Here’s the advice from the team at RunningwithUs for laying those crucial January foundations which you can build upon in February, March and April.
Easy does it: Patience is a key skill to learn as a marathon runner. Race day is still a long way off and the next 3-4 weeks should really be about getting used to more time on your feet and building endurance.
Try this – Learn to run at the speed of chat. Slow down your runs to allow you to build more volume. Aim to add 10-15 minutes onto your longer run each week over the next 3 weeks but aim to keep at a very easy pace between 30-60 seconds a mile slower than your planned marathon pace.
Find your core: As you build a bigger engine remember you’ll need a stronger chassis to put it in! Aim to get into good habits now with 2-3 short core sessions each week.
Try this – Check out our training guide for simple basic core exercises which you can complete at home and which will take you no more than 15 minutes to complete. If you are ready to push on consider a good local Pilates class
Hit the hills: Running up hill not only works your heart and lungs harder but is also fantastic for building strength in your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calf muscles which you’ll need in the final 10km of the marathon.
Try this – Our training plans include ‘continuous hill’ sessions which see you running up and down hill for blocks of time at a controlled discomfort which is fantastic for strength endurance. Otherwise consider running a weekly sustained effort over an undulating route…the downhills will help you as much as the up!
Mix it up: With many miles ahead give your body and mind a break by mixing up the surfaces on which you train.
Try this – Running between 40-60% of your training on trails or grass will both reduce your injury risk but also help build strength and balance. Consider a pair of trail shoes with a bit of extra grip, forget the pace on your watch and run to effort.
Race fit: Whilst the marathon may still be a long way off that doesn’t mean you can’t set some way points. Getting into some races over the next 6-8 weeks will build confidence and add some variety to your plan.
Try this – Looking to race a 10km in late January or February could be a great option for many with a half marathon in March. If you are struggling to find local races you could even consider a local Saturday morning 5km parkrun, perhaps adding 5km after at your goal marathon pace to make it a testing 10km run.
The experts at RunningwithUs have put together a Running Guide and marathon training plans for all levels especially for #TeamHeadsTogether, you can access them here.