In recent weeks thousands of people will have heard whether or not they managed to snag a place at the London Marathon or have signed up to a number of the other popular events around the world. This is no doubt an exciting time and those people, and many others who are taking part in an endurance event next year will have started to consider their training plans leading up to the event.
Many of the cookie cutter programmes you can find online will actually serve you fairly well as a guide to what you need to do. However most of these run for around 12 weeks. Let's imagine you're fairly knew to running and haven't done a great deal of training in the past - is 12 weeks enough time to train for such a physical and mental challenge?
In my opinion - NO. If you've done little training in the past, 12 weeks is simply not enough time to get all of the work in that you need to finish the job.
Any training programme will go through what is known as the 'Base Phase' of training and is the section in your training when you are focussing on developing your cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory systems. The more developed these system are the more blood flow your body produces leading to more oxygen-rich red blood cells available that power your muscles, and the more plasma available that aids in creating energy through glycolysis. This strong foundation will help to produce improvements in your performance!
This period of training should last as long as feasible without you becoming bored, unmotivated, or starting to resent the training you need to do. This is because adaptations during this phase take a little longer (relative to speed & muscle development) so you have to be patient, consistent and keep chipping away.
Your training runs should be easy and aerobic with a gradual increase in training volume with occasional 'easy' weeks to give yourself a break from that increased volume. This will help aid your recovery and lead to your body adapting to the new training load. This could be done with 2 or 3 weeks of gradually increased volume to a 4th week of a reduction back to week 1 levels for instance.
Not only that but you can also throw in some extra cross-training to mix things up and to continue to develop your CV system, then of course you should be adding strength workouts a couple of times a week that will develop muscular endurance throughout your body.
So if you have got yourself a place at the London Marathon or any other marathon in 2017 my advice is to get cracking on your training now. You really have no time to lose!
If you need any help or you have any specific questions about your training then just drop me a line. I'm happy to help