Marathon training doesn’t need to take over your life if you have the right plan. A good marathon plan will be made up of a variety of sessions specifically designed to optimise every training session so you will perform your best on race day.
Here are our top tips on how best to approach your marathon training:
> Do ‘short’ long runs
In training many runners feel the need to hit the 22 mile stone before race day. But depending on your speed it’s not always a good idea to be racking up the miles - here’s why:
The majority of the physiological stimuli of a long run occurs between 1 hour 30 minutes and 2 hours 30 mins - this is when you get the key fitness benefits. Running for 3+ hours starts to have a negative affect as your muscles will start to break down and fatigue will set in, which in turn leads to a significant delay in recovery time. This delay in recovery will affect your ability to complete other important workouts in your plan, and the quality of your training will start to diminish.
Also running long distance is tiring, and puts a significant amount of repetitive stress on the body. So it’s not surprising that the chances of injury also increase as the mileage ramps up.
To get the most training benefits, the key is to focus on the time you’re running per session not the mileage. You’re better off doing 4-5 shorter quality sessions per week rather than 2-3 long sessions that will take you longer to recover from.
> Vary your sessions and intensities
Improving your running fitness comes from a combination of training volume, intensity and how hard you challenge yourself on your hardest run. If you’re chasing after a best time, it can be tempting to run every session at a relatively fast pace, but this tactic can overload the body, increase fatigue and cause overtraining.
So take it steady on the long runs and really push yourself on the short high intensity sessions such as hill, speed and tempo workouts to make fitness gains throughout your plan.
Incorporating high intensity sessions into your training also provides more benefits than just running long slow miles. They will help to improve your stride power, running economy, leg strength and aerobic endurance.
> Invest in strength & conditioning sessions
Doing a couple of short 20-30 minute S&C sessions per week will pay dividends on race day. Strength training plays an important role in improving all of the vital contributors to running at a faster speed: anaerobic fitness, neuromuscular efficiency, running economy, and power. Plus doing the right type of training will minimise your injury risk by improving mobility and activating the specific muscle groups you need for efficient running.
Mbition strength and conditioning sessions will give you loads of great bodyweight exercises you can do at home, and you can use them as a warm up for your shorter sessions to maximise your time.
To view our S&C videos CLICK HERE >
Good luck with your marathon training - and don’t forget you can talk to our expert coaching team at any time via our in-app chat.