Saturday, 27 July 2013

Training for the Melbourne Marathon (3 month Marathon Training Plan)

The Melbourne Marathon is now less than 3 months away on Sunday October 13th. I've just finished the Run Melbourne half marathon and can run the half marathon distance fairly comfortably in under 1:45.00. This is my plan for getting to the next level of distance and hopefully will allow me to crack a very aggressive race time of 3:15.00.

Program

MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
Week 1
22nd July
Rest Interval/Hill
45 mins
Strength
Training
Long
Run 22km
Rest day Strength
Training
Rest day
Week 2
29th July
Interval/Hill
50 mins
Rest Strength
Training
Fast Long Run
16km
Recovery
Run 5km
Swim 750m Long Run
28km
Week 3
5th Aug
Recovery
Run 5km
Interval/Hill
50 mins
Strength
Training
Fast Long Run
18km
Recovery
Run 5km
Swim and
Strength
Training
Long run
32km
Week 4
12th Aug
Recovery
Run 5km
Interval/Hill
50 mins
Strength
Training
Fast Long Run
20km
Recovery
Run 5km
Swim and
Strength
Training
Long run
36km
Week 5
19th Aug
Recovery
Run 5km
Interval/Hill
50 mins
Strength
Training
Long Run
30km
Recovery
Run 5km
Swim and
Strength
Training
Coburg Half
Marathon
21.3km
Week 6
26th Aug
Recovery
Run 5km
Interval/Hill
55 mins
Strength
Training
Fast Long
Run 24km
Recovery
Run 5km
Swim and
Strength
Training
Long Run
40km
Week 7
2nd Sep
Recovery
Run 5km
Interval/Hill
60 mins
Strength
Training
Fast Long
Run 24km
Recovery
Run 5km
Swim and
Strength
Training
Long Run
44km
Week 8
9th Sep
Recovery
Run 5km
Interval/Hill
60 mins
Strength
Training
Fast Long
Run 24km
Recovery
Run 5km
Swim and
Strength
Training
Long Run
44km
Week 9
16th Sep
Recovery
Run 5km
Interval/Hill
60 mins
Strength
Training
Fast Long
Run 24km
Recovery
Run 5km
Swim and
Strength
Training
Long run
44km
Week 10
23rd Sep
Recovery
Run 5km
Interval/Hill
55 mins
Strength
Training
Fast Long
Run 20km
Recovery
Run 5km
Swim and
Strength
Training
Long run
38km
Week 11
30th Sep
Recovery
Run 5km
Interval/Hill
45 mins
Strength
Training
Fast Long
Run 15km
Recovery
Run 5km
Swim and
Strength
Training
Long run
32km
Week 12
7th Oct
Recovery
Run 5km
Slow
Run 8km
Rest Slow
Run 8km
Rest Strength
Training
Melb
Marathon!

Long Run

This is the meat of my training and on any given week in my schedule, this run will compose about 50% of my running volume. The long run will get the distance in my legs required in order to complete the marathon. I'll progress from the half marathon distance to 44km before tapering. My goal is a time of sub 3:15.00 which will require an average pace of about 4.30 per kilometre on race day. During my long run I will run 20-30 seconds behind target race pace and will push to race pace from the 5km to go mark before backing off again for the final kilometre.

Interval/Hill Training

Up until now I have been running separate interval and hill training sessions but in order to fit an extra long run to my schedule I've decided to combine these sessions. I work on St Kilda Road and my office backs onto Fawkner Park which provides the ideal track for this type of training. Most of the park is completely flat and ideal for interval training but there is a hill of about 300m in length rising up to Toorak Road. My session involves doing laps of Fawkner Park which include this hill in each lap.

I start the session with a 10 minute warm up at a pace of 5.10 min/km. I then run at my maximum heart rate for 1 minute followed by running at race pace (4.30 min/km) for 1 minute before dropping back to 5.10 min/km for the next 3 minutes to allow my heart rate to recover. I'll repeat that 5 minute sequence for the duration of my session and finish with a 5 minute cool down. If I find that my heart rate is not recovering in the 3 minute rest period then I just increase the rest period. If I'm on the hill during an interval then my aim will be running the hill to as close to race pace as possible.

The aim of this session is primarily to increase my speed by increasing my anaerobic fitness. This is handy for the last couple of kilometres of a race when you want to really push it home and need to put your heart rate into the red to do so. It will also improve my ability to push up hills.

Fast Long Run

I've added an extra long run to my training week which will be of a higher tempo than my main long run. The aim here will be running consistently close to race pace and adding distance. In order to fit these runs in around my regular working and family life without too much complaint from the wife, I'm planning to run to work once a week.

Recovery Run

The long runs will cause a build up of lactic acid in the legs and its important to reduce this build up in order to aid muscle recovery. Stretching and applying ice or cold water within an hour of the run are vital. The next day, going on a short, slow recovery run will get blood flowing into the muscles and will help clean out the lactic acid.

Cycling

Being a fair weather cyclist, I cycle to work and back (around 18km each way) every day as long as it's not raining. For this time of year in Melbourne, that's usually 2-3 days a week, which gives me about 70-110km a week. I ride up the famous Anderson St hill on my way to work which gets my heart rate pretty much maxed out on my single speed bike. It's a good workout and a great way to start the day. Plus it's free training time because I have to get to work somehow and it turns out that cycling is at least 10 minutes faster than the alternatives so I save time too!

Swimming

I'll continue to do one swim session a week. It's triathlon off season but swimming is a great exercise for toning the entire body and increasing aerobic fitness. It's zero impact so my knees and feet appreciate the break from hitting the pavement and it does wonders for the shoulders and back. I swim about 750m in a single session.

Strength Training

As a runner, cyclist or triathlete strength work is still important. In particular, having a strong core improves your posture and is important for general fitness and well being. Exercises like sit ups, pull ups, push ups and dips are the key here. I'm lucky enough to have a local park which has free outdoor gym equipment and do a quick 20min core strength workout focusing on my back, abdominals and upper body. You could do the same with some playground equipment like monkey bars.

However some of the most important strength exercises for a long distance runner will focus on the legs. Strengthening leg muscles such as the glutes, ham strings, quads and calves will help you stay injury free as you increase running volume and can also help improve running form.

Taper

The last 3 weeks before race day I will be tapering my training. Tapering is reducing the training workload prior to an event in order to ensure your muscles get a chance to recover after a long period of steady training. This will help maximise your performance on race day. If you don't taper, it will be far more difficult to run at levels beyond your normal long run pace. Tapering also gives your body a chance to build up the key glycogen stores which provide an important source of energy for endurance events.

So that's my training schedule in the lead up to the Melbourne Marathon. I'm confident it will get me to my goal of completing my first marathon in under 3:15.00. We'll see come October 13th!


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