Sensible target time for London Marathon

I've been running a couple of years, however I had my appendix out in July and found it difficult to get back into it after the enforced rest. I missed out on the official London ballot and resigned myself to a break from running and to spend winter in the gym instead. However, I've just found out I've got a London place through my job, so need to start training again. Given the massive decline in my fitness and having never had to come back from a break before I have no idea what will be a good target time. In June probably near the peak of my fitness I ran a 1:35 hilly half. I ran a slow 50k in July training up to 45mpw, and ran a 19:45 5k. After my month off in September I done about 4 miles a week and entered an off road marathon to try and get my mojo back but cramped up big time and finished in 4:45 or something, but it was hilly. I entered a 10k in October on pretty much no training and ran 43:45, then pretty much hung up my running shoes until running a 4.5 mile cross country race yesterday that went to show how much my fitness has declined, finishing in 35 minutes something. If I had continued running properly since my 50k, I'd say I'd be aiming at a 3:15 marathon, is it feasible to get back there by April? I'd say I'm probably in 45 minute 10k shape at the moment. If anyone can offer advise on what would be a good target it would be much appreciated. Cheers, Dan


  • I'll be working up to about 40 miles a week. Apologies for the lack of spaces above, they were there when I pressed submit!

    dan - I think you need to set your target nearer the time.  

    For now get back into training and start building up your aerobic base again.   Enter a couple of races before London, a half marathon 4 or 5 weeks before will give you a strong indicator as to what pace you can run your marathon at.

    No reason why you can't get back to your previous level of fitness by then.

  • Yes do some training and get a half race in. That's a good way to predict your time. Otherwise its just guessing.
  • amen to the above.


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Sounds like you have a decent level of ability and background. It will all depend on how training goes. I'd agree with all the above. Just focus on keeping those consistent 40 mile weeks going and then see where you are in March. A half towards the middle or the end will be a decent indicator.
  • Half now done, not four weeks out but it starts literally 30 seconds from my front door so there was no way I wasn't running it. It is a hilly course (despite what strava says) and the wind was brutal.

    I finished in 1:36:14 so I suppose I'm about back to where I was fitness wise for this distance.

    However, training hasn't gone great. Haven't hit a 40 mile week yet, I think I got to 37 and have skipped a few long runs. I've done a 12, a 14 and a couple of 16s but really wanted to be running long runs over three hours by this point.

    To make matters worse I injured my calf doing a bloody 1 mile warm up for a gym session.

    What was initially a conservative target of 3:30 for London now seems like it might be a stretch. I'd love to hear what others have converted a rougly 1:36 half to in the marathon.
  • It would depend on their long runs too - you admit you're light on the long runs - so it's more likely you'll struggle in the second half.

    There WAS a thread around about how peoples times have converted - if you google you might find it ?  
  • edited February 2017
    general used rule of thumb is twice half, plus 20 mins.... but with a limited base, perhaps add a bit.... that would suggest something like a 3:40 ?

    1:36 is around my recent half time, and i'm aiming for a 3:30, but thats off a full training plan, with some decent mileage under my belt and a solid aerobic base.
    lets be honest.... its all prep for an Ironman on my 100th birthday
  • cougie said:
    It would depend on their long runs too - you admit you're light on the long runs - so it's more likely you'll struggle in the second half.

    There WAS a thread around about how peoples times have converted - if you google you might find it ?  
    I've seen it referenced a few times, when I finally found a link to it it seems it doesn't exist anymore. 
  • NickW2NickW2 ✭✭✭
    I did half time x2 + 25 mins last year for my first marathon, off relatively low mileage (1:47 half, 3:59 marathon, around 25 miles per week). I expect people with higher mileage convert better. I'm hoping to go under 3:30 at Manchester off a 1:37 half on a hilly course (which presumably equates to 1:35 or 36 on a flattish course).

    So clearly I think going for 3:30 off a 1:36 is reasonable, especially if hilly. Having said that, off a longest run of 16 miles it's all a bit unknown.
  • Well I still have until the tail end of April. I'm going to try and be a bit more disciplined for the remainder of the training window, it's just over a month before the taper so should be able to justify slacking off a bit at home during that time.

    I'm going to do 18 this week and 20 the next so 16 won't be my longest run come the starting line.
  • My marathon PB is twice my HM PB plus 19.5 minutes so the rule of thumb works for me!
  • Just noticed a low key half local to me that has spiked my interest. I initially though 'Hmmm, I could race this and probably get 1:34 since it's flat and gain a bit of confidence' bit now think it's probably foolish to substitute a long run for another half with not that much time left.

    The race is on 19th March so 5 weeks out from London. After looking at the logistics of the local train stations I'm now thinking to run easy to and from the half and do the half at MP, this would give me a run of around 21 miles.

    However, I notice some programs drop the marathon pace segments of the long runs as they get up to 18/21 miles.

  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    If you want to do it then do it. Either treat it as a fast run (maybe not race all-out so close to a marathon), 13.1 reasonably fast miles will be a great running run, I would run at MP or maybe just faster. Or even better, run there and back and do the race, great mileage, but not at MP - run at your LSR pace (MP + 1 or 1.5 min/mile at least). A 21 mile run including 13.1 miles at MP seems unnecessarily ambitious, unless you're confident in your powers of recovery!
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