Sunday, March 8, 2009

Marathon Training - Types of Training.

Marathon training is not just about pounding the streets day in day out. There are other forms of training, however it must be stressed that these are more relevant as your training develops. Gradually increase the time you spend on your feet and when you are at the right stage of your training you can start to mix it up.

Hill Training. Hill training can build strength in your legs and greatly improve the development of your cardiovascular system. There are many approaches to hill training, with many runners using treadmills in the gym. Others choose an outdoor route with a certain number of hills, while some train using one of two key hills and run up and down them a number of times. This can be extreme, but can have major physiological benefits.

Fartlek training. Fartlek is Swedish for 'speed play'. It is a type of running training more for runners trying to improve their times than those just looking to get round their first marathon. Speed play is the use of markers on your route for bursts of quicker running. You may run past a line of trees or lamp posts and you alternate your speed between them, fast between one set of two, a slow recovery jog, and then fast again between the next two. This form of marathon training has huge benefits in developing heart and lungs.

Interval Training. This is again more of interest to marathon runners looking for improved times. It involves repetitions that are timed, often involving a running track. You would complete track circuits in a certain time, have a break and then do the same again. Over time you will notice improvements in the time taken to complete the reps and also the recovery period between these reps.

Cross Training. The best forms of cross training for runners are cycling, swimming and the cardio vascular workout machines at the gym, like the rowing machine. Cross training can relieve pressure on your legs and add a bit of variety to your training. Cross training is a great way of giving your legs a break and staying fresh mentally but should be confined to one session a week.

Resistance Training. This type of training is concerned with the lifting of weights. This will give you an all over body workout and will train muscles that running can never touch. It will also help your core stability, important in injury prevention.

Warming up, cooling down, stretching. Before you begin your main session you should spend a few minutes warming up. This may take the form of a brisk walk of a gentle jog. This serves to raise the heart rate and get the blood flowing to the muscles. It is then vital to do some light stretching to loosen up the joints.
After your main session it is important that you do not just stop. You must cool down slowly and allow your heart rate to return to normal. Lastly it is time to stretch.

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