Half and Full Marathon Training is Not All Long Runs

“I could never train for a marathon or half marathon! I can only run 10 or 12km!”

I’ve heard that a lot from people who like to run, but can’t imagine taking on the challenge of running 21.1km or 42.2km.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – even in the marathon training program, most of the training runs are between 6km and 10km. In fact, even the weekend runs in the first four weeks of the Running Room marathon training plan start with two 10km Sundays, and then another two that are just 13km.

Less about long, more about often

Some runners think that you need to run long every time you run when you train for a half or full marathon. In reality, the training is less about running long, and more about running often.

Lots of short and mid-distance runs are the highlights of the first few weeks of training

Lots of short and mid-distance runs are the highlights of the first few weeks of training

Doing shorter runs three or four days a week build the leg strength and cardio that you’ll need to handle the long Sunday runs later in the program. 6km, 8km and 10km are my usual weekday runs which I find pretty manageable in terms of maintaining run/life balance.

You can do this!

If you can run 10 or 12km without too much trouble, you are more than ready for the 18-week program that will turn you into a half marathoner. I’d hesitate to recommend that you go straight from 10kms to the marathon, but if you are committed and manage the training well to avoid injury from ramping up fast, you could also take on the marathon plan assuming you have a strong 10km base to build on.

In short, don’t let the thought of training for the 42.2km of the marathon or the 21.1km of the half marathon scare you. The programs are designed with first-timers in mind. With a bit of running experience under your belt, you can do it!

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