Hard surface training marathon

by Bård, answer by Marius

Hard surface training and marathon, how important is it ?

Hi, Marius and thank you for providing us with an excellent program!

I do most of my running on dirt roads and soft paths in the forest. How important is it to make certain runs on asphalt? For example when entering the marathon specific part of the program (week 7 an onwards) should most of the long "walk/run" sessions be made on asphalt?

Answer: Excellent question there ! I will give you two options that both works really well.

Model 1 :
You run on a consistent basis one or two of your hard sessions each week on hard surface (asphalt) and continue to do this all the way through to the marathon week after week ; from week 1-5 all the way until the marathon. If it is also convinient (usually for practical reasons) with some of your longer easy runs on a hard surface then this is ok as well.

Model 2 :
BUT, if you are used to running on soft surfaces (that I prefer personally for myself and runners that asks this question) what you want is to have a maximum three to four sessions and no more on a hard surface before the marathon. And these should be fairly but not too close to the marathon itself. This is enough to get used to it but not too much in a critical phase of your training.

I normally advice to do a hard surface session 30 days, 20 days and 10 days respectively before the marathon. These can for example be the "walk/runs" (the really long ones) on a hard surface - or at least the last half of them. This is usually enough, and maybe only 1, max 2 of the faster intervalls as well. Point is to balance it out this way and you will do fine even if you run the rest of your training only on a soft surface !

Kind regards,

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