Friday, April 25, 2014

Free Basic Marathon Training Plan

In my former life (before my 4th and 5th child) I was a personal trainer with an endurance training emphasis. I loved to write marathon training plans using best practice research. Now I only write custom plans for close family and friends.

Below I have posted a basic plan that you can look over.

A person who starts this plan should already be able to run 3 miles at a time and about 9 miles weekly.

This is an 18 week plan, with a 3 day split (3 day a week running schedule).

If you print and use any of these plans you agree that you do so at your own risk. Marathon training is not for the faint of heart, literally. Check with your physician when starting any workout plan.

Maybe in the future I will post more challenging or speed focused plans. This one is one of the most basic plans possible to be able to just finish a marathon.




First Marathon Basic Training Tips

Base Mile Training
  • Mileage will increase slowly (weekly mileage will increase to 30 miles per week)
  • Mondays and Wed runs are Easy Runs- Should be able to talk while running.
  • Long runs should be easy pace.
  • As is, your training doesn't have speedwork look for a more challenging plan, or use Wed as a speedier day if you are pursuing a time. Monday’s are always easy.


Recovery Training
  • Take a total rest day the day before and after your long runs
  • No leg weight training the day before long runs
  • After Every Long Run- Stretch and roll (with “the stick” or foam roller)-roll calves, shins, it-band (outer thigh). Stretch calves, quads, hamstrings, back, hipflexor, Outer thigh. No stretching before on cold muscles, if you feel like you need to stretch before then do a warmup first and stretch.
  • Sleep well the week before the marathon, it is the night, two nights before the marathon that makes a difference. You will unlikely sleep well the night before.
  • Pay attention to bottom of the foot pain, heel pain, knee pain, outer thigh pain. These are common injuries that occur with marathon training and early intervention is key to managing these injuries (take a little bit of time to treat these when they begin with the “rice method” google it or you may have to take weeks or months off later).


Fuel Training
  • Stay well hydrated through training. Make a focused effort to drink water especially in the morning.
  • Beginning using a post workout meal- Carb/Protein Ratio- 30/10- Examples are: Chocolate milk low fat or protein smoothie (½ scoop of protein powder, ice with a whole banana, ¼ cup or more of water - blended.)
  • Postworkout is really important to stock the legs with glycogen and repair protein. This should be taken within 45 minutes of the workout.
  • A non-traditional but more effective carb loading should begin two weeks before the marathon. We want to make sure the muscles in your legs are stocked with glycogen  not your stomach ;) Whole wheat tortillas, fruit, oatmeal, drink gatorade frequently that week. The most important night to eat complex carbs is two nights before the marathon not the night before.


Race Day and Fueling
      • Every run over 8 miles take an electrolyte fuel supplement at mile 6 and every 4-6 miles after. (Experiment heavily with these well before the day of the race so that there are no surprises on your race day. Find what works as soon as you can and practice it on as many long runs as possible. Try sports beans (my fav watermelon, orange, fruit punch), gu’s, shot blocks. Carry or hide water on long routes. If your body knows that it will have proper fueling it will function more efficiently.
      • No caffeine, if you feel like you need to use it, don’t use it until mile 20 on race day. I would recommend not using it.
      • Preworkout- Need to practice this on long runs before the marathon. ideas- Oatmeal 1 hr before or banantia (banana rolled in a tortilla)
      • On race day take a gu or electrolyte supplement 30 min before the run
      • Always take fuel with water.
      • Don’t do anything new on race day. Try to practice everything on long runs.
      • Try to drink at most aid stations especially at the beginning of the race. Walk briskly through most aid stations.
      • Treat the first mile of the marathon as a warm up. Practice self control and start out slowly or even start towards the back of the pack, you will be able to pass people as you go and since it is chipped it will not affect your time.
Items to buy
  • Two pairs of shoes, track miles on shoes, less than 500 miles per pair, rotate shoes each run.
  • “the stick” google it include the word running. This is best for the lower legs, calves and shins, and best for the it-band, You should be rolling these out after every long run
  • foam roller (optional) this is best for rolling out glutes, back, and larger muscles.
  • A good water bottle, easy to carry- try contigo brand (walmart or costco)
  • Post workout mixes
  • Fuel while running (sports beans, gatorade, gus, shot blocks, no caffeine)
  • Body glide or vaseline- use on long runs
  • Do not wear new socks, shoes, sports bras, shorts, shirts or fuel carriers for marathon. It is best to always do a practice run of your marathon gear before the race.

Cross Training
I know that some trainers (especially those who don't run marathons) say to lift hard with your legs while training for a marathon. I completely disagree with this. If you cross train with weights you may want to switch to lighter leg days during marathon training. The recovery process with heavy lifting and long runs gets confusing for the leg muscles and seems to cause more injuries than benefits. If you are a beginner I recommend a complete rest day the day before and after your long run, that includes cross training. If you are more advanced than listen to your body. If you are already cross training and running than you are welcome to keep that same schedule as long as you go easy on the legs the day before or the day after the long run.


Weight loss
If you are trying to lose weight by running a marathon it might happen but it usually doesn't unless there is a change in diet as well. People who start to run retain water and their appetite adjusts to support their running at their current weight. You will unlikely lose weight unless you make a focused effort on your diet. A person who runs distances needs carbs for fuel it is not the best time to cut carbs from the diet.


Happy Healthy Eating!

- Susan

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