So you’ve decided to train for a marathon! Excellent decision, as training for and running this type of race can offer numerous benefits for the body, mind, and soul. But before you set off on the journey, you’ll need to be prepared and that’s what I am here discuss with you. Read on for some extra valuable tips I like to give my clients on marathon preparation.
Practice Correct Mileage Progression
Without question, the most important area one should focus upon prior to beginning marathon training is have a plan to safely build a mileage base. Every runner is slightly different and being an amateur or recreational runner, we have to fit training in around the rest of our life schedule. At a minimum, we want to start running about 3 to 5 days a week with minimum mileage totals of 20 miles per week for our marathon training. It doesn't have to be fast or slow if you are a beginner, but as long as you start...you are already in a good place!!!
From that point, adding in at least one long run, an interval (fartlek or speed/track work) and easy additional mileage for the rest of the week can be added in small increments as we continue to train.
When increasing mileage during a training plan, the 10% rule is the general rule of thumb but it is not the end all, be all style of rule. The 10% rule states that you will increase either the intensity or the duration of your training bout by about 10% every week in order to get to your goal "safely. " The problem with this rule is there is not significant, solid evidence to back it up. Some runners who can tolerate more than 10% bumps in their training will end up being undertrained and those who need less than 10% increases in their training load can become overtrained (resulting in pain or sometimes injury).
We do not want to derail our training at all during the season, so the best rule of thumb us to first pay attention to your body (whether you are following a training plan you found online or are working with a coach). Increasing volume gradually over time before increasing intensity will keep you fighting fit as you advance over your training plan. If you do develop pain or injury during training, do something about it sooner than later. And if you are working with a coach, work with them to adjust your plan to fit your new needs.
Lastly, another key to building mileage safely is to give your body a “down week" periodically throughout the training schedule to allow your body to recover. In the same way that you shouldn’t run hard every day, you shouldn’t try to up your mileage every week. I recommend increasing mileage for three weeks, and then taking the fourth week “down,” by running a lower weekly mileage and more easier runs than the week before. Again, this is a another generalist rule and should be taken lightly, If you feel like your body needs rest....TAKE A REST (Day or Week). As long as you are still on a positive trend towards your goal, you will smash it out of the park.