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The "Don't Be Sh*t!" Series - Marathon Build Up (2 Months Out)

The "Don't Be Sh*t!" Series - Marathon Build Up (2 Months Out)

It’s a couple of months until the big day and if everything is going to plan then you should probably be a little worried right about now!

Let me explain why…

If a summer marathon is your target then you should have been gradually building your mileage the last couple of months. These next 4-5 weeks should be your biggest block of training where consistency is key and you should be hitting your peak weekly mileage. This phase of training should also incorporate your longest runs of the campaign. Unless this is your first marathon where your goal is purely to finish then at least two of your runs during this coming month should be over 20 miles and depending on experience could be anything up to 24 miles.

This all sounds very tiring and it should be!

If your marathon training is going well then it is at this point that you will start suffering from a certain amount of accumulated fatigue from the continuous training.

This is no bad thing and as long as you keep things in check and make sure you don’t cross the line into overtraining, this fatigued state is where you can see some critical fitness gains. It’s at this time that marathon pace can seem very daunting and that’s where the worrying mentioned at the start of this month’s article comes in!

“There’s no way I could run this pace for 26.2 miles”

I’ve said it many a time myself and even though I’m writing this article telling you not to worry about it, I’ll still worry about it in the build-up to my next marathon.

In a fatigued state, in the middle of a marathon campaign, when you still aren’t seeing the benefits from the last few weeks training (cardiovascular adaptation to exercise can take a number of weeks) and you are far from fresh, target marathon pace should feel pretty tough.

Even under race conditions, a half marathon at marathon pace should be pretty tough if you haven’t cut back on your training.

This is why you need to trust the process and assuming you get the final month of training right, everything will start to fall into place. Fortunately, next month I’ll be back to help you through those final weeks so watch this space!

In the meantime, it is key that even though they might not feel as easy as you would like, that you start to incorporate some miles at target race pace into your training.

My preferred method is to actually do these within some of your long runs.

Pick a specific week where you have at least a couple of easy days before your Sunday run and then treat it as a tough speed session by adding sections of race pace (or faster) into the run.

Check out this month’s suggested session for a great example of one that I use to great effect. Just remember to treat it with respect and recover well with another couple of easy days after as well.

Marathon Pace Long Run: Speed Session - 30min / 4 x 5min / 30min

Try and plan your warm up and warm down so that the session is in the middle of your long run.

The 30 min efforts should be at target marathon pace and the 5 min efforts should be just a little faster but not beyond your threshold effort.

Take a 3 min recovery jog before and after the 30 min efforts and just a 2 min jog between the faster intervals.

If everything goes to plan then your second 30min effort should be the same as your first!

Tip of The Month


During this high volume phase of your training, try not to feel the need to reward yourself with unhealthy snacks and you’ll start seeing some real benefits in terms of conditioning and body fat.

Obviously, there is a need to get some serious calories in to fuel all the hard work but try and make the majority of them unprocessed and healthy!

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