Don’t have the time to follow our detailed marathon training schedule? Your coach Bruce comes to the rescue!
If you are running the London or Brighton marathons, or maybe something overseas, this is the time for serious training.
If you’ve got the time, you will be following a plan based on a target time (you can find them on the www.TullohBooks.com website and ongoing extracts here), but the demands of work and family mean that it is not always possible to stick exactly to the plan on a day-to-day basis.
If this sounds like you then it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t matter as long as you keep the basic principles in mind. By the start of March you should have built up steadily to your target mileage – 30 miles per week for “Get-you-round”, 40-50 for sub-4 hours, 45-60 for sub- 3 hours 15 minutes. From this point on, for the next 6 weeks or so, the principles should be:
1. Get in a long run (18-24 miles) every 2 weeks.
2. Do at least one quality session a week. This means running fast – at least 90% of VO2 max. – so running at 5k or 10k tempo. You need to run fast to stimulate the body, in order to improve your speed endurance. The better your 10k, the better will be your times over the half or full marathon. The kind of sessions you should be doing are 6-8 x 1km, 6-8 x 800m, or 12-15 x 400m, with recovery times less than running times. This is hard training, but believe me it works.
3. Do one day a week at marathon tempo, wearing your racing shoes, so that you become comfortable and efficient at your marathon pace.
The other thing you should be doing, which first-timers often forget, is running races.
Until you run in races you don’t learn about pushing yourself; you don’t find out how much your body can take.
The adrenaline generated by running in races makes you capable of doing things you never dreamed of. The easiest and most obvious is a 5k park run (See www.parkrun.com for your nearest event) , which will give you a good idea of your basic running speed, but you should go on to run some 10ks and at least one half-marathon before you come to race the full marathon. Shorter races are good fun and good training.
Apart from that, my final principle is regularity. Even if you are away from your usual habitat, keep running and keep doing something four or five days a week. If you can’t get out on the roads, use a treadmill, a gym or a static bike, but do something for at least 30 minutes a day. The watchword of the marathon runner is INDOMITABLE.
Keep on running,