When you have created your marathon training base, you build further on this with the specialized training plan. In how to complete 16 weeks marathon training schedule with success, it 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 framework plan for the marathon training extends over many weeks depending on your current running level followed by 3 week tapering period. During the training weeks, the training program has an increasing intensity, so the shape strengthens gradually to your desired 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 run 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 of 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 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 Program
Training for a marathon is not just about running. There are many other factors involved in the training. An aspect that not everyone thinks 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 of sweat depending on your body weight and the weather conditions and suddenly you have to walk. It is not everyone, who masters the ability to drink during the 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 you.
Fluid balance sugar- or clean water?
We respond differently to fluid intake. Some may not tolerate sugar solutions, others get “bloated” by only water, and others again get a side stitch.
Therefore, it is important with trial and maybe error in your preparation period to find out how you react to 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 with this keep a higher pace. To do that, the body must be able to store glycogen as efficiently as possible.
So, to start your marathon project in the best way you need a structure – a marathon training program – toward your chosen race goal in the future regarding both fluid and food intake as well as the running part.
16 Weeks 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.
Due to the repetitive and monotonous loads and movements, the body exposes to long training runs, there must be time to absorb and adapt.
In the volume training period, will most of the training includes long slow runs (LSD), which develop the heart and circulatory system, boosting important local adaptations, and training the body’s ability, to combust fat most efficiently.
The long runs contribute also to empty glycogen depots, which means that a larger quantity of glycogen is stored afterward, especially if you eat carbohydrate-rich foods immediately after.
Besides basic endurance training is LT- training also important if you want to improve your marathon time. The best marathon runners in the world have both high maximum oxygen uptake and a high LT (Lactate Threshold).
Marathon Training – The Last Period To The Race
Runners at all levels train in all weather. We run in a strong storm or the bitter cold. Long-distance runners who train to compete or just to complete a certain distance, usually follow the training very purposefully. The road to success goes over constant, focused and structured training.
At one point in the training process, something happens with 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 a 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.
You don’t lose your marathon shape
However, it has turned out that you can keep your shape in about 5 weeks, even when the training volume reduces by 50 percent. Reduction of training is important to save some energies up.
Since the hard training may have caused the depots to not really be 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 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 good endurance cannot be expressed, 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 be reduced significantly but gradually in the tapering period.
Marathon Training – Tapering Period
This tapering period of the training should start three weeks before the marathon race. The pace of 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 by the large training volume.
Many things can go wrong in the preparations for the race and that is one of the reasons, 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 have 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.
I hope you like this Marathon review and if you have any questions about this topic or want to leave your own Personal review, please leave a comment below.