half marathon to full marathon in 8 weeks?

Just finished my 2nd half marathon, taking 3 minutes off my personal best and as a relatively new runner have decided a marathon is the next step. Been looking around for a good one and looks like i am running out of time to train as most of them happen in the spring. I do not want to wait another year to enter one. Is 8 weeks enough time to train for a marathon, i regularly do 10+ training miles on a sunday. Longest run so far is 15 miles, I am averaging 25-30 miles a week at the moment.


I would welcome any advice, (also i find after 12 miles or so water isn't enough to keep me going, i have tried gels, but not a big fan, any alternatives?)


  • it's doable but it won't be pretty

    as long as you accept that you're unlikely to be fully trained for it and pace yourself properly (go at slower than a 1/2 pace) then you'll get around.

    there are a number of autumn marathons that might be better to look at as that gives you time to do a structured training programme - just search the events section to see what's about.  the most popular ones like Abingdon will be full by now but there are others.

    alternative to gels - Blok Shots, jelly babies, wine gums, Haribos etc. but once you get past 15 miles you will need to keep hydrated as well so look at training with either a bottle belt or bladder system so you can take your own liquid - to which you can add some fuel and electrolytes

  • It is possible - how you will adapt to the difference  between half and full is a personal thing. 12 miles does sound a bit soon to be relying on energy gels / snacks etc so it might be better to delay and build up the base mileage before starting a 12 - 16 week programme. Although some of the decent Autumn marathons are full, getting a place closer to the time was quite easy for me last year (Abingdon allows this).

    I took 9 weeks from my 1st half, to 1st marathon, although ,mileage at that point was higher (40 - 45 pw), and I had already started extending my long runs, anticipating that I would want to do a marathon.

    It was following the Half that I ditched using any energy gels/sweets/drinks other than in races. It just seemed that downing sugar was not the way to help the body burn fat more efficiently which is important to a marathon but not critical to a half.

  • Thanks for the advice, am looking at autumn marathons now, possibly chester, leicester or thames meander. Spring does look a bit early for me.

  • Leicester is quite a flat one and doesn't fill up quickly. I did it last year. Not a huge amount of support after you leave the Half marathon runners at about mile 6, but worth considering.

  • thanks david will look into that image


  • Frank; A lot depends on your body.

    Being early mid 40's, and having done no exercise in 8 years, I was able to run a 4hr marathon in 17 weeks. My first 13mile run was the Warrington Half 5 weeks before the 2011 Liverpool Marathon.

    I ran Manchester Marathon in April 12 on back of 3 half marathons, a 15mile, a 17miler and a 19miler; ran 3:32 and felt fab.

    If your feeling positive and fit, I dont think you should discount a end of April/early May marathon....

    David; everybody is different.... I cant run more than 9 miles even in training without some sustinence, be it gel, dried apricots, flapjack, running beans...etc..

  • thanks sib, i will see how my training goes in the next few weeks, if i can make it to 20 miles and feel good, i might think about it, but think i may have to opt for the sensible plan of autumn. Although i have never been described as sensible before image. I do not want to be put off marathons before i really start

  • I wish I could!!

    Another pal of mine can't run more than 10miles unless he has a tuna sandwich half hour before he runs?!

    I just think we are all different, and within reason should follow what our mind and body is telling us.

  • Frank,

    Besides my 2 marathons I have never ran more than 19miles and found both fine, especially the 2nd!

    I dont do sensible either, and do you know what?... I'm glad!

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    You're some of the way there but IMO you wouldn't do it justice.  You're obviously keen to chase times, get PBs etc, so while people will say you'll be able to get round, you might be disappointed that you couldn't prepare yourself properly.  Definitely look at an Autumn marathon.  Plenty of time to get the long ones in then, with less time pressure.

  • haha sib, you might be a bad influence on me !

    will let you know how i get on

  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    Hi Frank,

    I think all except sib have been very conservative with their opinions.

    25-30 miles a week is brilliant training... and doing regular 10 mile LSR... peaking already at 15 miles great.  I just don't see the problem at all.  Just look at half a dozen marathon training plans off the net, and you'll surely see that, over the next 8 weeks, you can adapt them to get you to where you want to be.

    You need to work on the sustainance issue. What's wrong with gels?   I've used gels, Kendal mint cake and some energy bars bought from Holland & Barratt. All seemed ok to me.

    Autumn might be a good time for a marathon (I like the opportunity train in the daylight)... but if you were really fancying committing to a marathon in May, I really would say go for it.

  • thanks wales, i might opt for a spring run as training for a better time in autumn. I will look up a marathon plan tonight and see if i can adapt it for where i am.

  • Bad influence...probably !!!!!

    And Phil is the sensible professional running influence, who is theoretically bang right about everything he says.

    I ran my 1st Marathon because I wanted to prove I could run a Marathon from nothing in 17weeks; time was irrelevant to me (until I clocked 4:00:05!, which was a killer!)

    Unless you intend to stop after one marathon, completing your 1st Marathon is doing it Justice; IMHO PB chasing is for future races!

  • sib1969 wrote (see)

    I ran my 1st Marathon because I wanted to prove I could run a Marathon from nothing in 17weeks; time was irrelevant to me (until I clocked 4:00:05!, which was a killer!)

     gel, dried apricots, flapjack, running beans...etc..  = 5 seconds image

  • lol...no the Mersey Tunnel turning my distance recording haywire on the Garmin was the main problem!

  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    Hard luck sib. You make me feel better about my time of 4:00:19  image

  • I have the same dilemma. I've just done a half marathon today in 1.52. Friend is asking me to try Dublin Marathon in 8 weeks. I was going to ty a 16 mile long run in two weeks and see how that goes...

  • When I ran my first Marathon I did 15m 6 weeks before followed by my first official half marathon (English Half in Warrington) followed by a 15.5m, 17.5m and a 19.5m in succesive weekends and then a weekend off before the big event!

    It was fine!

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