This is the second phase of training
If you haven’t completed the First Phase then click and go here (Base Training)
Depending on your skill level, most will be working most on speed, strength, or pacing. The goals of this phase are different from in the Build up phase. In the previous phase, we were laying the foundation and building up overall endurance. In this one, advanced runners will be increasing overall speed and strength, while newer or less advanced runners will focus on pacing, strength and sustainability while also adding to the overall foundation.
It is necessary to stress the importance of completing the entire Base training phase before moving to the workout phase. People skipping the Base training phase will increase their chances of getting injured well before the marathon ever starts. Why? This is because the body is not designed to handle hard workouts for extended periods of time. This is true for even the most advanced runners.
Advanced runners are the primary group of people that think they can skip Base training. Many have not been diligent in their long runs, but overall they are accomplished runners. Since they are used to training hard, think they can handle anything in the workout phase. They are correct in their thinking, but that is not the point. Our goal, is to assist people and have them run at a higher level than ever before, while at the same time reducing any chance of getting injured. To accomplish this goal, the setup has to be done properly. This allows one to maximize the result of the hard runs in the workout phase.
It is important to conceptually grasp the difference between the two phases. The Base training phase is the build up portion. The first 8 – 12 weeks of the workout phase are the what can be termed as the tear down portion, while the last two weeks is the recovery portion.
It is VERY beneficial to note that one could run quite well in a marathon by only using base training and skipping the workout phase entirely. Elite runners, whose specialty is the shorter distances, spent their time training only in the base training phase, will still out–perform most other runners.
The difference between Base training and the Workout phase is subtle but noteworthy. A quick comparison between charts may even show the weekly distances as being the same. The difference between the two phases is the intensity between some of the workouts.
One crucial difference from the Base training phase and the Workout phase is the concept of Hard /Easy days. This is VERY beneficial! As one may discover, your capacity to run harder will increase. So, to maximize your potential, it is crucial to keep the easy runs easy!
In the established running community, Hard/Easy days are a common practice. We will run one day hard, with an easy run on the following day. Let’s be clear. One should not be running a hard day, take a day off, and then go back into another hard day. That is a recipe for disaster. The easy day is essentially a recovery day for the muscles, but it does not mean a day off. It is necessary to help the body recover from a hard day. This means getting blood and oxygen to the stressed legs. The easy day contrast and practice will help remove the lactic acid and soreness from your muscles.
Over time, one will see more benefits if you are able to run the hard workouts at a stronger pace, compared to a person that runs the same pace every day. Hard/Easy days are the norm for a complete workout routine. Personally, if I had all the time in the world I would advocate a 10-day cycle where one would run a hard day, two easy days, a hard day, two easy days, etc… That is not feasible in most cases. For hard core running addicts, this program is something to consider.
For those in the under a four-hour range, some of the mileage will increase slightly. It will be beneficial to note that the mindset and the approach to some of the runs during the week will be different, even if the workouts appear to be the same as the Base Training Phase.
On the charts, those workouts will be highlighted in red. Specific instructions are given for individual workouts. There will be workouts that target speed and strength and increasing the overall lung capacity. Most marathon runners rarely approach going into oxygen debt, and runners that focus on increasing lung capacity will find they have a significant advantage when running at what will feel like a much slower pace.
For runners of all levels, the goal is to practice what I call sustainable pacing. The concept is to run harder than an easy run, but not so hard that you have to slow down near the end of a workout. Pacing is especially valuable.
Not everyone will be doing the same workouts. For instance, people under the three-hour range will be doing more speed workouts than people over four hours. People in the five– hour range and above will not do any true speed workouts, whereas people that are walk/ runners will focus on increasing their ratio so that the running periods are longer.
Whatever your current workout may be, it is essential to assess your level and then read the information before simply printing out a new training schedules. Also, it is necessary to note that many workouts are interchangeable. For example, if I suggest a hill workout and one lives in the plains of Kansas, then another type of workout will suffice. The goal is to have a formula that works for you, and to increase your ability whenever possible.