the Program is Aimed At
It is expected that you are able to currently run 21km at a comfortable
pace. It is expected that you have a solid base in which to build
your marathon preparation upon.
program is set out so that the maximum amount of time spent training
in any single week is 75 kilometres, and this will be your biggest
is important to remember that the marathon is a big commitment
and requires time, motivation and patience. However it is also
important to remember that a session missed here or there will
not effect your overall performance.
increased training volume will place demands on your body that
you are not used to coping with. It is therefore important to
monitor your body through resting heart rate, rapid body weight
changes, levels of fatigue, levels of motivation, as well as thirst
and sleeping patterns. If you feel as though you are overtraining,
ill or simply not coping with the training load, schedule in a
rest day or two.
runs Should Include Warm Up and Cool Down
Warm-up for at least 10-12 minutes and cool down for at least
10 minutes. This should be a jog at very low intensity. During
the latter part of the warm up you should complete some drills
as a form of dynamic stretching; these include high knees, butt
kicks, bounding and short stride outs.
session outlined includes time for the warm up and cooldown period
of the run. These periods are extremely important to allow maximum
benefit from your session, and to enable you to recovery more
quickly for your next session.
Recovery runs are just that, they are used as an active form of
recovery. They should be done at a low intensity over flat natural
terrain. Don't worry about the pace of these runs, they should
only ever be nice and easy, even when you are feeling fresh and
ready to go.
Medium long runs are what you are going to use as your longish
mid-week aerobic run. They are similar to long runs in terms of
desired running pace. They should also be done over hilly courses.
Long runs are the key to your marathon success. The marathon is
an event that is conducted over a long duration, at a low intensity.
Your long runs should be done over a hilly course and include
a combination of soft and hard surfaces. As the event comes closer
gradually start making your long runs less hilly and run a greater
portion of them on hard terrain, so that you get used to running
on the road.
should conduct your long run at a moderate intensity. The desired
pace for your long runs is about 30-40 seconds slower that marathon
runs are a great time to run with a training group.
Aerobic runs are similar to medium long runs in terms of intensity,
however the duration is shorter. These runs are never the primary
focus of the week and should be used to generate a smaller amount
of training load. They are not as easy as a recovery runs but
not as demanding as a medium long run.
Strides are used to enhance your neuromuscular running performance.
They should be done throughout the session at about 5km race pace
with several minutes of aerobic running between each. Be sure
to do them on flat terrain, such as an oval.
Downhill strides are very similar to strides except they are done
on a slight downhill. Be sure to do them on a smooth soft surface
for safety reasons. These strides should be done at near maximal
speed in order to enhance both running technique and stress your
muscles eccentrically. Eccentric muscle contractions are when
the muscle is lengthening as it contracts; this is the type of
contraction you experience when downhill running, over-speed training,
or at the end of a long event.
Anaerobic threshold runs are used to boost your anaerobic threshold,
allowing increased speed to be maintained, as well as reducing
muscular fatigue at your desired marathon pace. The intervals
in these sessions should be conducted on a flat course, such as
a track or oval, and should only be started after a thorough warm
up has been completed. The efforts should be done at about 10-15km
race pace and a steady pace should be maintained. The recovery
periods between intervals should be an easy jog.
Due to the length and nature of marathon running, one of the key
aspects on lasting the distance and remaining fatigue resistant
for as long as possible is strength. The best method of developing
strength endurance is through hill efforts- this is also a great
method of increasing running economy.
hill efforts should be done on a long hill of moderate grade and
the intensity should equate to firm/hard. Attempt to maintain
relatively long strides on the ascent as this will foster a greater
improvement in strength. Once you reach the completion of the
uphill effort, simply turn and jog back down before immediately
starting your next effort.
the days that require a tempo period prior to the hill efforts,
simply add in a flat tempo period at a firm intensity, which equates
to about 10km race pace. Attempt to get to the bottom of the hill
at the completion of your tempo period, so you are able to immediately
start your first hill effort.
should find strength training very beneficial to your marathon
Marathon pace runs are a dress rehearsal for the real thing. These
sessions should include a good warm up and cool down, with the
middle portion of the run being conducted at marathon pace. These
runs should be treated similar to the actual event, with a couple
of easy days leading into the session. The session should be completed
on a course similar to that of race day (eg. hills, hard surfaces
etc.) and the equipment you are going to wear on race day should
be used, including shoes, clothing, drinks, food and energy gels.
Focus on these sessions and ensure that everything is progressing
well, however never be disheartened if it doesn't come together
for you during these sessions as there is always plenty of time
to learn and adjust in order to improve for the real event.
Tempo runs are used to prepare your body to run at your desired
marathon speed. They are longish intervals conducted at marathon
pace, and generally done on a hard surface. Recovery between each
tempo period should be an easy jog.
Attempt to have about 10-15 minutes of stretching at the end of
each session. Also put 20-30 minutes aside a couple of times a
week to stretch. Stretching can help minimise the chance of injury
and fatigue by increasing the suppleness of your muscles.
In the program outlined here, we are using distance as the measure
for each run rather than time. The reason for this is that you
are training for an event of a specific distance and therefore
need to be capable of running the desired distances in training.
The other reason is that the program can then be used by runners
of all abilities, with all runners achieving the desired distance
in each training session. The important thing to remember is that
the distance specified is a guide and does not need to be followed
to the metre each day.
Training - weights
Strength training is a form of training that can be of great benefit
to any runner. It has been shown to improve technique, reduce
muscular fatigue while running, and it can even help in the prevention
you wish to add in some strength training to your program, start
by doing 2 sessions per week and with light weight only. Strength
training should never detract from your ability to feel fresh
and perform well in your running training.
you would like me information on strength training, Explosive
Running by Michael Yessis is a great book offering a wealth of
and other aspects of training
Nutrition is a very important area for all runners, especially
those training for a long event such as the marathon. Due to the
high volume of training required nutrition can have major impacts
on both your performance and your health.
runs are often coupled with strides, so that the majority of the
run is of moderate aerobic intensity with strides interspersed
would recommend seeing a nutrionist if there are any areas which
you believe your diet could benefit.
major aspect of marathon training is hydration status. Large volumes
of running leads to fluid loss, even in cold conditions, and this
fluid needs to be replaced. A good method of monitoring your hydration
status is to weight yourself before and after training; each kilogram
lost equates to a fluid loss of about 1L. It is essential that
this fluid be replaced, as a decrease in body weight of only 2%
can cause up to a 10% decrease in running performance. It is essential
that you always carry a drink bottle while at work or throughout
the day, and continually sip to avoid dehydration.
your individual Goals
The program outlined here is a generic program that may not fit
into your busy schedule. The program can easily be adjusted, simply
be sure to have an easy day before your long run, and don't have
2 hard days in row.
may also wish to address some individual weaknesses that are not
addressed in this program, so be sure to use the program as only
a guide to your marathon training
you don't have the time to complete all sessions, simply skip
a recovery run here and there to enable your program to fit into
your work and social timetable.
is the 12 Week Training Program
1 - Endurance Phase
Run - 5 km (3.1 mi)
Long - 13 km (8 mi)
Run - 6 km (3.72 mi)
+ strides - 10km including 4x100m strides
Aerobic Run - 22km
Here for the Full 12 Week Program