How to train for a spring marathon now - Winter miles = summer smiles
HR training is one of my favorite things to talk about and although my plans use paces, they correlate with the individual runners heart rate zones anyway based on their VDOT ( VDOT is a measure of your current running ability. It assigns a score to all running performances and let's you equate a time in one distance against another. For instance, you can compare your VDOT score from a recent 5k result to a friend's score who just ran a half marathon )
So what you should do now? I recently i launched a base miles plan to get people ready to run their marathon plan and simply give you something to work towards over the winter.
So my definition or purpose of a base plan during the off season, Is to 1. work on any weakneses you have or injuries caused over the season so you can programme in more specific strentgh work, rehab and more cross train sessions like swimming and cycling to help you to fully recover from a hard year of training and prepare for the next.
For some its to help maintain some level of fitness ready to up thier training and for others its to prepare their body far 16-20 weeks of marathon training and going from the odd parkrun to running 4-5 x a week. You can see why up to 85% of all runners get injured cant you.
So thats the purpose of a base plan, What i recommened for expirenced runners, when it comes to the miles you run its time to completly dial it back, Forget pace and just run for enjoyment. You want to go into your marathon or race training plan absolutly fresh and excited to go again.
For a new runner your marathon training plan depending on if it came from a coach or from the internet will determine how you train. I personally think for a new runner you should work with a coach, be accountable, get expert advice and take the guess work out.
For an expirenced runner if you want to PB and get the benefits of a coach above i would get one too.
A base plan should include 80% of your miles being an an easy intensity this is conversational pace or atleast 60-120 seconds slower than your marathon pace however if this leads to bad mechanics then get into a comfy speed, some days it will be too easy and some days tough. Alternitivly you can base it on Heart rate which is 65-72.5% of max HR. Lower end the better ❤️
Easy running ( Be prepared to walk ) strenthens your heart muscle tremedously your stroke volume how much blood can pump per beat maxes out around 60% of your maximum heart rate so if this is the easist speed you can run at that maximises the stroke of your heart then your benefitting big time without having to run hard.
Running easy also improves the number of mitochondia you have and the size of them. Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cell. They act like a digestive system which takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy rich molecules for the cell. The biochemical processes of the cell are known as cellular respiration. Okay too much science.
Run easy and your heart rate will drop and you will get faster!
The other 20% of your miles you can add some speed work, For newer runners i would wait 3-4 weeks and only add strides in the mean time although really thats all you need but i like to add some speed to a new runners plan after 4 or so weeks just to mix things up and keep it fun.
For expienced runners short reps 200-400 and 3-6 mile tempo runs will keep you sharp and fit. Feel free to break your long runs down with some hopeful race pace efforts.
An example for a new runner week 1
Monday rest day
Tuesday 5km Easy Run
Wednesday Strenth work
Thursday 5km Easy Run
Friday Cross train
Saturday Rest day
Sunday Long run start at 6km Easy Run
Introduce strides from week 3 and add 10% a week to your long run every 4th week reduce the effort/intensity by 30-50%
If you want to work with myself we have base plans ( 10 weeks ) from £40.00 and full support via our closed coaching group and 100% personalised plans from £35.00 a month.
PM for more details 🙌🏻