Considering running a marathon? Marathon training programs should be selected according to your skill (beginner or advanced) and according to your goal. Do you just want to finish?
A goal to finish your first marathon requires a different training program than if your goal was to meet a specific time requirement to qualify for Boston. The goal isn’t as intense and so the training schedule does not need to be as intense either.Need to know how long is a marathon?
For the beginner jogger, it is better to go from couch to 5k than straight to the marathon distance as alluring as the marathon history may be. Certainly, you can do it. That is not the reason for the caution.
The benefit of running a 5k first is the fun, friendship, confidence and most importantly the foundation of endurance you build up. You see, all the miles you run before any done in your marathon training programs count.
These miles are building a foundation of endurance. You will be drawing upon during the last 6-8 miles of the marathon distance this foundation.
When selecting a marathon training schedule, pick one that allows you
enough training time to be race ready. For instance, if you can already
run at least an hour, then an 8 or 12-week training plan will work.
Otherwise, you need a plan that starts you off from your current
The alternative is to pick a 5k training program or 10k training schedule first. Get this done. Run the race or a few. Only then, move onto your marathon training.
Having already run a 5k or 10k will give you a baseline to work with in planning your marathon. This allows some predict for you. Running a 5k with 10 minute miles does not mean your marathon pace will be 10-minute miles. With the longer distance, you should expect to add at least 20 minutes to your time in your calculations.
To take a walk break or not, that is the question.
Whichever one of the marathon training programs you pick, you can benefit from walk breaks.
What is a walk break?
These are short intervals of walking that you put into your training and racing. They are 20 seconds to 1 minute. I have used the 1-minute walk break in three of my marathons.
This is how I did it…
During training runs, I ran 8 min, and then took a minute walk break. Repeat over the distance of the run.
I continued with this in the marathon race too. For my next marathon, I plan to use the walk break method on my long runs and the other shorter runs would be straight jogging. At 50 plus, I no longer run 5 days a week, but Oh so enjoy my runs much more.
The benefit of using walk breaks is that you can run further, your time is better and your recovery time is less too. Seeing my 5k time improve with walk breaks during my marathon training is all it took to convince me of the workability of this method.
Marathon training programs can be intense, requiring long runs as much as 20-24 miles in training. That is fine if you are trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon and need to hit a stiff time target. You know that at 18 years old, I still did not meet this target distance in training. Nonetheless, I still finished four marathons
This brings me to the fact that training too hard is a more common training error than not training enough. No one wants to have the best run on a training run and then flop on race day. Nevertheless, with the benefit of walk breaks, you could top at 18 miles in training long run.
Therefore, I leave you with these words of wisdom…
“It is better to undertrain than over train.”
Ok. Ready now? Go to marathon training schedule for your marathon plan.