First Time Marathon Training Schedule and Motivation from An Experienced Runner (Video)

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Last modified on Saturday, 18 May 2013 12:14

This interview covers a variety of topics, including: marathon running routines, endurance training workouts, set up a marathon training schedule, map a run, and how a marathon runner should be mentally preparing for marathon one, two, or one hundred.  From physical to mental, this piece has it covered.  It is safe to say that, for a marathon runner, life begins outside of your comfort zone!

       Step one to becoming an incredible marathon runner is that you not only have to accept that you will be pushed outside of your comfort zone, but in fact, you love and cherish that space. If you are going to begin a marathon training schedule simply out of motivation, then you will fail. Motivation lasts a maximum of around three weeks. Instead, you have to yearn to reach a specific goal. The goal has to become a part of you. Are you trying to run and complete a 10k? Perhaps you want to finish top 20 in the Boston Marathon? Maybe it is the gold medal at the next Olympics. No matter your desire, you need to be very clear on what it is you plan on reaching and then designing serious and effective endurance training workouts, running routines and nutrition game plan. If you want to be a serious endurance runner, let us begin with how to set up your training program, map a run, and running routines. An endurance athletes endurance training workouts are broken down into phases, then within these are sub-phases. Within the sub-phases are macro-cycles, and within the macro-cycles are micro-cycles.

     There are some key points to remember when developing an elite training program. The first area is injury prevention. This covers several areas, including developing a proper warm-up and cooldown routine, and focusing on dynamic flexibility instead of simply static stretching within your training. The next critical point is developing speed and strength. You achieve this by having fast speed and power running routines, and by incorporating a strength and conditioning weightlifting routine. Your body is a complex machine, and it becomes what you teach it to do, that is why having a speed program within your overall endurance training workouts is essential.  As far as lifting weights for strength and endurance, it can make some huge changes in your running.  You will not bulk up when coupling it with daily aerobic activity.  Many runners, if they do lift weights, do not do so properly.  It is important to keep in mind that your weight lifting should really focus on muscle balance. You want to incorporate medicine ball training, and resistance trinaing like band workouts.  The importance of a stronger runner is that they can take longer strides faster and with less effort. There is absolutely a correlation between speed and strength.  Lastly, weight training helpes prevent injuries.  The next important point, incorporate a cross training regimen for some active rest days.  Get out there and throw in some Frisbee football, cycling, swimming, yoga, etc. Do not burn out on nothing but long-distance runs day in and dayout, it does not help you get better physically, and it certainly does not help you mentally.

     Remember, every micro-cycle is different as you push the demand on your body. Early on , the athlete will be trying to develop a base of endurance. Once your base endurance is established, then your training will become very interesting with long days sprinkled with speed and power runs. Listen to runner Julie Howard as she breaks down how she prepares, map a run, a marathon training schedule, competes, and transitions year in and year out. Julie breaks down why nutrition is important and what she eats and when in relation to her workouts.  Julie also goes into specifics about her workouts and how she incorporates speed and power into her endurance routine.  You may be surprised how much time Julie was able to take off her running time when she incorporated marathon speed training and marathon power development in her overall marathon training schedule. 



Marathon Video Transcription:

      My name's Julie Howard, I'm 42 years old. I train with two phenomenal women so a support system is very important. We run 5K's and we run half marathons together, and we do on Broad Street which is the best race in Philadelphia ever, which is ten miles, 30,000 people, it's great.

      Best preparation, of course, is nutrition and your training. If you do the right training you can do anything. Nutrition is always important starting about 12 weeks before. Just cut out the junk. That's all there is to it. There's no alcohol, no junk and it's all good carbs, a lot of eggs, tons of protein and after running getting it all back in and getting back your protein and your carbs that you've lost and your hydration. Hydration is just key. Water, no sugar, just cut all that bad sugar. No Gatorade. Just water, water's the best and all you're protein drinks.

