question is given my current progress, I am wondering what I could achieve for my first ever Marathon, I would love to be sub 4hrs, but do not know if this is realistic given my progress so far.

Any thoughts you can share would be appreciated.




  • Sub four is a big ask based on your current fitness, the amount of training that you are doing, your current hm time and your joint disease.

    So running more than twice a week takes it's toll. Do you xtrain? If not then I would start to do so. Swim, cycle, go to the gym. Get in some cardio and some endurance training. At least 2 sessions a week.

    You've chosen just about the worst race - a road marathon, a flat road marathon. I was going to suggest that taking everything into consideration you adopt a walk run strategy and plan for 5 - 5:30 hrs.

    Your current hm time would have you running a marathon in 4:20 or there abouts. That's if you put in the running miles and build your endurance. That would mean running 3, maybe 4 times a week and around 35 miles a week.

    My concern is for you pounding the pavements. It's really hard on the joints. (and everything else) In your position I would try and run off road or even on the dreadmill. You still need to put in road miles, pref quite flat. Your muscles needs to get used to it.

    See if you can't get you short run up to 6 miles run at 9m/m (marathon) pace. Run this on the road as flat as you can get. Your long run will need to build up to about 18 miles. Some programs will have you running more, I don't want you to injure yourself before the marathon. You won't be the best judge because you'll be wanting to push yourself and meet the goal that you have set.

    You have a long way to go. I'd really advise - train, do what you can, don't set yourself a time target. Try to enjoy the day. There's no shame in only doing what you can without damaging your body. Bit frustrating though.

    Get that xtraining in.

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    Why do you want to do a marathon?

    The step up in training required to run a marathon is significant, and it appears that you have a medical condition that would limit this increase in training.  Wouldn't it be better to focus on shorter distances?

  • I signed up for the marathon before I got injured and it is something I have always wanted to do. Clearly, I do not want to injure myself permanently so am taking advisement from a consultant, however I would like to understand how I can train for a marathon doing 2/3 runs a week. My recovery post run is improving, I will run three times this week, including my half marathon, so I think I can put in 20-25 miles a week now building up to more over the next few months

    I am also cycling around 40 miles a week, and going to the gym twice a week aswell, so xtraining and weights.

    I really don't want to just get round the marathon, and always push myself to the limit in everything I do, however depending on how my training goes this may become a reality but i do want to understand where I am now, and what could happen if I continue to improve as much as I have been.
  • Haven't done a marathon myself but reading the book Run Less, Run Faster at the moment as it has training plans from 5k to marathon. The plans consist of 3 key runs (intervals, tempo and long slow run) and two xtraining sessions per week. Kind of following this plan at the moment after a couple injuries in the summer and autumn, although just doing a steady run instead of intervals but a cardio / hill program on the exercise bike. Might be worth a look given your injury issues.

    Anyone on here followed the Run Less, Run Faster marathon training plan?

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