Marathon is an intense race. And without adequate preparation, it’s not possible to finish the race because of the kind of stress it places on the cardio-vascular system, the respiratory system and the neuro-muscular system. The heart, lungs, and muscles have to be ready for the intense load that they will be subjected to.
If you try to run a race without any preparation, you may not be able to complete the race because your body will refuse to move, as it won’t be able to take the sudden stress. The sudden intense pressure can also lead to injuries such as muscle tear and blisters on the feet. In extreme cases, it could also lead to cardiac arrest. Those planning to participate in a long race such as a marathon should ideally train for 12 – 16 weeks before the event. However, if you haven’t had the time, train for 30 days at least.
We bring you a detailed plan for 30 days that will make your body ready to run!
1-month training plan to run a full marathon
Ready, steady, start
3.2km warm-up, a speed-strength circuit that includes…
- 400m run at an average 5km pace [Eg. If you take 30 minutes to complete 5km, you should run 400m in 2 minutes 40 seconds]
- 12 squat thrusts aka burpees [stand, squat, push-up, squat, jump in sequence]
- 3 chin-ups
- 12 press-ups
- 30 ab crunches
- 24 body-weight squats
- 400m run at 5km pace
- 10 squats and dumbbell presses with 10-pound dumbbells
- 8 feet-elevated press-ups
- 12 bench dips
- 30 low-back extensions
- 15 lunges with each leg
- 400m run at 5km pace.
Repeat steps 2 – 13 [two circuits in all], then cool down with 3.2km of light jogging [that completes 8.4km of running for the day].
6.4km of easy running to recover from the previous day’s circuit.
A 19.2km run—11.2km of easy running, followed by 4.8km at goal pace [your race pace] and then a 3.2km easy run.
6.4km easy run to recover from the previous day’s session.
Speed-strength circuit, which is a repeat of the day 1 workout. Repeating this workout fairly frequently is necessary to expand strength and bolster LT [Lactic threshold]—the point when you start feeling more pain than you should be feeling.
9.6km of easy running.
22.4km of running—11.2km easy run, then 6.4km at goal pace, and again 4.8km easy. The idea is to boost confidence and manage pace. After completing this workout, you should feel strong to maintain goal pace even after running a significant distance.
The going gets tough
No training, just rest to recover from running 22.4km.
8km easy run to continue recovery from running 22.4km.
A progressed day 1 speed-strength circuit workout. With circuit workouts, progression means increasing the total number of circuits, doing more number of repetitions, and/or lengthening the runs.
For this session, advance the running intervals from 400m – 600m, which forces to run further at good speed in the face of mounting fatigue and also increases the VO2max [a measure of the volume of oxygen consumed while exercising] benefits accruing from the session. You can continue the same number of reps and circuits from day 1. Shifting to 600m intervals increase the total distance covered during the workout from 8.4km to 9.4km maintaining 5km pace.
9.6km of easy running.
9.6km of easy running, plus two sets of the entire array of exercises included within the circuit session [day 1 plan]. The idea is to develop strength, that’s why there are no running intervals.
An LT session, comprising 3.2km easy run, 3km tempo run [race pace], then 2km of light running.
22.4km of running—14.4km at easy pace, 4.8km at your race pace, and 3.2km easy running.
The focus is on quality
No training, only rest.
Speed-strength circuit—just like day 11, with 600m repeats and two circuits in all, but with a 10 per cent increase in the number of reps.
9.6km of very easy running.
Speed-strength circuit, but with 800m rather than 600m runs at 5km pace, and slightly increased number of exercise reps. The total number of circuits remains two. This is to improve strength, VO2max, and LT simultaneously—and quickly. The circuits are great for that, and post-circuit recovery is quick because there isn’t a voluminous amount of running involved.
9.6km of easy running.
12.2km of running—6.4km of easy running, 4.8km at your race pace, and 1km of
cooling down. The total
quantity of training is decreasing; this is simply a ‘reminder’
Speed-strength circuit again—the same session as on day 18, with 800m intervals.
14.4km run— 3.2km warm-up, then 8km at goal-marathon pace, followed by a 3.2km cool-down. Intake of optimal sports-drink pattern [300ml 10 minutes before running, 150ml to 180ml every 15 minutes while running] during this workout.
Lowering mileage, increasing intensity
9.6km of easy run, practising the optimal sports-drink pattern.
1 hour of easy bicycling to further promote recovery, again using the sports-drink pattern.
Speed-strength circuit [back to two circuits using 400m running intervals rather than 800m ones, to promote recovery].
8km of easy running while practising sports-drink intake.
8.8km run—3.2km warm-up, just 3 x 800m, with just 2-minute jog recoveries after the first two 800m runs and a 1.6km cool-down at the end. The purpose of this workout is to use intensity to spike fitness, while keeping the overall workout abbreviated to further maximise recovery.
This is the day before the marathon. 3.2km warm-up run, 1km ‘reminder’ run at your race pace, and another km to cool-down.
Don’t forget to…
Gently stretch the muscles you will be using for running—thigh muscles and tendons, calf muscles and muscles of the lower leg. This is good for any day, particularly after the run, but spend a bit more time stretching on rest days.
How much fluids you drink depends on climate/conditions. However, here are some general guidelines.
- Drink 100ml – 200ml every 15 minutes – 20 minutes.
- Going forward, you can drink a maximum of 500ml in an hour.
- Drink and consume calories within 45 minutes to one hour after starting, to avoid dehydration.
- Don’t drink too much water before the race.
- Drink 250ml – 500ml before the race, but nothing before one hour.
- Eat foods high in carbohydrates to ensure that your glycogen stores [form of stored energy] are packed fully before race.
- Refuel after the race; it’s a must. Consuming about 300 calories of carbs and protein will help refuel and repair muscles.
- Slowly sip fluids after the race. You can have a full meal once the recovery process is started.
- Balance the electrolyte/mineral loss.
- Total calorie needs: about 42kcal – 57kcal per kg of body weight
- Carbohydrate needs: 7g – 10g per kg of body weight
- Protein needs: 1.2g – 1.4g per kg of body weight
- Fat needs: 20 per cent – 35 per cent of total calories.
What do you mean by Race Pace?
Race pace is the pace you plan to run in the race you’re training for. If you’re training for a 42km marathon, your average pace per km is 5.45 minutes. So you would run that same pace when asked to run race pace.
Spot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!