March is where the key weeks of marathon training happen for most. This month is all about banking your quality long runs and mid week sessions whilst respecting your recovery.
Whilst it is important to have banked some good time on feet in your longest long runs if you go too long you’ll struggle to recover and start your marathon already tired.
Try this – 3 hours 30 minutes is as long as you should be out on feet for in your longest run. Any more than that and you risk not recovering in time. If that gets you to 20 miles, great but many runners ruin good marathons by trying to get to 22-24 miles in training and see the wheels coming off at mile 18 in the marathon.
When the gun goes on race day you need to have an idea of what pace you’ll be running and March is the month where this starts to become clear. We would recommend aiming to run some of you planned marathon pace towards the end of your key long runs. A great peak long run might be 3-3 hours 30 minutes starting easy but running the final 60-75 minutes at your goal marathon pace.
Try this – There are a range of ways you and try to guide you on your marathon pace. Times your 10km PB by 5, minus 10 minutes is one option, doubling your half marathon time and adding 10-20 minutes or around 105-108% of your half marathon time are all good options.
Practicing your race day fuelling strategy in your key long runs will see you better able to hit your paces in those sessions, help get your confident with the strategy you will use on race day and also help you recover more quickly.
Try this – Gels are an incredibly effective what to get energy quickly into your body on the run but most people try to neck them back all in one go. Sip your gel gradually over 3-4 minutes and target one get after 45-60 minutes then one every 30 minutes or so thereafter. If you struggle with gels ensure you try a range of other options well in advance of your taper.
Brush your teeth
The ‘little things’ are the things that will make March work for you if you get them right and consistent each day. Routine stretching, core, snacking healthily and getting into a good bed time routine should be like brushing your teeth – routine daily practice!
Try this – If you haven’t already check out the top stretching and core exercises from our training guide, these can be completed every 1-2 days and don’t take long but will keep you on track!
March can be a month of comparisons if you are not careful – spending your day on social media seeing what every other runner has been doing won’t help you and your marathon and is only likely to stress you out. We are all different, have different physiology, goals and available training time. Stay confident and consistent on YOUR plan this month.
Try this – Look back over your training diary and remind yourself of those key positives you have banked so far. If you feel you are a little behind remember you are better to be 10% under trained than you are 1% over trained for your marathon so don’t panic train to back fill missed runs.