When training for your first marathon, it’s important to include a few key workouts to give you the training and confidence you need going into race day. The most important thing for going into your first marathon is gradually building volume. Volume contributes to endurance, something that will definitely come in handy when it’s time to run 26.2 miles!
Make sure your marathon-training program includes these six workouts:
1 – Hill Repeats – You want to build up your leg strength, especially if you are going to be running a hilly marathon. Even if the marathon you are running is flat, hill repeats are a great way to build power, which translates to speed.
2 – Fartlek Runs and Tempo Runs – These are key speed workouts. Fartlek runs are short bursts of speed anywhere from 15 seconds to 5 minutes with some recovery in between each burst of speed. Tempo runs are sustained speed sessions that are performed at goal race pace or slightly above for a longer duration 15-30 minutes. Both workouts help increase leg turnover and overall running speed.
3 – Recovery Runs – Don’t forget about recovery runs–they are often just as important as more intense workouts. They help shake out legs and flush lactic acid. Perform them at a very low aerobic pace.
4 – Long Runs – This might seem obvious, but long runs are critical for marathon training. If you miss a recovery run, speed session or hill repeats, it’s no big deal. But long runs are the basis to building that endurance you need to run your race.
5 – Half Marathon – Running a half marathon mid-way through your training is a great way to gauge your pace and your training thus far. Run a half marathon about two months out from race day, and then tailor your workouts based upon what you learned.
6 – 20 -21 Mile Run – This is the most important (and often feared!) run of them all! Performed three weeks out from race day, a 20+-mile run represents the peak of marathon training, and helps to further establish race day endurance.