How to train for your fastest marathon, go to work, and still have a life
Posted May 15 2010 7:00am
If you are a runner with a goal to run your first marathon or run a PR
marathon then you no doubt been exposed to your share of marathon training
program advice. If your years of training and researching about how to
train for and run a marathon or how to improve your marathon PR have
resulted in frustration, self-doubt, and confusion, then read on. The next
few minutes will provide you with what you've been looking for, especially
if you're looking for a marathon training program for real people with jobs,
families and busy lives.
Training for a marathon does take a lot of time, commitment, and
determination. The most typical marathon training program out there usually
involves at least six days per week of training. This type of program takes
up a lot of time and makes it difficult to balance with your work life,
family, social time, etc. However, that many days per week or running is
not necessary and only leads to burnout and injury. The good news is this:
Four quality runs per week over a fourteen to sixteen week period is an
appropriate and efficient program that will get you successfully to the
The Golden Rule of Surviving Marathon Training: Less is More.
Training and running more will not lead to better results. If anything, it
will lead to a break down of the muscles and the mind. Simply stated, this
is too much running and the exact reason why runners who run so many
days/miles per week in a heavy marathon training program experience common
injuries such as shin splints, IT Band syndrome, tendinitis, knee pain, etc.
To get better and be better, rest days are just as important as running day,
and a 4 day training week is an ideal way to achieve perfect marathon
training program balance.
What Does a 4 Day Training Week for Marathon Look Like?
A marathon training program that can produce fantastic results for busy
runners includes four days per week of quality running. Each run has a
different focus and varies with pace, distance, and effort level. A
combination of these run workouts is an excellent balance of challenging the
body to prepare for running a 26.2 mile event. Furthermore, the built in
rest days allow muscle recovery and injury prevention.
An example of the 4 day training week:
-Mon: Active Recovery
-Tues: Speed workout (i.e. 3-4x 1-mile repeats at tempo with 2:1 work:rest
-Wed: Easy Run (i.e. 5-10 miles aerobic)
-Thurs: Active Recovery
-Fri: Intervals or Hill workout (5-10x steep 1-2 minute hill repeats with
walk or jog down)
-Sat: Active Recovery
-Sun: Long Run (10 - 20miles that include race pace intervals and fast
Your longest long run should be 20 miles and you would do a training
build-up to this distance over the course of sixteen weeks. Three weeks
before the marathon race will be a taper, during which you gradually reduce
Each active recovery day can include core, yoga and other recovery
In addition, you should also include strength training exercises in a 4 day
per week plan. Running a marathon exacts a great toll on a runner's body.
Strengthening the core and legs will help you better deal with the mileage
you will run over the next several months. You don't need expensive
equipment or a gym membership to build a stronger body. Body weight
exercises are all you need.
In fact, most elite runners do a majority of their strength training in this
manner. When you started doing strength based body weight exercises, you
won't believe how much stronger you'll and how much your running will
improve. You can simply do a six exercise set, twice a week, and would be
amazed by the results of adding this into your marathon training program.
It's simple, but it works.
Summary: Why Should You Use a 4 Day Program?
A 4 day per week running schedule is optimal for a majority of
"I-Have-A-Real-Life-Thank-You-Very-Much" runners. You can get all the
mileage you need as a beginning to mid-level runner in 4 days. Adding more
days, or more mileage will help you improve, but also introduces a higher
likelihood of injury.
Marathon training will be challenging, but should be fun and enjoyable.
Following a marathon training program that does not overdo it on the running
should help make the experience a pleasant one. Remember, you can
successfully train for and finish a marathon. Believe in yourself and
believe in the training program. Once you begin to believe, then you will
realize your goal. Finishing a marathon is an accomplishment that less than
1% of people in the world can say they have achieved. You are about to be
one of them!
Whether your want to break your PR, or are a first time marathoner, you can
learn more about Ben's 4 day a week marathon training program at the
website: http://www.marathondominator.com .
Ben Greenfield is the Renaissance man of the sport of triathlon.
He's a fast triathlete, a coach, a personal trainer, and much more