Generally shin splints are from running too much too soon. Could also be from old shoes, change to harder running surface, change to faster work, too much down hill, or other changes. For you I would guess too much too soon. If you were off for a couple months you would have to be considered a new runner. Only running a "couple miles a week" might not be the best prep to jump into a marathon training program.
Best advice: ice, ibuprophen and rest till the pain is gone. Then get good shoes (from a running store) and ramp up your mileage slower this time. When you are running at least 30 miles a week you might think about starting marathon training.
Advice if you think pain is something to be ignored: ice, ibuprophen, cross-train till the pain is gone then add miles in as much as you can stand and hope you can get your long run up to 20 miles without giving yourself a stress fracture. Good cross-training can be done on an elliptical trainer and with deep water jogging. But nothing replaces actually running.
I don't doubt that you could 'finish' a marathon (in pain). But why would you want to be in serious pain during the easy part of the training, like it's going to get less painful when it gets more difficult? If you go forward with this please let us know how it turns out. Sometimes these stories are an inspiration (sometimes they are just painful). good luck... -Rita
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