Maybe it’s the new year or maybe you’ve simply taken up the gumption to run a marathon, but it’s coming up quick. You don’t know if you’re going to be able to make it. You only have two months or a very short window of time, and you want to know, from me, can I run a marathon with two months of training?
If you haven’t been with me here on the channel before, I’m Jesse Funk. This is a show I call Runner’s High, you want to hit that subscribe button to stick around to learn more about running, anything you can think of from training tips to crazy questions. So, stick with me, hit that subscribe button, you’ll learn a lot about running with me here on this channel.
Now, I know you won’t hit that button, because you probably wouldn’t be asking me that question. If you had been here on the channel before, because I’m generally not going to recommend that you try to run a marathon on two months of training. The reason I’m not going to recommend it is because the chance for injury is so, so high.
Now, it depends on you, obviously. It depends on your genetic gifts. There are a number of genetic gifts and predispositions that are great for taking on this kind of challenge. And there are those of us that would probably be injured if we tried to take on this kind of challenge. So, I can’t say definitively that you can or cannot. But I can say, I’m pretty sure it can be done. And people actually have taken on bigger challenges than that.
On the other show I do on this channel, the Smart Athlete Podcast, I’ve actually interviewed a guy, Will McGough, who wrote the book, Swim, Bike, Bonk, and he took on an Ironman, full Ironman with three months of training. Now, whether he finished or did not finish, you’ve got to read the book to find that out, and about his whole adventure and kind of how he fell into this.
He didn’t intend to do three months training to take on that challenge. But a publishing schedule basically dictated that he had to. So, what I want to say is that it is possible, it definitely is possible. But there are a number of factors that you have to take into account on whether it’s a good idea for you.
The first and probably what should be most obvious is, have you been running at all? If you’re talking about going from couch to marathon in two months, I pretty much under no circumstances, I’m going to recommend that. I’m sure there are young fit people that have not been running that can get away with it.
But again, just the percentage of people that are going to get injured trying such a stunt is going to be pretty high. So, if you’ve already been running for a while, then it can be much, much more feasible if you’re going to try this time-crunched marathon training. Now, you’re going to have to ramp up mileage pretty quick. But you’re also going to have to be really poignant and cautious about how fast you ramp up that mileage and where you do it.
One of the other things to take into consideration if you haven’t taken on a longer distance race, if you’ve not done anything longer than a half marathon -- which I’m assuming you haven’t because you’re here on this video trying to figure out, can I even do this marathon -- is that nutrition becomes a much, much bigger component in longer distance races. Now, your body basically has all the fat it needs to burn for this entire distance.
But you can only store so much glycogen. And that’s what all those goos and gels and chomps and drinks and all those things are about is trying to replenish the sugar stores basically, that your body uses, your muscles used to move. And the faster you move, the harder you move, especially outside of your fitness level, the more of that you’re going to use.
So, it is crucial that you take and start practicing some kind of eating, drinking routine on your longer runs leading up to the race. If you don’t, then it makes it much, much more difficult to finish. There’s numerous studies that show people who actually are replenishing electrolytes, and those calories that you’re burning during a longer distance event, like a marathon are much more likely to actually finish than those who don’t. And it makes sense, right? If you run out of fuel, you bonk, and so Swim, Bike, Bonk, Will’s book, you bonk, you hit the wall, you just can’t go any farther because you have physically run out of fuel and you can’t push it anymore.
So, that is a huge consideration. Do your own research. Know that a good general rule of thumb is you can only take in two to 300 calories an hour while you’re working out. That’s all that can be digested because blood flow is needed elsewhere in your body. It can’t be diverted to digestion, you can end up with issues. But you have to practice that food because you have to know what is going to work well with you. Does this particular type of gel work? Would you prefer something solid? Do you want to eat actual food, supplements, what drink? All those things need to be taken into consideration before race day, and again, practiced on those long runs leading up to your race.
Altogether, I would say it is a possible challenge to be taking on, it is possible to do. Though again, I’m personally not going to recommend it if you’ve not done a half marathon yet. Just the incidence of injury is too high. And if you spent any time with me here on the channel, again, hit that subscribe button, I’m always going to prescribe a long-term view.
If you want to be in the running community, if you want to be a runner long term, that is something you want to do as a lifestyle, then don’t be in a hurry. Long-distance running, endurance running, training your body to be the best you can be without getting hurt takes time. And you cannot get over that time component. It simply can’t be pushed faster. Your body can only adapt so quickly. And that’s why I’m always talking about consistency over time produces results. We don’t want to push it if we don’t have to.
Now, again, you’re going to do what you’re going to do. If you’re going to do it, I’ll try to support you the best I can, again, with this video. But if there’s another target date a little farther out to give you more time to do training, then please take that because I hate seeing people get injured. I’ve been through so many injuries myself, and they are absolutely devastating.
Because you have to deal with them, you can’t run, you’re stuck, it hurts, all of the things involved in that. So, let me know, are you going to take on this challenge? Are you going to listen to my advice, please, and try to postpone it a little bit? Whatever way share your thoughts in the comments below so we all help each other, give each other advice on our own particular scenarios. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.