To achieve success in marathon running, prioritize enhancing overall fitness and durability initially. Instead of solely aiming to boost your marathon pace, the primary objective of your marathon training plan should be to extend the duration you can sustain that pace. This approach enables you to maintain a swifter pace on race day, emphasizing the crucial aspect of sustaining that pace throughout the entire marathon.
Base & Durability phase
This foundational phase, spanning four weeks and potentially incorporating a 5k or 10k race, emphasizes lengthening your long runs and integrating strength-building gym workouts. Incorporating hill runs is advantageous, contributing to enhanced ankle flexibility and glute activation. The strength derived from tackling hills can be translated into increased speed during the subsequent marathon training phase. By concentrating on these elements in the initial phase, you lay a solid foundation for marathon training, ensuring better preparedness and a robust platform for further development.
Initial marathon phase
During this phase, establishing a routine is crucial, and it's essential to maintain some of the training from the previous phase to preserve the fitness and strength you've developed. This involves continuing with 5k and 10k sessions, hill work, and strength training. While dedicating all your training time to these elements isn't necessary, it's important not to completely neglect them. Long runs should evolve into more structured sessions, serving as a rehearsal for race day fueling strategies. Striking a balance between building new assets and preserving what you've already developed ensures better preparation on race day, providing you with a comprehensive set of capabilities.
Main bulk of marathon work
By this phase, you should have established a rhythm and identified your marathon effort level. The primary focus now shifts to enhancing your capacity to sustain that effort over extended durations. For instance, if your half marathon pace is 6.00 per mile, you might aim to sustain a pace of 6.30 for 15-16 miles at the onset of this phase. The objective is to gradually increase the distance at which you can maintain that pace, narrowing the gap between your marathon and half marathon paces. Regular gym sessions and dedicated recovery routines are vital for maintaining health and supporting the hard work required for marathon preparation. A well-structured training plan is instrumental in sustaining higher intensity levels, bringing your marathon pace closer to your current half marathon pace. Errors at this stage can lead to completing a marathon without being able to race it to your full potential.
In the weeks approaching the marathon, prioritize refreshing yourself and maintaining optimal health. Consider a slight taper in your training and introduce activities like yoga, physiotherapy, and massage to ensure your body is in prime condition for the race. Additionally, devote attention to your psychological well-being, planning ahead for race day to alleviate any nerves or pressure. While the final weeks should include some training to sustain fitness levels, the primary emphasis should be on ensuring both your body and mind are well-prepared for the marathon.