pFor most it is the internal, personal challenge that runners seek when deciding to train for a half/full marathon. You might want to test your limits and prove to yourself that you can go the distance. Or maybe it was one of your pushy runner friends who said, “it will be so much fun!” Whatever reason you had that made you commit to the training, remind yourself of it often during the months that lie ahead. When your legs are tired or the weather is nasty, maintaining your motivation will help you get out the door.
Starting to Run
Start planning early: It is important that marathoners run a consistent base mileage for at least a year before embarking on a full marathon training program. Building base mileage for half marathoners takes about 6 months time.
What is a building a base?
A running base is like the foundation of your house. The foundation supports the demands of progressive mileage and intensity that comes with a training plan. It is the bridge that connects your racing seasons together and prepares your mind/body for the harder efforts during training and racing. When you begin a training plan, it starts out at a low level and continues to build week to week until it peaks just before race day.
One of the most common causes of injury is building weekly mileage too quickly—we cannot stress enough “DO NOT underestimate the importance of consistently running at least 20–30 miles a week regularly before committing to training for a marathon”. Start small: Running a few shorter races—5Ks-10ks before a half marathon and 10ks-half marathons before your marathon.
Deciding on that First Marathon
Marathons range from quiet, low-key races on backcountry roads to spectator-lined urban races with tens of thousands of runners. Choosing a marathon close to home may offer a "home field advantage" with the opportunity to train on the course’s roads; on the other hand, choosing a "destination" race can really stoke your motivation.
Primary Building Blocks of Marathon Training
Most marathon training plans range from 12 to 20 weeks. Beginning marathoners should aim to build their weekly mileage up to 50 miles over the four months leading up to race day. Six runs per week is adequate giving yourself one day off for recovery. The majority of these runs should be run at an easy enough pace to be able to carry on a conversation. When building base mileage, never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent from week to week.
The Long Run
Your next step is to build up to a weekly long run. This should be done once a week on either a Saturday or Sunday. Your long run will extend about 10% every two weeks. Every 4 weeks, scale it back by a few miles so as not to overtax your body and risk injury. For example, you might run 13 miles one weekend, 14 miles the next, then 15 miles, and then 13 again before moving on to 16 on the fifth weekend.
A long slow distance “LSD” is substantially slower pace than usual, it builds confidence, lets your body adjust to longer distances, and teaches you to burn fat for fuel. Long runs for half marathon training can train up to 10 miles and most marathon training plans usually peak at a long run of 20-22miles. With proper training, your body will take advantage of the peak fitness state your body will be in, the recovery and rest you offer it during a tapering period, and the race adrenaline and ambience of race day will provide you the rest of the miles needed to complete your distance.
Speed work is an critical, albeit, optional, element to incorporate into your training program. Speed sessions increase aerobic capacity and make your easy runs feel even easier. Intervals and tempo runs are the most popular forms of speed work.
Intervals are a set of repetitions of a specific, short distance, run at a substantially faster pace than usual, with recovery jogs in between. For example, 6X 1 minute hard pace, with 1 minute of slow jogging (or even walking) between the repeats.
Tempo runs are longer than an interval—generally in the range of 30-60 minutes, depending on where you are in your training. During a tempo run you will run at a challenging, but sustainable, pace. This teaches you physically and mentally how to sustain challenging work over a longer period of time. Remember, it is important to always allow your body to warm up and cool down with a few easy miles at the beginning and end of any speed session.
Rest and Recovery
Rest days mean no running. They let your muscles recover from the week's workouts and help prevent the greatest enemy of of any runner - injury.
If you are really needing some activity on your recovery days, doing some cross-training is a great option. Nothing high impact.
Tapering: In the two or three weeks leading up to your marathon, scale back significantly on overall mileage and difficulty of your runs to let your body rest up for race day.
Hydrating on the run
Nearly all half/full marathons include water and aid stations along the way. If you plan to carry your own water on race day, buy a hydration pack long in advance and get accustomed to running with it. Never try something new on race day.
Fueling on the run
Many marathoners tell the tale of "hitting the wall" or "bonking." Your body can only store so much glycogen. As this level gets depleted over the course of your marathon, your muscles will begin to tire and feel heavy. Consuming small amounts of carbohydrates can help prevent you from hitting the dreaded wall.
