Training

Weeks 5-8: Getting into it

As you move into your second month, your original feelings of elation on getting going can subside and be replaced with the realisation that there’s some serious hunkering down to be done if you’re going to stick to this thing, rack up the miles and stay on it. That’s why this second phase of your marathon journey is about buckling up tight and hanging on for the ride. This phase is about sticking with it and starting to notice the positive changes both physically and mentally that will begin to emerge as you get more and more into your running. It’s time to build on your routine, be consistent and develop your distance. Miles will go up during this phase as you continue to layer up your training.

The most important thing during your marathon build-up is running consistently. If you approach your training dipping in and out of running as your motivation peaks and falls your fitness will be slow to develop and progress will stagnate. Keep running with passion, intent, focus and purpose during this phase and you’ll truly progress through the halfway point in your training ready to kick on towards the real miles.

Week 5

Allow your body time to adapt, spend some time focusing on you. This week your runs are continuous but a little shorter in duration. Bank them and boost your confidence.

RUN ONE 30-minute easy run
Total: 30 minutes
RUN TWO 30-minute easy run
Total: 40 minutes
RUN THREE 25-minute easy run; 2-minute walk; 25-minute easy run
Total: 52 minutes
Training tip

Relax when you run. Now that you’re four weeks in, learn to stay calm, be patient on your run, breathe slowly and in control. Keep your shoulders, neck and head relaxed. Positive flow in your form helps you become an efficient, smooth runner.

Want more?

If your last four weeks have gone better than expected, this week add in a fourth run with a little intensity. Try a 10-minute easy run, followed by two 10-minute tempo runs, with a 5-minute recovery jog between, followed by a 10-minute easy run (45 minutes in total).

Week 6

This is when your marathon training truly starts to kick in. You’re layering up strength and teaching your body to tolerate the miles that are to come. Include some mixed-paced running as it boosts your fitness and helps you run stronger for longer.

RUN ONE 40-minute easy run
Total: 40 minutes
RUN TWO 10-minute easy run; 1-minute tempo run, 2-minute walk x8; 10-minute easy jog
Total: 44 minutes
RUN THREE 20-minute easy run, 5-minute brisk walk x4
Total: 1 hour 40 minutes – or distance goal of 6 to 8 miles
Training tip

When tempo running, don’t do too much, too soon. Gradually increase your effort, control your form, feel your stride lengthen and your cadence quicken. Stay smooth.

Want more?

Add an extra two miles to your longest run at the weekend and drop in an extra 15 minutes to a mid-week run.

Week 7

It might feel like it’s getting tough now, the days are short, the mornings and evenings are dark (and probably wet!). This week get your head down and deliver on your runs.

RUN ONE 40-minute easy run
Total: 40 minutes
RUN TWO 10-minute easy jog; 90-second tempo run, 2-minute walk/jog x8; 10-minute easy jog
Total: 48 minutes
RUN THREE 30-minute run, 5-minute brisk walk x3
Total: 1 hour 40 minutes – or distance goal of 8 to 10 miles
Training tip

Start to think about your fuelling and hydration. As your runs increase in duration, you’ll need to consider how to carry your drinks, as well as what and  how much to drink and eat when you run. This is highly individual and exploring what works for you in training will make things easier on Race Day.

Want more?

Again, add in a sustained tempo run for 30 minutes and notch up your longest run by a couple of miles or 20 minutes.

Week 8

This week is a little like passing over Tower Bridge during the London Marathon. You’re approaching halfway but there is still much of the race to run. Launch yourself into the vital second half of your plan with a steady, controlled and well-executed week of running.

RUN ONE 40-minute easy run
Total: 40 minutes
RUN TWO 10-minute easy jog; 2-minute tempo run, 2-minute walk/jog x8; 10-minute easy jog
Total: 52 minutes
RUN THREE 25-minute jog, 5-minute brisk walk x4
Total: 2 hours – or distance goal of 8 to 10 miles
Training tip

Running a great marathon, that you are going to be proud of, isn’t about doing more, neglecting other things in your life, or ‘no pain, no gain’. It’s about integrating regular and appropriate running into your life to create a happy, fitter, purpose-filled approach to your personal marathon goals. Keep on going.

Want more?

Don’t! You’re doing enough. Be kind to yourself, there’s no need to keep asking for more.