Wednesday, August 27, 2008

six key marathon workouts

6 Key Marathon Workouts (from letsrun)

1) 24 mile long run at an easy pace (80-85% of marathon pace). This workout has many benefits essential to successful marathon running. It aids mental concentration, adaptation of the muscular structure to competing for multiple hours, it makes the body more efficient at using energy sources such as glycogen and fat (especially in using fat as a fuel source) and boosts the bodies storage capacity for glycogen. To enhance this fuel burning efficiency it is recommended you only take water and electrolyte tablets during this workout.

2) 20 miles run with the first 10 miles at an easy pace (80-85% of marathon pace) and the last 10 miles run at marathon race pace. This run does many of the same things as listed in #1 above but it also teaches your body to run at marathon pace when you are tired. This workout is a staple in many marathoners programs including Ryan Hall's. Others suggest just last 5-6 miles.

3) 10 mile Tempo run at 100 to 102% of marathon race pace. It is recommended this workout be done on the road on a course similar in geography to the course you will be racing on. This workout is often used mid-week to acclimate the body to running at marathon race pace and boost aerobic stamina (endurance). Intimate familiarity with desired marathon pace is crucial in successfully racing a marathon, especially in the critical early stages when you are feeling fresh and its easy to get started at too fast a pace.

4) 10k Tempo run @ 105-106% of marathon pace. It is recommended the workout be done on a track or on a flat surface where the pace can be closely monitored. This workout is a favorite of Renato Canova for building aerobic power/capacity in his marathoners. Many runners substitute a sub-maximum effort 10k road race for this workout. This workout pushes outward the anaerobic threshold and enhances the aerobic efficiency and characteristics of muscles fibers in the muscular system. In addition prolonged efforts at faster than marathon pace have the additional mental benefit of making marathon pace seem easier in comparison.

5) 6 x 1 mile @ 110% of marathon pace with 400 jog recovery. It is recommended that this workout be done on a track or flat road course. This workout is a classic speed workout for marathon runners. This workout improves the body’s efficiency (aerobic capacity) as well as it ability to process and get rid of lactate. This increased efficiency enhances the body’s ability to handle, remain relaxed at, and run efficiently at the slightly slower pace of marathon race pace. Studies have found little benefit to running at more than 10% faster than goal race pace, so if able additional reps or a shorter recovery should be used rather than increasing the pace of this workout.

6) 3 x 5k at marathon pace.

3 x 5k is a fine workout for building aerobic power if structured properly. Do it in a progression style - run a 5k at marathon pace, then jog half mile to recover then do another 5k at 10 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace, then jog half mile to recover than do the last 5k at 20 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace. Done in this fashion makes this an excellent workout.

Example in calculating paces.

If marathon race pace (MRP) for you is 6:00 per mile (360 seconds) then:

80% of MRP is 360/.80 = 7:30 (450 seconds)
105% of MRP is 360/1.05 = 5:43 (343 seconds)
110% of MRP is 360/1.10 = 5:27 (327 seconds)


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