To achieve the best results compared to your Marathon running preconditions, it would be a benefit to structure and focus your Marathon Training Plan towards your chosen race in the future. To this purpose, there are a series of training habits, you can use as guidelines. The training habits are designed to prevent injuries and overtraining, and at the same time optimize the training effect in relation to the effort. The 10 Informative Marathon Training Tips – Create More Running Motivation below, will also help in guiding you through the many training ideas and articles from e.g. the internet and the like that often confuses to whether it can be done or not. Let’s start with an overview:
- Regular training
- Choose distance before speed
- Move forward gradually
- Hard vs easy training
- Do not compete during training
- Training – the easy way
- Follow a training program
- Reduce the training before races
- Avoid stress
1. Regular training
Regular training year-round is a key concept in Marathon training but of course, you have to start somewhere if you have not run after a plan before. The most important is to be persistent in your training and thus be able to train all year round with no pauses than to train hard for some months, and afterward eventually be forced to a pause.
Through regular training, your body will have the opportunity to evolve gradually towards the goals you have set up for yourself. Persistent training gives a healthy base, from which shape peaks can be build up. The frequency of the training should not be less than twice each week and most preferably, about 3 to 6 times depending on your current training experience.
2. Choose distance before speed
Training for long-distance races is like constructing a building. It is more important to spend time on creating a good foundation than having busy building the walls up – to build the foundation on solid ground first. When you train for long-distance races, is the first priority to spend time on the long easy runs, rather than run at a high pace. When you have created a good base with a good pace, you can start working on improving your running times.
Another reason for this cautious start is that training at a high pace or with high intensity requires higher demands to the shock absorption by the more powerful landing. For the untrained runner, this kind of training will result in a high risk of overload injuries. This does not mean that you always have to run the same distance or at the same pace. You can vary the distances, terrain and routes. It is just important that the body builds up to run for a long time.
3. Move forward gradually
Start gradually be patient and prudent. This principle is based on the need to be patient with the training. Your body needs time to gradually becoming stronger. In particular, bone, cartilage and tendons require time to adapt the regular training. Remember bones tendons and muscles recover at a different pace. The philosophy is that you do not increase your training volume by more than 5 to 10 percent weekly.
The training volume consists of training intensity + training time + training frequency. To be able to assess how the training affects the body, it is prudent only to change one variable in the training volume. It means that if you increase the training time, the length of each training, it is not advisable simultaneously to increase the intensity. Most of the training volume you perform should be in talking pace, otherwise the risk of overtraining increases.
In the first months of the running career, you should be comfortably tired after training and have the feeling, that you could repeat the training session immediately again. Concerning the heart rate, should the training mainly take place with heart rate values between 60 and 80 percent of the heart rate reserve.
4. Hard vs easy training
It is rarely a good idea to train hard two days in a row. You can assess the training intensity by the heart rate from a heart rate monitor – HRM. You can also consider the intensity from the time you have spent on the training. When the body is loaded to hard and/or prolonged stress, it will take a longer time than usual, before it has recovered and reached the super-compensation phase, where the next training ideally should take place.
The body’s response to training can register by measuring the resting heart rate in the morning and compare the current heart rate measurement with previous measurements. If the resting heart rate in the morning, the day after training is abnormally high about 5 beats per minute or more above normal, it is often because the body is not sufficiently recovered. To avoid too many uncertainties in the planning of the training and to avoid unrest (restlessness) with overtraining, it is therefore, a good idea to have a hard training session followed by an easier one.
An immediate example of this shift between hard and easy training is interval training followed by an easy jog or a rest day. It is also important to look at the wider perspective, which means that a hard training period (weeks/months) with a high volume or many kilometer intervals should follow by an easier training period with fewer training sessions or with less intensity in the training. E.g. 2 – 3 weeks with more demanding training sessions, should follow by 1 week with easier training. This is also called periodization.
5. Do not compete during training
It is important to keep your focus on your own goals and not be tempted to compete with other runners during training. Occasionally it will be okay, but you have to be aware of, faster training tires the body a lot and requires subsequently a longer rest period. Test races planned during the hard training phase should not have an intensity that leads to exhaustion, where you also risk getting out of rhythm in following the training program because of fatigue.
