Half Marathon - Marathon

Hi All, 

New to this site and this is my first post!  Looking for some information and advice about moving from a half marathon to a marathon.

I completed my first half marathon as part of Sunday's Great Scottish Run.  My training began 12 weeks before the event with about 3 runs per week but it did stall for a period of 4 weeks inbetween where I done no running at all.  My average milage was between 10-12 miles a week, all done at a pace between 7.20-8.40

Going in to the event my target was to break 1.45 (8 minute miles) but i susprised myself and finished in 1.42. I am now aiming to complete the Edinburgh marathon in May of next year.  

Is a goal finish time of 3.30 overly ambitious?  And, what would be the best type of plan to follow in order to make the transition?  I plan on joining the local running club in the mean time to build on any progress I've been able to make so far.


  • Well done on Sunday, great time, you should be very proud of this as a first HM.

    As a rule of thumb, an estimate for a marathon time is twice your half time + 20 mins, so you're looking at somewhere around 3:45. People are different, though, and this is only a guideline. I think 3:30 would be a stretch - you'll find that the marathon is a different animal to the half, and it will find any weakness in your preparation or fitness. You've been running 10-12 miles per week - for a good marathon attempt you need to be closer to 40 miles per week. The good news is your long runs are slower (as is your race pace) but the extra distance is tough. You really need to have a few runs of around 20 miles or so under your belt before May, and you need to avoid getting injured.

    You need to look at structured training rograms, there's loads available, and there will give you an idea of what's involved. The main thing will be your long slow runs to build up your stamina - when you get tired in a HM, there's (hopefully) only a couple of miles to go, and you can get your head down (especially with the crowd support all along the Broomielaw in Glasgow!). When you tire and run out of energy in a marathon, there can still be 8 to 10 miles to go. A marathon is a serious undertaking, especially if you're thinking about finishing in 3:30-3:45.

    On the other hand, you have a great HM time already, and you have 8 months to prepare, and you're thinking about it now. You're already halfway there. There's loads of info on marathon training on this forum, and you need to learn from all the mistakes that everyone else has made already. I would concentrate on the longer runs, and don't worry too much about your target. It might be a good idea to run a HM a month or so before the marathon and see what kind of time you get, and then plan your marathon based on that?

    Ask around here, and joining a running club can only help, I'm sure there will be a few experienced marathon runners who can offer advice and support.

  • 3 years on and I'm back having completed another Great Scottish Run half marathon. I've signed up to run the Stirling marathon next year (28th April) and am looking for a bit of advice on how to go about training. I've read plenty on this board and am planning on following a 16 week Runners World plan on approach to the race.

    This year I took 1.53 to complete the half with little training. Just now I'm hoping to work on lowering my half marathon time to where I was in 2015 before starting the 16 week plan in the new year. There is a 12 week 1.45 half marathon plan on Runners World, would it be an idea to follow that until new year? Or would I be better just focussing on upping my miles with the marathon in mind?
    I would suggest you start your marathon training plan a lot earlier than 16 weeks before as that leaves you no extra time if you get a niggle or a cold.   

    You should easily be able to knock out a half marathon PB during your marathon training as the longer runs will give you the ability to hold your race pace longer at shorter distance races.
  • Thanks for the feedback Shades. Is there any particular longer plan you'd recommend? I'm joining the local running club so no doubt be able to get some advice there. I've seen you marathon thread will keep an eye on that too.
    Just choose a marathon plan that fits in with your lifestyle.  If you don't have a lot of time for training you could try my Level 2 plan, which is 4 days a week.   Message me if you want a copy as I need an email address to send it to you.

    Joining a club is a good idea.

    You are very welcome to join us on the Shades thread.

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