Thinking about running a Marathon in early June. I am in 17.15 5km shape right now. I would like to run 2.40 in June have run one before in 2.49. Can you advise on the best way to go about this starting training for it straight away?
I recommend you shoot for an April half-marathon race.
Here's an example week:
Mon - 1 hour Fartlek - 30-45 second pickups at 5k to 3k pace, every 2 minutes (do about 15-20 of those, based on your current ability).
Tue - 1 hour EZ
Wed - 1 Hour, including half marathon paced (HMP) reps. Example, 15 minutes of warm up running, 5-6 x 1 mile at HMP, jog 400 between, then 15 minutes of cool down running, including some short but quick striders.
Thu - 1 hour Slow
Fri - 1 hour EZ
Sat - 1.5, building to 2 hours, inlcuding about 30-40 minutes of Tempo running at approximately 2-mile race-pace plus a minute per mile.
Sun - off or 1 hour Slow (Off only if you are very tired. Otherwise, unless you have religous conflicts, you should run!).
Once you have run the half-marathon, Start doing two Big Workouts per week - those are the only fast days you should do! ONe of the days run half-marathon paced pickups or reps (about 30-35 minutes worth is good for you!) and the other day (on the weekend) do a long run with marathon pace or Tempo paced pickups or steady states included. I recommend about 45-60 minutes of MP or Tempo running during the longer Big Workout (you should do it the morning, first thing, just like you'd do a marathon race). The other days run about and hour, nice and Slow.
During both Big Workouts, do 3-4 minutes of short but quick striders. If you have a grass hill nearby, run those faster stretches uphill at about 5k-3k race effort.
Given full control of scheduling, training and racing, I would include a race every 3 weeks during the 12 weeks leading to a marathon race. Ideally, a 10k, a 15k, a half-marathon, and then a 10k (2 weeks before the big race).
So, it would look like this:
week # Event
1 ) 10k (an 8k is fine)
4 ) 15k or 10-mile race
7 ) half-marathon (15k-10-mile race is fine)
10 10k (an 8k is fine)
Twice per week do Big Workouts. Start with about 80 minutes for the mid-week workout and 100 minutes for the weekend Big Workout. Add 6-8 minutes every other week to the total of each. The last two weeks don't do anything over 2 hours, though, for the Weekend Big Workout and not over 90 minutes for the mid-week Big Workout. Reduce daily volume by 20-30% over the last 9 days, but don't reduce frequency of training.
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