Couch to 5K

Marathons - can I pick your brains please?

So, after being inspired by watching the Hamburg marathon in person in April, I entered into the London ballot and have now been offered a guaranteed charity place - and I intend to go for it! However, I am wary that I must *really* respect the distance and train properly for it. You can't blag a marathon and you guys know more about this than me, and I'd be really happy if I could pick your brains...

Now, I wasn't originally intending to do a marathon until late 2016 at the very earliest. I know everyone has a reason to run and my burning ambition was to one day run one of these so I always had it in the back of my mind, although I understand not everyone thinks like that.

I had booked myself on to a couple of races before I applied and now I'm not so sure how all of these fit in to a cohesive training plan. Am I biting off a little more than I can chew here? So far in the schedule I have planned:

Bupa London 10k 25th May (next week, eek!)

Run Norwich 10k 30th Aug

Ealing HM 27th Sept

Great South Run 10 miles 25th Oct

Berlin HM 2nd April 2016

VLM 24th April 2016

I absolutely must do the GSR as its in my hometown and I'd really really love to do the Berlin HM however I'm worried that its a little close to the marathon. Everything else is fluid although I guess it would be good to get a HM in well before the marathon.

How should I organise my training? Work towards the HM in September then build a new plan to the marathon after that? Build up some plan for the Mara now (a 10 month training plan sounds a bit extreme)?

I'm moving out of London in a couple of weeks so going to join up at the local running club - should also help with the training.

I especially conscious that I am the type of person that gets a bit carried away at times so if I need a bit of a reality check, please don't hold back! For what its worth, my dad (who's done London 4 times) thinks I should put the marathon back 12 months and run a few HMs first.

Thank you!

14 Replies

As you know, I am in pretty much the same boat as yourself so I will certainly be interested in responses but my basic thought is that you should take the marathon out of your thoughts for now.

Put together a 16 week training plan for your Half Marathon (or follow a MyAsics plan) but keep it to 3 runs per week which should allow you to fit in your scheduled races.

By the time you get to September you will have a much better idea of your capabilities and motivation to see what sort of training is necessary/possible for London.


indeed - if I remember correctly is your HM on the same weekend?


It is the following weekend, 4th October.


I think it all depends what you are looking for from the Marathon. Is it just for the experience? or are you looking for a sub 5 hour time?

Many people manage the Marathon with only 16 weeks preparation, however, they go into it knowing it will be a walk/run with a time nearer to 6 hours.

I am sure you will receive support and guidance from the running club.

As Dunder says, you could start building up your weekly miles, that will give you a good indication. The good runners at my club are doing 30 to 40 miles a week! (48 to 64 Km)


oh it is definitely just about the experience! I just want to try and run as much of it as I can.


Am no expert at marathons, but an expert at non having plans.... If I was you I would use the Berlin hm as part of the training for London, take it as a long slow run, without going in for a PB


I think only you will know how you feel, and whilst there is a huge ammount of physical training for a marathon there is the mental training too. I've been running 2 years now and I did my first marathon in April. I had intended to last year but had to pull out as I had an injury. I feel you have plenty of time to train, there are loads of good plan out there that are about 12 weeks long. However they generally expect your level to be around HM distance or a bit less. I would recommend Paula Radcliffes book it has some good plans in and good advice too. I struggled to get over the HM distance, it took me a while. Then I just added a Mile each week till I got to 23 miles. It's not easy and I would suggest you may need time off work for training. I didn't so I ended up doing less than I should but I have a v busy life as well as working full time. Good luck!!


Cheers for the heads up, will have a look at that book. Come December (when I imagine the mara training will start to kick in!) I will be based in the field (ie flexible hours!) so getting the runs in should be easier in theory!!


I can't give advice, but I' always here for support. The Best of British for the training and the VLM and others.

Please keep us posted on your progress.


Asics will only let you do one plan at a time, so you have to finish it before downloading another. You can try and punch in the dates etc and see what it comes up with. I've done this. It tells you whether you have enough time, based on your current race times as per.

It's all ok on paper but you have to run this little lot bear in mind. You could omit the ones you could bare to drop and just concentrate on your "must" run ones. You'll have to be prepared to keep your plans fluid, which I'm sure you realise

Is there some mad imperative that's driving this level of running. Are you trying to prove something to yourself, or what? You could run yourself into the ground. You are a new runner bear in mind, not Superman.

I don't want to pour cold water on your running plans at all Wristy. No-one loves a race more than me but it's worrying to me that as a new runner you could run into trouble by overfacing yourself. The half marathon training, let alone the marathon training, is long and lonely, and if you've entered several then that's an awful lot of training even before you laced up your racing shoes. You run the risk of just over running and getting bored/peed off. On the other hand the longer distance training should cover the shorter runs which you could do as training runs for the HM and Marathon. I'm sure you realised that too. Dur (sorry I am daft)

Once you've made a start it should start falling into place, or not, depending on your fitness progress and whether you collect any injuries

It's all very interesting Wristy I have to say and I hope you can pull it all off.

Don't fall out with me cos I voice my concerns will you?

Love Miss W x

1 like

haha don't worry! thanks for your input. I wanted people to call it for how they see it and let me know, you've done exactly that! I am going to give it all some proper thought over the next few weeks and just enjoy the race next week and take it from there. It's a big ask.


Yes, enjoy it. That's what it's all about. I loved my 10 k race last weekend, it was brill. I got crocked during it but I finished. I still loved it and I'm back out there again now after a week's rest. Mind you I have no races lined up til July, so I can afford a breather. Factor a breather or two into your plan in case you pick up a knock, or heaven forbid a cold or something. I stave off bugs by eating lots of garlic and ginger etc. I reckon curry kills all known germs dead!


careful, I need very little encouragement to eat curry!! hahaha


If you make your own it's health food ☺


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