type of training is very popular in the final few weeks before race day amongst
runners who have entered a marathon, but haven’t actually trained for a marathon…yet.
While this training modality does a lot to ease marathon fears, it will unfortunately
do only a little to make you better prepared and in fact could leave you worse
Here are some important factors to take into consideration:
- It takes 48 - 72 hours to adequately recover from a hard training run, and even longer for some sessions especially very long long runs which can sit in your legs for up to 2 weeks.
- It takes up to 10 days for the benefits of hard training sessions to kick in.
- You need 12 weeks of consistent training to make significant shifts in your fitness.
So, if you suddenly start piling on the training in the final few weeks, you will only be setting yourself up for landing at the bottom of the pit of fatigue. And possibly even injured or ill. This is entirely the opposite of where you want to be at the start line for a successful marathon, which is feeling fresh, full of energy, free of aches and pains, bouncy and hungry to run.
what can you do? If you have not been training at all, or if the last time you ran 20km or more was more than 3 months ago (or never!), then I recommend postponing to the following year. If you have have been running regularly, are okay running 20km, but just have missed out on those really long long runs (30km or 3 hour plus), or have been inconsistent with your weekend long runs then here are some non panic tips to help you:
Finally - because you are increasing the stress on your body over a short period of time, it is very important that you get plenty of quality sleep, up the nutrition stakes and reduce all stressors as much as possible.
Next marathon - sign up for our Trainsmart coaching package 12 to 18 weeks before race day to take the guesswork out of training and to have the backing and accountability of a professional coach.
Onwards and upwards!
Professional running coach
Cape Town, South Africa