Training for a marathon.. 6 months.. possible?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2012 7:04 AM GMT
    I know there are some previous threads on marathon training already, but the info wasn't quite what I was looking for.

    I'm planning on running a marathon in May (http://www.bmovanmarathon.ca/), which is 6 months from now. I have never done any long distance running, but I really want to work toward being able to run a marathon.

    Spring 2012 I did the sun run which is a mere 10k, and I felt very comfortable doing it. Now, that's like 1/4 of what a marathon is, so it would be a big jump.

    Right now I can run 10k in a little less than an hour without stopping. Any further and I'd need to slow down significantly.

    I guess my questions are:

    - is this a feasible goal? would i be able to work my way up to running 42k in 6 months? or am i better off signing up for the half marathon?

    - what's the best way to start training? how would this affect weight/strength training?

    - how would i pace my training? like, where should I be in X months?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2012 8:28 AM GMT
    I love running. Incidentally, I myself am anticipating training for the next half-marathon that will be coming in April. It would be my first one ever. I've never done a marathon before, but ultimately, I'd like to be able to do one.

    A training program I read about for preparing to run a half-marathon featured a schedule that lasted over the course of twelve weeks (= 3 months) before the event. It assumed you were conditioned enough to be able to at least jog 30 minutes without needing to slow to a walk.

    Given that you have experience running 10ks, you could probably be able to prepare yourself to do a full marathon in 6 months if you're motivated enough. But there's nothing wrong at all with just doing a half-marathon first. It's a very large accomplishment and something to take pride in.
  • kevmoran

    Posts: 1543

    Nov 01, 2012 11:18 AM GMT
    I know this isn't the answer you're looking for, but here goes. I used to run cross country and began to go further when I got older. But a marathon is the absolute worst thing you can do to your body. There's minor things, like you'll never have all 20 toenails again (seriously, ask a marathoner). But there are also major repercussions like imminent joint damage and bone health. You'll never see a healthy person train for a marathon and come out nearly as healthy as before. Anything more than 15 miles at running pace is doing more harm than good. I used to run 20+ miles and I wish I hadn't.

    Hoorah, now you're two cents richer!
  • vodka_cran

    Posts: 21

    Nov 01, 2012 1:55 PM GMT
    You can definitely do it. With 6 months you can train your body, and run a good race. You just have to commit to logging your miles. The only reason I would suggest doing a half before you do a full is to determine pacing. Its very hard to know how to pace yourself and plan for a race until you are in actual race conditions. The first time I run a distance, I generally look at it as a learning experience. It wont be my best time, but the next time I run that distance I have a better idea of how to pace myself and prepare.

    When I train, I shoot for 3 days a week running. A short, a medium, and a long run. I do watch my pace via either watch or an app (runkeeper) but run at a pace that feels good to me. There is no use beating yourself up if you aren't as fast as possible. I suggest just listening to your body and go for it. Just don't be afraid of pushing yourself either.

    The most important piece of advice I can give is to go to a local running store, and get fitted for shoes. This will save you a world a pain, and will make running much more comfortable. (Plus, you might be able to keep all your toenails!)

    Here are some websites to check out for more information, or let me know if you have any other questions.

    Runnersworld.com
    http://www.marathonrookie.com/marathon-training.html
  • RaggedyMan

    Posts: 7185

    Nov 01, 2012 4:32 PM GMT
    Yes it is possible. I did it in 3 months. Its all about motivation
  • Dominican_Gen...

    Posts: 379

    Nov 01, 2012 6:48 PM GMT
    Depends on how long has you been running. Growing muscle and improving aerobic endurance is easy, but for a marathon you also need to build up your ligaments and bones, and that takes time. If your skeletal system is already primed (lets say a year running 10K races) then all it takes is to improve your aerobic resistance.

    If you are a novice runner then it would do more harm than good.
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Nov 01, 2012 8:58 PM GMT
    I've run a few marathons and done Ironman triathlons, so I have a bit of experience with running them. Here are my thoughts:

    1. Marathon running is really hard on your legs, especially if it's on asphalt. You're only 20 years old, so you won't notice the impact that much, but keep that in mind, and respect what you're putting your body through as you prepare for this race.

    2. You *can* train up to a marathon in 6 months. It will be a more pleasant (and less injury-fraught) experience if you had a bigger base of endurance running under your belt. But it's still possible as long as you're smart about it. By smart I mainly mean DON'T OVER-TRAIN.

    You'll be tempted to try to do way more than you need to, and that will lead to injuries. Find a reasonable plan that helps you build slowly and factors in rest days. Eat right and get lots of sleep. If you insist on weight training while training for the marathon, don't work your legs--they're going to need to be fresh for your runs. Do stretch frequently or do a yoga class every now and again.

