London Marathon help!


I got a late entry in the London Marathon and only really trained from Christmas. I completed 9 half marathons since then (best time 1 hour 57) run 5k 5 times a week and go to the gym 3-4 times a week.

Thing is I don't think I've put enough miles peopla have said I should go up to 18 but think its too late. Its my first marathon and I just want to get below 4.30 hours but have only ever ran upto 13.2 miles.

Does anyone know if this is possible to complete the marathon in under 4.30 hour when half marathons is all Ive ran?


  • Enjoy the walk !
  • People are right - you haven't enough long runs in your legs.

    If you'd trained properly - then 4.20 would be a good goal. But that relies on getting used to running 20 miles and being comfortable doing so.

    I'd think theres no chance of 4.30. Sub 5 might be possible - but if the wheels fall off then that could go too. I think a run walk strategy is your best bet - and adopt it from the word go.

    How come you managed to run 9 half marathons and somehow forgot you had to train for the marathon ? You should have sacrificed at least half of those and worked on your endurance.
  • I booked the half marathons way before I got a last min charity place in VLM first week of Feb.

    I started training for the half marathons early December and have done well so far. 4.30 would be fantastic to achieve but If I get less than 5 hours then I'll be happy. I didn't really start running till last September and don't think I've done to bad on the halts all of my times around at the 2 hour mark.

    I'll just have to pace myself at VLM and see how I get on
  • Another problem is your fueling strategy. The body can draw upon its own stores for 2hrs running but after that you need to refuel in terms of drinks..gel etc. If you are going to be out running for over 4 hours you need to have some idea of how to go about it. London will be my first marathon and I managed to get to 20 miles. With the long runs (14miles plus ) being like a dress rehearsal to test out what my body needed and what worked..didn't work...Its very different to doing a half and that's only getting to 20 miles. I was advised to respect the distance by putting the miles in gradually. I would probably run walk if I were you.
  • Good luck should be an amazing day
  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Those last 13 miles will be tough. Good luck.

    What you could have done was to add a few more miles before or after your half marathons to prepare your legs for the mileage. I've done it a couple of times this yr and find it really helps.
  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    Agree with Millsy but thought it hindsight is a wonderful thing!

    I agree with cougie - adopt a run/walk and pace yourself. It's going to hurt - so expect that.

    I understand if you were only given a place in feb but why didn't you adjust the training then? Was it lack of knowledge? Fear?
  • Hi all

    Thanks for the feedback its appreciated.I can see I've totally gone about it the wrong way I think it's just been a lack of knowledge on the training and also I lack of time to prepare what with other commitments. I'll let you know how I get on hopefully it won't be too painful!
  • I did FLM in 2007 on a max of 13 miles training due to a knee injury.  Didn't run at all in the month before.  Had a blast on the day.  My half time was similar to yours and I came in in about 4.55.  I think you should just enjoy the day and not worry about time.  You will get round but you'll probably ache like buggary for a few days afterwards!!

  • Could still leave you sore or badly injured for weeks / months.

    Run walk and bring painkillers just in case for miles 18 up.
  • Hi Gilian,


    it will be tough but you should be OK...

    I did a marathon in 2008 but since then haven't really run, I started training for the VLM at Christmas.  I'm in a similar position although I've managed a couple of longer runs, 18 miles being the longest.  Run / walking is probably the way to go but if you haven't done it before then it's quite tough... on my 18 miler I ran 5 miles then walked for a couple of minutes, then another 5 miles and tried to continue that pattern, if you're used to running at a constant pace it's difficult to get back in to a rythmn...

    I took the walk breaks as drinks breaks and took on quite a lot of liquid and gels while I was walking, as a strategy for the race someone suggested to me run the race but walk at every drinks station for a minute or two and re-fuel as much as possible during the walk breaks - sounds like a plan to me image.  Maybe try it on a 10 mile run over the next couple of days??

