Base Training is the most valuable aspect to marathon running. If this is your first marathon and you do not have any estimate on how fast you can run, then this is the place to start. You should know,your in good Company. Over 50 % of the runners that finish a marathon will be around 5 hours or slower.
I personally think that if you are running any time over 4 hours then one should not focus on the finishing time. The focus should be on finishing. Running marathons are primarily an experience. It truly does not matter if you finish faster or slower than your initial goal. If you spend the time comparing your training schedules. with those in the 4 hour range. you will not see that much of a difference. The crucial difference is that you will spend more time in the building phase before the LONG RUN is introduced.
Most of you will be incorporating "active" walking in your runs. The motto is to run easy/ walk strong. This means your walking pace should be at a pace where you are recovering from the run portion but the walking pace is still fast enough to cover ground. This is almost counter intuitive. Most people would think that they should run hard then rest easy when they can not keep up the pace. One must understand that running is all about efficiency, especially in the marathon. If one can cover ground at a sustainable pace then your overall time will be faster. If you run easy you will cover more ground before you have to walk. Over the course of this training program, eventually they will find they can actually run easy for a sustainable lenght of time without having to take major walk breaks.
We will introduce what is known as the Long Run during the buildup phase. This is the center piece of this workout system as this is the run that will provide you the most benefits. There is detailed information in the Long run section. Since we have such a disparity on peoples pacing we will be focusing on time as opposed to distance in the base training phase.
Unlike other training programs, you will never do a long run over 18 miles. There are some training programs that will have you run up to 26 miles just to prove you can do it. It is my firm belief that unless you intend to do ultra marathons even experienced runner should not train over 18 miles.Certainly those with lessor experience should be particularly careful when they are out exercising over 2 hours.
Many people want to take the day off after the Long Run. I am not in favor of this. If you do take days off running, I suggest it is better taking the second day off after the long run. The day after the long run is perhaps the second most important run of the week. Doing this short run very easy will help you recover quicker. It will flush out the lactic acid and help provide blood to those overused muscles. Be careful! As with any hard workout, you will be more injury prone the following day. Never run a race or a hard workout the day after your Long Run! For those that can not get a run in the day after a long run, then try to take a walk after dinner. This will be immensely helpful for your workouts later in the week.
It is indispensable to understand that the short runs during the week are not supposed to be hard runs. Understanably Many people have time constraints. Over time there is greater value running 4 miles at a slow relaxed pace than running 3 miles and a hard exhausting pace.
Click this link to see your training schedule Schedule for Marathon Training for over 5 hours.
(note this is for the first ten weeks. Go to the workout section for the second ten weeks