Training tips

Training Tips

Marathon essentials
Inspired by the London Marathon? Checkout these 12 tips from Athletics Weekly

1. FIX a target time. This must be within reach & challenging. Some guides are your 10 km PB X 5, minus 10 minutes – or your half-marathon PB plus 6:30 X 2.

2. TRAIN at your target time pace weekly. If your target is 2:35, that’s just over 6min/mile pace. Start with 9 miles and run the distance in 54 minutes. If the aim is 3:00:24 (6:50min/mile pace), run 9 miles in 63 minutes and so on. Once you feel comfortable with the pace, add a mile until you reach 18miles. This might be an extra mile a week, fortnight or month.

  • GET used to being on your feet for the duration of your target time. If your target time is four hours, you have a tough time ahead doing this bit! However, this run is not at marathon pace, it can be 2min/mile slower. Thus a three-hour potential marathoner running slowly may only cover 20 miles in three hours. Becoming used to the time on your feet is important.
  • TRAIN at your 10km speed regularly. If you accept the 10km indicator to your marathon time in (1) above, this is an automatic thing to do. You can either race 10km regularly, run 10km fast in training, or do 3 X 2 miles.
  • TRAIN at your 5km speed regularly. The 5km distance is 80% aerobic, not so far from the 99% of the marathon. One good session is called “variable pace” – run 400m at your best 5km pace, and then go straight into the next 400m at your target marathon speed. For a three-hour target this might be a lap of 93 seconds followed by one at 105 seconds. Do as many consecutive laps this way until the times cannot be reached. Take a rest and start again. The aim is to do 10km non-stop this way.
  • TRAIN at your 3km speed regularly. The 3km is 60% aerobic, often call fast aerobic distance. Attempt several 1500m efforts at your best 3km speed with three minutes recovery. This will aid your 5 km speed, which, in turn, will help your 10km time to come down.
  • EAT low glycemic carbohydrates. These are better converted to glycogen. Glucose is high glycemic. Fructose is low. Eat soya beans, kidney beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, whole-wheat pasta, oats, brown rice, pancakes and whole wheat bread.
  • EAT high glycemic carbohydrates immediately after training. This should be done with in 30 minutes of stopping training. A glucose drink, bananas, raisins, and honey in tea. From then on, eat low glycemic carbs.
  • MAINTAIN potassium levels. Research has shown that, as the summer months pass, the potassium levels of distance runners decline via increased sweating. Lose too much and you could have a heart attack! Drink pure orange juice with every meal.
  • Race once a month up to the marathon. Ideally, this can be 3km, 5km, 10km, 16km and 21km. This is a psychological boost to your marathon effort.
  • ALLOCATE yourself a race ratio of 51% and 49%. That means run the first 13miles slightly slower than your target, and the next slightly faster. That’s 92 mins/21 km and 88 mins/21 km for a tree hour marathon.
  • WATER-boosting brings good results. Drink extra water two days before racing. For four hours before the race drink 8oz every 15min to with in 30min of the start. Drink on the run whenever possible. All 23 marathoners in research on water-boosting ran 10-20 seconds per mile faster than before!