To run a successful marathon you need to develop two systems very strongly. These are your aerobic capacity and your aerobic ability. Your aerobic capacity is, as it were, the gas tank on which you function while running. The bigger your gas tank is, the more power you are able to deliver. You can improve your aerobic capacity with gradual slow endurance running sessions of 15 to 35 km. By training at a low heart rate, you ensure that you are more economical with your carbohydrates as you directly address your fat burning.
Your aerobic power is the power you can deliver over the distance you travel. You increase this by running longer speed sessions in a row. This will improve your oxygen transport system. Examples of training sessions are 4 x 2 km, 3 x 3 km or 3 x 5 km that you can run at a marathon pace.
Preparation for the marathon
Plan a 3-week cycle in which you implement a light, average and heavy week. This way you can increase your kilometers a little more each time and make your weeks more challenging. This means, for example, that you can build up your long endurance running as follows: light week 15 km, average week 20 km, heavy week 25 km. The following week you can go one step further and walk 20 km during the light week and in the average and heavy week 25 and 30 km respectively. It is wise to do at least 3 endurance runs of 30 km or longer prior to your marathon. For example 1x 30 km, 1x 32 km and 1x 34 km. Build up to this level gradually.
Just like with endurance running, you also need to build up your long interval training. It is advisable to train at least 3 times a week, including one long endurance run, one long interval training and another easy short run or short interval training. Run 8 to 15 km at one pace and divide it into sections. Examples include 4 x 2 km, 3 x 3 km, 4 x 3 km and 3 x 5 km. It sounds crazy, but don't take too long resting between your sections so you get used to the strain of running. A little rest is of course good and constructive, but take a maximum of 3 minutes worth of jogging between your rounds. With a short interval training, you get more repetitions with a shorter pause of up to 90 seconds. A nice workout to do is for example 15 x 2 minutes with a jogging break of 1min or 30 x 45seconds with a jogging break of 15 seconds.
Preparing for your marathon with adequate food and drinks
Always prepare for your training with adequate food and drinks. Your diet determines your fuel in terms of carbohydrates and your fluid balance is essential to maintain or improve your performance level. Also prepare well in terms of shoes and clothing. Wear what's comfortable and what doesn't rub or irritate.
- Work with a 3-week cycle
- Vary your training sessions
- Increase your kilometers gradually
- Use adequate foods and other work-out supplements
- Train your aerobic capacity and ability
These running tips & tricks are from top athlete and top coach Gert-Jan Wassink. Gert-Jan possesses years of experience as a top athlete with multiple medals for Dutch Championships and is a 7-time participant in European Championships. In addition, he coaches numerous upcoming athletes, recreational runners and top athletes. Gert-Jan's motto is: train smart and sensible and make every workout count.
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