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Now that you have decided to go in for a long distance race it is important to follow a schedule more sharply and if necessary flip days around in a week if you travel a lot or have unscheduled late night meetings, often. It is critical to strength train and to stretch after running and become more flexible and supple else with long distance strides generally being shorter than the sprint strides, range of motion gets more limited as our muscles in the lower body get more taut and thick and strong. There are lots of point of view on stretching but I would urge you to err on the side of stretching rather than avoiding it.

Half Marathon Training

Training for your first Half Marathon

“The will to win means nothing if you haven’t the will to prepare.” – Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner. “

Half Marathon: 12 week training schedule (By Hal Higdon)

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Stretch & Strengthen 4.8km run 3.2km run or Cross Training 4.8km run + strength Rest 30 min Cross Training 6.4km run
2 Stretch & Strengthen 4.8km run 3.2km run or Cross Training 4.8km run + strength Rest 30 min Cross Training 6.4km run
3 Stretch & Strengthen 5.5 km run 3.2km run or Cross Training 3.5 m run + strength Rest 40 min Cross Training 8 km run
4 Stretch & Strengthen 5.5 km run 3.2km run or Cross Training 3.5 m run + strength Rest 40 min Cross Training 8 km run
5 Stretch & Strengthen 6.4km run 3.2km run or Cross Training 6.4km run + strength Rest 40 min Cross Training 9.5 km run
6 Stretch & Strengthen 6.4km run 3.2km run or Cross Training 6.4km run + strength Rest or easy run Rest 5-K Race
7 Stretch & Strengthen 4.5 m run 4.8km  run or Cross Training 4.5 m run + strength Rest 50 min Cross Training 11.5 km run
8 Stretch & Strengthen 4.5 m run 4.8km run or Cross Training 4.5 m run + strength Rest 50 min Cross Training 13 km run
9 Stretch & Strengthen 8 km run 4.8km run or Cross Training 8km run + strength Rest or easy run Rest 10-K Race
10 Stretch & Strengthen 8km run 4.8km run or Cross Training 8km run + strength Rest 60 min Cross Training 15.5 km run
11 Stretch & Strengthen 8km run 4.8km run or Cross Training 8km run + strength Rest 60 min Cross Training 16 km run
12 Stretch & Strengthen 6.4km run 4.8km run or Cross Training 3.2km run Rest Rest Half

Intermediate – wanting to improve your time (1mile =1.6km)
Advanced – looking for peak performance in the race (1mile =1.6km)


Full Marathon Training

Marathon: 18 week training schedule (By Hal Higdon)

Training for your first Full Marathon

Week Monday Tueday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 rest 4.8km 4.8km 4.8km rest 9.5km Cross Training
2 rest 4.8km 4.8km 4.8km rest 11 km Cross Training
3 rest 4.8km 6.5km 4.8km rest 8km Cross Training
4 rest 4.8km 6.5km 4.8km rest 14.5 km Cross Training
5 rest 4.8km 8 km 4.8km rest 16 km Cross Training
6 rest 4.8km 8km 4.8km rest 11km Cross Training
7 rest 4.8km 9.5km 4.8km rest 19km Cross Training
8 rest 4.8km 9.5 km 4.8km rest 21km Cross Training
9 rest 4.8km 11km 6.5km rest 16 km Cross Training
10 rest 4.8km 11 km 6.5km rest 24km Cross Training
11 rest 6.5km 8 m 6.5km rest 25.5km Cross Training
12 rest 6.5km 13 km 8km rest 19km Cross Training
13 rest 6.5km 14.5km 8km rest 29km Cross Training
14 rest 8km 9 m 8km rest 23km Cross Training
15 rest 8km 16 km 8km rest 32 km Cross Training
16 rest 8km 21k m 6.5km rest 20km Cross Training
17 rest 6.4km 9.5 km 4.8km rest 13km Cross Training
18 rest 4.8 km 6.5km 3.2km rest rest race

Marathon: 18 week training schedule

Intermediate – wanting to improve your time (1mile =1.6km)
Advanced – looking for peak performance in the race (1mile =1.6km)

Bill Rodgers, winner of four Boston and four NYC marathons: “The marathon can humble you.”

In case you have any questions and need to consider hills, humidity, cold, heat, jet lag or other conditions, drop us a line at contactus@runningandliving.net

Do's and Don'ts in The Last Week

Rest well and do not exert yourself in this week – your body needs to build reserves rather than deplete them at this time. Think positive and reflect on the good runs and training you have had, rather on the training that you missed. Stretch.

