In a few weeks I'm going to run my first half-marathon. I ran a lot of 10K races, but never a marathon.

Should I run a marathon a couple of months later my half-marathon, without a specific training? Or it could be better to wait more time?

  • I beg to differ. I think the answer depends on what you want to accomplish. If you want to try it for fun you should. Just be aware that it may be much slower than twice your target HM time. As a first experience in longer distance you ll learn a lot too. take it easy and don't get hurt.
    – Francky_V
    Apr 21, 2019 at 1:46

4 Answers 4


A marathon is altogether different league when compared to a 10 km run. There are many things to consider...

You should have a proper hydration plan in your long distance races. For 10 km races, you wouldn't probably have had hydration during the race course. In a marathon, I would advice you to start hydrating from the 5 km mark. From there on, every 2 or 2.5 km you are adviced to hydrate alternatively with electrolytes and water and if possible with energy gels (or other energy substances).

Long distance training
As you say, you have run many 10 km race, you would have good stamina but that need not be as good enough for a full or even a half marathon. Start running the weekend long end runs. During the weekend long runs, keep it very slow. Go for some 32 km runs at a very slow jolly pace. The idea is to keep many strides than the original race or at least equivalent to that. So, the stride length should be very less. This allows your joints to get ready for a full marathon. Also this improves blood flow.

Interval training If you are interested in improving speed, go for intervals (once per week). My favorite is Emil Zatopek's way of training. Run 400 m fast runs with rests in between. Warm-up before the intervals and cool down after the intervals are very much important. The interval training helps you reduce the resting heart rate, which is very important for long distance runs.

Strength Get your muscles ready for the long run. Go for calisthenics during most of the strength training and also weight training once in a week. Also try resistance training for your thighs like running on the sand or pulling something while running, etc.

Prepare your mind The marathon is not a race in your initial stages. Make friends with runners, run with groups, enjoy your runs. More importantly, put a smile on your face while running. Most importantly, thank the volunteers while running a marathon.

Enjoy running

My understanding on heart rate and interval training:
Resting heart rate is calculated by counting the pulse rate or heart rate after you lie down for half hour or so. Your maximum heart rate is approximately 220 - age. The difference between max and resting heart rate is taken as diff for further calculations.
Generally long runs are run at a heart rate between 50 to 60% (resting heart rate + 50-60% of diff)comfortably. If the this percent is close to the max heart rate then the person will get tired soon. So the resting rate is to be reduced in order to reach greater speeds with ease, for long runs.
For a normal man the resting heart rate is 72 bpm (beats per min). In order to reduce the resting heart rate, one does interval training, during which the heart rate is pushed close to the max heart rate (or held near the threshold limit for a long time) while sprinting (fast runs) and reduced to very low rate (as low as possible) during the resting period (or slow jog). This kind of subsequent peaking and reducing heart rate, results in lot of fat burning and over course of time reduces the resting heart rate.
Thus the above method of intervals reduces resting heart rate and allows us to run fast for a long period of time (distance).

  • What do you mean by "reduce the resting heart rate"?
    – Pacerier
    Jan 17, 2014 at 11:35
  • @Pacerier You want me to explain "how to reduce resting heart rate ?" or "Explain resting heart rate ?" or something else?
    – Freakyuser
    Jan 17, 2014 at 12:35
  • "The interval training helps you reduce the resting heart rate, which is very important for long distance runs." What is the resting heart rate and why is reducing it important for long distance runs?
    – Pacerier
    Jan 17, 2014 at 13:19
  • @Pacerier Edited the answer. If anyone feels something is wrong with the above content feel free to comment or edit the content
    – Freakyuser
    Jan 17, 2014 at 18:15

No. Marathons are significantly harder than halves and you will need to get your long run up to around 32km in order to complete. You mention that there is a couple of months in between. This would give you enough time.


As others have said, you can't do a marathon on half marathon training. But if the marathon is say 3 months after, you could use the half as part of your build up to the marathon. You need to teach your body to use fat for fuel,which is learnt during the long training runs. Your body cannot store enough energy through carbohydrates for the duration of the marathon.

The marathon is to be respected, don't do it until you have trained specifically for it.


I would say no. The marathon distance requires another approach to running than the shorter distances. Because glycogen stored in the muscles lasts for no more than 35 km, even in elite runners, you need to train your body to conserve glycogen and use fat burning instead. This requires another kind of training than you would do for shorter distances, not necessarily easier (although it may seem like it, initially), but different.

I'm not saying it's impossible to do (I've done it), but it's rather unlikely, unless you are very careful not to go for any time goal, just to finish. The trick is to keep your heart rate very low, between 60 and 65 percent of your maximum heart rate, and even then there is no guarantee you will finish. At this low pace you will mainly burn fat, and almost no glycogen. The disadvantage is that it will feel like totally non-competitive, not very worth doing during a race. I did it as a training challenge to myself, to see if it is even possible.

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