marathon & half marathon book

Download marathon & half marathon book

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training guide on how to run a marathon and half marathon

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  • If youre reading this then what a terrific result! Congratulations. You are in the 2010 Virgin London Marathon and along with 36,000 other runners youre going to be pounding the streets of the nations capital on April 25th 2010. If youre sat quivering at the thought of what the next few months holds in terms of training and preparation, dont panic. The key with a successful marathon finish, whether your goal is a walk:jog completion or a fast run finish, lies with effective and appropriate preparation. Dont put off until tomorrow what you can start today!

    A marathon isnt something you can simply turn up on the day and complete without a consid-ered approach to your training programme and your race strategy on the day (yes, you do need a strategy thats not being flash or fast its being sensible and committed). This may be your first marathon and youre a Virgin London Mara-thon virgin or perhaps youre an experienced campaigner with several marathon finishes under your belt. Either way your path to race day starts months before the actual race itself. To arrive at the start line on April 25th ready and raring to go, think of the next few months as a journey to the finish line that starts today. Whether this is your first time or youre seeking a fast time, what you do, or dont do, between now and race day makes a real difference to achieving your perfect marathon.

    Make your marathon a success!

    Golden rules for a better marathon!

    Get going! Dont procrastinate and put if off! Dont keep saying, Ill start my marathon training next week. Next week will keep coming around and before you know it race

    day will be upon you. Start your marathon training today! That doesnt mean you have to go out and run until you drop at your first attempt. Whether you are a marathon virgin or a marathon master, be patient as you start and give yourself plenty of preparation time before the race.

    Tip: Establish a routine for running.

    Gently does it: Being the proverbial bull in the running china shop for the first two weeks isnt the best way to begin your training build up. Start your running programme early. Around 16 weeks before the Virgin London Marathon or 1st January is a great time! Be gentle and progressive. Build the frequency (how often), intensity (how hard) and dura-tion (how long) of your running as the weeks progress. Think of your training like building a house. Strong foundations laid at the start then built on over time bring about better results in the long run. A strong base means you can develop and increase your training and your marathon world wont come crashing down around your ears with a month to go.

    Getting ready for your big day in April means more than starting with the schedules themselves. Before you do anything rash and head out of the door for your first run go and get a medical once over from your GP and get the go ahead to start your build up. This is especially important if youre a smoker, ex smoker, hypertensive, or have a history of cardio-vascular disease in your family. Give yourself a great lead in to your marathon preparations by spending 4 to 6 weeks (before you even begin your mara-thon training schedule) developing a robust, healthy and motivated body and mind. Dont leap straight into a rigorous routine.

    Instead, take your time, walk, learn how to exercise and how it feels and find your feet a little. Once youve got going, use the schedules to keep going!

    Tip: Run clever. Listen to your body. More isnt better.

    Get the right kit: Specialist running shoes are a must for better training and injury preven-tion. Your shoes are the tools of your job for running training so get the right ones for you. Its a good idea to have two pairs on the go at the same time and alternate their usage. What you wear is as important as what is on your feet. You dont need to look like a bright, too tight, lycra-clad racing snake to feel good as a runner. Layer up with comfortable, breathable materials to combat the best of British weather as you prepare over the winter months. Choose garments that keep you warm, cool you down, fit you perfectly, function and perform well and that you feel confident and comfortable in.

    Tip: Visit a specialist running retailer for a shoe fitting and advice on clothing and gear.

    Plan. Know what you are going to do and when. Your training plan should be appropriate to your ability level and needs. It should be progressive, structured and motivating. Youll need to be disciplined with your time for running. When can you fit in your runs during a typical week? When is the best time of day to run? Before work? Lunchtime? After work? When can you run longer? When do you clear family, work or other time?

    Tip: Dont let your excitement and marathon enthusiasm allow you to over commit to an unrealistic schedule. Better to build up slowly than burn out later. >>

    The Journey begins here

    By Liz Yelling, Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist, Athens and Beijing Olympian.

