Running at around 60% working heart rate (WHR). This is warm up and recovery running, and long Sunday runs with the object of feeling fresh and being able to chat easily the whole time.
Running at around 70% WHR. Run a little harder than warm up and recovery, but you should be able to maintain a conversation. This should be the average pace of your long endurance runs.
Running at around 75% WHR. Run at a pace where you can talk, but only a short sentence at a time. Maintain control and stay focused to ensure you don’t drift into a slower run. Practise this on your weekly long runs by inserting segments of this faster running that increases in frequency and time as we build up to the big day.
Running at around 80% WHR. This is what we call threshold running and is the key to better running economy and building an aerobic base. You should only be able to speak a couple of words at a time. Remain focused and you’ll be able to stay in control – but, don’t push too hard.
Running up to 95% WHR. This is interval training. Your body will start to work anaerobically (without oxygen). This running will help build your lactate threshold levels – that is, the speed at which our bodies struggle to cope with lactic acid created by burning energy without oxygen.
So, here we go, this is it …..
MARATHON SCHEDULE – MONTH 1
Sixteen weeks will give us plenty of time to prepare us for the big day. By now, our feet, legs and bodies should be used to running for 45 to 60 minutes, three or four times a week, with a longer Sunday run, so between 18 to 25 miles per week. The most important thing to remember is not to run too fast, speed will come later, but only in small doses. So, keep a log of what you do, the time it takes, the distances you have run and how you feel – this is all most important, for it will give us a good idea of how we are progressing and will provide us with a time goal for the big day, whether it be 3, 4 or 5 hours – it does not matter. It means that we can plan our running accordingly, which means we don’t get injured. So many runners preparing for a marathon feel that because they are now runners they have to go as fast as they can for as long as they can. Boom, boom – hamstrings, achilles tendons, shin splints, illiotbial syndrome – all because they have done too much, too soon. Listen to your body and stick to the schedules as best you can. As the weeks go by you really will be surprised how easy and how rewarding it is – and the elation we will feel when we cross that line is something that 99% of the population will never experience.
Over the 16 week schedule, we will be running at four paces – easy, steady, brisk and fast. Easy and steady will represent about 80% of our running. The marathon is all about endurance and stamina – the easy and steady runs will build our endurance and increase our glycogen levels – glycogen is what helps our muscles to go on for longer. The brisk and fast parts will develop our stamina and raise our lactate threshold levels – these levels are when our muscles can no longer absorb oxygen sufficiently and we slow right down. It may sound technical, and to a certain extent it is but so are our bodies. We have to listen to them and remain injury free – we’ll probably have a few niggles over the weeks, but this is only to be expected.
So, let’s get on with it – it will be one less thing to do in life !!
…. Unless of course you become addicted. When you cross the line you will probably say “ never again ………………until the next time !! “
So here we go – and remember – the difference between the impossible and the possible is called determination !
THE MONTH AHEAD - 16 weeks to go
11th to 17th May - 16 weeks to go
Day 1 – 1 mile easy, 3 miles fartlek, then 1 mile easy
Day 2 – 5 miles easy
Day 3 – 1 mile easy, 2 mile brisk, then 1 mile easy
Day 4 – 2 hours easy
18th to 24th May - 15 weeks to go
Day 1 – 5 miles steady
Day 2 – 1 mile easy, 4 miles steady, then 1 mile easy
Day 3 – 1 mile easy, 3 miles brisk, then 1 mile easy
Day 4 – 11 miles easy
Total – 27 miles
25th to 31st May - 14 weeks to go
Day 1 – Recovery – 5 miles easy
Day 2 – Track – 1 mile easy, 8 x 200m fast with 200m jog recovery, then 1 mile easy
Day 3 – Tempo - 1 mile easy, 4 miles brisk, then 1 mile easy
Day 4 – Long run - 10 to 12 miles easy
Total – 25 to 27 miles
1st to 7th June - 13 weeks to go
Day 1 – Recovery - 1 mile easy, 2 miles fartlek, then 1 mile easy
Day 2 – Hills – 1 mile easy, 8 x 2 minutes climb, 1 mile easy
Day 3 – Tempo – 1 mile easy, 4 miles brisk, 1 mile easy
Day 4 – Long run - 13 miles easy
Total – 23 to 25 miles
There you are then, the first four weeks – a gradual build up in mileage and with a short introduction to some faster running. There will be more of that next month
Chances of not finishing – 100 %
Chance of not trying – 0 %
IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING