How to Run a Marathon
                                                                                                   Photo By Ancil Nance 
Base Training                                                                    




Base Training                                                                    

Base Training is the most important aspect of marathon running. You could build an entire training program using only the methods of Base Training workouts and see better results than most other systems.


By gradually building and broadening your Base, your strength and endurance will grow naturally over time. Then, when we move into the “workout phase” your body will be conditioned to work harder and for longer periods of time. In this system, we cycle Base Training and Workout Training over a period of 20-26 weeks. Ideally, after the 20-26 weeks, you will take a short break and start the process again. This approach allows your body to go through a building, strengthening and recovery period. This system works for runners at every level, including Elites. If this is incorporated into your system, you will see fewer injuries in your running career, and you will experience a faster rates of improvement.


It is important to understand the role of Base Training. Most visitors to this website have strong running backgrounds. Many may assume they are properly conditioned and choose to jump directly into the advanced workouts. DO NOT DO THIS! Successful running is about building and expanding your foundation. It is unnecessary to run hard workouts to be a better runner. Running is like building a house; a strong foundation is critical. However, once the house is built, if you want to add more rooms, you must broaden the foundation. Many experienced runners are in a constant workout training mode. They race constantly, and they train hard for those races. Unfortunately, they reach a point where they see their improvements plateau. To compensate, these runners add more hard workouts, or run even harder using their current regime. This is a bad path to follow and it  leads to either burnout or injuries.


This program is very simple. For the first 10 weeks (14 weeks for those on a 6-month schedule), there is one long run per week. All other supporting runs will be at least half that distance. The goal is to build up the long easy runs. In this stage, all runs will be at a nice, relaxed pace.


For those who have never run, or for those who walk/run, we will forgo the long run for the first few weeks. For those who have a strong running background, we encourage you to expand your easy miles.


As noted, this method can be used for marathon training, but it can also be used for pre-season track or cross-country. Whether your goal is to compete, or simply run comfortably for 5k or 10k, this is as a good as a place as any to start.


For new runners who have decided that they will be running a marathon in 3 months (which, for the record, I do NOT endorse), then your entire program will consist of Base Training. For those who may have more than 24 weeks to train before the marathon, simply add additional weeks to your Base Training phase. For example, if you are 32 weeks out instead of 24 weeks, add another 8 weeks of Base Training. (Important: Do not add any weeks to the “workout phase”. This concentrated set of exercises should not be done for an extended period of time. Advanced and Elite runners may extend it another week or two)


Not to sound like a broken record but I will say it again DO NOT SKIP BASE TRAINING AND GO STRAIGHT TO THE HARDER WORKOUTS. One may see some short term gains, but, with relation to the long term, one will never reach their true potential.


Due to infinite variables like weight, running experience, and overall athletic ability, there isn't a one-size-fits-all type of workout. Novice and beginners should focus on TIME as opposed to DISTANCE in their runs. For example, in the early stages of training the short run may last for 30 minutes. For some, that may be a four-mile run, and for others, two miles. Distance doesn't matter, time does. However, based on feedback, most people prefer distance charts. I have included both time and mileage charts.


The key to successful running is to keep adding to your “running bank.” It is really a simple concept. The more you can add to the bank, the more benefits you will see down the line. With every new training season you should add more miles and/or more days to your training schedule.


I cannot emphasize enough how you should not push yourself too hard during this phase. If it takes an hour to recover from your workout, then you are running too hard. Even if you are in Olympic shape, your emphasis should be placed on running relaxed! For those who wish to accelerate the rate of their improvement, I suggest going to the Running Efficiently section. Many runners can improve their marathon time by 10% or greater just by running efficiently. For example, if a four-hour marathoner improved only 10% after adopting these techniques,(s)he would see an improvement of 24 minutes.



 


Following is a guideline to help you select the training level that is appropriate for you:


TRAINING SCHEDULES

Following is a guideline to help you select the training level that is appropriate for you:

TRAINING FOR THREE HOURS AND UNDER. If you are healthy and injury free and have a run a marathon under 3 hours and ten minutes,or  a 5k under 18 minutes,or a 10k under 38 minutes or a half marathon under  1 hour 24 mins


TRAINING FOR FOUR HOURS AND UNDER If you are healthy and injury free and have a run a marathon under 4 hours and ten minutes, or a 5k under 24 minutes, a 10k under 50 minutes, or a half marathon under 1 hour and 50 minutes

TRAINING FOR FIVE HOURS AND UNDER, If you are healthy and injury free and have a run a marathon under 5 hours and ten minutes, or a 5k under 29 minutes, a 10k under 1hour and 3 minutes, or a half marathon under 2 hour and 20 minutes

TRAINING FOR FIVE HOURS AND OVER , If you haven't run any races to get a gage on your time or if you haven't broken 5 hours then I suggest you start here.

 

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