Marathon Training Schedule And Its Most Important Components

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When you are searching for a marathon training schedule you need to be sure that you choose one that is able to combine all of the basic fundamentals.

The best schedule for runners will be one that is suited to your level of conditioning and experience.
Marathon Training Schedule
If you use a marathon training schedule that contains routines and exercises that are tailored for marathon events you will be able to build your skills, endurance and confidence.

You need to be exposed to a training schedule that includes longer runs, medium-long training activities, lactate threshold runs, V02 max intervals, speed training, aerobic runs and marathon pace running exercises.

The schedule will combine all of these routines into weekly training exercises that you can use to improve your technique, endurance and physical conditioning.

Your marathon guide to success!

Choosing a Schedule That Fits Your Needs

A crucial step towards success in your marathon is choosing the right schedule. It wouldn’t be the first time someone starts training for a marathon without a proper schedule.

Two-time Olympic marathon runner, Marius Bakken, has created a unique and proven marathon training plan. If you are thinking about competing in a marathon in the next 3 to 12 months I recommend to check out my review of his 100 Day Marathon Plan. It tells you all about Marius Bakken’s revolutionary and highly effective method to train for a marathon.

Now let’s start with the different marathon training workouts and why, when and how to do them.

Marathon long runs

When you are working on a marathon training schedule it is important to remember that a run of 17 miles or longer should be considered one of your ‘long runs’.

These types of training runs will build up gradually over a few weeks and then taper off as your ‘race day’ approaches.

This to make sure you are fully rested on marathon day.

Marathon long runs are going to help you boost your endurance but only if you practice with the right degree of intensity and speed.

You should begin with a slower pace early in the run and when you reach the 5 mile mark your pace should have increased so that you are running at a pace that is about 20% less than your target pace for an actual marathon event.

Your pace for the last 5-6 miles of these long distance runs need to be approximately 10% less than the speed you would use during a true marathon. If you adhere to this pace schedule you should be running 22 miles in roughly the time frame that you would use in an upcoming 26.2 mile marathon.

Remember to always take into account how to feel on that particular day and adjust your daily training accordingly.

Medium-Long Runs

The courses that extend for 11 to 16 miles are going to be referred to as medium or medium-long runs.

These distance events will reinforce the physical and mental benefits of your longer marathon training runs.

It is important to maintain a running pace that is almost identical to the speed you use when covering longer distances.

Aerobic Runs

Those standard pace-runs that extend 10 miles or less are considered to be standard aerobic runs on any marathon training schedule. If you speed up your pace these shorter runs are transformed into lactate threshold training routines.

When you run 10 miles or less at a slower pace than usual these training activities are considered to be recovery runs.

The main reason that your marathon training schedule needs to include a generous dose of standard aerobic runs is to develop better aerobic conditioning.

These running routines boost your endurance and level of physical conditioning through the sheer volume of runs that you are able to incorporate into your weekly schedule.

Lactate Threshold Training Runs

Lactate threshold runs are very beneficial to a well-balanced marathon training schedule.

These are tempo runs that are designed to allow you to run for 20 minutes at your individual lactate threshold pace. (Closely follows your 15K or half marathon pace)

These tempo runs combined with interval runs will improve your body’s ability to process lactic acid and will build your endurance level.

In other words you will be able to go further and run longer by maximizing your lactate threshold.

A lactate threshold session lasts 4-7 miles and should be completed following your typical 2 or 3 mile warm-up.

If you are a faster runner you should try to maintain the pace of your half marathon events but slower, or novice runners, might want to use their 15K time.

VO2max Training Runs

Build your V02max abilities with runs that are designed to bolster your lung power and respiratory efficiency. VO2max intervals are runs that last for about 600-2000 meters.

The pace needs to be 95-100% of your normal VO2max interval time, which is also the pace you run a typical 3K-5K event.

2-6 minutes is the typical duration time for these runs.

The shorter your repeat workouts are the fewer days your body needs to recover, and vice-versa.

VO2 max interval workouts are critical to any marathon training schedule but these routines are extremely important in a 5K-10K event.

With the right balance of VO2max sessions in your marathon training schedule you will provide your body with effective training stimuli and still have plenty of energy for the remainder of your training schedule.

Remember that most marathon runners will get the most out of these routines if they follow the pace they are using for a 5K event.

Speed Training Runs

Sprints that involve repetitions of distances that last 50 to 150 meters are aimed at helping you improve your overall running form and leg speed.

You can use these speed sessions after you have completed a recovery run or a general aerobic running exercise.

Do not try and rush these speed repetitions. Always make sure that you have ample rest and recovery between each of these sprints. If you do this then you will ensure that you are using good running form during each of these speed sessions.

Recovery Runs

Recovery runs are another important element to include in a marathon training schedule.

These are shorter runs that should be done at a comfortable and relaxing pace.

The pace needs to be slower than your other weekly routines because you are going to use these sessions to bolster your body’s recovery.

I am sure you will feel you need to incorporate these runs in a tough marathon training schedule.

Marathon Pace Runs

Marathon pace runs are medium-long or long runs during which you run most of the miles at the same pace you would set for the actual marathon.

These are the exercises in your marathon training schedule that force you to incorporate the same running form and pace that you will be using when you are actually participating in a marathon race.

Your starting pace should be relaxed and comfortable. Then you should run the last ¾ of these runs at a pace comparable to the speed you will use to complete an upcoming marathon.

If you are an experienced marathon runner and want to choose a simple marathon progam without any detailed explanation, you can take a look at one of these schedules below:

12 week marathon schedule

18 week marathon schedule

Changing your Marathon Training Schedule

You can tailor your marathon training schedule to some degree, but you still need to devise a plan that will let you continue logging the same amount of miles each week.

Resting and recuperating are an important component in any long distance training routine but you should never skip those longer runs that you will be doing each weekend.

Those cross training activities are the easiest components in the schedule that you can tweak and adjust.

You can also make some changes regarding the pace of many training sessions, but you need to understand that too many adjustments can prevent you from getting the maximum physical benefits.

If you seriously think about running marathons you will need to select (and follow) a marathon training program that is suited to your skills, conditioning level and target distance.

No matter which marathon training schedule you choose to follow you will have to commit to the daily exercises and stick to the prescribed distances regardless of factors such as weather and personal time constraints.

In other words these training routines are only going to be as effective as you allow them to be.

I hope these tips and guidelines will help you to run a great marathon!

Read more about this topic on the following pages:

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