Standard warning - try them prior to the race to make sure they are OK for you.
I've used them throughout the summer after long runs and have felt a noticeable benefit. I haven't had the mild dehydration headaches that I used to suffer, and my thirst has been quenched whereas my old regime of a pint of squash would leave me thirsty about an hour later.
For my marathon next weekend, I'm planning before and after the race (same as DT19). I won't use them in the race as I only take a few gulps from a bottle from the water stops, so wouldn't take much in. You would also have to give the tablet a few mins to dissolve. Therefore for running races, they only make sense to me if you carry your own bottle.
Hi stingrayw2 and welcome, congratulations on completing your first run.
Have a look at couch to 5k programs to get you used to running. The biggest danger as a keen beginner is to try and do too much too soon, so this structures it with a combination of running and walking to get you started.
Key thing is to remember that recovery is just as important as running, as its when you are resting that your body adapts to the new demands you are putting on it.
Once you're comfortable with running 5k, you can then extend this to get up to 10k level.
go to a local running shop and see what they offer.
Alternatively, go to runningwarehouse.com and look at the trail shoes they offer. If you find a pair that interests you, use the "show me how it fits option" to compare it against your current shoe. This will give you an idea about tight toe boxes etc.
I think you know the answer - autumn marathon with an interim target of a spring half marathon.
If you are only running 15 miles per week you need to build the mileage for a decent crack at running a marathon. With your history of shin splints etc you don't want to build the mileage too quickly.
For your spring HM you will need to be running around 35 miles per week, and for your marathon it will need to peak around 50 miles per week.
I think you have to be realistic with yourself - going from 120mins to 90mins for 13.1 miles is a big ask as its more than 2 mins per mile quicker. Doing this in six months is beyond the majority of people and carries a big risk of injury. Why not aim for 1:45 in the spring, and then include an autumn HM in your marathon preparation. The 1:45 HM is also more in line with your marathon target time.