My Marathon Preparation

I was never really into running but one of our gym members decided he wanted to run the Lisbon Marathon in October and I thought, well, now is the time.

Here’s a quick rundown of how I structure my training to make the whole thing as enjoyable as possible.

My goal

My goal is not to see how fast I can do it but how resilient I can make myself beforehand. If I can run 42km and don’t feel anything in my knees or back, I’m confident that I’m well on my way to living a long and pain-free life.

Waking up the next day as if nothing happened is my goal for this race.

But what about strength training?

Since I put a lot of (mental) energy into improving my running I more or less put my strength training in a maintenance mode.

I still follow our 3D training system and added a few isometric leg exercises like the Horse Stance to add more stability and endurance to my knees and ankles.

The types of running

Cardio is like a pyramid and you want it to be as high and wide as possible.
The foundation of the pyramid is built from low-intensity endurance training, done with volume in mind. The peak of the pyramid is trained in short and intense bursts.

Like in strength training, covering all parts of the spectrum is essential for good results.

I focus on 3 different types of running training:

  • relatively short and intense intervals
  • fast runs for medium-distance
  • long runs at an almost relaxed pace

Let’s look at them more closely and then at how to schedule them during the week.

Short intervals – Adding height to the pyramid

The method I follow is called the 4×4 Norwegian protocol.
After a good warm-up, I run 4 minutes at 90% intensity, walk for 4 minutes and repeat that 3 more times.

This is very challenging and especially at the beginning it is important to start slower than you think you need to so you can keep the same tempo for each interval.

Fast runs – Preparing for the race

To get a feel for pushing myself during a race, I do ca. 5km runs for time.
I don’t have a goal time in mind but I try to push myself, control my breathing, and get used to feeling exhausted.
I expect this will help me during the last 10km of the marathon distance.

I’m currently in phase 1 of my training, in a few weeks I plan to increase the distance for these runs to up to 10km while keeping the same speed.

Long runs – Getting The steps in

These runs are active recovery from strength training and the 4×4 method. They get me used to covering more distance, pacing myself, and conditioning my body to be on its feet.
Currently, I’m doing 10km runs, gradually increasing that to 20km, which is the longest distance I plan to run during my training phase.

The schedule

I stick to a classic Mo-We-Fr strength training schedule.

On Tuesdays, I do my fast runs, sprint intervals on Thursdays, and the long run on one of the weekend days.

I adjust the strength training intensity to allow me to give it all for the conditioning sessions and when I have to move something around I always make sure to put the cardio first.

It’s still a few months out and I’m really looking forward to what else I will learn and experience on the way.

Wish me luck and keep moving,