Post # 1
So, I have a few questions for those bees who have done a marathon. First, I am thinking of doing one this coming November, but I have never done one before (nor a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, you get the idea). I am willing to train, and I usually run about 10 miles a week anyway (with lifting workouts as well). I am willing to train, but I am not really concerned with the pace.
My questions are: did you just jump right in and go for the marathon, or did you work up to it? Did you find you needed the full 26 week training regimen, or did you do something different (I commonly see 26 or 16 weeks)? Did you run a full marathon length for practice, or did you just get up to the 20’s and then do the full lenght race day (I have seen a lot of training calendars that only take you to 20)?
Thanks for the insight!
P.S. I was thinking about signing up for a half-marathon to keep motivated and the “pressure” on to train, but I haven’t found one that I’m really interested in in the meantime. I was thinking of doing one at the end of May, do you think that is enough time to get ready if I’m already able to run 5-6 miles 3-4x per week with no adverse effects?
Post # 2
I think you should be fine to do a half at the end of May if you can already run 5-6 miles in one go. For a half marathon training plan, you should really peak at a 10 mile long run before race day. The first time I ran a half, I don’t even think I was doing that much running but I was doing a lot of cross training.
I started out with 5K and worked my way up to a marathon over about a 10 month period? It was so long ago I’ve almost forgotten the specifics. I’ve never done a marathon specific training plan as I’ve found that it’s usually too much running for my body. My best marathon was when I was doing a lot of biking/spinning, lifting and one long run a week with a training group. Whatever training plan you end up doing, you don’t need to run the full 26.2 in training. You should max out at about 20. If your body can handle 20, getting through the last 6 is mostly mental.
Post # 3
I think it depends on what you’re actually trying to achieve. If you want to get to a marathon, finish it and don’t care about time (which seems to be the case) then you can definitely work up to it by November. I’m not sure how much you’d enjoy it though.
When you say you can run 5-6 miles 3-4x per week but then you say you run 10miles per week – do you mean you currently do 2 5mile runs but you think you could do 3 or 4 5 mile runs per week? If current weekly mileage is 10miles then you have lots of work to do. I did my first half marathon last month and I trained for it for about 14 weeks. That was coming from a base of already being able to do a relatively fast 10k (around 50minutes). I found it very tough – the race itself was fine but the training was really tough. I was like you, could easily run 5/6 miles but adding to that and getting to 7 miles, 8 miles and topping out at 11 miles before the race really took it out of me. I finished the half in just under 2 hours and I would say I wasn’t fully prepared. For my next one I’d like better prep. You’ll have to really take care of yourself and your nutrition – I found with 5/6 mile runs I didn’t have to worry about food or when I ate etc, I could just do the run. 13.5 miles is a totally different story. I assumed I’d want to go straight to a marathon after my half but I’m not sure I have the time to commit to it right now – I’m doing another half in June and going to think about it after that.
In terms of the marathon – you will have to commit to the long run every weekend – so minimum 3-4 hours running every Saturday or Sunday morning for 4-5 months. Then you’ll need 2-3 runs mid week ranging from 3 miles up to 10 miles. Some people use crosstraining instead of 1 or 2 of the midweek runs but you should be running min 3 times per week for a marathon. You simply need the miles in your legs. Lots of people run marathons on less but they’re risking serious injury. The runs are run at different paces – the long run is at a slow pace, the midweek runs are either recovery runs (very slow) or race pace runs. Try the Hal Higdon novice marathon training plan – it works for lots of people. The Galloway method is also popular – it’s basically run/walk – run for 10 minutes walk for 1 minute or something similar.
You definitely need to do some training races to keep you motivated and to record how your times are coming along. I would recommend at least 1 10k, a 10miler, a half marathon and maybe another 10k before the marathon. Simply running every week from now til November I think would be very difficult with no ability to judge your racing times.
Good luck 🙂
Post # 4
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
What’s the furthest you’ve run? I would DEFINITElY train for and run a half first. I love running and have done a bunch of half marathons, but man, I can’t imagine bumping up from 13 miles to 26. You might be the same way….
Post # 5
I’m actually starting to train to WIN a 5K in October.
The winning times, for women, are usually 19minutes – one year they had a female winner with 18:30. I have ZERO running experience so I have a lot of work to do.
I echo what a PP has said – sign up for lots of 5Ks and other races inbetween now and then. Knowing your mile time is crucial and helps you measure.
Post # 6
OMG that’s a serious goal to have! The fastest I’ve done a 5k was 23minutes and it KILLED me! I felt like I was sprinting for the entire race!
