Can I Still Run This Marathon with a Two Week Setback?

run a marathon with a two week setback

I am planning on running a marathon (1st one) on two months from now. I am an experienced runner with a half marathon pb of 1:36. My weekly long runs are up to 25km and total weekly kms is 40-50.

Problem is I am booked to have a nose operation which takes two weeks to recover from = no running.

I am planning on walking my weekly kms during this two week setback but am not allowed to get my heart rate up.

That leaves 9.5 weeks to prepare for the marathon.


Can I, do I?

If so - would my time be affected badly?

Should I just run the half marathon - and put off the full event till later in the year?



Answer by Dominique:
Hi Jeremy,
Thanks for your questions.

This nose operation surely comes at an inconvenient time. However, you should still be able to do the marathon.

Let me cover off on the following:

1. Why I think you can still do the marathon.
2. What to aim for - finishing or time?

Why I Think You Can Still Do the Marathon

run a marathon with a two week setback
The good thing is that you have built up your long run to 25k already. And it sounds like you have got a longer history of running behind you. You have done a half marathon and have got a PB of 1:36. That's all in your favour.

The two weeks off will result in a loss of a bit of fitness. But you still have 9.5 weeks to go after those two weeks. Enough time to build up your running, hit a long run of 30-32k once or twice, and then do a taper.

The two weeks is roughly my comfort threshold. Much longer than that and your training would start to get impacted quite a bit. The longer you stand still, the more fitness you lose and the more you should question whether you want to do that marathon.

But with your experience and possibly, years and years of running to back you, two weeks off is a small amount in the scheme of things.

So, I think you can complete that marathon. Now, the question of how your time will be affected by it.

What to Aim For - Finishing or Time

run a marathon with a two week setback
I don't think the two weeks off matters as much in the scheme of things, as your overall mileage does. In my opinion, 40-50k per week is a very modest total if you are chasing time goals.

Your weekly mileage is decent, it will get you to the finish line. But it is on the low side for a fast marathon. You might already be familiar with my race conversion calculator.

The race conversion calculator indicates that based on your 1:36 half marathon, you'd be able to run a marathon in 3:20. But, that's only when you'd do the right level of training. 3hrs20min is roughly 4:50 min/km. 42.2 times in a row. That's intense when your total mileage for the week is about that.

So, sorry to be raining on the parade. I am not quite sure what your time goal is. But I would discourage you from believing that the current mileage is sufficient to hit the 3:20 which is predicted and is within your potential. If you were to aim for it, I think the end of the race might become very painful.

It may be better to shoot for 3:45 - 4:00 and use the experience to build on for future marathons. Can I recommend having a look at the Marathon Training Tips page for further advice on your training.

All in all, the two weeks off will be ok. You will make it to the finish line still. Best of luck with the medical procedure and with the remaining 9.5 weeks of running training. And of course, the marathon itself!

Kind regards,

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