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You’ve run your first 10k and you’re setting yourself up for a marathon. But can you run a marathon if you can run 10k? I asked a bunch of friends who went from 10k to marathon distance about what their experience was like.
In general, running a marathon is an achievable target if you can already run 10k comfortably. However, running a marathon is far from running a 10k. Therefore, It is recommended that you undergo 4-6 months of a marathon training program before you attempt to run a marathon.
How much harder is a marathon than a 10k? Are you fit enough for a marathon if you can run a 10k? Should you run a half marathon first? Ahead, we will answer those questions and then some.
From 10k To Marathon: Is It Possible?
Yes, it’s very possible to run a marathon if you are comfortable enough to run 10k without having any issues.
In fact, some people even made it without ever joining 10k or training for a marathon.
However, I would heavily advise against it.
Why? Because the first marathon is a special event for any runner.
It’s a common goal that most runners eye on. A finisher’s medal is a sign of your dedication, perseverance, and discipline.
You want to enjoy your first marathon and cherish it.
By going straight to a marathon, you’re probably going to suffer physically and mentally through the experience and hate it afterward.
In order to love a sport, you have to face a challenge that is right for your level and enjoy it.
And every challenge you overcome will lead to wanting more. That’s how you train for the long run.
As Peter Lewis puts it, “Your first marathon is special, make sure it’s not your last”.
How Much Harder Is A Marathon Than a 10k?
A marathon is 42km (26.2 miles) long, which is more than four times the distance of a 10k (6.2 miles).
The training for a marathon is also much more intense than that of a 10k. For example, most 10k training plans last for 8-12 weeks, whereas marathon training plans can last for 16-20 weeks.
Most people on a decent fitness level can even run a 10k without ever training for it while it’s almost impossible to run a marathon with zero training without serious consequences.
The volume of marathon training is also much higher than that of 10k training. This is because you need to be able to run for a prolonged period of time (at least 3 hours or 20 miles) without stopping.
As a result, your long runs will be significantly longer during marathon training than they were during 10k training.
“The biggest difference between running a 10k and a marathon is the mental game. A 10k is over relatively quickly, so you can just go for it from the start line and see what happens,” says Emma-Kate Lidbury, professional triathlete, and coach.
“A marathon is a real test of patience and perseverance. You have to be able to run steadily for several hours, which requires a completely different mindset,” she added.
Am I Fit Enough For A Marathon If I Can Run 10k?
The answer to this question is a bit more complicated than yes or no.
There are a few factors that you need to take into consideration, such as your:
- running experience
- and current 10k time
Generally speaking, if you can run a 10k in under 60 minutes, you have the required level of aerobic fitness to start training for a marathon.
However, if you’re new to running, it’s best to start with a half marathon before working your way up to the full distance.
This is because your body needs time to adapt to the mileage and there’s a higher risk of injury when you’re just starting out.
Additionally, if you’re carrying extra weight, running a marathon will be more difficult than if you’re at a healthy weight.
This is because carrying extra weight puts additional strain on your body, which can lead to injuries down the line.
“At first, I thought I can hold a slower-than-10k-pace and finish a marathon. Luckily, I wasn’t brave enough to do that so I decided to follow a training program from a book I picked up,” says Bri, a runner who went from running 10k races to a marathon.
“Turns out, I’m not even fit enough to finish a half marathon without taking several walk breaks 6 weeks into the program,” she added.
Should You Run A Half Marathon First?
As I mentioned above, most people should start with a half marathon before running a full marathon.
This is because a half marathon is much easier to train for and recover from than a full marathon.
Additionally, running a half marathon first will give you a good idea of what to expect on race day and it will help you fine-tune your nutrition and hydration plans.
What Should I Do If I Can Run 10k But Want To Run A Marathon?
The best thing to do is to find a marathon training plan and follow it religiously.
Marathon training is no joke and it’s not something that you should take lightly. There are a lot of variables that go into running a successful marathon, such as nutrition, hydration, pacing, and mental fortitude.
If you can commit to following a training plan and making the necessary lifestyle changes (such as eating healthy and getting enough sleep), then you’ll be well on your way to crossing the finish line of your first marathon.
Related post: 10 Tips For Running A Marathon For The First Time
In short, yes – you can run a marathon if you can run 10k. However, there’s a lot more to it than just being able to run the distance.
You need to make sure that you’re mentally and physically prepared for the challenge ahead. This means following a training plan, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep.
If you can do all of that, then you’ll be well on your way to running a successful marathon. Good luck!
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