Marathon Training Plan
"The All Important 6 weeks Before Your Run"
The most important part of a marathon training plan comes in the last 6 weeks before a race. If you have planned your marathon training well, with a sound periodization plan beforehand, this period of preparation for the marathon can be the real difference between personal record setting times and not quite getting there.
What are the top 4 tips in the last part of your marathon training plan to be aware of ?
Below we will go through the following ;
- Finishing time calculation. Half marathon time 4 weeks before the marathon to determine finishing time and marathon pace calculation.
- Periodization. Periodization before the marathon, how many km pr week in the tapering.
- Drinking within the training schedule to have strength through 26.2 miles
- Novice, intermediate and advanced differences in the marathon training plan buildup
1. Finishing Time Calculation Based On Half Marathon Time
I have written a part about this before, in one of the questions and answers - but it is so important that here we go again :
Almost exactly 4 weeks before the marathon go for a half marathon. This will be the single best indication of your marathon shape at the moment and that half marathon in itself will be perfectly timed, to run at your very best in the marathon a month later.
Take that time you run there, add 4,5 % to the finishing time and you have exactly how fast your predicted time passing the half marathon point for the marathon should be. If you ran a 10k 4 weeks before, add 9 % to this and then you have your predicted half marathon passing time.
With this formula you are likely to negative split (3-5 minutes faster for the second part), meaning a fast run towards the end of the marathon. Which is ideal and should bring you very close to the maximum potential you have in you.
2. Periodization - How Much Pr Week - Cut Down On Minutes Run
In the last part before a marathon a real scoop of information is to cut down on the minutes you run in total instead of cutting down the number of runs.
If you are used to running 5 times a week, the ideal is not cut down to 2-3 times a week in the last "tapering period" before the marathon. This can cause "dead legs syndrome" - meaning you are in great cardiovascular running shape but your muscles are under-stimulated compared to what they are used to.
Instead, cut down on total minutes both in the hard workouts and in the easy ones. Meaning down to about 2/3 of normal minutes 2-3 weeks before and about 1/2 the normal minutes the two last weeks before the marathon. But you still run your normal number of weekly runs.
This will be much likely to get you to your goal finishing time vs. more rest days instead in the last period of marathon preparation.
3. Drinking - Teach Yourself Proper Hydration As Part of the Marathon Training Plan
For the last part of the marathon training schedule be aware of the ability the body has to adapt. This goes for drinking/absorbing fluid as well. In the marathon, at around 30 km for most, you will be out of stored energy and you HAVE to be able to take some of that in from external sources.
Then this is the key factor :
You can improve absorption of that fluid/energy if you train this during your runs, especially the long runs. So on most long runs, especially the last 2-3 weeks, always bring something to drink (sports drinks) and drink to your "limit" on some of those runs.
This can in fact make drastic improvement in avoiding "the marathon wall" towards the end of the marathon.
4. Long Runs Before the Marathon - Novice, Intermediate and Advance Marathon Runner Differences.
Most need some longer runs before the marathon.
For the experienced intermediate marathoners and the advanced ones it is enough usually with a longer run of 2-2.30 hrs about 10,20 and 30 days before the marathon. In addition to the specific type marathon work before that of course (type "Italian style" long runs with progressive harder and harder pace placed in there).
But for the more novice runners, a better way is usually to instead stay out for 3-4 hours for those longer runs - walk and run alternations for this part of the marathon training plan. This is much, much more effective as oppose to the 2 hour runs : because the time spend in the run/walk is closer to the actual running time. And the long runs is a matter of "number of impact strides" being made.
I wish all all the best for the last part of the marathon trianing plan and all the best for upcoming marathons.