How I Trained for my Quickest Marathon
Early May – Mid October 2017
After a promising spring marathon, I wanted to continue towards qualifying for the London Marathon. So after a week of rest to recover from a local 5 mile race, I began training for a familiar autumn marathon.
I devised a flexible training plan that aimed to increase my mileage of my spring training (34 miles per week) over a period of 24 weeks. After thorough research I intended to run 7 days a week. After 5 weeks I had to include a weekly rest day to ensure adequate recovery between workouts.
- 1x long distance run (ranging from 11-17.5 miles) to replicate the pace and stress of marathon pace and distance.
- 4x easy middle-distance runs (ranging from 5-10.5 miles) to accumulate the weekly mile target, which included strides once or twice per week post-run.
- 1x ‘quality’ session focusing on speed, alternating between intervals (ranging from 200m to 2 miles) and a tempo run (ranging from 1-2 mile reps up to 4.5 miles consecutive).
- I ran the Hardwick 10km as a successful build-up race, then enjoyed the remainder of the week as recovery.
Only, I injured my hip through overtraining. I suffered enough to make even walking difficult and painful. It took more than five weeks to return to full health.
My previous positive mindset altered and I doubted not only whether I would return to the fitness level I had built, but whether I would be fit enough to run the marathon.
I tentatively returned to training for three weeks, prioritising longer runs at my race pace range, and eliminated speed sessions.
I felt mentally exhausted during my two-week taper. I was ready for a break from training yet performed well on race day, maintaining a controlled and even pace, following the quickest line along the route.
I learnt valuable lessons about my body during the five and a half months. Although I ran a new personal best I ran too much for too many weeks without adequate rest and recovery. My future attempt at the distance goal requires subtle adjustments.
First 12 weeks (prior to injury): average of 40.7 miles per week
Last 12 weeks (affected by injury): average 25 miles per week
24-week training: average 32.8 miles per week