Again, be sure to practice fueling on your training runs to see what your stomach tolerates best, so you can fuel confidently on race day.
Full/half marathon training takes a lot of time and you are running for long periods of time and usually at early hours. Joining a training group provides direction and friends for mental, physical, and emotional support, along with safety.
When you hear the word treadmill it is usually followed by a groan. While it is not as glamorous as your favorite road segment or trail lined with beautiful pines, the treadmill offers many benefits to a runner.
1. Escape from inclement weather
Winter training can be difficult due to the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Runners often try to run outside as much possible; however, sometimes the conditions could cause a potential injury. The treadmill is a safe alternate while you weather the storm. The controlled climate also keeps your muscles warm which helps reduce risk of injury.
2. Reduced impact on your body
One big benefit is the reduction of impact compared to running on harder surfaces. Newton's Third Law states, For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you run on concrete or pavement your body needs to be able to absorb the forces it endures when it encounters a hard / immovable object. Most treadmills tend to have some sort of shock absorbing system that helps to lessen impact forces.
3. Mental toughness
Come on, this is a given. Running in one place for an extended period of time will make you next outdoor run feel like a breeze! You get so many mental toughness points when you are treadmill running. The treadmill is also a good place to really listen to your body and it's sensations since there may not be as many distractions or other stimulation for your mind to latch on to.
4. Race course simulation
Another advantage of the treadmill is that it can help you train for your next event very specifically. Programmable treadmills help you simulate the race course. If you know the course profile, controlling the speed, incline, and decline will come in handy on race day.
5. Netflix and run?
Sometimes it is nice to put on a good tv show or movie and let the time tick by while you are catching up on some Netflix! I wouldn't suggest a scary movie, I was watching one once and when something jumped out - I jumped and almost fell off the treadmill.
6. Amuse yourself with a workout
Planning a speed session is a great way to pass the time. Some of my favorite workouts are: a good warm up followed by increasing the pace by 0.1mph every minute. This makes me want both the workout to end quickly but also make it so that I want time to go slow (imagine that!) so that I don't have to increase my pace.
7. Even pace
When you are running outside, you will gradually slow down when you are tired, bounding up a hill, etc. However, on a treadmill you are forced to keep an even pace and in some cases an even effort level.
The treadmill can be efficient if it's located in your house or if you use the treadmill at a gym then do your core / weight training routine. Time is always important and being able to maximize your time is always beneficial.
There are so many more benefits to treadmill running that have not been covered in this article but needless to say the treadmill can be a great tool for training as well as being a safer option when conditions or time constraints may be an issue.
So next time you are on the fence of whether or not you should treadmill run, please consider some of the arguments made above and have a great run, wherever you choose!
Many runners finish their runs and immediately check their latest form of technology's data. Amongst the countless data provided to an athlete from their Garmin, Coros, or Suunto watches is cadence. So, what is cadence? Cadence is defined as the total number of steps you take per minute. An easy way to measure your cadence is to count the amount of times your feet hit the ground in 60 seconds.
What can a runner do to increase their cadence? There are a couple of things you can do to help increase your cadence. First, I'd ask my runner: "what is the main reason that you are looking to have a higher cadence"? It's true that typically a higher cadence (~180) tends to be more efficient for most runners because generally a higher cadence means that ground contact time and distance traveled vertically are kept at a minimum. However, everyone is different and what works for you may be different than others. So if you are experiencing an unusual amount of injuries or seem to have hit a plateau in your progression of training then it is possible that you can improve both areas by improving your running economy/efficiency...one of the ways being increasing your cadence.
1. Hill Running - Find a hill that is approximately 3-10% in grade (or use a treadmill) and run up it comfortably. Hills tend to promote efficient running naturally. You do not need to put in a high effort, your main goal is to increase your cadence and over time teach your neuromuscular system.
2. End your run with some relaxed but quick short strides. Similar to hill running, short bursts of faster running will help improve economy by training your neuromuscular system.
Non Running Specific:
1. Cycling in a low gear at high RPMs (aim for 95-100+) This will help mimic the turnover needed in running, but with the aid of a wheel.
2. Developmental Drills. These are used to build coordination and help get your body ready for efficient running. Some of these drills are A Drills, B Drills, Standing Cycle. These won't directly alter your cadence but they will help aid your motor skills.