How much harder is a marathon than a half marathon?

Hi everyone. Quick question for all you hardened marathoners out there.

I'm running my first ever marathon in two weeks, and I'm just wondering what sort of a time I should be aiming at. I ran a half-marathon last month in 1:38, but I would guess that I need to double that and then add a bit to get a predicted time for the full. I've used some web based calculators and they estimate my time as between 3:25 and 3:35, but that sounds faster than I was originally aiming for (3:40 or thereabouts). Any suggestions?



  • David
    I'm told it's your half marathon time plus 20 mins but I suppose tha'ts only a rough guide. Good luck anyway, my first marathon is in 3 weeks
  • In my experience, I think the Internet calculators tend to predict a little bit too optimistically. I would suggest that your long run is a better indication of what to expect. Think about how long that took? How did you feel at the end? Could you have gone quicker?

    Hope this helps.

  • Oh, and good luck by the way (forgetting my manners!) Which one are you doing?
  • Good luck, David! There's still time to pull out, you know.

    From my extensive experience (one of each), and taking every possible variable into account, I have calculated that the marathon is 92,543.59 times as hard as the half-marathon.
  • Thanks for the feedback guys - I think that seeing as how it's my first, I'll take it easy until about 20 miles and see how I feel after that! It's the Dublin marathon, which is on exactly two weeks from today (it's a bank holiday here in Ireland), so I'm starting to get exited about it now.

    Good luck for three week's time Bobolink - let us know how you get on.

  • Dave

    Having run my first marathon one week ago I may be qualified to comment. My advice?.......ignore the calculators and be very cautious on your first one otherwise it can hurt a lot.

    I ran 3:40 and had run a half marathon about a month before in 1:31, I had also just run a 10k in just outside 39.

    My advice for the first would be to go off very steady, take it really easy to halfway and then if you feel ok, speed up in the second half.

    I wish you the best of luck - which one are you running?
  • David
    Agree with Dog Walker - and MartinH (how are you Martin by the way after your race last week) - be guided by your long run and start steadily and see how you feel.

    There's quite a crowd of us going to Dublin for this one - we're planning to meet beforehand if possible (seem to have landed myself with the job of co-ordinating this) and certainly at 8pm in the Temple Bar two weeks tonight for a wind down.

    We've got a thread going in the Unofficial Forum Running Club forum - have a look and join in. Apart from meeting up before/after some of us are planning to start together as we all want to set off at about the same pace. We're looking at approx 8.10/mile, which is 3.35 pace. Once we've got going inevitably the group will start to split up as we each settle into our own rhythms, but you're more than welcome to join us. On the other hand, if you prefer to do your own thing, that's fine too!
    Get over to the thread and have a look - see what you think!
    Bobolink - best of luck to you too - where are you running?
    V-rap - astonishing - my calculations came up with precisely the same figure as yours!
  • Rich - feeling much better thanks and definitely thinking about running Frankfurt marathon on 27th (I've got a very short memory of pain!)
  • I think you need to be aware that the calculators assume that you have prepared properly for the distance you are running. My weekly diet of brisk 4 milers with the odd long run thrown in means that I am very much geared towards 10K's. This is more due to time constraints than out of choice. When I look at predicted marathon times they look well out of reach but I take it to mean that if my weekly diet was of 8-10 mile runs with the odd very long run thrown in then, after a year or so, that is the sort of time I could reach. I did test the RW calculator on someone who had trained for marathons for several years and putting in her marathon PB of about 3hrs 10 mins did give close approximations to her PBs all the way down to 5K.
  • I have run 6 half marathons this year and got down to 89 minutes for my last outing. I then ran the Manchester Marathon on Sunday but 'only' managed 3:25. I basically ran out of gas at 20 miles yet again, my 1st half was 1:37, second half 1:48 with last 3.2 miles taking 29 minutes ! I was doing 40-45 miles a week with several long runs of 20-22 miles, but have to assume that I needed more weekly miles and more of the 22 + mile runs. I also have only 14 months running under my belt, so all-in-all I should be pleased at my achievements.
    Half marathons don't even register on the same scale as full marathons, it's like going from climbing Ben Nevis to Everest !
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    Agree with whats been said. If and its a big if , you've done all the long endurance runs , then you may get close to the 'predicted' times.

