Training doesn't always go to plan so here's our 3 top tips to get back on track:
1) Don’t be tempted to play ‘catch up’
If you have missed some training sessions, the temptation to squeeze those into the following week is strong. Unfortunately this tactic can often make you run slower because your body won’t get the recovery it needs between runs.
All good training programs are periodized, which means are they are made up of progressive cycles and phases of training. The sessions in each week are designed to complement each other so you can reach the best possible performance, and ensure you recover sufficiently after each session. By adding in ‘unscheduled’ sessions you will unbalance your training program and give your body more work or stress than in can handle, increasing your risk of getting injured.
If you do need to miss a session, don’t worry about it and just move on to the next one in your plan. Mbiton’s Adaptive Coaching Engine is designed specifically to make the most out of the time you have left to train, giving you a sensible achievable plan till race day.
2) Don’t worry about being able to run the race distance before the big day
The long run is one of the most crucial parts of your training preparation for a marathon, as it will ensure you can run the distance on race day. But ultimately the most important focus is on the quality of your training not the quantity.
So how far should you run in training?
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.
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.
3) Conditioning your body - when walking is better than running
Hippocrates was right when he said ‘walking is man’s best medicine’. If you’re struggling to run continuously in your longer runs or have a niggle or two, don’t worry, walking can be an excellent addition to your training schedule.
Here’s 2 reasons why:
> The challenge when you get injured is maintaining and improving fitness. We can still make fitness gains however - and the good news is that walking quickly does just that. It elevates your heart rate and also works all the major muscles groups you use when running.
Top tip: Find a hill or two to walk up as this will work your body harder - you will be amazed at the fitness you will have retained when you’re back running.
> Walking activates our posterior kinetic chain, the muscles behind us - the back of our legs, bottom (glutes), back etc. However to run efficiently we want to use our front muscles in tandem with our back muscles. But because we spend a lot of the day sitting down, are posterior muscles become lazy. So when we go out for a run we tend to overuse the front muscles like our quads and hip flexors and underuse our glutes and hamstrings.
Top tip: You can increase the use of your rear muscles by walking with a long stride. When you’re back running you may find you have more power because you are able to utilise your posterior chain better!
There are still many training gains you can make in 8 weeks, and the great news is it’s not too late to continue with your Mbition plan or set up a new one. If you need any help with your training, please sign-in and talk to one of our coaches via the in-app chat.