How I Plan Marathon Training

A dream stays a dream if you don’t make it a goal.

A goal stays a goal if you don’t make a plan.

A plan stays as a plan if you don’t take action.

I’ve got the dream.

Goal Reminder

  1. Get to the start line in grate shape without neglecting important areas in my life.
  2. Run apersonal best for the marathon (sub 2:58:29)
  3. Run sub 2:50

I’ve got the goal.

Better set a plan…

How Much Time?

Race day is the 2nd Otober.

Training starts on the 4th April.

That gives 26 weeks.

Why So Long?

My last marathon was run in 3:38:16. Which is well of the sub 2:50 I’m aiming for. Taking 48 minutes off my time is a massive undertaking.

So I need those 26 weeks. All 182 days to make it count.

Stages of Training

I’m breaking this marathon training into 4 phases. The first 3 phases will be 8 weeks each. With the 4th and final phase as only 2 weeks. Each phases has a particular focus:

  1. Phase 1: Basic endurance / VO2max
  2. Phase 2: Marathon endurance / Anaerobic threshold
  3. Phase 3: Marathon specific training
  4. Phase 4: Taper / Peak

Why Is The Fast Stuff First?

Most training advice says to build up a base of lower intensity before adding the fast stuff closer to race day. That’s now what I’m doing.

My approach is based on 3 principles:

  1. You can’t run further distances faster than shorter distances
  2. It takes more work to build fitness than to maintain it
  3. Rule of Specificity

Number 1 is a simple concept. Your 5km race paces is faster than your 10km pace, which is faster than your half marathon pace. Which of course, is faster than marathon race pace.

Principle 2 means it takes more frequent sessions an a higher volume to build a fitness element. Less to maintain that fitness once built. For example: it might take 2 sessions per week of 5x3min intervals over 4-6 weeks to raise your speed at VO2max. To maintain this pace you might only require a session every 2 weeks of shorter intervals.

For number 3, we make say race specific pace/fitness is the most important. This is what we’ll work on close to race day. I’ll build the other fitness elements (speed, VO2max, base endurance) further out from the race. Once these are built I can maintain them with less work so I can put my energy into the marathon specific training as race day gets closer.

How Do I Plan This?

I start with paper.

Scribble out some ideas. Sketch what may be a typical schedule around my work roster. Then write out a possible 4 week schedule based on my real life. Through this I may re-write or alter my details to make it all fit better.

Then I go for a run.

Later I take another look at my notes and workings, and I ask…

Is This Likely To Work?

When the answer is yes I move onto the computer and load up FinalSurge.

Here I mark out the training phases in the calendar.

Then I mark in the first run.

And leave it there. At this point we have the basic structure. After a few days I’ll go back in and write out the details of the first 4 weeks. Which running friends will be covered in the video.

Keep on running

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