Feb 20 2013
With less than 10 weeks to go now to marathon day, the race is ON! Training is getting more serious, the weather is getting colder (!) and all those people signing your charity sponsorship forms want answers on how fast you are going to run! Read this blog to find…
With less than 10 weeks to go now to marathon day, the race is ON! Training is getting more serious, the weather is getting colder (!) and all those people signing your charity sponsorship forms want answers on how fast you are going to run!
Read this blog to find out how to kick your training up another gear with interval training. Find out why intervals are a vital part of your training schedule no matter how much or how little experience you have with the marathon.
Remember, you are running out of time to make key changes, or, if you are worried about any aspect of your training or running style. If you have any niggling injuries or concerns, get them looked at now and keep your marathon dream alive!
If you need any help with your marathon preparations and would like to come and see us, just email me back firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0208 166 5110. I’m also happy to answer any training questions too, so get emailing!
So you’ve got your place in the marathon, you are full swing into your training. You are talking with other runners, friends, colleagues who are also going through the same experience. And here’s where the questions start….
“So what time are you aiming for? I’m hoping to run under 4 hours” or “I’m following the sub 3.30 plan, what plan are you following?” There it is, the pressure. The race is ON!
Now, I know many of you are running the marathon for the first time, and I would like to emphasise that your first marathon should never be about the time. Your focus should be on running a consistent pace, and getting around; racing for a time can come later in your marathon career!
However, whether you are a first-timer, or a seasoned marathoner, you should be adding some interval training into your schedule. It’s safe to say that you will never reach your full marathon potential without interval training.
Interval training is a type of training where you mix periods of fast running, with slow walk/ jog recovery periods. It is designed to do a few things, the most important being:
• It will help you run faster. If you don’t train fast, you won’t race fast. Simple.
• It will help you get leaner. Interval training burns far more fat than any of your steady runs, so if you have a few pounds to lose before the big day, this will help get rid of them quicker
• It teaches your body to be more efficient with fuel. When you run faster than your normal pace, your muscles need more oxygen, and more glycogen to work. Your body then has to work harder to supply your muscles with this fuel. If you are able to force your body to adapt to this higher energy requirement, when you drop back down to your normal running speed, it will feel easy by comparison.
• It will increase your aerobic threshold. Without getting too technical, this simply means that you can run faster and further before your muscles start to run out of oxygen. This means you can also run faster and further without starting to get a build up of lactic acid, and that heavy-leg feeling that is every runner’s nightmare!
If you have never tried this training before, I would suggest one day a week should be sufficient; if you are experienced then 2 interval sessions per week is ideal. It is usually useful to do this type of training with a group, or with some friends so that you can push each other along.
Interval training is an intense training method, designed to push you close to your limit. It is expected that you will be breathing heavily, and your heart rate will go quite high; in fact if you have a heart rate monitor, this would be an ideal time to use it and record your sessions on your computer. You should find on a session like this that your heart rate will be anywhere from 80-95% of your maximum. To estimate your maximum heart rate, a good rule of thumb is 220 minus your age.
Here are 4 example sessions you could try out over the next few weeks. Always warm up and down with a 5-10 minute jog, and some strides (short 60-100m long mini sprints) focusing on relaxing but increasing your stride length.
Week 1 – 2 minutes fast, 1 minute 30 secs recovery (or wait until heart rate drops to 150) x 10
Week 2 – 3 minutes fast, 1 minute 30 seconds recovery (or wait until heart rate drops to 150) x 8
Week 3 – 4 minutes fast, 2 minutes recovery (or wait until heart rate drops to 150) x 6
Week 4 – 5 minutes fast, 2 minutes recovery (or wait until heart rate drops to 150) x 5
If you have been running intervals for some time, by the time the marathon comes around, you should be able to complete 4-5 1 mile repetitions, or even some 2 miles intervals, with limited recovery (maximum 2 mins 30 secs). For beginners, your repetitions as above should be no longer that 1000m. If you are doing this training for the first time, sometimes it can be easier to start out on the treadmill so that you can keep to an even pace and record your distance. I’m no great advocate of treadmill running, but for this type of session, when limited to once a week, it can be ideal.
Now, the key to these sessions is consistency on each repetition. You should not go ‘hell for leather’ on the first interval, only to be dying a death by number three or four! The intervals should get progressively harder, and you should find it harder to recover in between each ‘fast’ effort, but they should be evenly paced.
Last but not least, try to leave at least a day between a session of this type, and your long run, as both are very demanding on your body in different ways.
For a more detailed map of what you should be running and when over the next few weeks, please click to Like our Facebook page and we will send you a bonus running article!
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