    Off a 1.38 half M time earlier this year I ran 3.31 at London (chuffed to bits as was hoping for around 3.37)

    Usually HalfM time times 2 plus 15-20 is about right. I think the trick is getting comfortably to halfway (say in 1.50), banging out the 'dull' miles 13-20 , and leaving enough in the tank for the last 10k.

    Easier said than done!
  • I hope to be running London next year, so will try a different strategy of taking it relatively easy to 1/2 way then upping it in the second half. Then I could be one of those brazen show-offs flying past the rest at 23 miles !
  • Thanks for your good luck wishes. Mrs Bobolink and myself are doing New york and getting pretty excited about it. It will be my first so all the advice given on this thread will be taken on board, thanks. Did the long run this weekend in the Peak District and struggled for the last 4 miles. I think with 30,000 other runners the first few miles in NY coud be slow anyway.
    Good luck to all of you doing dublin and post how you get on.
  • I've got something that calculates how your legs feel after these race distances :-10k ...buggered,
    Half Marathon ... very buggered,
    Marathon .. ever-so, ever-so buggered.

    Don't know how it works, I'm no scientist, but it's spooky 'cos it was exactly right for me !

    I'm still hooked, though, after three marathons and London will be no. 4 :-)
    Strange as after each one the words "never again" seemed to be what I babbled most but a butty and pint later I'm filling in those entry forms and planning long training runs.
    We must all be weird !!!

    Good luck for the 26.2 !!!
  • Of course those calculators don't take into account if you need to queue for the loos (this seemed to be about 10 minutes a time at London 2001). Maybe not a problem for you guys, who seem to be happy to go in the bushes.
  • IMHO the ½ and the full marathon are not only different races, they're in different universes. You can go almost flat out for a half because you know that it'll be over soon. But in the universe of the marathon miles get longer as time passes, and the time passes more slowly, too. I could cope with one of these phenomena fairly happily but when both of them hit me at the same time, well, the very, very buggered factor kicks in. I can also run the last bits of a half at the same pace as the first bits without anyone to help me. But in a marathon if I don't have someone to synch with, I just get slower and slower.
    That's my story. The story for everyone can be observed at the end of the two distances: in the finishing area after a half everyone is smiling, chatty, socialble, looking for people they know, rushing back and forth to get their kit, generally elated. After a marathon everyone is very quiet. There are tears. There is quite satisfaction. People are often still buried deep within themselves.
    Nuff said.
  • "But in the universe of the marathon miles get longer as time passes, and the time passes more slowly, too."

    Hang on, that's the same as if you were accelerating, approaching the speed of light!

    Marathons: the ultimate proof of the Theory of Special Relativity?

    (Or, does Jonathan run REALLY, REALLY FAST?)
  • Yes tears
    But I m doing another
  • Dear Psi,
    yes, in my dreams I run really, really fast. And at the end of a marathon the world has only aged about four hours, but I have aged billions of years. Actually that's the reverse of Einstein, but marathoning is something special, after all.
    Dear Benz,
    yes, tears - but I meant tears brought on by the overwhelming emotion of having achieved something truly great - and having achieved it solely by oneself for oneself.
    Keep running - and keep smiling through the tears! I've realized that it's the chase for that overwhelming feeling that encourages me to enter race after race ...
  • yes, a marathon IS a totally selfish venture in some ways
    thats why i didnt get sposored for my first, it wasnt for anyone except me
    Roll on the next one, i shant have any toenails left
  • Beware everyone! Yes, there's a universe of difference between the two races - but the full marathon distance tends to bite you in the rear, around 30km it makes you swear never to do it again, and after a shower and a beer you're looking on the race ads for the next one! I speak from experience, I'm hooked. Next one will be number 30 - so look out folks, 26.2 is totally addictive
  • I'm new to running and was wondering if it is possible to train for a marathon with nearly all of my run's being made on a treadmill? VINTY.
  • Ingrid Kristianson and Grete Waitz, 2 of the world's best ever female marathoners, did almost all of their marathon training on the treadmill because of the winter weather conditions in Norway.
  • Really??
    Can I buy their book/schedule anywhere
    Cos Im sick of heckiling and rain
  • Vinty

    To train for the marathon on a treadmill would be the most boring thing ever.

    What makes you want to run 18 miles + indoors, going nowhere?

    I suggest you saddle-up and get to them hills.
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