Realistic marathon target time

3.20? 3.30? 3.45? Aim to just get round?

18 messages
24/11/2013 at 17:04


I have signed up for the Manchester marathon for next April, which will be my first at that distance, and want to start training properly as soon as possible. I have a half marathon PB of 1:38, and completed a 10k race in 44mins today, which is my quickest since a PB back in May (43.03).

What do you think would be a relaistic time for me to use as a target for the race next spring? I have looked at many tables and info that is out there and I think 3hrs 30mins, but is this about right or selling myself short, or even setting a time that may be unachievable?

Thanks in advance!

24/11/2013 at 18:27

Using the McMillan app on my phone says you should be aiming for 3:26:15 so 3:30 isn't so far out. Good luck with your marathon

24/11/2013 at 18:30


You will get a range of answers, and where you end up is a function of how many miles you do, what pace you ran your long runs, and ultimately how quickly your body responds to endurance training.

There was a long running thread collating peoples' HM v M times

For a first-time bloke, you will most likely end up somewhere between 2.26 and 2.32 times your half time.  98 times 2.26 = 3h41, times 2.32 is 3h47.  Race a half a few weeks before the M, and you'll hopefully do better than 1h38 with all the endurance training...and adjust your target accordingly.

Good luck

Edited: 24/11/2013 at 18:31
24/11/2013 at 19:59

I guess it depends if you train for the distance properly - I had a PB of 1:38 three weeks before my last marathon (2nd) and just broke 4 hours, previous (first) attempt was 4:18 off a 1:46 HM 3 weeks before.

2nd marathon conversion factor 2.69 x HM. 1st 2.43 x - I think my body/mind leans towards the shorter races!


24/11/2013 at 20:11

I ran 3:16 at Manchester 2 years ago off a 1:35 HM time so I'd say 3:30 is def, doable off 1:38.

24/11/2013 at 20:27

But Gaz, you're an endurance machine

8th marathon 3:34 off a 1:34 Half and 20 weeks of 70+ miles per week....

24/11/2013 at 22:17

I ran my first marathon in 3:29 off a 10k PB of just under 45 mins and ran a HM 2 months before in 1:35. So I'd agree that if you can build up your endurance with lots if long runs, you should be able to target 3:30.

24/11/2013 at 22:42

I don't know about an endurance machine Tek, more like somebody who should be running his half marathons a bit quicker! 

24/11/2013 at 22:57

Lol Gaz  Seriously though, it does boil down to whether you're a slow twitch or a fast twitch runner.  I know this is a sweeping generalisation but most men show fast short distance times but crap long distance conversions: women the opposite. The OP is an example for 10k to HM.  I still dream about doing a M at 2xHM +6

Edited: 24/11/2013 at 22:59
24/11/2013 at 23:00

You calling me a girl???

24/11/2013 at 23:08

Nooooo....,,I'm saying statistically you're exceptional, particularly as a bloke. Tell the OP what mileage you were doing (plus upset me with what you're doing in base season now).  *wipes brow*

24/11/2013 at 23:42

He, he, artfully done Tek! I was doing 300 miles a month for Manchester 2012, I'm doing about the same now at around 7:45 m/m and hoping to get sub 3 next time out..

24/11/2013 at 23:57

Aagh there you go.   80 mpw cures all..good luck in Manc

25/11/2013 at 00:06

Cheers mate,

25/11/2013 at 13:13

3.30 doable 3.40 likley

25/11/2013 at 13:14

likely and probably do-able

25/11/2013 at 15:20

I'd be more conservative and aim for 3.40-3.45.

Coming from a sub 1.30 HM guy who can't seem to nail a strong Marathon! 

It also depends whether this will be your one and only Marathon - if not, go out conservative, have a good experience and be up for doing it again - faster.

26/11/2013 at 18:43

thanks for all the responses and encouragement so far everyone, much appreciated. I am now planning lots of long runs which luckily will be scenic round these parts, as well as finally forcing some proper regular intervals (I despise them but they have to be done...)

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