Training Marathon
Training to run a marathon


Marathon Endurance Training

Endurance Training (runs at your base pace) is similar to the marathon itself: it demands attention and respect. The focus of this type of training is to have long runs once or twice a week at an easy conversational pace. By finishing long runs, you are teaching your body the difference between exhaustion and fatigue. By continuing to run when tired your mind will push to reach that finish line. The long run also teaches you patience by forcing you to slow down and pace your self.

Why Endurance training ?

  • You spend more time in your target heart rate, which strengthens the heart muscles and promotes oxygen delivery.
  • It helps your muscles utilize fat as fuel and teaches your body to use both fat and glycogen to produce more energy in economical way.
  • Endurance training among other things strengthens the muscles of your leg, feet and ankles.

Types of Aerobic Endurance Runs

  1. Short Base pace   Up to 30-40min - 5-7.5KM
    This is your day to enjoy an easy run. Stay relaxed and comfortable and run at easy pace. It should be used as a recovery run following long runs or races and could be substituted for other mild aerobic exercises such as swimming or even bicycling.
  2. Medium Base pace to 1 hours - 7.5M to 15KM
    The medium endurance run is your daily average run. This run should make up the majority of your overall training. These runs will be between your long runs and short runs. Depending on your level of fitness and your pace. This is to be a relaxed run over mainly flat or moderately hilly terrain.
  3. Long slow distance 1 to 3 hours - 15Km to 35KM
    The long run strengthens your heart, lungs and legs and prepares your for marathons. This long run will lower your energy level and tire your legs out so you should stay within your target heart rate.

How far?
When practicing for a marathon it is recommended not to have long runs beyond the length of the race as in some cases this might do more harm then good. Pushing yourself farther then you should will result in injuries and illness. The longer the runs you take, the more your body gets fatigued, causing more weight to be distributed on your feet which greatly increases your chances for injury. It is recommended that beginners do long runs up to 35 KM, increasing distance by no more than 10% every week.

How Fast?
During your endurance training, you should be able to hold a conversation with out losing your breath (Around 70% of Max Heart rate) . The purpose of the long run is to build you up, and going at a faster pace can tear you down.

How Often?
Try having 2-3 Medium runs, 1-2 easy runs & one long run every weekend. You should ease into your long runs well before the marathon, gradually increasing your Kilometres every week. A week before the marathon, do not run longer then 15-20 KM. Taper your long runs as you do with weekly runs. if you choose to have long runs twice a week, try to space them.

Endurance Training elements
Here are some tips to make the long runs seem less like a chore and more enjoyable:

  • If you work Monday to Friday, do your long run on Saturday or Sunday. This allows more time for weekend resting
  • Ask a friend to come along, the conversation helps keep you motivated and the added boost will help you through the rest of the run.
  • Incorporate some hills but avoid the mountainous ones. Be aware of downhills as they put more pressure on your legs.
  • Make sure you get plenty of fluids on the way, or leave a bottle if you do laps.
  • If you have recently injured yourself, wait until you are fully recovered before you get back to last distance.