Give up or go for it?

I've run for about 3.5 years, 10 half marathons and can squeeze them in at 1:55 at my very best.  Having signed up for my first marathon (Greater Manchester - the flattest) I've found I'm struggling to increase distance.  I managed 18 miles a few weeks ago and felt great.  I was raring to go the following weekend planning 20 miles, but had a cold coming on, went out too fast and on more hills than I expected and just completely ran out of juice at 15 miles.  Last Saturday I took it much more slowly and gently but my thighs were killing me and I had to stop at 16 miles feeling like something was going to give.  I'm keeping my mid week runs going.

I will have another go at 20 miles and am hoping to get a sports massage in too.

My question is if I can't get another run in more than 18 miles, should I give up on Manchester or have I done enough to get round in under 5 hours (I was hoping for about 4h30m)?


  • I too am running my first marathon, so I'm no expert, but my advice is NEVER GIVE UP!  Especially if you're not injured!  You've managed an 18 miler, tick, you're doing a great job.    You've had a cold, a small set back and you still managed 16 miles the following week, excellent work I say.  Put your positive head on and stay strong.   I managed 19 last week and I too had killer thighs.  If running a marathon was easy, why bother?  It's all about the challenge.  You would never forgive yourself if the only reason you gave up was because of your own staying power.  Even if you only manage another 18, you can still run that race.  C'mon, we're all in this together, I'm willing you not to surrenderimage

  • Wise words Pipski.

    Talking about juice, what do you do re. eating and drinking before and during those long runs?

  • For a 4hr 30 target, quite a lot of training plans will say that 18 miles is the longest run you need to do in training.

    Don't give up. Try and repeat it some more times (go to 20 if you feel it's a psychological boost...  I would)

    The most important thing to remember is that you will taper off your training in the last 2 weeks... so that you will reach the start line with fit and fresh legs.  You will have thought through your food, drink etc. 

    But right now, you're in the middle of training, running on tired legs and probably not opimising your fueling.

    Head up.  I think you're just having a perfectly normal wobble in your confidence.  It happens to most (or all?) of us - especially for a first marathon.

  • HJP2, if there's one thing I've learnt, its about what you eat the day before your long runs, aswell as a good breakfast on the morning of your actual run.    Try to carbo load the day before as you will feel the difference if you don't.  Pleased to hear you're not of luck.

  • Don't worry chicken, I'm sitting at my desk carb loading too, with extremely sore shin splints, ready for my 20 miler tomorrow.  God help us....we can breath a sigh of relief in 6 weeks!

  • Doing my first 26.2 at Manchester too & feeling same way.  Done many 13.1 with a 91:33 pb but all speed seems to have gone out the window in favour of endurance & finding it a bit demoralising.  Thanks for the pep talk!  Incidentally, has anyone got their race number yet as the organisers seem to be cutting it a bit fine...?

    "Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must but NEVER EVER GIVE UP!' (Dean Karnazes)

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