Marathon Training Schedules

Building a Training Schedule Base

When considering a marathon training schedule, the most important area one should focus upon is to safely build a mileage base. When one is already running for some time the base training starter schedule can be consulted and picked up at one's current level. We believe that one should be running three to four days a week with an average mileage around 20 miles per week before considering training for a marathon. From that point, long runs and weekly mileage increases can be made with small increments. Use the "Ten Percent Rule" to increase mileage when applying your own training schedule.

How to decide

Which plan is best for you depends on factors such as running experience, amount of free time, and a finish time goals. Avoid over-training by choosing a comfortable training schedule. Schedules can always be modified later when the body feels like it can handle more.

Tested Training Schedules

Our suggested training plans have been used and tested by marathon runners and coaches with positive results. Thousands of marathon runners succesfully cross the finish line of marathons around the world using these training schedules. Select your training schedule and try it out for a few weeks. After that ask yourself whether your body is in good condition and if it feels rested and fresh when waking up in the morning. In case your body feels heavy and in need of more rest, consider an easier schedule. These schedules however are not written in stone and can be refined to fit personal needs and circumstances. Switching a run and a rest day around shouldn't be a big problem as long as it is not the long-run. The current training schedules pressume that Sunday is a complete day-off from work and other responsabilities to be devoted to the long-run. However, one can slide the whole schedule so that the long-run falls on any other desired day.

The Ten Percent Rule

Do not increase your long-run and your weekly total mileage by more than 10 percent a week. Doing so greatly increases the chances of incurring an injury, thereby delaying or stopping your training all together. Refer to the Running Injury Prevention section for additional information. Our body is able to take only small increments when we're already on a training schedule which makes us run at out maximum endurance level. If you feel that you have not reached the peak of weekly mileage you can try to increase by more than 10 percent but it is risky. Stick to the 10 percent rule when you have enough preparation time before your marathon race. There are many types of suggested training marathon schedules out there with a good many of them not adhering to the ten percent rule. They come with a list of success stories but of course the reports about injuries are not provided.

Scientific Study

There has been a study performed by a Dutch scientist Dr. Ida Bruist on the effects of the ten percent rule. Her study was performed on two groups of 250 novice runners. One group used a 13 week training program with the ten percent rule, the other group used an eight week program with fifty percent increases. Both groups trained for a 4 mile race after the training program and both groups ended up with the same amount of injuries (about 20 percent each). Conclusion ten percent rule : not proven.

Our Method

Our analisis of this particular study found that in both the eight week training schedule and the thirteen week training schedule there was one very importand training flaw. Even though the increases were various, both programs had a continuous build-up of running time but no breaks for recovery. Going from zero to running about 90 minutes a week after eight or thirteen weeks would be a hard increase. Therefor our training schedules include resting or a reduced training week every third week to allow for our body to recover from the strain and increased stress of running.

 
 

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