Home > Making Progress > Marathon Training

Marathon Training

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 18 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Distance Stamina Strength Speed Activity

Such is the level of organisation attached to marathons, that once you have signed up to the run, it is likely that there will be a support network in place to offer both advice on training and nutrition, whether you are a newcomer to running or a regular on the road.

Any programme should be tailored to individual needs, not least in terms of how it dovetails with daily commitments in terms of family and work, with the average schedule spanning between four to five months.

There should be three basic categories built into the schedule; short, medium and long distance runs which will build speed, stamina and strength, along with designated rest days. The latter are as important as the activity days because pushing yourself too hard is not only putting yourself at risk of injury but also draining psychological reserves that sometimes are the difference between battling through a motivational blackspot and losing the will to carry on training.

Forthcoming Challenge

The first few weeks of training should contain more rest days than activity days because your body will only respond positively if it is allowed to take things at its own pace. So from running perhaps twice a week, graduate to three times and so on, but only up to a maximum of five. Even when you are deep into your training, always build in two rest days, particularly towards the end when you may be running several distances of around 20 miles, to prepare your body physically and mentally for the forthcoming challenge.

In terms of the short runs, these should be of around 20 to 30 minutes' duration with the accent on upping the pace, not only introducing speed development into the equation but ensuring that despite the relatively short amount of time of activity, the body is still receiving a thorough work out.

Medium distances should be of around the 10-kilometre mark, again at a faster pace than the longer runs but with the focus on performing at a brisk but steady rate. As mentioned previously the longer runs will be developed up to around the 20-mile mark, the focus in this case being on building both stamina and the ability to deal with longer and longer distances.

Mental Fatigue

Mixing up these distances over the training week will also make for variety, an essential component in combating mental fatigue, retaining a fun element to training so that it doesn't develop into a chore.

Just as you have been building up both body and mind in terms of strength and stamina over the weeks, be sure in the final week to wind down so that you have plenty in the tank come race day.

Finally, don't forget that nutrition is a vital part of preparation, so ensure that you eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates and protein, and that you are replacing both lost sugar and salt. Always eat both before and after exercise, and never think that skipping meals will result in weight loss and better performance. Without the right amount and quality of fuel, your body is not going to perform.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Jackie
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    I would really like to get fit and am interested in joining the running club. I live in Swansea area and am a beginner . Please…
    18 November 2017
  • Kitkat
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi I'm looking to join a club in the bassaleg or newport or cardiff east side area...ive previously (make that 3 years ago!!) Done…
    1 November 2017
  • Scooby
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Looking for a beginner running club for adults in jarrow
    15 October 2017
  • Karen
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi I'm looking for meet up with anyone in the Alfreton area of Derbyshire. I want to be able to run with other women in the…
    8 September 2017
  • EmmsB
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi, I'm looking for a ladies only running club for fun with the possibility of working towards a race or 2 in the Daventry,…
    20 August 2017
  • Tracey
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Looking for beginner running club in exeter
    30 July 2017
  • Bev
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi . Looking for a beginners group in Swansea on a Wednesday. This is for two ..
    5 July 2017
  • Sandra
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    I live in Thornhill in Cardiff and wonder if any of your groups meet in Cardiff or Caerphilly which is next town to me. Thankyou
    5 July 2017
  • I don't have one
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    I would like to find out more about joining a women's running clun/net9work for company and to motivate me to run more.
    11 June 2017
  • tina arthur
    Re: Joining a Running Club
    Hi Sue, I live in neath and I know it is a way from Swansea but I have set up my own running groups, one is couch to 5k which I undertake…
    17 April 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the RunningForFun website. Please read our Disclaimer.