    It will be tough but you can do it... reckon sub 5, maybe 4.45 should be doable.  It's a seriously long distance, walking might be a problem for a few days afterwards, particularly if there are stairs involved... but the feeling when you get to the finish line will be one of the best feelings ever.

    Good luck,



  • Forget questioning yourself on the training now - it's too late for that - leave that till after the race. Now is the time to focus on a plan to pace yourself around 26.2 miles. Jeff Galloway has run/walk times which may be useful.

    Look at the positive - the first half should be a breeze, and you will have learned a lot from this training approachimage

  • Tracey GTracey G ✭✭✭
    You will also need to slow your pace down. Good luck
  • A friend of mine did it having only run a half marathon in 3h45 and was fine.

    This is my first one too. I planned to follow all the recommended training, but found my body couldn't do it. Some had you running 6 times a week!! Instead I've done 5 half marathons (times going from 2:03 down to 1:53) and one 20 miler, with a few gym trips in between. 

    I didn't find the 20 miles too bad. If it wasn't so cold, I think I could have done the full distance if I had to. 

    My only concerns is that I haven't run above freezing and I haven't tried eating or drinking on any runs yet. 

    My plan is to aim for 4hrs. If I fall back from that I won't worry.



  • Thanks all for your hints, tips and comments. Big thanks to TheStone, NotBuiltForSpeed, David Falconer and Iron Pingu for your positive comments. I'lll see how I get on next week and let you know. image

  • I've done 1x20m 1x16m 1x15m 2x13m in my run up to VLM (my first one).

    The problem is my 20 (Thanet 20) was 5 weeks ago and I had to slow down a bit because of a dodgy knee.  Touchwood that seems all OK now and I'm just sticking to a few 7-10 miles and some speed work.

    Mentally knowing I've done those 20 miles (done in 2hrs 50mins) is a big boost for me although I have slight nerves about how long ago it was. What do people think?


  • No point in worrying about it. At least you've got it in the bag which is more than a lot of people. Good luck for the day.
  • no point worrying...says me who is stressing about what time to leave home on the day...anything i have forgotten that i might need on the run. What i should be eating drinking in the run up to it... Im going taper crazy!
  • Taper crazy is right. You've done all the training, cutting right back and feeling like you're losing your fitness and your energy, even though it's the right thing to do. Horrid. 

    One thing for the OP - you say you had from Xmas to train? To my mind that's plenty of time to get a proper training schedule in - the best part of four months. I'm confused as to how you managed not to do it. People often write in here that they've got a late place for a marathon and have a week/month/ten minutes to prepare. I don't mean to be cruel, but I guess what you will learn from this is that there are plenty of schedules out there on the net and in books, and they in general take you up gradually to 20 mile training runs over a period of a few months. With the proper regard to your pace and probably a bit of walking you will get round this time, and good luck, but when you do your next one find a schedule you like and follow it.

  • Hi allI managed to finish at a time of 4 hours 34 mins in the end.

    I'm happy with the time as it was my first marathon and only trained up to 13.2 miles in the 8 halfs I did since December but realised I should have definatley trained up to 18-20miles upwards. Mile 22 was when I hit the wall. I'm going to apply for another Marathon soon but have definatley learnt my lesson and will be putting more longer runs for the next one.image

  • That's a good time considering how crap your training was.

    You'll smash it when you train properly. Well done on finishing.
  • Haha! thanks Cougie! yep learnt my lesson well and truly

  • I was similar.  Was my first marathon for 6 years and as ever had to walk a bit.  Longest training run was about 13 miles and made it to 16 miles before had to take an emergency toilet stop (possibly due to taking on my first ever gel at 14 miles).  Ended up doing a run/shuffle/walk from then on and finished in 4.37 which is actually my worst time yet.  Doing Edinburgh next months so planning to get a bit more running in the legs before then but not easy working weekends and with kids knocking about when I would otherwise be free to run!

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