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Marathon training – the final 4 to 5 weeks

If you’re training for a spring marathon, you’ve reached the critical stage of your training. Brighton is 4 weeks away. London 5 weeks. Well done on getting this far. Most training programmes will have your longest run 3-4 weeks out from race day. These are important but it’s very easy to over do them. We would suggest, that whatever your speed, you consider maxing out at 2hrs 30mins to 3hrs.

Train for time not always for distance

A lot of training programmes are set in distance and this is where difficulties occur. 20miles for the elite runner will take less than 2 hours. 20 miles for the runner just trying to complete the event could take twice as long. That is a long time to be out running and you are probably doing yourself more harm than good. Yes, you need to go further on race day but you need to get there in one piece. The aim of the training is to prepare your body to complete the marathon. We would suggest that a lot of runners go a little too long on their long run and end up jeopardising their marathon. You should feel tired when you finish your long run but not totally wiped out. You should be in a position to do a shorter easy run 2 days later without any problems.

Be flexible with you training schedule, listen to your body

We often see customers coming into the Shop on a Friday or Saturday to buy some gels for their long run the following day. You naturally ask about their training. Quite often you hear that their training was going well, they now have a niggle but have to do their long run the next day because their programme says so! Again, a word of caution; sometimes we need to change our plans because of an injury or illness. Carrying on regardless often results in you not making the start line.

Don’t try and make up for lost time

What if you’re going well now but missed training back in January and you feel you’re behind where you should be? Accept, that you can’t make up for lost time and your training might not be quite as you planned. Better to train consistently and still gradually rather than trying to play catch up.

Final 2 weeks – practice your race day fuel strategy

The next couple of weekends are when you can and should be practising your race day fuel strategy. A lot better for something to not work on a training run, than on race day itself.
The final couple of weeks should be easy. This allows your muscles to recover and feel fresh for the big day. It’s good to keep your running routine going. Your body gets used to running a certain number of days a week. Ease back though on the volume and the intensity.

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