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Marathon Fitness - Am I Ready to Run This Marathon?

by Joe Hart
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

I have been running for about 3 years now and have got a question about marathon fitness. I am 22, male and weigh 154 pounds. Only raced in four 10k races in those 3 years. My fastest run was about 45 minutes.

I am currently scheduled to run a marathon which is to be held in one month. I have never ran a half or full. I run about 3 times a week 7 km as well as soccer 3 times a week for about 1.5 hours at a high pace.

Do you think I can handle the race physically? I.e. not injure myself to a extent of no return. By the way, I have had a constant nagging injury left inner thigh and left knee clicking.

running tips

Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thanks for your question about your marathon fitness.

Oh boy, are you in a world of trouble!

There is no doubt you have got some decent fitness.

Running three times a week, soccer three times a week, that's all good.

For short and middle long distance that is, i.e. 5k and 10k races.

In order to achieve peak marathon fitness, ideally you'd have a number of 120-180 minute runs under your belt. You'd have covered 20 miles in training 4-6 times.

See my marathon pace page for the "general guidelines" that will help you ascertain what pace to run and what training you should have done.

It doesn't sound like you are there.

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Your best course of action, if you need to run this race, is to adopt a run/walk strategy right from the beginning. Something like run 7 minutes, walk 3 and repeat that continuously. Also make sure to not run fast. Don't think that because you have done a 10k 45 minutes you should be able to do a marathon in 3:30. It's more likely you'll do this in 4:30 - 6 hours or so.

Can you physically do it? It's possible to cover the distance. It will not be painless, a marathon never is, not even for the well-trained.

Regarding running with an injury: I'd be really careful about that.

Try to do a 25-30k run/walk the way I proposed once in the next two weeks. See how tough and painful it is. This will give you a small indication of what's in store for you in the marathon.

Wishing you best of luck.
Kind regards,

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