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So you want to run a marathon?

Next month, more than 30 men and women will tread those famous streets of the capital in aid of Round Table Children’s Wish raising thousands of pounds to grant wishes to children with life-limiting diseases. 

 

Their training programmes will be well under way and nigh on reaching it's peak – but if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to conquer the 26.2 mile course, then this guide will tell you all need to do.  

 

Preparation 

 

Any good marathon campaign is built on firm foundations. Check out our top tips under the three headings below and set yourself up to succeed; 

 

Planning 

  • Be realistic about the time you have to train. Don’t work to a six-day a week plan if you know you can only train four days a week. 

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  • Get yourself a training diary to log and record your progress. 

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  • Ring-fence your training time in your diary – don’t let it become ‘I’ll squeeze it in when I can’. 

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  • Think ahead and plan for training pinch points such as Christmas or a holiday abroad, and think about how you can still get training in, even if it is through cross-training. 

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  • Plan your day – think about not only your running but also your rest and nutrition – if you are training in the evening for example think about how you’ll fuel yourself well in the day to really nail that run!

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Patience 

 

  • Be happy with where you are now – forget what your mates are doing and where you feel you need to be on marathon day.  

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  • Consistency is key – a solid four runs a week, every week will see you make better gains than six runs one week, two the next. 

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  • The training you do today takes three-four weeks to bed in, so don’t expect immediate results. 

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  • Focus on building the base in the early weeks – the early weeks should see you focusing on easy running, building a consistent pattern of training slowly without risking injury. 

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Progression 

 

  • Adding in the variety below is the first stage. Progressing each of those elements is how you really get fit. Turning your 90 minute into three hour runs, your 5 x 5 minute threshold session into 3 x 10 minutes, your 30 minutes of marathon pace work into 60 minutes… 

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  • Be marathon specific – lots of very hard, short intervals can leave you feeling tired and like you have worked hard but are really only doing the icing on the cake in marathon training. Look to increase the volumes of your marathon pace and threshold running as you get closer to race day…not just run faster. 

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  • Long runs – We all know these need to build but look to add a maximum 10-15 mins each week only otherwise you’ll risk injury. 

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  • Take an easy week every three-four weeks, cutting back your overall volume by 30-40% and cutting back some of the intensity. This will help your body absorb and heal from the training you have completed before coming back stronger. 

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  • Practice race pace in a race as you get closer to race day. A great way to include and test big chunks of marathon pace is to run a half marathon at your goal marathon pace as a challenging training run. 

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  • Progress your conditioning and recovery as well as your running! As your training volume goes up so your focus on rest, conditioning and nutrition also needs to go up. 

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Want to find out more about Marathon preparation? TheRunningBug.co.uk have comprehensive guides from preparation to fitness.  

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