    50 Marathon news www.london-marathon.co.uk++++++++++14thMarch2010adidashalfMarathonatSilverStone++++++++++14thMarch2010adidashal

    www.london-marathon.co.uk Marathon news 51fMarathonatSilverStone++++++++++14thMarch2010adidashalfMarathonatSilverStone+++++++++++

  • Your training: the fundamentalsCompleting a marathon cant be that hard, can it? Its all about turning up on the start line having covered the odd mile or two in the final couple of weeks and giving it a good go on the day. Wrong! Thats one approach that is almost certainly doomed and will see you have a very tough day in the marathon office! If youre able to crack one thing over the next few months, it should be to develop consistency in your run-ning training. Isolated, occasional, half-hearted running wont help you much in your quest for marathon glory. Whatever your goal, regular, appropriate, purposeful, planned and consistent running improves fitness levels and makes you a stronger, better runner. What actually makes up this training will vary depending on your mara-thon aspirations, your genes, your current fitness levels, your running ability and experience, your motivation and the time you have available to commit to your marathon miles. Regular easy and steady running develops a sound and strong aerobic foundation. This is called base building and is essential for marathon running success.

    A good aerobic foundation is the mainstay of a strong marathon and its developed through progressive, consistent running over a prolonged period. Gains in fitness dont happen overnight and there is no magic pill or quick fix to a marathon finish. You have to put in the graft and cover the miles. Starting your programme by heading out for a few walk/jogs or easy pace runs each week and building up the time you are able to run non-stop is great aerobic base building for

    a new runner. For the more experienced runner, a base period of four weeks of steady running helps you begin your marathon journey in a strong and robust way.

    Although it might seem tough at first, after a few weeks of progressive, planned and appropriately structured training, youll start to see the first signs of changes in your fitness levels. Suddenly you will notice that you are no longer puffing and out of breath as soon as you are at the end of the road; you seem to be breathing more easily and with more control throughout your run, your legs no longer ache during or after your runs, rather you feel bouncy, lighter and quickly recover. These are the first signs that your body is adapting to the regular running you have been doing your training is working! Your training goal is simple. To arrive at the start line on April 25th having given yourself the best possible chance of attaining your marathon goal. These goals will be different for each you but the commitment and effort required to achieve them will be common to everyone who crosses the finish line.

    Top training tips

    Get a group or running buddy! Running with others can give you the kick-start youll sometimes need to swap the sofa for the tarmac.

    Spice it up. Doing the same type of running all the time can make your training routine boring and stagnant and see you plateau

    rather than progress. Include different types of running in your week (see Training talk)

    Ease the pressure - beat the stress. It can be a great stress reliever not to clock watch. Once in a while just get out and run. Leave your watch, heart rate monitor, GPS and other toys at home.

    In it for the long run! Dont neglect the miles in the bank. Long runs matter for marathon success. They dont have to be fast, but they do have to be done! Long runs are your money miles when it comes to marathon training.

    Rest! It shouldnt be all hard work. As a rule of thumb, for every hard day take at least one easy. Balance your training with your lifestyle so you enjoy your running training and are excited by your running. Push too hard, too often, regardless of ability, and you could jeopardise making the start line let alone the finish line.

    Pace practice: Even if your goal is completion, you should know your target pace to the second per mile. Its inexcusable not to know this and failure to do so could jeopardise your finish. Practice running sections of your runs at this pace in training. If your finish goal is a walk/run one then you should know your pacing strategy. What will your walk/run sections look like? For example, 9 min run 1 min walk continuous for the first half of the race and then 8 min run 2 min walk for the second? Run 10k walk 5 min x 4? Run the first half non-stop, walk/run the second half as 5 min jog 1

    min walk? Whatever your strategy its vital to practise it in training and expect it to change as your fitness improves.

    Train the same stay the same. If youre an experienced marathoner and the same old train-ing has been bringing about the same old result year in year out, then try something different. Change the record and put some excitement back into your running by training differently.

