Monday, March 9, 2009

Marathon Training - Principles Of Training

Before beginning any marathon training plan, a firm understanding of the principles of training is needed. There are four, Progression, Specificity, Individualisation and Overload. In addition to these I will outline the importance of tapering and the long run in your marathon training.

Progression: Gradual progression is all important in endurance running. The idea is to slowly increase the miles or the time you spend on your feet each week, improving your fitness and endurance without too much discomfort. Add around five or ten per cent to your weekly miles or time spent training each week to fully reap the benefits. Progression is essential in reducing the risk of picking up an injury as it allows you to build up stamina in your heart and lungs, as well as your legs in a safe way.

Specificity: Cross training is hugely important in marathon training. However it is vital to maintain focus on your running. Swimming, cycling and resistance training are ideal for overall fitness and combating boredom, but be sure to limit your cross training sessions to one per week.

Individualization: Not all runners are created equal and each will take to a marathon training program differently. This fact often makes it difficult to train with others. Even though running with other people with the same goals can be enjoyable it is of greater benefit if you stick to your own marathon training plan and run solo. Marathon running is not a team sport.

Overload: Overload is where you expose your body to a greatly increased level of exertion, followed by the necessary amount of rest. The weekend long run is an example of overload and you should have a rest day following this run built into your marathon training program. Overloading is not to be confused with overtraining, which is doing too much running without taking the proper rest.

The long run: Completing the long run every week will give you a regular boost of confidence. It is without doubt the most important component of marathon training. These runs will prepare your body for the rigors and hardships it will be subjected to on marathon day. The longest you should run in training should be twenty miles and this run should be done at least three weeks before the marathon in order for you to be recovered in time for race day.

Tapering: The taper period is the ten or so days in the lead up to the marathon itself. It is utterly vital that you cut your marathon training right back. Your runs during this taper period should be thirty or forty minutes long and no more. Your body will take a pounding on race day and this is the time to let it rest and prepare.

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