Can I train for a marathon in 8 weeks?


I'm new to all of this but I'm really keen to run the Brighton Marathon in mid-April.

I'm 20, reasonably fit (work out perhaps twice a week) but can only do 5k on a treadmill.

I've read that on average it takes 12-16 weeks to train for a marathon but if I were to enter this one - I would only have 8 weeks, does anyone believe this is physically possible or is it just a silly idea?

I'd also be happy running a half marathon but am based in London and so finding local halves with availability is near impossible.




  • Well its not really 8 weeks - typically you'd have a 2 week taper so you're on fresh legs.

    Even if you reduced that to 7 weeks - you're not going to get up to any decent standard of fitness for this challenge.

    If you added 2 miles a week to your longest run - you'd only get up to 15 miles as the longest. General convention is that you run 5 x 20 milers before doing a good marathon.

    You could get round I guess - but what your time would be is anyones guess.

    I'd rather train properly and enjoy the race rather than have crap training and suffer in the race.

    There are plenty of halves outside of London - why not have a weekend away with that as a treat ?
  • It would be physically possible to complete one, but would likely involve quite a lot of walking, possibly a bit of pain, risk of injury from trying to build up the milege too quickly, and a long and uncomfortable recovery. So unless there is some compulsion by way of someone holding a gun to your head I really wouldn't bother.

    BTW I'd want a LOT more than 12-16 weeks to train for a marathon off a base of 5k treadmill running.  12-16 weeks is the typical duration of a written marathon schedule, but would assume that you're starting from a reasonable base.  You could realistically look at entering a marathon in the Autumn and targetting some shorter races in the mean time (5k, 10k, 10 mile...) but even then I would start upping the mileage immediately.

  • Yep. And if you're keen on the Brighton marathon in particular, target it for next year. There's no rush.

  • Ja5onWJa5onW ✭✭✭

    i say go for it image

    but like PhilPub said its going to be painful!

    i did my first marathon last weekend and only ran 13 miles tops beforehand. im still standing AND still training for my next marathon in mayimage

    some say im stupid, others lucky but everyone recovers differently.

    would be nice to see how you cope thoughimage

  • Did you enjoy the race Jason ? What was your time ?

    I know my most 'enjoyable' races have been the ones I was best prepared for. Funny that eh ?
  • Don't do it!  

    The Marathon is a distance that needs to be respected, and even the 'get you round' 16 week marathon plans recommend that you start from a weekly mileage of around 15 miles.

    I would agree with PhilPub that you need a lot more training, and realistically, a good running base of over a year before you start a marathon training plan.  I would say you can definitely do a decent 10k attempt in 8weeks off the base you have, and that you should use shorter term goals like this, with a view to entering Brighton next year, and making sure you build up a decent base level of RUNNING fitness over the course of this year.

    Good Luck!



  • For half marathons:

    this may be too soon:

    I would target this if I were you:

    OR get a charity place for one of these:

  • Ja5onWJa5onW ✭✭✭

    I actually did cougie. not fast by anyones standards at 5:06 image

    i actually managed to run the wrong way (it was a trail marathon after all) and total mileage was 26.9.

    maybe the off road bit helped, but i didnt hit this wall that everyone goes on about and just ploughed through mile by mile image

  • And how many miles a week are you running Jason .... I happen to know its more than 6... (2x5km on the treadmill)....image

  • Wow, what a great response, thank you everyone for being so helpful! I think I will look into doing a half, and perhaps start training now?

  • I'd say aim to do a marathon next year and target some shorter races in the build up. I'm training for my first marathon and am really enjoying the training. But I started following a schedule in December for an April marathon and that was from a base of doing 10-14 mile long runs fairly regularly.

    I'm not saying it's impossible not to give it a stab, but for me I want to feel that for my first marathon, I've really given it my all, not just on the day, but in training, as opposed to just trying to get around.
  • Ja5onWJa5onW ✭✭✭

    Damn you angela image

    thats a good point i did overlook that a bit!

    maybe DONT atttempt a marathon victoria image

  • it gets lonely at the back of a marathon, Victoria. You'll have a better time if you can be nearer the middle with people to talk to, and not be overtaken by a 70 year old wearing a rhino costume.

  • Just wanted to say a huge thanks to everyone who replied to this - thank God I didn't go ahead with it, I did a half through and felt amazing so thanks!!
  • Blimey - 4 years later ? thats a bit better than the 8 weeks of training. :-)
  • is this some kind of joke?
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