When you have created your marathon training base, you build further on this with the specialized training plan. A 16 week marathon training schedule will always depend on how well you have followed the marathon basis training, but the intention is to reach your best shape – a shape peak at the time of your chosen race.
The frame plan for the marathon training extends over many weeks depending on of your current running level followed by 3 weeks tapering period. During the training weeks, the training program have an increasing intensity, so the shape strengthens gradually to your desired race.
The Marathon Training
The Marathon distance, is for most joggers the ultimate distance. Some runners say that you are first a real runner, when you have completed the marathon training period and then the Marathon race. Many have tried to cope with the distance, and each year new marathon runners take up the challenge around the world. The fascinating about the marathon is also that, it is not just about the race.
Physiologically, something happens around 35 km, where even elite runners, who keep an impressive high-speed and runs very close to their Lactate Threshold – LT, begin to feel the consequences of their pace.
Through the years, there have been many runners in the leading position, which suddenly had to slow down the pace, plagued by cramps in the legs, because the LT has been exceeded too much, or because of stomach trouble due to impaired sugar tolerance.
However, the most common cause to the reduced performance is the meeting with the wall. If we do not intake sugar during a marathon race, it means for most of us that the glycogen depots become depleted, after which the primary energy source switches over to be fat combustion.
As you remember, fat combustion requires more oxygen to produce the same amount of energy. Therefore, it is necessary to slow down the pace to get enough oxygen to the fat combustion. The switch usually takes place very suddenly – feels like an inner wall that stops you – and it often happens with no preliminary warning, but we have to reduce the pace significantly.
Marathon training practice
Training to a marathon is not just about running. There are many other factors involved in the training. An aspect that not everyone think about is you do not complete a marathon without drinking on the way.
If you do not drink, you can lose more than 4 kg as sweat depending on your body weight and the weather conditions and suddenly you have to walk. It is not everyone, which master the ability to drink during race.
Therefore, it has to be trained in the preparation period. Nor is it enough to read about how the composition of the fluid during the race should be, because it does not mean that it fits to you.
We respond differently on the fluid intake. Some may not tolerate sugar solutions, others get “bloated” by only water, and others again get side stitch. Therefore, it is important with trial and maybe errors in your preparation period to find out how you react on fluid intake during the longer runs, both to accustom your body to take in fluid during the long run and to find out how your body reacts by fluid intake.
You can eventually start by using a fluid belt with several small bottles and intake 150-200 ml fluid every 20 min. while you run in 1 hour – three bottles total. Later you can simulate fluid stations and intake fluid from a mug.
It is too late, if you in the chosen marathon race find out that you cannot tolerate the sugar drink from the fluid stations, or you cannot drink the fluid from a mug, without getting a lot of air down the throat, and you are wasting the half on the road. You should be quite familiar with this training element. Find out what suits you best.
You also have to train the ability to combust fat, to save on the glycogen depots, and hereby keep a higher pace. To do that, the body must be able to store glycogen as efficiently as possible.
The 16 week marathon training schedule
A marathon race requires great patience, but with a plan, you know where you are in the process, what you are doing and why you do it. To build up confidence and a sufficient capacity in terms of shape and to cope with the distance, you need many months on the project at least 16 weeks for most people. You can check and choose a schedule that fits to your current running level, if you are beginner you can start here.
Due to the repetitive and monotonous loads and movements, the body exposes for on the long training runs, there must be time to absorb and adapts. In the volume training period, will most of the training include the long slow runs (LSD), which develops the heart and circulatory system, boosting important local adaptations, and train the body’s ability, to combust fat most efficiently.
The long runs contribute also to empty the glycogen depots, which means that a larger quantity of glycogen is stored afterwards, especially if you eat carbohydrate-rich foods immediately after.
Besides the basic endurance training is LT- training also important if you want to improve your marathon time. The best marathon runners in the world has both a high maximum oxygen uptake and a high LT (Lactate threshold).
Marathon Training Tapering Period
Runners at all levels train in all weathers. We run in a strong storm or in bitter cold. Long distance runners who train competing or just to complete a certain distance, usually follow the training very purposeful. The road to success goes over constant, focused and structured training.
At one point in the training process, something happens with the physiology, where more and harder training does not have a positive effect on the expected performance. It is just like no matter how we do there is just no progress!
Many long-distance runners cannot see the benefits of gradual reduction of the training in the tapering period before the race, mostly because they are afraid of losing some of the hard-attained good shape, if the training reduces.
However, it has turned out that you are able to keep your shape in about 5 weeks, even when the training volume reduces by 50 percent. Reduction of training is important in order to save some energies up, since the hard training may have caused that the depots, has not really been filled up before the next training session over a long period. You also become fully recovered from the previous training period, so you are ready for the scheduled race.
A tapering period toward a scheduled race with gradual reduction of the training is important at all distances, but the longer the distance, the greater is the importance of a good and planned training reduction for a good performance on the race day.
An appropriate tapering period is an equally important component of marathon training as the LSD runs. Without a reduction in the training, the benefits of having a good endurance cannot expresses, because the body and legs are not recovered enough on the race day to utilize the attained good shape.
Training volume and training intensity must reduces significantly but gradually in the tapering period.
Reduction of the Marathon Training
This reduction of the training should start three weeks before the marathon race. The pace in the training is the same as it always has been, but the length of the training runs and thus the training volume reduces. In this way retains the fast legs, and you avoid that they are overtired of the large training volume.
Many things can go wrong in the preparations for the race and that is one of the reasons to, why the reduction of training is so important. It is all about being fresh, fit and ready on the starting line. It also means that the glycogen depots has to be filled and the fluid volume in the body should be as large as possible. That ensures by reducing the training, so your body gets time to build these depots up.
No one knows exactly how long a tapering period should be, but a good guideline is that the length of the period should be one day for every 2 km of the race distance. It means you must spend at least 5 days to reduce the training to a 10 km race and 21 days for a marathon race.
If you are a Marathon Runner, I hope you enjoy this Marathon review and if you have any questions about this topic with this 16 week marathon training schedule or want to leave your own Personal review, please leave a comment below.