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Hi ER, it's all just putting miles into the legs. The weather is starting to turn and the dark evenings are upon us, running often feels like a struggle at this time of year. No chance of finding a running companion or running club? It's so much easier when you're not on your own and you have other people to gee you along.
Stretches, etc. are important but TBH as long as you set off on your runs at a reasonably slow pace then you'll warm up as you go. You just need to find the time to run, twice a week isn't a problem for now but you will need to do more than this once you're in the New Year. Three times would be good, four even better.
Don't worry about the time taken for your runs just now, the speed doesn't matter. It's just steadily increasing the miles so that your body adjusts to the training load without breaking itself. Try to make one of your runs a longer run each week (run it slow!) and try to push the distance of this up slowly (maybe 10% or 1 mile more per week). You will be fine, just keep an eye on any niggles and rest them if they start to really hurt.
Don't beat yourself up... with the runs...and the times.... your goal is a long term goal... and it will take time to increase the mileage.. remember every run you put in now.. even if its just getting out the door and doing a two miler is building your legs up for later on... are you able to run a 5k once a week yet as a long run, and then do other shorter runs, even if they are1-2 milers, a couple times a week. The parkruns on Saturday mornings are brilliant for keeping the enthusiasm going.
1. No - in fact short strides are probably helpful in reducing the force you hit the ground with, so reducing injury risk. There's some evidence that shorter, quicker strides are beneficial for distance runners.
2. Again, no. Uphill running is a bit like sprinting, it is stressing your body hard so that your body adapts and is stronger afterwards. If you want to improve your marathon time, then hill training (repeat sessions running hard up hills) is a good way to do it. However, it's hard work and you may get more out of just spending time on feet in general.
3. Yes - there's no rules, walking breaks are fine. In fact running for a certain time / distance then having a walking break is a strategy which lots of people use for marathons. If that's the best way to get around then that's fine. There's no "shame" in walking, but perhaps as the training continues, you might want to reduce the length or frequency of the walking breaks?
Well done on the 6 miles BTW, no mean feat. Pretty much a 10K - just shows that your training so far is working - keep it up!
How are you getting on with your training for the 10k?
^^^ what Shades said. A marathon is a long, long way to run (even with walking breaks) and will ask some very difficult questions of you. Your body will really, really want to stop you from continuing to punish it, especially in the last third of the race, and you need to mentally be committed / motivated / determined enough to overcome this. It's way too easy to give up and start walking when this happens. It's not for anyone here to say you can't do it, but based on what you've said about struggling to find motivation at times, I think you need to ask yourself if you really want to do it enough.
It's very hard to run a marathon, even if you've trained rigorously. Without this training, it's even harder. You will need an iron will and a bloody-minded determination, and you're the best person to know if you have that in you at this point. Running for a charity and not wanting to let them down might help with this, but I just don't think it will be enough.
My 2p-worth - cut your losses and set your sights on another marathon. Find a training plan and stick to it, then at least you'll be ready physically. You'll still to find the mental resolve, but this would be a lot easier if you knew you were capable and had put in the effort. Regardless of age and "significant years", if you're not ready then you're not ready.
Best of luck if you do go for it, but you should expect it to be very tough and have a plan to cop with that.