Post # 7
Oh yeah! It’s serious and it’s no joke but I’m making it my number 1 priority from now until October. I just started working for a company that is big into goals and that’s my *health* goal for the short term. We had a 2 day seminar on goals. It’s supposed to be big and crazy and I think this one is. I’ve heard that a competitive 5K is pretty much a sprint.
I have 198 days. LET’S DO THIS.
Sorry to threadjack.
Post # 8
I definitely think you should work your way up doing different races before just signing up for a marathon. Training for even a half marathon is a huge commitment – besides the physical aspect of it, it’s such a huge time commitment! I also think that signing up for shorter races over the next few months will help you with a timeline and goals. And running a race always makes you more excited for the next one and really helps your motivation.
I’ve run 2 half marathons, and this is the training program I used: http://www.halfmarathons.net/half-marathon-training-schedule-for-beginning-runners/. I loved it! I looked at a lot of programs before I started, and I really liked that this one goes all the way up to 12 miles. I know most people don’t train that far and it’s true that the last few miles of the race are mental, but for me, I really needed to KNOW that I could do it. An extra 3 miles is still 3 more miles! I switched the program to start on a Monday because my race day was a Saturday, so I ran M, T, W, F, Sat, and I was really good at sticking to the plan. I think I only skipped one or two runs the whole 12 weeks.
Good luck! Training for a race is hard work but the adrenaline rush and feeling of accomplishment are so worth it!
Post # 9
If you can currently run 8 miles in one go, you probably need 3 months to train for a half marathon, or you risk getting injured. Also, how long have you been running for? If you’ve been running for less than 6 months, don’t start training for a half marathon. And definitely sing up for another race before the marathon to gain experience, or you risk making rookie mistakes and throwing away all your hard work.
Post # 10
Aside from physical training the mental aspect is really where a race begins.
So for me there’s no way I’d try a marathon out right. Sure you can, but why not start with smaller races first? Thing is all race distances teach you something. I’ve been sometimes more challenged on shorter distances than longer ones.
I’ve done a half marathon with little training and let me tell you its not fun. I do plan on doing a full next year. For now I’m doing local races (various distances) as part of my general training. In addition to completing some triathlon events.
A marathon distance is to be respected and given its proper preparation. I have a half coming up in few weeks and I have not been putting in my all and I know I will feel it on race day.
There great plans out there, I really like Hal Higdon’s training programs. Don’t just run, stregnth train as well. As PP said it not just about finishing you want to increase your chance of getting there injury free. Best of luck
Post # 11
Do not rush training or over do it. I ran a marathon despite nagging leg pain that I ignored and it turned out to be a stress fracture in my femur from running too much. There are tons of training programs and experienced people to use as resources- respect the distance of a marathon, 26 miles is no joke
Post # 12
I have run two marathons and a few half-marathons. The last one I did was the Marine Corps Marathon in Washinton, DC last October.
Work up to the distance by doing one long run once a week, and slowly increasing your mileage during that weekly long run. Also, do shorter runs at least a few times a week.
I never followed a particular training program. If you can do it – great! I like a lot of variety with my workouts, so I took tidbits from various plans. I would also work up to running a few half-marathons first as well to keep making steady progress on your goals.
best of luck!
Post # 13
awesome! Good luck! This is definitely more my kinda training these days. 19 min would be a crazy ridiculous awesome achievement. I got 2nd once but was beaten by an 11 year old lol!
Post # 14
I second all your comments!
Post # 15
I’ve only ever done half’s, no desire to do a full so I have to advice there except for….if you aren’t trained DON’T do a full. I was part of a fitness group that was awesome when it started, and got me started in running and races (prior to that I was not a runner). However, the last year of it became ALL about running races and I got burned out so I’ve not been running regularly in over a year. I can still go out and do 3-5 miles, although it’s slow. If I did a few 5 mile runs I could go do a half – it would probably be slow and not pretty but I could do it. That being said there is a BIG difference between a fitness runner (ie: less than 20 miles/week) doing 13 miles and doing 26 miles.
My first couple half marathons I was very well trained. The last one I did I really half-assed my training. Life got busy, I missed some long runs. It wasn’t pretty. I started getting leg pain around mile 7 and it was downhill from there. I was barely running when I crossed the finish line. I definitely wouldn’s suggest doing a race without training.
If I were you I’d try to do a few 3-4 mile runs per week, with a long run on Sundays. Start your long run at 5 miles, and each Sunday up it a mile or two so that the week before the race you’ve capped out at 10 or 11 miles. I was personally trained to all my long runs on Sundays, because races are always on Sundays – so it just sort of gets you in the mindset.
ETA: I started running (several years ago) in May, did my first 5k that August, and my 1st half that November….so 6 months from when I started running did I do a half.