Jogging a full 42km in training a bad... - Marathon Running ...

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Jogging a full 42km in training a bad idea?


I have my first marathon in 5 weeks (Tallin Estonia 9th Sept) and my current training is basically a 10k, a long run ramping up each week through 21-23-27-30+ km at race pace (just a joggy 7:00) plus a 5k shakeout jog.

Well that was the "safe" bare minimum option I decided on to achieve a sub 5 hour time (I plan to slow jog it and walk through the drink stations). 2019 will be for improving my PB if it turns out I like the marathon.

Now here's the thing, I've always been a bit batty/bonkers when following plans and have often just carried on running way past the target distance when I've felt strong/good. For example I ran 10k before c25k graduation and 21km during b210k because I just felt good. In both of these instances of rushes of blood to the head I "got away with it" so to speak and didn't suffer any injuries etc.

Now I'm training for the marathon I still can't imagine standing at the start without having covered the whole distance. If I've only trained up to 30 km ish then on race day the last hour of running is going to be new territory! What the hell does it feel like at 39k, 40k?

I can jog a HM quite comfortably now with no stiff legs afterwards and low heartbeat 135 ave and conversational breathing at around a 7:00 super slow jog pace. So, If I try to super slow jog 42k soon (to put my mind at rest concerning getting a firm mental grasp of the size of the undertaking) will that sort of distance extension cause any issues that can't be overcome in the next 5 weeks or is it too risky? I'm thinking that on my next long run (23k planned) I will just keep going until it gets uncomfortable/clear that I'm pushing the limit too much. I used to cycle race so know all about bonking/the wall, but I'd like to experience the onset of it when running so I can recognise it in the distance running context. I wouldn't attempt it within 3 weeks of the race though.

The other option I'm considering is a run/walk 42k where there's a "drink station" 1min walk every 5km and a 500m-1km walk section at 10, 20, 30k.

I'm not injury-prone and have never had any injury issues in sports apart from broken bones, impact and crash injuries etc. Only had the usual little niggles on the running side but nothing that has stopped me running. I am a borderline old git though at 55 years old!

What are the thoughts of our experienced marathoners here?

P.S. the photo is the Swede Mikael Ekvall. He could have stopped to clean himself up but didn't want to lose any time! He came 21st in the race, 8th the following year and set a Swedish record later.

22 Replies
Sandraj39Half Marathon

Sorry, I can't help you on the marathon front, as it is unchartered territory for me but...that photo is one of the worst running pics I have ever see 😮😩 !

FlickM3Half Marathon

Ha! I remember your mad 10k during c25k! I can’t help on the marathon (I’m only working towards a half myself right now and haven’t started looking into serious training) but you seem to know your body and your limitations or lack of pretty well, so I would say trust that. But what do I know?

That photo is gross. But, hey, I can imagine being the same if it meant the difference between a good time and not.

Oh yuk!. I’m not sure I’d go that far to get a good time.... what’s everyone going to remember, the time or the brown disaster?!. 💩

I have a friend who is always going that bit further in her training.... she seems to work well and enjoy training like that. I think if you have enough time then see how you feel and give the full amount a go. I would end up an exhausted mess but we all train differently!.

It’s your body and you know how it works so I would say, on your previous record and with that info you are going to do it anyway - yes?

Whatever you do make sure you have time to recover before THE Day.

I’m doing my first in October and am following an Asics programme. Did my longest ever run today at 24k. l linked two of my 12k runs and it went ok. Longest run I have on plan is 32k but I’m thinking (at the moment) of doing 36k so I can link 3 routes. I’m only doing it to finish, preferably on the same day as everyone else 😅.

Funnily enough I was thinking about something similar to the pic when out this morning. I read, I think in Runner’s World of someone and friend on starting line. Friend had wind and followed through 😳 with no chance to change and ran anyway. By end of race everything had turned to powder. Not sure if that’s a comfort or not!

I've only done one marathon so I'm not an expert but I'll pass on my advice anyway....My longest training run was 22 miles, and I did a runs of 20, 18 and 16 miles prior to this. The reasoning for not running the full 26 miles in training is the injury risk and that it isn't necessary to complete the full marathon distance in training. Some training plans recommend slower runners to run for a maximum of 3 to 3.5 hours rather than aiming for distance. Personally I would rather cover a distance close to full distance or I my confidence in completing the marathon wouldn't be as high.


Personally I think I'd like to do it beforehand, seems there's a world of difference between 30k and a full marathon—knowing I'd done it before would take a huge chunk of pressure off I think. Especially as I'm not too far off 30k myself but definitely not ready for a marathon! You're obviously physically up to it, so why not if you feel happy to keep going.

In other news, I saw that picture and my first thought was 'cool, what a champ'. Running has changed me. 😂


I overdid it running 33k. Ended up with such a bad hip 3 weeks before my marathon that I thought it was in doubt. Apparently there is no point in running more than 3 hours in training,as you get no added benefi. I’d not run beyond that time again.

