Infrequent running and sub-2hr half-marathon

Okay, so I am running the London marathon in April 2014.

I am currently only squeezing in a single run per week, but obviously need to step this up! I am in fairly good shape anyhow and very active.

I have also completed several 10k races! all sub-50 with no problem (Working on sub-45).

Last weekend I did 15km in 1hr 18min and today just stepped it up, after a week of no running and went straight to 21km in 1hr 59min.

I know this is not advisable, but am panicking, as I know the London marathon is only a few months away now! (April 2014) and the though of doubling the half-marathon I ran today was a little unsettling!

So if I step up my runs, is a sub-4 hr first marathon possible? This is my aim and I will be increasing my long runs and focusing on speed work now.

The thing is, I was compete fine throughout the run today, and could easily have held a conversation after 15km and not at all out of breath. The problem was my legs! they felt very rubbery after 18km and I normally have pockets of energy, but no matter what it was very hard to speed-up near the end.

For the record, I am a 28 year old male and been running since my teens, but not at this distance. Any advice from experienced runners would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.


  • Take a look at marathon plans
    Choose one
    Start in Janaury
    Be sensible


  • +1 on what M...eldy says. 

    One of Murphy's laws is that the race isn't always to the swiftest or the strongest, but that's the way to bet.

    For you I'd suggest that means that the way you're going about it might work, but that working to a tried and tested plan would be a lot, lot better. You'll run easier, be in less pain during and after the race, and be less likely to injure yourself during training.

    Enjoy and have fun.

    If reality matched intention I'd know I was dreaming
  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Squeezing in one run a week?

    What are you doing the rest of the time?

    As said before, find a plan, follow that, as long as you don't beat me to the bar then well done!
  • Don't go for sub 4 - go for the finish. You'll get a PB anyway.

    You've plenty of time to train. Jumping distances is a sure fire way to get injured. Don't do it.

    As Meldy says - get a plan and stick to it.

    Your long runs should be all done at a pace you can chat at. And doing them at race pace is a bad idea. Just read up on it - you can be really fit but stupid and fail miserably. Training works.
  • Thanks for the replies, much appreciated.

    I am doing a PhD so in the lab Monday to Friday, then writing up at weekends lol Not a decent excuse. I will find a plan suited to my fitness level and train according to that.

    Am still aiming for

  • Thanks for the replies, much appreciated.

    I am doing a PhD so in the lab Monday to Friday, then writing up at weekends lol Not a decent excuse. I will find a plan suited to my fitness level and train according to that.

    Am still aiming for

  • If you manage to squeeze in more runs, you should forget about speed work. Easy running will bring about the aerobic gains you need, and more safely help develop muscular endurance.

    I'm not sure why you think speed work is needed just yet. Adding 3 or 4 easy runs midweek would bring you on, and once mileage has been safely built one of those runs could be paced a little more up tempo.

    Ii ts very diifficult to estimate race times - all the calculators are based on race times, and assume you will be  trained appropriately for the distance. At the moment you are running once per week on fresh legs .

    I'm sure you know that getting more mileage in, and running more freqently will help no end. Getting up earlier and going for a 45 - 60min run would help.

  • As mentioned you need a plan and stick to it. I can give you a simple equation

    No plan = increase miles too fast = injury = no marathon


    Its very common. Good luck.

  • Yeah I agree with above don't sell yourself short and think you can run a decent marathon with one or two runs a week, surely you can fit some more in?

    I have a full time career as a self employed software developer, I'm studying for a maths and physics degree part time, I know it's not a Phd but I still manage 6 runs a week. Currently doing 25-30km a week and will be stepping that up over the next 3 months to hopefully 50-60km a week as I have my first marathon in March.

    I mean a long run only take 90 mins and training run can be as short as 20-30mins.

    I use my commute to the office to get in some extra mileage, I'm only really limited by my body not time. I put in as much mileage as my legs can take.

  • Hi Andy

    I too am running my first London marathon next year and I am following Hal Higdon's programme.  It is fantastic.  I've also done lots of research, bought his book and am continously reading about marathon training.   I am running 4 times a week and weight training too (it's difficult to squeeze in the training, but I think the earlier you start the better).  I hate to tell you this, but it took me about 7 weeks for my legs to get used to the long runs.   It is such a gradual process and you will see if you read up about it, now is not the time to worry about speed.   You will see that it's not fitness that is holding you back, it's the strength in your legs.   I've ran 14 miles with legs that are tired but not sore....there's a huge difference.   Running fitness is culmulative, so you do need to run about 4 times a week.   Good luck with your Hal says, the only way to get better at running, is to run image

  • You say that you're in good shape and very active.  Do you do sports/exercise other than running?

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