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Appropriate time to run first marathon?

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sapf
sapf Posts: 146 Member
How long do you think someone should have been running before attempting their first marathon?

I'm very new to running (started with C25k in May) and was contemplating registering for a marathon on my 29th birthday (June 21). This would mean I've been running slightly longer than a year at that point.

If it is relevant: I'm running my first half in a month and so far my training has been going well. I am registered for a second half in March. (I actually registered for that one first and then registered for the one in December to motivate me after my 10k) Obviously I will wait until after I run at least one half to register for the full, but I'm looking for the opinion of more experienced runners.

Replies

  • MinimalistShoeAddict
    MinimalistShoeAddict Posts: 1,946 Member
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    I think most people here will advise you to take things slowly and build up mileage over time. While there is no rush and caution is the best answer from the perspective of injury prevention, I can understand your desire.

    I started running last fall and ran my first marathon last month (about one year since I started running).

    Unless the marathon you are considering will sell out far in advance I would recommend you see how you feel after running your half and proceed from there. No need to make a decision right away.

    I have never suffered any running related injuries and have no regrets over my mileage progression, but some others have not been so lucky.

    Good luck!
  • davemunger
    davemunger Posts: 1,139 Member
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    I would say 1 year is the bare minimum time needed to go from couch to full marathon. It's doable, but the key is to increase your mileage gradually while also doing the strength training necessary to prevent injuries. Sounds like you have been successful getting up to the mileage necessary for the half-marathon, so if everything proceeds smoothly from here it's entirely possible that you could also complete a marathon.

    Just be sure to do the research and find out what strength training you need to do, and be careful not to dramatically increase your mileage each week. It might also help to have a coach take a look at your stride and make sure you are not doing something that increases your chance of injury.
  • CarsonRuns
    CarsonRuns Posts: 3,039 Member
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    My standard reply is that you should have 12 to 18 months of consistent 25 to 30 miles weeks before you start on a marathon training program. I believe that gives you the proper base to be healthy and successful in the marathon endeavor.
  • runs4zen
    runs4zen Posts: 769 Member
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    It was almost two years to the date I started running before I did my first full. I did several smaller races and two 1/2 marathons prior. I think the standard is what Carson, above, discusses and it's a solid rule of thumb.
  • SonicDeathMonkey80
    SonicDeathMonkey80 Posts: 4,489 Member
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    I did my first with 9 mos/600 miles. Never again. Had fun, good learning experience, but I'd never do it like that again.
  • Still_Fluffy
    Still_Fluffy Posts: 341 Member
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    See how your 1st half goes. If you feel strong then go for it. But set a realistic time goal.
  • sapf
    sapf Posts: 146 Member
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    My standard reply is that you should have 12 to 18 months of consistent 25 to 30 miles weeks before you start on a marathon training program. I believe that gives you the proper base to be healthy and successful in the marathon endeavor.

    Thanks for the advice. I'm running ~20 miles per week at the moment. So it looks like maybe I can do one about a year or a year and a half from now. Maybe I'll plan to try one on my 30th birthday instead, just to be safe :-)
  • DavidMartinez2
    DavidMartinez2 Posts: 840 Member
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    See how your 1st half goes. If you feel strong then go for it. But set a realistic time goal.

    I agree with seeing how the half goes. I went from Couch to Marathon Maniac in under a year but I am lucky in that my body responds well to high mileage, not everyone does.
  • ZenInTexas
    ZenInTexas Posts: 781 Member
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    See how your 1st half goes. If you feel strong then go for it. But set a realistic time goal.

    I agree with seeing how the half goes. I went from Couch to Marathon Maniac in under a year but I am lucky in that my body responds well to high mileage, not everyone does.

    I think we can all agree you're pretty gifted. Definitely not the norm. :drinker:
  • mjpTennis
    mjpTennis Posts: 6,165 Member
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    I almost took the bait and ran a half and a full this year until I asked a similar question. After getting in a 20 mile run this past summer, I am sure that I can finish the full.

    A couple of things have made me move my race date out a bit
    1). Having learned and read so much about how the next 6 miles are so different
    2). knowing what I went through on my own to get to 20 and that I don't want that to be my memory on my first full
    3). Not having a strong base of mileage
    4). No one is going to pay me a million dollars whether I race tomorrow or next year
    5). I have gained so much from running the last two years that I didn't want to have a bad taste in my mouth after the race because I didn't listen.

    Good luck finding what works for you.
    Michael
  • __Di__
    __Di__ Posts: 1,653 Member
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    OP my own opinion is that nothing in running distances should be rushed, build up slowly and gradually, give yourself a good foundation, if you don't your whole house will tumble and you could be back to worse than square one.

    I have only just completed my first half marathon (two weeks ago) after training for eighteen months outside (before that it was treadmill indoors and I had been running for donkey's years lol). The outcome was that I thoroughly enjoyed the HM, ran completely within myself and cannot wait to do another. I am talking about a HM here too, not a marathon as you are asking about, mine is just half your distance!

    If you insist on rushing everything and go ahead with running a distance like a marathon before you have a true base, you could end up frightening yourself away from it altogether and that would be a damn shame.
  • arc918
    arc918 Posts: 2,037 Member
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    Get some halfs under your belt. Not just surviving, but learn to race the distance. In doing that you'll continue to build your base. You'll know when it's time to run a full.

    I can assure there is nothing magical about running 26.2, it's a long way even when properly trained. No need to rush it.
  • Zekela
    Zekela Posts: 634 Member
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    I wouldn't even set a time down. My goal would be just to finish! That's a great achievement in itself.
  • Zekela
    Zekela Posts: 634 Member
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    I wouldn't even set a time down. My goal would be just to finish! That's a great achievement in itself.

    Oh well... I didn't answer the question.... I thought it was a time goal... lol...