Marathon Training Cycles
All training cycles are different. Here's my take.
By conventional standards, marathon training cycles are normally 16-18 weeks.
If you’re in shape and you've been running, you can get away with a 16-week training cycle. Give it a few more weeks if you’re a novice, had injury issues, or feel like you need some extra time, “just in case”.
But no one says a marathon training cycle has to be 16-18 weeks. I read somewhere that Kenenisa Bekele - arguably one of the best distance runners, ever to live - only trains for 12 weeks for his marathons.
So what should you be doing?
I don’t have the crystal ball you think I have, so I can’t make that specific recomendation for you. But, what I can suggest are some things you can do to help you have a better marathon the next time you attempt one.
Rest (after your last race) like a champ
After your last race, take time away from running. You’ll need to rest your body, but also your mind. Training full time (month after month) without a break is exhausting and the only way to get out of your funk is by taking time off.
Train different systems throughout the year
After a marathon cycle, move down in distance. Spend some parts of the year training like a 5k runner. Spend time testing your speed rather than your endurance. It’ll make you a well-rounded runner and the speed work will help marathon pace feel easier.
Change/adjust one variable at a time
Here are only some of the variables I’m suggesting you can modify:
easy run pace
long run distance
shoes (brand, style, racing vs trainers)
Take a liking to strength training. You don’t have to try and get “big”, but you definitely should focus on being a balanced runner. Stronger joints, ligaments, and muscles can only help support your running.
Friday’s Action Plan:
Before you start training for a race (of any distance), have a sketched out plan for how and what you’ll do for your training.
What’s Got My Attention:
Article: The 2022 Boston Marathon Cutoff Time
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Tim will be racing the Philly Marathon this weekend!
Quote of the Day:
Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction can be the biggest step of your life.
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Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com
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Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.