So you wana run a marathon..
Really, the whole 26.2?
Let me guess, you’ve already gone half-crazy and conquered the overwhelming 13.1 so why not go full HAM and double it up, right?
KUDOS! That’s some pretty awe-inspiring stuff.
So you’ve done the dirty and signed up for your first full, now what..
First off.. DON’T PANIC
Life is mind over matter. The body will truly achieve what the mind believes.
You can do it, you can do it, you can do it.
Now believe it.
Find a plan that works for you.
Most training plans call for 16 to 20 weeks of training. You’ll run 3-5(+) times per week, and your weekly mileage total will gradually increase as you get closer to the big race day.
Take note of that, understand that, commit to that.
So now that you’ve found a plan that you are comfortable with learn how to follow it.
It’s important to note that halves and fulls are two completely different animals. 26.2 is no freakin joke. SMART training is essential to racing.
Successful training is consistently putting in enough weekly mileage to get your body accustomed to the wear and tear of running for miles and miles at a time. Newer racers may start with 15-20 miles per week total and gradually build to a peak week of 35-40 miles. More experienced runners may start at 35+ miles per week and peak at 50+.
The most important part of your training is your weekly long run (you know that one that makes your eyes widen when you see it). This endurance run should be performed at an easy “conversational” pace that gradually increases in distance weekly. Long runs train your mind and body for what’s to come during that 26.2. According to Runner’s World Mag, most training plans build to at least one 18- to 20-mile long run. Most coaches do not recommend completing the full marathon distance in training because they believe the risk of injury outweighs any potential benefits.
And you don't want this..
Now depending on what your specific marathon goals are speed work is the next important part of a training program so let’s get into all that mumbo jumbo speed work language and what it actually means.
I like to think of my speeds in 6 different levels:
Marathon pace: pace I can sustain for what seems like forever
Half marathon pace: pace I can sustain at a comfortably conversational speed
10K pace: pace I can sustain at a faster speed for 6-8 miles
5K pace: pace I can sustain at a fast run for a continuous 3-4 miles
Mile pace: push pace I can maintain for 1 mile
Sprint: everything I’ve got
Now let’s define the mumbo jumbo you’d most likely find on your training plan:
Long Run: we already defined that above, long, easy conversational marathon pace – meant to build strength, endurance and most importantly confidence.
Easy Run: the easy stuff, think of this as a shorter run as you feel day. You could also incorporate some cross training or yoga into this day – meant to be a recovery day.
Tempo Run: most often refers to a sustained effort at comfortably hard (half marathon pace) – meant to build speed and endurance.
Fartlek Run: periods of fast running intermixed with periods of slower running (think jog to sprint) – good preparation for “shifting gears” in a race.
Mile Repeats/Hill Sprints/Yasso 800s: this is interval repeats somewhere between sprints and 5k pace, think “on” for a certain time or distance, “off” for double the time or distance, sprint to recovery – meant for speed and strength
Cross-training: any kind of cardio that is not running, think spinning, rowing, swimming, yoga – meant to train your heart and stamina without exertion of running.
Off: quite possibly more important then the long run, this means DO NOTHING! – meant for proper rest and recovery.
For all the newbees running the TCS NYC Marathon in less then 20 weeks, this message is for you, the hard part is done, you’ve signed up. Now it’s time to get to work. Find your plan, understand your plan, and go for it. The best is yet to come..
Happy Running :)