There are many marathon training plans available, it is important to remember that not all runners are the same so a pre-set plan may not work for you. One of our Sports Therapists is an experienced runner and regularly completes his own training plans, here he shares some of the things he includes on his training plans so that you too can develop your own personalised plans…
Below are the weekly marathon training plans I used for my first ever marathon. I am a very experienced runner but had yet ran a marathon. I looked at a few plans online and chose one suited to myself and mixed it with my own plan. I prefer training in miles and not minutes, but everyone is different.
LSD– Long Slow distance (usually 1 mile per hour slower than race pace), IR– Interval training, HR– Hills, TR– Tempo run (faster than race pace), RPR– race pace run, RR– recovery run.
The initial training weeks are where you start building up to an appropriate level of endurance. You should aim to run approx. 20 miles per week made up of a few short runs leading up to a LSD of about 8 miles on a Sunday as this is normally race day but don’t worry if you must schedule it another day.
The day before LSD do a PPR of about 5 miles, this gets your legs used to running when they are fatigued. Include 1 run of between 4/5 mile either TR or IR of 5x 1miles and 60 seconds rest in between. The intervals should be faster than the TR. Also include a 3-mile RR at an easy pace. As you move from week 1 to week 4 gradually increase your LSD runs up to about 12/14 mile and either your TR or IR by 1 mile per week. Remember not to go over a total increase in mileage of 10% per week. Alternate IR/ HR and TR each week. Its also an appropriate time to work on your core with exercises such as planks and resistance work to strengthen arms and shoulders. At least 2 rest days a week from running in this phase.
This phase is used to really build on distance and endurance. Include all the stuff in weeks 1 to 4 and include a half marathon race at week 8. For example, my LSD miles would be:
Week 4=12 (you need a reduced week every few weeks)
Week 8=13 (half marathon race at race pace).
Also build up speed work so by the end of this week you should be doing about 10 x 1mile IR or10 mile TR/ HR. Plus two smaller runs at race pace and a recovery run of between 3 and 5 miles.
WEEK 9- 12
Week 9 should be aiming for a 20 mile run, week 10, 22 miles both LSD. Week 11 reduce to around 12 miles as we are tapering from the end of week 10. And week 12 is marathon week, this week should consist of a couple of 4 mile runs, nice an easy, before the big one. Week 9, 10, and 11 should focus on speed work. Again, increase the IR, HR, TR to about 12 to 13 miles in total.
Remember rest days are just as important. Don’t fret if you must miss a run. Day before race day make sure you have everything prepared, clothing, nutrition for the run, number etc.
Good preparation is key.
As a runner if you do get a niggling pain, seek advice as soon as you can. I’m really lucky that I work in a sports injury clinic and my colleagues can diagnose any problems and get me back on track in no time. Fast diagnosis and treatment is the key to keeping you on your training schedule.