Eat more carbs – rice, pasta etc and cut out snacks, deep fried foods, and tea, coffee and alcohol, while you drink more water and juices – build the body’s energy reserves and hydration levels

Wear the gear you are going to run in – shoes, socks, undergarments, shorts and T shirt – and sunglasses or cap, headband etc over the course of this week and make sure you are comfortable in them

Have the same breakfast you are planning to have on Sunday, on Thursday and go for a 4-5km easy run
Try to ensure that you are sleeping enough, as also well. Especially Thursday to Saturday – you need it
Study the route map of what you are going to run on Sunday and IF possible, travel along the route to get familiar with it – bridges, open hot or cold strteches, cheering points, hills, isolated sections…

DO NOT exert yourself on Saturday and try and stay off your feet as much as you can. Go to the expo on Friday.

Have an early and a heavy carbohydrate lunch and dinner on Saturday to finish around 7-8pm at the latest, to allow a couple hours for it to settle, before you sleep Do not think of work and your life’s worries. Think of the course and the fun and excitement you are going to have. Sleep early on Saturday and get up refreshed and excited on Sunday. Don’t be anxious if you have not been able to sleep well on Saturday due to pre race excitement. You should have had a good sleep on each of Thursday and Friday (assuming the run is on a Sunday)

Do's and Don'ts On the Day

Drink a couple of glasses of water as soon as you wake up. Stay hydrated.

Have a light breakfast of orange juice, and a couple of bananas (just as you did on Thursday) 2 hours before the start of the run. No milk or anything else that is heavy or may cause your stomach to go for a toss. Nothing new today.

Put on your running gear, (cut your toe nails and check your shoe soles and inners for any small stones, socks for any wrinkles) race bib, and get to the start point at least an hour before the start – this will make sure there is no last minute anxiety of getting stuck on the way, or reaching late, not finding the start line. Have a few sips of water 10 minutes before the start, and loosen up a bit. Think of all the runs and the training you have put in, in the last few weeks and treat this as your victory lap.

Look around you as you see people who are older, younger, fatter, thinner, stronger, weaker than you, and take in all the energy and excitement and do some loosening up.

If it’s going to be warm, try and run in the shade, try to find someone you can chat with so that you can lighten the start, if it’s going to be cold, make sure you are warmly clad before you reach the start, BUT shed those layers before you start the run, or have a friend meet you after the 1st km to take the extra layers back home.

Try and keep slow in the first 5-7 km. We often get carried away by the excitement and run faster than we have planned. Stop at EVERY water stop, even if you are not thirsty and take in a few sips and pour some water over your head to cool you down, especially if it is warm.

Smile and cheer other runners and spectators as you run. It adds to the fun, and keeps you focused on positive thoughts.

Take a couple of sips at each water point, catch your breath, walk 25 metres, and then resume.

Try and put in all you have, in the last 500m when the finish line is in sight, and pass the runner in front of you.

Drink some water and do some gentle loose stretches once you finish.

Do some brisk walking for around 10-15 minutes at least and follow that up with dunking your legs in a cold tub. Works wonders for making sure you are not sore and aching the rest of the week. Read more about starting running in your forties and older at Forty plus

Read up more about post marathon recovery at Wishing you a speedy recovery

Multiple Marathons

“I ran my 2nd marathon a year after my first. And then the next 2 within 5 months of that. The max I have done is 7 marathons in a year.”
Rahul Verghese

And then there is this Partner in a Law firm who ran 105 marathons in 2008!!

So if you are bitten and smitten by the bug and want to check out multiple marathons, look no further than this great set of schedules by Hal Higdon which I have followed on several occasions – to ‘train’ for a marathon you want to do 2 weeks after one, or perhaps 8 weeks after one.

Ideally IF you are training for bettering your time and peak performance, then 2 to a max of 3 marathons a year is what I would suggest, with proper strength and speed training thrown into the training schedule. If you are either planning to run more in a year or running some close to each other, either take each of them ‘easy’ so that you do not strain yourself, or, fix on one that you plan to go flat out for and train for that, and use the others as long runs, in your training. Have fun, and stay injury free.
Check out Hal’s schedules for multiple marathons

Ultra Marathons

An Ultra marathon is any distance beyond a marathon.
I have run a 45km ultra on the Great Ocean Road in Australia – probably the most scenic run I have ever participated in. Here is where you need to go if you want to push yourself beyond a marathon distance. The 2 Oceans marathon in Cape Town is a 56 km visual delight – and rated as one of the prettiest Ultra Marathons in the World. I did that in April ’09. The Comrades Marathon in Durban – also South Africa, is the grand daddy of them all – with a 54mile course AND AROUND 15000 -20000 participants – uphill one year and downhill the next – both are tough, and unlike what the uninitiated think, running downhill, takes a greater toll on the knees and thighs and the down run has more folks injured and more DNF’s. I was apparently the 2nd ever Indian Finisher in the Comrades Marathon – 89km of it from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in 2010. I was told there were a few Indians – NRI’s and those of Indian origin who had finished in earlier years. That was an interesting tidbit.
For a great training program – click here

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