Running Marathon training: How to go from zero to hero in just 16 weeks
Running marathon training – Marathons can be exciting, and highly motivational most especially when you’ve just signed up for them. The joy that you are going to participate in something so incredible, is quite frankly second to none, but after the ecstasy comes to the moment of truth. When you realize you will have to train for the upcoming marathon. For a newbie, selecting a training plan can be scary, and what is even scarier is knowing that you will have to run 20 miles at least once before the D-day.
Get your body use to the distance
There are lots of marathon training plans out there, and most of them recommend a 20-mile run four weeks prior to the marathon run. You will come across many personal trainers encouraging their trainees, to go the extra length and clock 23 miles before marathon day. The point of this was knowing how those extra 3 miles feels like, will better prepare any runner for the extra 3miles ahead.
So, why the magic 20 miles, is there anything special about it you ask?
The answer is that there is no scientific reason why you should hit the 20-mile mark. Although on a psychological side of things training to get to the 20mile target can help with your confidence. It will also better prepare you physically and mentally for the challenging marathon day. So, this leads up to a follow-up question, if the target isn’t 20mile, just how far should one run? The answer to that question will depend on your marathon goal…
First timers and people who just want to finish the marathon…
For first-time runners and newbies who have never ventured into the treacherous waters of a 26.2 mile run before, it can be a bit scary, and even clocking 20miles can seem a bit challenging. Well, don’t feel all gloom and sad, even if you haven’t tried 26.2 miles run before, you can still go a long distance. As long as you’ve clocked in some good 16 to 18 miles before, your body will be more than ready to go the extra distance. But rather than focusing on mileage, and distance, it will do you a whole lot of good if you concentrate on the time spent running. The essence of a marathon is how fast one can cover a distance, and not reaching the distance alone.
How to use distance over time for running marathon training.
For example, a person might clock 20miles in 2.5 hours, and another person in 4.5 hours. You can’t compare the level of stress on both bodies. Although you don’t want to either go below 16 miles or less than 3 hours, whichever will come first. You should get used to being tired, and going the extra distance even at that, that’s the target. You are pushing your body and your mind to do more even when it doesn’t want to.
Marathoners who want to beat their last running time…
As soon as you get yourself familiar with what 26.2 miles feels like, the focus now shifts to putting more efforts rather than just enhancing your confidence. Even at that, you still must keep your run under 3.5 hours. It is expected that faster runners can clock in more distance in 3.5 hours than average runners. So, it becomes paramount to implement goal time. Let’s take an example; suppose an average runner runs a 10minutes mile; then we can assume their longest run will be 21 miles.
Staying injury free is the key!
A faster run of say 8-minute miles will be able to finish a marathon under 3.5 hours. If you are a PR-chaser, you should cap your long run between 20 to 22 miles. Your chances of staying healthy are increased if you stay within that range. Rather than getting close to the entire marathon distance, try and familiarize yourself with different quality training. Mix things up a bit, run hard one to two times a week, run on different terrains, and employ different tempos, and speed work.
To get faster, you have to run faster, that’s just basic math.
The idea is to keep yourself fresh for the big day, and you should remember that long runs are for practice. It is common to find several runners trying to clock up several numbers, and end up exhausting themselves and burning out before the D-day What benefit will it be if on marathon day if you are fully motivated mentally, but your body doesn’t move? I’ve been able to create a 16-week marathon training plan that will leave you primed and ready for race day. Check the plan below.
16-week running marathon training guide to make you hit 4 1/2 hours
Week 1 • Day 1-4K-easy • Day 2-5k-2K easy, 1K faster, 2K-easy Day • 3-5K easy • Day 4-8K run. • Total-22k Week 2 • Day 1-4K-easy • Day 2-5K-2K easy, 2K faster, 1K easy • Day 3-5K easy • Day 4-10K run • Total-24K Week 3 • Day 1-5K easy • Day 2-5K-1K easy, 3K faster, 1K easy • Day 3-5K easy Day 4-12K run • Total-27K Week 4 • Day 1-Easy 6K • Day 2-5K-Time Yourself-Aim for 29:00 or better • Day 3-5K-Easy • Day 4-14K Run • Total-30K Week 5 • Day 1-5K-easy • Day 2-6K tempo-3K of it at a faster pace-15 seconds slower than your goal pace for the marathon • Day 3-5K easy • Day 4-15K run • Total-31K Week 6 • Day 1-5K-easy • Day 2-6K-4K of it at a faster pace • Day 3-5K-easy • Day 4-18K run • Total-34K Week 7 • Day 1-5K-easy • Day 2-8K at a steady pace • Day 3-5K easy • Day 4-20K • Total-38K Week 8 • Day 1-5K Easy • Day 2-8K-Steady pace • Day 3-5K easy • Day 4-22K run • Total-40K Week 9 • Day 1-5K-easy • Day 2-8K • Day 3-5K easy • Day 4-15K run-30-40 seconds slower than your projected marathon pace • Total-33K Week 10 • Day 1-5K-Easy • Day 2-8K • Day 3-5K-easy • Day 4-24K • Run Total-42K Week 11 • Day 1-5K-Easy • Day 2-2×1600 meters (on track or road) 9:15 for each, 800-meter slow jog in between-8K total • Day 3-6K-Easy • Day 4-25K run • Total-44K Week 12 • Day 1-5K-Easy • Day 2-10K-Easy • Day 3-5K-Easy • Day 4-30K run • Total-50K-All easy workouts to prepare for the 30K Week 13 • Day 1-5K-Easy • Day 2-Tempo-Easy 1K, 5K-around race pace, 1K-easy-8K-total • Day 3-5K-Easy • Day 4-15K-30 seconds slower than race pace • Total-33K Week 14 • Day 1-5K-Easy • Day 2-8K-Easy • Day 3-5K-Easy • Day 4-35K run • Total-53K Week 15 • Day 1-5K-Easy • Day 2-8K-30 seconds slower than race pace • Day 3-5K-Easy • Day 4-20K run • Total-38K Week 16 – Rest, relax, slower paced runs. Good quality workouts are the keys to a successful marathon. Are you running your first marathon? I would love to here your comments and to know if you found this post helpful. Please share this post and leave a comment below.
Gerald has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise, Nutrition & Health. He is an ASA qualified swimming teacher, and a qualified personal trainer. Gerald has developed his own exclusion diet, which he uses to help his clients lose weight.