'26.2' - The Marathon Training Website:
Are You Following
The Best Marathon Training Program?
Following the right marathon training program for your abilities is
a huge factor in deciding how well you will eventually finish the
race. If you over or under-train you will likely have a difficult
race. Here are a few tips to check that you are following a good
Training Program Length
The overall program should not be too long, (or too short). A 14 to 18
week program is best, depending on your current level of running. First
time, and beginner marathoners may need more. Many runners actually end
up over-training and as a result do not peak properly for the actual
Follow The Hard Day / Easy Day Principle
Review the daily runs, and weekly mileage in the training program. Your
schedule should follow the hard day/easy day approach on alternate days
and weeks. The weekly mileage should increase gradually by 10 Ė 15% over
the previous week.
The better schedules have a suggested daily and weekly running goal.
The schedule should be well laid out, and easy to track in your
running log. (Click
here for a customized logbook with a built-in training schedule for
your specific marathon)
The program should be flexible. You should have the freedom to
change your long run day, take an extra rest day, etc without
compromising the overall results.
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Avoid High Mileage Programs
Your training program should not take you to too high a weekly
mileage (Elite runners excepted). About 45 Ė 65 miles is the highest
weekly mileage you will need. The beginner programs will be at the
lower end of the scale
Long Run Strategy
The training program should have a gradual build up in your weekly
long run distance. This long slow distance run is the cornerstone of
your marathon training, and you need to develop the ability to
complete your long runs without over-taxing your body.
Long Run Distance
Avoid long runs over 20 miles. Unlike shorter races, you donít have
to run further than the race distance during training. Itís not
necessary to run 24, or 25 mile training runs to have a good
How Many 20 Mile Runs?
You should also avoid following programs that have too many 20-mile
runs. Two should be enough for the beginner to intermediate
categories. Three 20-milers is normally sufficient for the
experienced marathoner. In the elite category itís up to you!
This is often debated when it comes to marathon training.
Personally, I think that for the beginner (and even some intermediate
runners), you donít need to
include this type of training for a marathon. It increases your risk
of getting injured. If you run two or three races during your
training period this will be sufficient.
However, more advanced runners will
want to do some form of speedwork to increase the intensity of their
The bottom line
is to pick the best marathon training program for your
abilities that follows the above guidelines. Itís easy for beginner
marathoners especially to get drawn into training programs that are
really too ambitious for their level of experience. This is true
even for those folks who can run fairly fast 10K races.
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