Marathon Training Plans
Marathon Training Plans
Pat Connelly (Running Coach for LA Roadrunners and Valencia High School) gives expert video advice on: Should my marathon training program begin with walking?; How long will it take to get in good running shape?; Where can I find a training group? and more...
Should my marathon training program begin with walking?
Here again, what condition are you getting started? If you have a little walking and running background, you need to walk less. If you're starting from scratch, I can't really measure it in miles, but I tell my athletes to take two weeks of walking before you start running. Then jog for a minute. Then wait a week and in between walking breaks jog for two minutes, then add another minute, then build up that way over the period of time. You're still working out every day for an hour, hour and a half, but as you get better shape you're adding a little more running each time.
How long will it take to get in good running shape?
It depends upon the individual and what their background is, and what their genetic inheritance might be. But for the general average runner, starting from scratch, you start to feel the effects of conditioning, really, right away. It usually takes anywhere from three to six weeks before you start feeling comfortable with running anywhere from one to three miles.
Where can I find a training group?
Training groups can be found in running magazines, and other running publications. Most running stores that sell running shoes and running apparel have a list of running groups within that community that a person can contact. A person can go on a website and look for a running group within their residential or work area and locate one.
What sort of time should be allotted for my marathon training?
Training time for marathons varies, but for beginners, they're going to probably invest at least 8-10 hours a week. I feel that beginning marathon runners should start at least five months prior to the race because they have to get in condition to build up to run a 20-mile distance. They need to do that several times, so that's going to take about four months. Then, you need about a month and a half of doing that 20-mile distance before you start your taper and get ready for race day.
Should I join a marathon 'training group'?
Whether to join a training group or not really depends on where you are and if there's one nearby. If there is, you should join a training group. It's a long tedious trip through four months of running, five months of running, and having partners and friends along in that quest makes it a lot easier.
Should I set a marathon 'finish time goal'?
First time marathoners, I don't think should set a finish time goal. I kiddingly say, "Yeah, maybe you'll want to finish on the same day," but really, I think for the first marathon, you want to run to finish. Time is not important. With your second marathon, you can make an assertive effort to run a particular time.
What is a basic beginner marathon 'training schedule'?
A basic beginner training schedule is obviously running very short distances, walking short distances, run/walk short distances, or run short distances. And so in a typical program, the first week might be thirty minutes four days a week. The second week forty minutes. The third week fifty minutes. The fourth week one hour. And you build up using time really more than mileage. And when you get up to about an hour and a half to two hours then you can pick a mileage, and that would probably be in the eight, nine mile area. And then of course you'd want to go up one mile a week as you progress up to mile twenty.
When should I take 'rest days'?
Taking rest days in your training is very, very important. You shall take a rest day at least one day a week. That usually comes the day before your long run for the week. So, an example would be: Saturday - a long run; Sunday - recovery; Monday - an alternative work out. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday could be one hour each. And then, Friday is off, which is a good off day. You would not want to sprain your legs on the long run which is usually on Saturdays.
What is a 'marathon training log'?
A training log is a diary of your running each day, and you write down in that log each day: the temperature of the day, what the weather was like, how far did you run, what was your pace, and how did you feel before and after. So, you can make an assessment of how you're training and develop your own curriculum of what to expect, and how you feel for workouts that are prescribed to your training.
What is 'speed work' in marathon training?
To run a marathon is really more slow twitch work, means slower running because you are training for a distance. However, if you want to learn to run your marathon at a faster pace, you must take a training day once a week. At least once a week that consists of speed training. And that would be like going to a track and running one lap faster than marathon pace, then jogging a lap. A second lap faster than marathon pace and then jogging a lap.
What is 'fartlek'?
Fartlek is a Swedish word for speed play, and it consists of free running. It is less structured, like you do on a tract, and means that you can go around the golf course, a three mile golf course, and as you jog and warm up you can pick out a tree and go 5K race pace to that tree. Then, you can jog to a fire hydrant, and when you get to it, go 5K race pace again to a bridge. You pick out an object ahead that you run to, with interval recoveries in between.
What is 'cross training'?
Well cross training is a method of reaching your goals through avenues other than running. That can be anything that might work the cardio system. It could be biking, it could be a stair-master, it could be walking up a steep hill, or it could be in a pool doing running with a water vest on. So anything you do outside instead of running that works on the cardio conditioning system would be an alternative training.
When should I run my last long run before a race?
That is a very important decision to make. Most runners think it's a week before a race. Understand that a 20 mile run requires about a 2 to 3 week recovery, so you're not going to be recovered by race day. You should run your last long run 3 weeks prior. That will give you plenty of recovery and have fresh legs for race day. For example, if you're going to race on a Sunday, the Saturday before that Sunday, you don't run. A week before, do about an 8 miler. Two weeks before you can do about a 12, but your last long run usually should be a 20 miler, which should be your last long run prior to race day.