Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Four Essentials of a Marathon Training Regimen

Training for a 26-mile marathon requires dedication, preparation, and perseverance. Starting too hard and too fast often leads to preventable injuries. First-time runners should build up a consistent base run mileage for at least a year before they begin their marathon training regimen. Marathon training regimens generally last between 12 and 20 weeks. When runners are ready to begin marathon training, they should focus on four basic elements. 1. The Base Mileage. The aim of the training program is to gradually increase runs so that the runner ultimately is running 50 miles per week divided among three to five runs. The runs should be leisurely paced, and mileage should never increase by more than 10 percent each week. 2. The Weekly Long Run. Once every week or 10 days, runners should complete a long run, which should be increased from week to week. Long runs usually peak at about 20 miles, but the preparation gained through the training regimen makes the additional six miles readily achievable on race day. 3. Speed Work. Most training runs are done at a relaxed pace, but incorporating speed work into the training regimen helps improve aerobic capacity and ultimately makes running easier. Runners can include short sprints within slower-paced jogs or run longer, faster runs at a challenging but maintainable pace. 4. The Rest Routine. Just as runners schedule run sessions, they also must schedule rest and recovery sessions. On rest days, muscles recover from the workout. In the final weeks leading up to a marathon, runners should reduce the distance and difficulty of the training runs so that the body is well rested on race day.