The Best Training For Marathon Runners

There is no best training for Marathon runners, but there are some very good training sessions, which every Marathon runner should include in their training.

  1. Long Run
  2. Tempo Run
  3. Interval Sessions
  4. Marathon paced running
  5. Fartlek Running

No one of the above is more important than another, a good programme should be well rounded and include varied paced runs throughout the programme. It is similar to asking what is the best food for a Marathon runner ! your diet should be varied, a little of everything.

Long Run

Generally speaking your long run should build up to a minimum of 65% of your estimated finishing time or 18 miles, which ever comes first. How fast, we are not concerned with speed, just cover the distance, whilst talking to a friend and enjoy the run. Start at just 5 or 6 miles and build this up over a period of 16 / 18 weeks, to 18 miles.

Tempo Run

Tempo pace, is the steady pace you can hold for 1 hour. Which may be anything from 6km to 16km per hour. A tempo workout could be a 15min warmup then 30mins at your tempo pace and a 15min cool down. Totalling 60mins but only running at tempo pace for 30mins. You may wish to start off with just 20min warmup and 20mins tempo and 20mins cool down jog. Over a period of weeks, the time of the tempo run steadily  increases to say 45mins, with a warmup of 15mins and cool down jog of 10mins.

Interval Sessions

Intervals tend to be faster paced than your normal training sessions but much shorter. An example may be 6 x 1 mile repeats at your 10km pace, with 1min rest between each repeat. The distance of the interval would depend on the time of year and the proximity to the race, the race distance and of course your fitness. Generally the longer the distance you are training for, the longer the intervals or shorter intervals but lots of them, to make the session simulate a Marathon run. Another example would be 50 x 400m intervals @ your 8km pace, with 60secs rest between each. These are done at an easier pace than say a 1500m runner, who may do 10 x400m @ their mile pace, whilst for a Marathon runner, these would be done a little slower, say 8km or 5km pace but the session would be a lot longer. Starting with say 16 x 400m at 5km  or 8km pace and adding two a week until the session is either 1hr 40min or 50 x 400m, which ever comes first.

Marathon Paced Running

You have to practice running at Marathon pace. Start off at what ever you can do, say 8 miles and just add about 1km per week, until you run 18miles.

Fartlek Running

This type of running is very similar to intervals but not structured in any way. So you may have a circuit of say 3km and during the circuit you may increase your speed for 250m and then ease off, jog for 500m and then increase your speed again for 500m etc. Just make this up as you go and have some fun, best done in a park or on a trail.

If your Marathon plan is structured to include the above you will have an excellent running programme. The more time you are on your feet, the better your endurance will be but if you can only run three times per wee, then that is fine. Just take the sessions through to the following week and when you have completed all the above sessions, start again.

The following is an example of a Marathon plan, if you wish to have a bespoke plan written, just ask and I will send one for free

A Marathon Plan