Marathon Training Schedule

Marathon runners going down the streetI have been asked to contribute my idea of a good marathon training schedule and in order that you grasp the concept, I would first like to explain my definition of the word schedule.

A schedule to me is a planned set of steps with a proposed time frame that if all goes well should result in a satisfactory conclusion, thus if it involves a building, it ensures that the roof doesn’t arrive before the foundations are laid.

As far as a running schedule is concerned it should be noted, it is not the ten commandments and it is not carved in stone so you can and should from time to time review and rewrite your schedule until there will come a time when you don’t even need to refer to it. You will just slip out the door and your mind and body will know what’s right for today.

As an evolving beginner runner many years ago I didn’t have any running program or fancy idea other than running to lose weight and get in shape. First around the block, then two blocks then around a riverside circuit, until after a few months I was feeling fit, healthy and I was hooked.

At this time I was working with a top 1500 metre runner and another guy who was running road races so I joined their twice weekly lunch hour run from the office. This involved them jogging along having a conversation while I did involuntary speed work just to keep up.

They were very encouraging, suggesting that if I was going to get serious about this running I should train regularly and build a good foundation. They also suggested “by the way get rid of those horrible looking shorts, here’s a pair of mine that don’t fit me, wear them and you will start to look like a real runner,” thanks guys.

So evolved my original training schedule;

Two night’s a week after work 3km to 4km each.

Two lunch time runs around 5 to 6km.

Then Saturday about 4 to 8km if time was available, if not no run.

Sunday was an early morning run either, on the beach, through the forest, or on the hills with friends, anything from 10 to 14km.

Of course Saturday or Sunday would often be replaced by any and every fun run I could find from 5km to 14km and although I was still building fitness base, it was fun to find I was passing other runners and my times were improving.

At this point I had been running consistently for 2 years and the buzz word was marathon, it sounded good to me and there was a local one in June 7 months away so let’s have a look at a new marathon schedule and train for it.

In order to avoid disruptions I changed run times to early morning and started.

Monday- 5km to 10km riverside run.

Tuesday- around 10km streets or riverside.

Wednesday -16km- about 6km of this was along the beach with short bursts of speed for 100-200metres.

Thursday- easy 5km to 8km.

Friday – morning 5km or rest,

Lunch time 6km tempo run ( just trying to keep up ).

Saturday – around 10km.

Sunday – 16km forest trails or 20 to 30km hills.

This gave me a minimum of around 70km with up to 100km on a good week. It was hard going at times with the odd missed day here and there for various reasons but it worked.

I ran my marathon with the odd walk towards the end in 3hrs 39mins and I was on a high, joined a running club and ran 2 more marathons that year each a little faster, 3 hrs 30, and 3hrs 19.

Where to from here well that’s another story.

Just keep on running. Cheers Robert.