You should focus on a specific pace. Subsequently, test races will be experienced easier and easier measured by a lower and lower working heart rate. Test races should only determine whether the training goes by, as it should in the right direction toward the race, you have as a goal.
6. Training – the easy way
Start your training as easily as possible to achieve your desired results. Many runners believe erroneously that more and harder training automatically leads to better results. Some Elite runners and super joggers run about 150 km per week or more. However, as mentioned before it seems like there is no real justification to run more than 130 km/week. Additional running quantities have not been shown to have positive physiological effects. The ability to run far and fast is also a genetic precondition.
Some people have an inborn talent for the long-distance race and probably a great part of slow-twitch (type 1) fibers in their muscles. Maybe they have an Oxygen uptake, which corresponds to a fitness rate at 60 without having trained at all. Others will find it difficult to achieve an equivalent fitness rate, although they train regularly and hard, but maybe these types are better in sprint disciplines or shorter distances.
The more and the faster training, the greater is the risk of incurring an overload injury. If we blindly pursue a goal and constantly increasing the training volume to achieve this goal, the risk of an injury increases dramatically or you drain /disturb the brain’s neurotransmitter balance, which can lead to depression. Besides, you will also have a high risk of being affected by the overtraining phenomenon.
Running in itself is characterized by repetitive movement patterns. Variation in the training is therefore important since it helps to maintain the motivation to run the many kilometers week after week. With variation, you will also load the body less and recruit other muscle groups in the movements compared to monotone training. Any kind of variation in the training will be very beneficial.
Just to run on the other side of the road can load the body differently, because the ground slope hereby changes. Variation during running on different surfaces also makes an impact on the body and is less monotonous, likewise with small changes in pace. Even beginners should seek variation in pace. Switch between walking and running is just one way to vary the pace. You can easily vary the pace a little, without making hard interval training. Cross-training in the Elliptical trainer is also a good alternative. Variation also limits your chances of hitting a plateau or suffering from fatigue or an injury.
8. Follow a training program
A training program will help to keep track of the training. It will make your training tangible. The best way to make a training program is to develop it personally so it fits your current level. The training program will also help to maintain a structure in the training, so both short and long-term goals step by step becomes obtainable in practice. In a training program, it is also a benefit to have some milestones, so the goals on the way always are clear.
It may be necessary to adjust these goals, and hence adjust the training program against the new goals. Thus, the training program must be flexible with space for change, particularly concerning the adjustment of the training because of the risk of injuries. A personal training program can give your running ambitions a clear priority and keep your focus on track.
9. Reduce the training before races
In the period up to the marathon race (tapering period), you should reduce the amount of training. The number of kilometers is over, and in the final period, is it most necessary with training to maintain your speed. Measured in days the taper period should be half of the kilometers of the race, where you participate. In other words, when you train for a marathon, your taper period should be 21 days – three weeks. If you do not reduce the training enough, you risk that the body and legs still are tired and marked by the tough training, you have been through.
10. Avoid stress
When you gradually will be able to run many kilometers, the training will be more and more time-consuming. If you have a family or a support base, it will be important to ensure that they understand the time you spend on the marathon training. Likewise, it is not appropriate when running becomes another stress factor. One of the ‘standard’ errors in following a training program is that many runners become slaves of the program.
We have created a strong habit. We train determined and schematic, and maybe blindly follow the outlined training missions without questions and without being aware of how the body reacts and feels and whether it is ready for the planned training at all. Especially before hard training, it is important to be aware of whether the body is prepared and ready for this training. There must be space for variation in the training program; it should not complete at any cost.
During the periods where you train a lot to reach a peak shape, the need to rest and recover will increase. At the same time, you use many resources with training. In these periods, you should avoid overtime work, a lot of travel activity and other stressful working conditions.
If you follow the 10 Marathon Training rules above you are on the road to success for your Marathon career. It will structure and focus your Marathon Training Plan towards your chosen races in the future in the best way.
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