      Mentally, I see myself crossing the finish line and I always set a goal, set a time goal, pace and that's all running is. It's just a pace. It's just a pace and to not stop and one thing I just say over and over, over and over I can't do this tomorrow, I can't do this tomorrow, I have to do this now. And our other mantra that we live by is life begins outside of your comfort zone. So, we got to always run. I run 13.1 miles right outside of my comfort zone.

      Training is Monday, a Monday run. Tuesday yoga, a Wednesday run, Thursday boxing, Friday, light training, strength and Saturday is a long run and you have to take it up to 13 miles for your preparation for a half marathon. Speed, every Wednesday is a speed workout. So you go to a track, get on a treadmill, and it's just taking it up for 30 second, rest for 30 seconds, taking it up for a minute. Warm up is always crucial. Hill workouts, get to a hill, speed to the top of it as fast as you can, walk down. Speed to the top of it, walk down over and over again and then your long runs are crucial.

      Get up at 5:30 in the morning, you can do it when your kids are at camp or at school. My little one, was really little, I ran at 8:30 every night, or it was a treadmill when they were sick and you can get to the gym or it's raining or if you have snow, it's a treadmill. It's better than nothing. You're training is everything. Just trust your training that you didn't miss one run, one bit of training and you didn't cheat and when you're running you just know I did it, I trained right, I trained right.

      How many speed work outs? I'll give you my two favorite. Get to a track, really simple. People are like either 200 meters, 500 meters, I'm just, like, I got to break it down and simplify everything. I warm up for a mile, so four times around the track, speed halfway around it and then jog the rest of the way, speed it up again, jog the rest of the way. Or you can do quarters, break the track down in quarters. Speed it for a quarter, walk it, speed it, walk it. I prefer, on a treadmill, and I don't know why because I prefer outdoor running more then anything but for a speedworkout I'll get on a treadmill. I'll run it a six mile an hour for a minute, run it at seven miles an hour for a minute, run at eight miles fora minute, run it at 8.5 for a minute, get off and rest and that rest is crucial for one minute. Get back on and do it again. Take it up to eight then 8.5.

      Then when I get up to nine, just 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, 30 seconds on and I'll go through that whole pattern four times and it's like I look down and it's six miles and it's over like that. And between one year and the next year I took off two minutes 14 seconds off of my 13 miles which doesn't' sound like a lot but if you're a runner you understand and the only reason and the only thing I changed differently was my speed workout, I took it up once a week. It's the best, it's the most important run. Most important training run and my first one I only ran two 11 and I felt like running to 13 and over 13, that was even better.

      Yeah, I box and yoga is no joke. I used to think yoga was my rest day. I think yoga has kept me running as long as I have because it's a horrible sport for your body and that pounding and taking the brakes and running every other day and not seven days a week. Nobody needs that on their body.And listening to your body, I've run for where I've had tendentious and I had to stop for three weeks, and so, first sign you just take three days off. It'll be there because the not running is good. Not being able to run for three weeks is horrible instead of just three or four days.

      Someone also told me this year, I say what can I do this year different? How can I beat my time from last year? So I've incorporated Fridays, that are just lunges, squats with kettle bells. I just lunge across a gym and back about eight times with a 15 pound kettle bell in my hand, really low lunges and I'm hoping that that muscle incorporated into it will do it, Because you run and run and run, but I don't know. I feel like the hills will be easier, but mentally, actually it's all mental. I'm just not going to stop and discipline. Discipline with your eating because that's not easy.

     That treadmill is how safe it is. I feel like I'm on a crowned road for eight, ten miles. The next day, like, my legs are shot. I can do that on a treadmill and just the safety of it. I feel like I have to have to keep that in there. The other thing, which I've had to add and I didn't have to do this in my 30's, late 30's, early 40's, I have to stretch out after every run. I miss one strength, like, stretching out and it's all over and I have a roller and a band and everything.

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