RUN YOUR FIRST MARATHON

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All You Need to Know

In a world where people are always trying to push the limits, ultra-endurance events have become a real craze; Iron Man’s, ultra-marathons, cycling across continents, climbing into the stratosphere and even swimming across vast expanses of water.  However, for many the apex of endurance events remains the marathon.  Inspired by the exploits of Pheidippides, the ancient Greek herald at the Battle of Marathon, the event was included in the modern Olympics in 1896.  Year on year, thousands of amateur runners toe the line in some of the world’s greatest cities, to test themselves over the 26.2mile distance.

Many people consider the challenge, but for people who decide decide to take it on, what exactly do they need to do?

First of all it is a good idea to be a regular runner with a sound level of cardio-vascular fitness.  If you are not then a shorter distance may be a better starting point.  For those brave enough to commit to the challenge there are a few key ingredients to successful training and then the race itself:

  1. Commit to the training – you must simply pound out the miles 5 to 7 days a week. This will help you develop the strength and endurance for long distances.  Elite marathon runners will run distances of up to 135 miles a week, often running twice in the same day.
  2. Variety – avoid boredom and maintain motivation by doing different types of running sessions.  Use tempo, hill and interval sessions as well as long slow distance runs.  Cross training to give the joints a rest by doing a spin class or two might be a good idea.
  3. Lift weights – there are a lot of theories about lifting weights for distance runners. High rep low weight exercises are suggested by some, where others suggest heavy weight and low reps to build strength.  You must find a method that works for you!  It is however generally accepted that resistance training will play a key part in injury prevention.
  4. See food as fuel – believe it or not people do sometimes put weight on when they begin marathon training. An attitude of “I can eat what I like” is not strictly true.  Plan what you are eating, count calories, eat plenty of none processed carbs to give you energy, and ensure a decent whack of protein to promote repair.  You also need to think about pre run food and timings, as well as practice eating while running to maintain some muscle glycogen and AVOID THE WALL!
  5. Rest properly – ensure that a rest day means no exercise. When training for a marathon your body will be glad of the odd break. Also try to get 7-8 hours sleep a night.  Only by resting properly will you see the maximum physical adaptations to training.
  6. TAPER – Cut back on volume 2 to 3 weeks before the race. The miles are done.  Now it is time to let your muscles recover to make sure you are fresh come race day.

HERE IS A 16 WEEK TRAINING PROGRAMME DESIGNED TO GET YOU TO THE FINISH LINE!!!

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 5 miles LSD REST 30 mins Tempo 3 miles easy REST 40 mins Intervals 5 miles LSD
2 REST 40 mins Hills Weights and 3 miles easy 30 min Tempo REST 5 miles LSD 7 miles LSD
3 Weights and Spin Class REST 6 miles

LSD

40 mins Intervals 3 miles easy REST 9 miles LSD
4 3 miles easy REST Weights and Spin Class 6 miles LSD REST 40 min Tempo 9 miles LSD
5 REST 45 mins Intervals 3 miles easy 40 mins Hills Weights or REST 3 miles easy 11 miles LSD
6 3 miles easy REST Weights and Spin Class 6 miles LSD 45 mins Intervals REST 11 miles LSD
7 3 miles easy Weights 45 mins Hills REST 6 miles Race Pace REST 13 miles LSD
8 3 miles easy Weights and Spin Class 45 mins Intervals REST 45 mins Hills REST 10k Race or Half Marathon
9 REST 6 miles LSD 6 miles Tempo 3 miles easy Weight and 40 mins Hills 3 miles easy 13 miles LSD
10 3 miles easy REST Weights and Spin Class 45 mins Intervals 8 miles LSD 3 miles easy 14 miles LSD
11 Weights or REST 6 miles LSD 45 mins Hills 3 miles easy 8 miles Race Pace 3 miles easy 16 miles LSD
12 3 miles easy REST 10 miles LSD 5 miles LSD 60 mins Intervals REST 18 miles LSD
13 3 miles easy Weights and Spin Class 10 miles LSD REST or 3 miles easy 60 mins Intervals REST 20 miles LSD
14 30 mins Swim or 3 miles easy Weights

and 6 miles LSD

10 miles LSD 30 min Intervals 8 miles LSD REST 22 miles LSD
15 REST 3 miles easy 8 miles

LSD

REST 20 mins Intervals REST 8 miles LSD
16 3 miles easy REST 4 miles – middle 1 mile Race Pace 3 miles easy with strides REST 10 – 20 min light jog early RACE DAY

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