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Monday, May 01, 2006

Start training for your next marathon now!

"You can't run a decent marathon on 8 weeks crash distance" - John reflecting upon last weekend's Rotorua Marathon which he completed; but suffered appropriately!
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Ioasa Kosena showing good form over the last few km

Gary Moller Comments:
I have had a flood of emails with feedback from last weekend's Rotorua Marathon. All but
a few of the people who have been following the programmes here or on the official Rotorua Marathon website managed personal bests, so I feel reassured that most of the training advice I dished out leading up to the race was relatively sound.

The commonest fault among those who wrote in over the months leading up to the race was leaving their training buildup far, far too late - some began with just weeks to go. John was not the worst in this regard. Training for a marathon requires a minimum of 12 weeks, whether walking or runnign the distance - and that assumes you are already in pretty good shape.

Preparing well ahead of time and doing it properly is essential and sensible regardless of whether the intention is to do a PB or simply just do the distance and experience the occasion.

My advice is to begin your preparation a year out from the big event. Join a running club right away and get involved in as many of the club races as you can. These should be 3-12 km races that include cross-country, road and relay races. Frequent racing of these shorter distances toughen the legs and lungs, harden the mind and get you used to going along at a brisk clip. They teach you to run fast while not pummeling your muscles and joints to smithereens. So long as you do the mileage over the several months, how fast you actually run a marathon is determined by how fast you can run 10km. For instance; if you want to run a 3hr marathon, you should be able to run 10km in about 38 minutes or less.

My mate, Alastair, pointed out that belonging to a running club gives you company and encouragement you might need when doing the long runs weeks after week. Shop around before chosing a club.

If you are a walker, the same principles apply; doing plenty of short, fast walk races and why not add in plenty of steep uphills in training while you are at it?

Forget about running 1/2 marathons until you have done the base training of at least 12 weeks of mileage as outlined in the e-book on Training for a Marathon and after you have done plenty of running club races over much shorter distances. The best preparation is doing the mileage in training and frequent racing over much shorter distances.
Case in point: I never ran the marathon distance in training, although I came close to it on many occasions (usually up to 22 miles). I did lots and lots of racing over much shorter distances, especially cross-country which is hard work; but still easy on the legs. My PB for the marathon is 2hrs 34min and a few more were less than 2hrs 40min. By not overdoing the long, slow plod and not pushing beyond the limits of muscles and joints in training, I am sure this helped ensure that my legs remain in good working order.Never run more than one marathon within 3 months of the previous one, no matter how easy the previous one seemed. Marathons are hard on the body, no matter how they are done, and you must give your body sufficient time to recover (This can be from 10 days to 6 weeks) and then you need to do at least 3 months to re-build.When it comes to the day of your next marathon, you will be sufficiently race-hardened and the pace of running a marathon in a personal best time will feel quite easy and relaxed. You will be less likely to hit the wall and recovery will be quicker. You will enjoy the occasion.

2 comments:

wayne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
wayne said...

in Tim Noakes book "The Lore of running":
he tells the story of the 1984 Olympic marathon,
all the great runners of the era were there, Alberto Salazar, Toshihiko Seko, Ahmed salah ( spelling) Rob DeCastella
it was pitched as one of the greatest marathon showdowns ever.
A few month before they had all met at the World Marathon Champs in Rotterdam, they were all neck and neck with each other, Carlos Lopez was also there but dropped out after 30k, but he was an insignificant marathon runner.
Los Angeles 84 was run in withering heat to suit the athletics timetable to finish in the stadium at the right time.
one by one all the great runners dropped off the pace from the lead group as the race progressed, then there was only one left, Carlos Lopez, how could this nobody have destroyed the greatest runners there had ever have been?
he ran in the world champs to see if he was fit enough to foot it with the best, he was already a proven 10,000 metre runner he had the pace but didn't know if he had the stamina, he felt it was too close to the Olympics to run the full race to he pulled out to spare himself for the Olympics about three months later, and sure enough on the day he was the freshest runner in the field, the other runners were known for their tough training schedules up to 200k a week, Lopez ran lower mileages than that, he won by default, it wasn't a fast time but it was a very hot and smoggy day, he still outran the best competition in the world, and he continued to do so for several marathons to come