Whether attempting to run a marathon for personal reasons, or for charity, correct preparation is essential.
Know Your Pace
An important part of preparing for a marathon involves getting to know at what pace you can comfortably run at. More experienced runners can utilize the Fartlek training method in making sessions both more interesting and in testing one’s speed and endurance. The method involves selecting distant landmarks to run to several times, but by trying to reach them quicker each time. This article details how to prepare for a marathon 6 months before race day.
First Week of Training
The early part of training for a marathon novice should involve up to 15 minutes jogging, and this should be done for the first two days of training. For an experienced runner, but one who hasn’t run a marathon recently, then the training should begin with a jog and run of 10 minutes each on the first day. There should be a gradual build up to an hour’s run on the final day of the week, and a couple of days should be reserved for Fartlek sessions. For a marathon beginner, the third day of training should be broken up into two jogging sections adding up to 15 minutes, with a 10 minute walking session in between. There should be a 20 minute jog on the final day of the week.
The Second Week
For the beginner, the second week involves increasing the amount of jogging time, but this should still be done very gradually, with a 15 minute jog on the first day, and a 20 minute jog the next. The next day should involve a jog-walk-jog session, which consists of 15 minutes jogging, 10 minutes walking, and 10 minutes jogging. Continue to mix training up, and end the second week with your first 30 minute jog. For experienced runners this week should involve similar sessions to the first week, but with slight variations.
Week Three and Four
This should be the first week that a beginner starts running in training, and the previous jog-walk-jog training should now be replaced by a jog-run-jog session, with a 5 minute run. At the end of the third and fourth week increase the final day jogging time to 40 minutes and 50 minutes respectively. Week three should include more sprint work for the experienced runner and more running work in week four.
The Second Month
A marathon novice should be looking to increase the length of their runs and jogs each week by up to 10 minutes each time. There should be several half hour runs or jog sessions a week throughout the second month for experienced runners, including a long distance run, and several half hour jog sessions a week for inexperienced runners.
The Third – Sixth Months
Whereas the inexperienced runner will need to train hard right up to the week of the race, this period should be more about fine tuning for the experienced runner, with a two-hour run at the end of each week, and a 75 minute run a week before the race. There should be two rest days before race day. The inexperienced runner will need to mix up jogging, running and walking, and should become increasingly capable of jogging half an hour to 90 minutes, and halfway through training should attempt to run a half marathon. The marathon novice should remember to make room for a rest day each week (except during less intense training weeks) – and especially a day before the race. Gradually wind down training in the days before the marathon.
Adrian writes as a guest blogger on behalf of Sealskinz – the UK’s leading stockists of running socks and gloves.