Spring Marathon Calling?
Date:09 Nov 2006
Article:Spring Marathon Calling?

There've been plenty of mutterings on recent club runs as to the uncertainty of getting into the London marathon as the deadline slipped past. People will be looking forward to hearing whether they’ve made it in or not with increased desperation as get closer to Xmas. As was mentioned on the club email circuit (or Frankblog, as I think it was) a few weeks ago, there are three other marathons at roughly the same time, (Paris, Rotterdam and Belfast), all easier to get into than London, so whether your entry is successful or not, there will be a big city spring marathon to aim at and there should be a group of people who can help support each other in their training when the going starts to get tough.

I'm sure there'll be a group formed around the 15 week schedule that many of the club followed in the run up to London last year, copies of which are available at the club. Both Paris & Rotterdam are only 15 weeks into the New Year and London is 16 weeks so really the sooner you start training the better. Exactly what you need to do depends very much upon where you are now in terms of your running, so here are a few simple guidelines:

Start planning how much time you have available to train; the schedules after Xmas demand a lot of attention and you will become an obsessive. Think about a realistic time to aim for; this partly depends upon the answer to the above point and partly upon how much running you're doing now and what your current race times are. If you haven't got a clue what your 10km or half marathon time is, plan to do one before Xmas to help you plan. I am assuming that as a regular club runner you are at least running a few times a week, so you should be building up your training between now and Xmas so that you are ready to launch into a suitable schedule after Xmas. The first aspect to this is building up your base mileage, that is, how many miles you run a week. As a rough guide, if you’re aiming for under four hours at London, put in a few weeks of regular, steady running at around 20-25 miles a week, if you’re aiming for a sub-3:30 time, you should be running 30-35 miles a week; anyone targeting sub-3:00 should be clocking up 40 miles. You don't need to worry about trying to increase in speed yet, focus on mileage rather than just turning up for track, hills and all races, but do start to incorporate some more ‘quality’ session where you run harder than you are used to. As your body adapts to a higher training load, ensure that you are also eating sufficient and nutritious food, drinking enough fluids and doing a good post-run stretching routine that will help as an early warning system for any niggles. As always, the more you can reduce impact by running off-road, the better. For regular marathoners who feel confident they can survive the 15 week post-Xmas schedule and are already running adequate mileage, use the time before the schedule begins to work on speed and strength. Cross-country racing, hill work and speed sessions of varying lengths are all very good marathon preparation. This will also help you cope with these sessions after Xmas. Finally, as you focus on the build up to the real schedule, try and get into the habit of training for the same number of session a week that the post-Xmas schedules will demand; five times a week for the sub-4:00 schedule; six times a week for the sub-3:30 and six or seven times a week at sub-3:00.

Good luck in your pre-preparations. I am sure you’ll be hearing more in the near future as a club marathon email group is formed and people start discussing the schedules and their goals.

If you’re lucky we might even get Barry ‘Andrex’ Burlingham to recount a few tales of past marathon glories, pickled eggs, the beast of Otmoor and Leppin to inspire you. Mark Hirst, UKA Level 3 Coach

HRR Marathon Group Email list For the build up to London 2006, several members formed an email list to assist in scheduling long runs, and discussing marathon-related topics. To subscribe to the list click here.

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