    3. Set a reasonable goal for your first marathon--I can't tell you what that is, because I don't know your running abilities. Being realistic can make it a fun experience, or a rotten one.

    4. Find others to run with. And if you get bored or your legs/feet start to be sore, find some trails to run on to give them a break from the pavement.

    That's about all I have for now. If you do get injured from over training or some biomechanical issue, don't despair: do some swimming or cycling or other aerobic activity to compensate for backing off of running. You can still probably get some running in and recover, and cross training means that you're still able to work your cardiovascular system and endurance.

    Good luck!
  • in_this_corne...

    Posts: 704

    Nov 01, 2012 9:03 PM GMT
    I never was a runner beyond 2-4 miles here and there for exercise. I had run a handful of 5K's in my life so I had some experience. Anyway, in 2010 I registered for my first marathon and completed an 18 week training program. Ultimately I skipped one training run and completed my first marathon in 4:02.

    So, yes, I believe 6 months is plenty of time for a first time marathon.

    Subsequently, I ran 2 more marathons the following 11 months - so basically I was in a perpetual state of training for a year. I lost not a single toenail. Though one came close to falling off, it never did. It healed and all are fine now.

    Look up Hal Higdon's novice training programs such as this one - I think there are 2 - http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51137/Marathon-Novice-1-Training-Program. They won't get you a record speed, but they will get you across the finish line and that's all that should be your goal for your first marathon. Also subscribe to Runner's World for a year...it's very, very helpful, albeit it gets repetitive.

    Also, the iPhone app Runmeter is AMAZING! It'll help you out immensely.

    Best of luck!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 1:26 AM GMT
    Running a marathon is really a lot easier than people think. It is much much more of a mental challenge than a physical one in my opinion.

    But to answer your questions:

    - is this a feasible goal? would i be able to work my way up to running 42k in 6 months? or am i better off signing up for the half marathon?

    If anything 6 months is too long! You might get bored with your training regimen after about 3. I'd still do medium distance running between now and then, but don't try to rock out 20 mile runs in the next month or two.

    - what's the best way to start training? how would this affect weight/strength training?

    The best thing to do is run short/medium distances during the week and longer distances on the weekends. The rule of thumb is to not increase your mileage by more than 10% for each of your long runs - I broke that rule many times and am still alive to tell the tale ... I do some weight/strength training in conjunction with my running, but to be honest, its one step forward, two steps back. These two things are inherently opposites because you end up burning most of what you need to get size.

    - how would i pace my training? like, where should I be in X months?

    Seeing as this is your first marathon, don't worry too much about pace. The biggest challenge is to finish. Once you've completed your first, you'll likely be hooked and have an easy time beating your first time. The biggest mistake marathoners make on race day is to forget their training pace and get caught up in the excitement of race day and run the first half too fast.

    Ask any questions you've got - I'm hooked to marathons myself now!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 7:55 PM GMT
    Thanks for the advice, guys. Now i'm a little worried about losing my toenails!! But I think I'm still willing to look past that and start working toward running a marathon. I'll hold off on signing up; if I still feel like going for the full, in december I'll sign up for the marathon. If not, a half marathon would be fine too.

    Would you recommend toe shoes for running?
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Nov 02, 2012 8:16 PM GMT
    Getting the right shoes is very important, but not because of the toenail thing--some people lose a toenail or two during marathon, some don't. It's not a big deal: they grow back!

    But do go to a good running shoe store and get some feedback on which shoes will be best suited to you and your training plan. Between now and May, you'll probably go through at least a couple of pairs.

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    Nov 04, 2012 3:40 PM GMT
    cgal said
    - is this a feasible goal? would i be able to work my way up to running 42k in 6 months? or am i better off signing up for the half marathon?


    4-5 months is a reasonable build up time for a marathon so you have certainly have enough time

    cgal said
    - what's the best way to start training? how would this affect weight/strength training?


    Get a solid training plan and follow it. You will want to reduce the weight training the further you get into running. Especially let workouts as those will impact your ability to run. When I got closer and the running really picked up I dropped to two days of lifting and did a full body workout.

    cgal said
    - how would i pace my training? like, where should I be in X months?


    Having a plan and sticking with it the way to go.

    Since you currently are doing a 10K I would use this as your start. Pick up at the 6-7 mile range and get to the 10.

    http://www.marathontraining.com/marathon/m_mile.html

    and then follow this through to your race

    http://www.marathontraining.com/marathon/m_sch_2.html

    Both are pretty basic plans but get you through to your goal.