I've been given a free entry to a marathon - can I do it?


My first post image

As per the title, I've been given a free entry to a marathon - on bank holiday monday (as in 10 days time). The issue is, I haven't been training for it. However, as an idea to my general fitness, this year I have done a few 10k's, and a half marathon, and I have ridden (I am a cyclist...) around 1500k road miles this year. I've been mostly cycling recently (had a few long events), so haven't been putting many running miles in. 

I'm going to stick in a long run this week (18 milesish) to see how I feel, but am I nuts to even consider it?

I suppose in summary, I think I am fit enough, just not conditioned enough (it will be my longest run ever). Should I pass on the entry?

Cheers, and thanks in advance.


  • You can get round. I doubt you will run all of the way.

    I'm not sure an 18 miler will help you though. I'd rather have fresh legs.

    Good luck !
  • Good advice - the 18 miler idea was really to see if I can do the distance. I ran the half in 1 50 (nice and steady), and felt fine in the days after. But I think, given what you have all said, this is probably a bad idea.....

    I'll just set my expentations realistically - prepare myself to walk some of it.

  • If you go to the London marathon page - check out some random results there. You can see how a fast first half is often followed by a slow second half.

    Realistic pacing is the key.
  • Also-ranAlso-ran ✭✭✭

    As you haven't been able to train to run the distance, being prepared to walk before you get tired is a better approach than walking once you get tired. Look up Jeff Galloway for some examples of run/walk strategies.

  • What is a realistic pace then?

    I was thinking of pacing for 9min miles (+-30 secs).

  • 9 min miles would only be realistic if you'd trained properly for this for the last four months or so and completed four or five 20 mile runs.

    It sounds unlikely to me.
  • My dearly beloved (female, 45 at the time) did a 5:38 marathon off a long run of nine miles...at even pace, with a run-walk strategy from the off.

    If you don't let your ego boss you about in the first few miles, there's no reason why you can't do it. I'd suggest 12 min miling from the off, then if you've got anything left at 20 miles, go for it.

  • Completely agree with Crash, 12 minute miling with walk breaks (one minute evey mile) will leave you in the best shape at the end of it.

    But it is going to hurt and possibly take a while to recover from. You need to be prepared for that. I'd try to take at least the day after off work if you can - you will be as stiff as a board.

  • OK - 12 minute miles it is!

  • David, are you doing the MK marathon?

  • Having ran London this week without, for various reasons, training past 13 miles I think it's possible if you plan sensibly.


    My approach was to break it up into a training session, doing 5 x 5 miles with a 2 minute walk inbetween each rep. I'd aimed to do 11 minute miles (whilst not-walking), having done a 2:07 half (admitedly whilst still having a cold). I changed my plan, slightly, into running between the sports drinks stations (4.5 miles apart) and walking for 2 minutes whilst drinking them.


    Despite a pitiful amount of training, often whilst ill, this tactic worked really well. I was running well within myself so felt fresh and the walking every 4.5 miles really made a difference (legs fresher, broke it down into manageable chunks and didn't lose me too much time).


    The plan wasn't quite perfect as I picked up a back injury at 22 miles, could barely even walk, but it cured itself and went away. I think this was an issue to do with previous back injuries I've had rather than the plan failing. Once I was able to get running again after that I did the last 3 miles easily (miles 23-26 were faster than 13-16).


    A 5x5mile easy is a tough, but not impossible, training session. Approaching an ultra with a plan to walk every so many miles is an effective way to get around. I found approaching a marathon as a cross between a long training session and a short ultra worked well. In fact, despite the lack of training I recovered much quicker than I had from previous marathons, with my legs seemingly unaware of how far I ran.

  • David Falconer 3 wrote (see)

    Scream, Im going to be doing sub 10 minute milingimage

    At least thats what Im claiming for the first few miles ...... we'll see after that heyimage


    Yes but you're nuttier than squirrel sh*t  image

  • As I've mentioned on another thread, in the blue start on Sunday I met a member of my club who I had no idea was doing the marathon. He'd got his entry three weeks before, when someone pulled out, and told me he'd never run further than 10k. I privately thought 'enjoy the walk', but he came in at 4hrs50mins - incredible in the circumstances. He's in his 50s. Hard to credit.

  • I knew someone like that too Peter but he was built like a whippet, small and slight.

  • This guy's tall and slim. My older brother's marathon PB was 2hrs28 - he was a Shaftesbury Harrier in the Dave Bedford days. He didn't fit the type, being well over 6ft, but slim with it. But I was the better sprinter!

  • re whippets, I'm 10 st 4, 5ft 9. This helps, I hope!

  • Well.....

    It was today, and really hot! 

    I managed it in 4.25.....was going brilliantly till 20-22 miles, guess that's the lack of training.


    Loved it though!

  • ShazmoShazmo ✭✭✭
    Good effort. Just think what you could do with the correct training image
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