I have just started my training and I see I have a 32k planned in October at a pace of 6.17 min/km which takes me over three hour mark. Hmm probably will stop at 3 hours rather than risk getting hurt again Mind you I ain’t going to do 33k on my local trail again. I will seek out something less challenging this time 🙂 I’d not factored in the difficulty of that particular trail. Rather stupidly in hindsight ☺️

I plan to finish the race! Failure is not an option. I have supporters making the trip, and while it’s not that far away, it will be very cold. - 2 last year and I was worried about my posse freezing to death 😬❄️

in reply to misswobble

Are you doing the ASICS plan? I am. Asking as I have a 32 coming up next month. Getting interesting now as I’m in unknown longest distance territory for long runs. Do you stick to or aim for the times given for each run?

in reply to AnnieW55

I downloaded myasics plan before it got shut down for good. I have a RunkeeperGo plan too, which is different. A lot faster! 🤷‍♀️ The myasics time is based on my last marathon so i’m Going with that. I try and keep to the timings as best I can. I am running 4 times a week but already I find it too much so will probably knock it back down to three

in reply to misswobble

Having said that, When you do the 32 k just take your time 😃

in reply to misswobble

Thanks for that. I’m using myasics, got it all written down in my diary but do need to download it for the future - perhaps 😄. I’m doing 3 runs a week, doing 2 of them from around 0500 while it’s hot. I’ve kept to the timings so far, except for yesterday, a few secs off but can live with that as Im just aiming to finish on the day.

Still need to look at runkeeper.

in reply to AnnieW55

Get it while it’s free to you! It works well and the voice overs are good. I have started on the challenges too. Done the first lot, which then unlocks the next and so on. The app is a 100% better than myasics app,which was terrible. Apparently myasics are still providing the plans element. Not sure why then runkeeper is much quicker. It must have based it on my current running times 🤷‍♀️

It’s well organised using my small iPhone 5 The app interrupts my music when it needs to, to tell me stats every km. if I fall behind it gives me stats more often, so I hurry up just to shut the thing up 🙉. If you start using it we can link up. I’ve not so far linked up with anyone as i’m a bit reluctant to share with the wider public 😎.

I queried my calorie burn the other day as it was clearly wrong. They were very quick to check and get back to me. I’d input my weight as 8 lbs 😁☺️

in reply to misswobble

I’ll have another look. 8lbs! babies are born heavier 😄.


I think you're going to do it anyway :) But it seems reasonable to me! Good luck 😊

I've seen that picture before, and it's a major aim of mine never to be in that state!!


I hear you, and I have seen what you are capable of and all your achievements. A few weeks back I decided to run a HM with my sister not having run one for yonks. We went super slow, walked every mile for a bit and took it easy. I was fine, it’s so doable. So I’d say yes if mentally this will help and it gives you a sense of what you will be doing too....


Trouble is - where does it all end???? For example, after having completed a marathon, and you decided to do an ultra-marathon. How would you train for it?? -Or how does anyone train for a 100 mile race???? I have never done a marathon - but I have read that marathon training is for two reasons , one is to get you to the starting line fit and healthy and the other is to get you to the starting line fit and healthy!! :) It is the marathon itself that determines if you are a marathonner :)

pinkaardvarkHalf Marathon

I think you will do it, and one way of looking at it, is the practice M is no different from the one with a medal. So in effect it's just two M's and there's no limit to the amount you can do. I think a lot of these training plans are followed by people who want to do the minimum to achieve the goal of finishing, not the maximum so they can finish again and again and again. That said it is meant to be physically punishing and the working mans everest so to speak, so by all means do it twice but respect it and leave plenty of time to recover afterwards. I know if I do it, it will be a trail run and I will be noodling around taking time to get unlost looking at the map and drinking plenty and taking pics, so it will be self limiting.

So the poor guy 💩💩💩 himself? Hard to see how it got so spread around but I haven’t been in that situation since nappy days

I would have looked for a hosepipe or a big paper bag to hide in!

Following through is God’s revenge on sneaky social wind passers who let things out and feign ignorance!


Thanks for all the feedback folks! It seems that you've rumbled the fact I'm going to do it! Great to know that others have run-walked the the whole distance outside of an actual race too. I hear the 3-3.5 hour max guideline a lot but wonder if this is for "proper" running pace and not meant to cover super slow jogging with walking sections (noodling) etc? I'll take it easy and walk some sections since the time is irrelevant, just covering the whole distance is what counts. I also understand the saying that the training is to get you to the startline fit and healthy (the implication being not neccessarily to the end?) but I see getting a grasp of the mental side/understanding of "how far" it is as something that will help me get to the finish line!

And apologies for the photo but it's part of the marathon challenge (the trots, toilet breaks, body shutdown etc.) But yes, I saw that photo the first time and thought "Extreme! Go for it mate!" and not "Yuck!" so yes we must be "changed" a bit by this running lark!


I have heard it said that the main purpose of training for a marathon is to train you for the final 10K!!!!! This means training you to run and continue running on REALLY TIRED LEGS!!!! One way to do this is to run/train for the first usual 20 mile longrun in the afternoon/evening and then get up early in the morning and run/train for another 10 miles!!! This could also be a 20 in the morning plus an additional 10 in the evening. If you can face and complete that 10miles after the 20 miler, then you can compete the full 26.1 :)

I fully get where you are coming from and I am with you. I needed to know that I could do the distance before the big day - but we capped our training at 41k so that the first was THE first, if you see what I mean. My friends and I are slow runners. We were aiming for a time of 5:40 and again, I have seen the plans that say you Don't need to train for more than 3:30 - but I needed to know I could stay on my feet for that extra length of time. As in everything, the real key is to listen to your body. If things start to hurt, stop! It's a training run. Follow up with a shorter recovery week - and maybe a sports massage. Good luck!

WhatsappHalf Marathon

Go for it, plans can be made, and plans can be amended.

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