    Go solo. Do long runs on your own. Although running in groups is great for motivation, build some solo paced long runs into your plan to work on your concentration and focus.

    Fuel up. The marathon is a long endurance event. Over 80% of finishers will take over four hours. Endurance events are demanding on the body and require energy before and during the race. Ensure you stock up your carbohydrate energy reserves leading up to the race, are well hydrated before the race start, and take on board plenty of fluids during the event itself. It pays to practise your energy and hydration strategy in training. Sports drinks and energy gels help keep your energy levels topped up during exercise. Dont let your engine run low on fuel!

    Race smart. Use races as preparation and practice. Yet concentrate on your end goal, the marathon. Dont worry about the in-between races or get stressed about the result.

    Its okay to walk! Dont think that its compulsory to run all the time in training or complete the marathon running! This simply isnt the case. In fact the majority of marathon finishers will walk sections of the race. As you get fitter and training progresses, youll find that youll do less walking and more running.

    Training talk

    Easy or recovery runs (ER)To see improvement without breaking down, youll need some recovery runs. These should be nice and easy and you should feel relaxed. Enjoy the scenery. You should be breathing easily and be capable of holding a conversation throughout the run. If youre a new/novice runner then youll probably be questioning whether any runs feel easy and holding a conversation may feel impossible all of the time! Slow down, walk if necessary and control your effort.

    Steady runs (SR)These are the bread and butter of your training, the miles in the bank. These steady runs build your aerobic base that acts as the foundation for the rest of your training. Conversations are still possible at this pace but in sentences rather than long gossip!

    Threshold runs (TR)To really improve, start to stretch your physical boundaries! Running at threshold pace is about running under controlled discomfort and is great for improving your running economy. After the long endurance runs, threshold runs are probably your most valuable workouts. You will find them slightly uncomfortable and theyll require concentration, but they are well worth the effort. Youll only be capable of uttering a couple of words as you run. As you get fitter and more experienced, youll learn how to find your own threshold pace and this will change the fitter, stronger and faster you get.

    Long runs (LR)Long runs are vital and should be a key ingredient of your marathon plan. After all, a marathon is a very long run. At first, concentrate on increasing the time on your feet rather than worrying about distance. So, work in time (hours and minutes) as opposed to distance (miles/kms). How long is long? The duration of a long run varies according to your level of fitness, running experience and phase of running training programme. Expect a 3-3.5 hour run to be a part of your training in the later stages of your preparations. (Remember, its about time on your feet and you dont have to be running the entire time!). Long runs are usually done at slow pace so are a fabulous way to spend a Sunday morning catching up with your running friends whilst developing your stamina. Do you need to cover 26.2 miles in training before the marathon? Arguably not. The accumulation of the right training over a number of weeks and months prior to the event will mean youll have developed suf-ficient stamina to tackle the marathon distance.

    Fartlek running (FR)Fartlek is a Swedish word for speed play that means run fast, run slowwhenever you feel like it. Fartlek is best done running over varied terrain. The concept is to mix easy, steady and fast running for different amounts of time or distances with varying amounts of recovery.

    Interval running (IR)When running intervals, you clearly specify how long you are going to run for and how much rest you are going to have between efforts. Each running effort in an interval ses-sion is called a rep or repetition. Reps can be time- or distance-based and are always fol-lowed by a period of rest or recovery. Inter-val running is done at a pace that is difficult to maintain. Definitely no witty social interactions are possible!

    Hill running (HR)Hill running involves running continuously over a hilly circuit or fast up a hill and jogging easily back down again to the start before

    running hard up again. This is repeated for a specified number of hill reps. The hill can vary in gradient and length depending on the purpose of the training session.

    Warming up and cooling down (WU/CD)Dont forget to ease yourself into your run workouts. Any training session should begin with gentle cardiovascular exercise (light walking/running) to raise your body temperature, get the blood flow mo...

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