I received the Hal Higdon book Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide as a gift at a recent holiday gift exchange with my Chicago Princesses.
I was incredibly excited to receive this as a gift from Heather as I’m training for the Illinois Marathon on April 30. I need all the help I can get!
The first few chapters were about why the marathon distance is so alluring, how to begin running, how to choose your first marathon (tip: pick a larger marathon for better support & organization).
“I can’t even imagine what it’s like to run for 5 or 6 hours” – Bill Rodgers
I also learned about the origins of the CARA training program, a local Chicago running club with a large marathon training program that many people participate in each summer. You’ll see them running along the Chicago lakefront on Saturday mornings.
Other training tips:
- Increase your mileage gradually & include step-back weeks (weeks w/ decreased mileage)
- Have a long training period for the marathon (suggested 18 weeks)
- Your long run shouldn’t be more than 50% of your weekly mileage
Truths of Marathon Achievement:
- Progressively longer runs will get you to the finish line
- Scheduling Rest Days is Key to Staying Healthy. Your body needs 48 hrs to recover from a hard workout. Rest, Cross-train on your off-days.
- Taking one step back allows you to take two steps forward. Stepback weeks allow you to survive the stresses of your training load.
- Speed training can be a double-edged sword. It can be one too many focuses for a newer runner. Do it in the off season… you’ll have many options.
- Learning to Pace & Learning to Race are the two most critical skills. Pacing is important – Practice! Practice racing and the details of a race; make your mistakes at smaller races.
- Consistency is what counts in your long run
- Nutrition is an oft-overlooked factor in Marathon Success
- Practice everything connected with the marathon – not just the running
- Tapering is an art and a science.
- You’ll only go as far as your motivation will carry you. Internal motivation = Intrinsic.
What will success in the marathon mean for me?
- A well-execute training plan
- Taking care of myself (sleep, eat, manage stress, avoid injuries)
- Run happy on race day
- Pace myself –> stay on pace!
Higdon’s book also has some other key chapters that I wanted to notate – Lauren, look at these again!
Striving to Improve
- Be conservative in planning your marathon goal times, especially if it’s your first.
- Be consistent in training
- Be steady in your training and fitness –
- Runners begin to “detrain” (i.e. lose fitness) after 48-76 hours and it takes 2 days of retraining for each lost/skipped day.
- Find your mileage level
- Everyone has a set point that’s best for them.
- Track your running to find this
- Slow it down
- Run slowly, especially if it’s a rest day, or the day before a hard workout
- Slow running metabolizes fat instead of glycogen
- Take a day off! Rest days are important.
Build Up Mileage
What does mileage accomplish?
- Better utilize glycogen. Glycogen levels become depleted in 60-90 minutes.
- Improved use of muscle fibers.
- Psychological benefits: run a high mileage and fatigue your legs, then you rest & taper and are mentally ready for the marathon.
- Most people are good at ~50-75 miles per week
- Pay attention to how you feel. Don’t sacrifice Quality for Quantity!