Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
in:
What Is The Best Workout When Preparing For A Marathon?

What is the best workout when preparing for a marathon? Our forum member's finish strong with outstanding workouts, tips, bad habits, diet and more to help anyone interested in successfully running a marathon!

By: Workout Of The Week


TOPIC: What Is The Best Workout When Preparing For A Marathon?

The Question:

A marathon requires a lot of aerobic endurance and, above all, an impressive amount of dedication. What is the best workout when preparing for a marathon? Be specific. What are some of the worst habits long distance runners can fall into? What is the best meal to eat the night before a marathon?

Bonus Question: How hard is it to gain muscle when training for a marathon?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Justin @ justin.podzimek@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - mrkdrt
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

A marathon requires a lot of aerobic endurance and, above all, an impressive amount of dedication.

A marathon is not something just anyone should try without proper training. If you want to take up running, it may be best to try a half-marathon out first, to take a "test-drive." If you can handle the half, then step up to the full 26.2-mile race.

bodybuilding.com
+ Click To Enlarge.
Hours After Starting, Runners Near The End Of The 26-Mile Course At The 29th Annual Marine Corps Marathon. Nearly 18,000 People Ran The Marathon That Began At Arlington National Cemetery.

Keep in mind, marathons can be taxing on the body, so it is recommended to get a full examination and be cleared by a physician before taking up intense training.

dots
Workout
What Is The Best Workout When Preparing For A Marathon? Be Specific.
dots

Typically, when preparing for a marathon, you should already have at least some experience with running and have a good aerobic base. If you're a runner, you'll be running long before the big race, but the intense training should start about 4 months out.

Remember to always stretch before and after your running sessions. Pre-run, spinal flexion and extensions, torso rotation, leg adductions and abductions, calf stretches and lunges are great to prep your body.

After your run, loosen up by stretching your adductors, calves, quads, hams, glutes and hip flexors. Hold these post-run stretches for a good 25 seconds each. 1

Now, for the serious marathon runner, your 15-weeks out workout is:

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Jog - 4mi 6x200m Sprints, 200m CD Jog - 6mi 4mi Anaerobic Jog - 4mi Jog - 12mi Jog - 4mi
2 Jog - 4mi 8x200m Sprints, 200m CD Jog - 6mi 4mi Anaerobic Jog - 4mi Jog - 15mi Jog - 4mi
3 Jog - 4mi 10x200m Sprints, 200m CD Jog - 6mi 4mi Anaerobic Jog - 4mi Jog - 18mi Jog - 4mi
4 Rest 6x400m Hill, 400m CD Rest Jog - 12mi Rest Jog - 12mi Rest
5 Jog - 4mi 8x400m Hill, 400m CD Jog - 6mi 4mi Anaerobic Jog - 4mi Jog - 15mi Jog - 4mi
6 Jog - 4mi 10x400m Hill, 400m CD Jog - 6mi 4mi Anaerobic Jog - 4mi Jog - 18mi Jog - 4mi
7 Jog - 4mi 12x400m Hill, 400m CD Jog - 6mi 4mi Anaerobic Jog - 4mi Jog - 22mi Jog - 4mi
8 Rest 6x800m Interval, 400m CD Rest Jog - 12mi Rest Jog - 12mi Rest
9 Jog - 4mi 6x1000m Interval, 400m CD Jog - 6mi 6mi Anaerobic Jog - 4mi Jog - 18mi Jog - 4mi
10 Jog - 4mi 6x1200m Interval, 400m CD Jog - 6mi 4mi Anaerobic Jog - 4mi Jog - 22mi Jog - 4mi
11 Jog - 4mi 6x1600m Interval, 400m CD Jog - 6mi 4mi Anaerobic Jog - 4mi Jog - 24mi Jog - 4mi
12 Rest 12mi Race Pace Rest Jog - 6mi Rest Jog - 12mi Rest
13 Jog - 4mi 10mi Race Pace Jog - 3mi 4mi Anaerobic Jog - 4mi Jog - 10mi Jog - 4mi
14 Jog - 4mi 6mi Race Pace Jog - 3mi 2mi Anaerobic Jog - 4mi Jog - 6mi Jog - 4mi
15 Rest 3mi Race Pace Jog - 3mi 2mi Anaerobic Rest Jog - 3mi RACE DAY

The distances "mi" is miles, and "m" is meters. Jog pace should be slightly slower than the pace you plan to run during the marathon. On these jog days, just go easy, no need to rush and really get your heart rate up. 65-75% of your maximum heart rate is just fine.

On sprint days, the training is geared to increase your stride length, to pull you farther ahead of the competition. The sprints should be done in intervals, so a cool-down (CD) should be performed after each sprint.

The hill training days are meant to help build strength in your muscles, also to help stride length. The hill should not be too steep, and try to get your heart rate up to 90-95% maximum. Interval training helps for an all around leg muscle strengthening.

These intervals will help you speed past the other runners on race day. On anaerobic days, you will be pushing yourself to 85-90% of your maximum heart rate. This portion of the training helps your body fight lactic acid build-up due to glycogen breakdown. Using this program, by race day you should be more than prepared to stay ahead of the pack and cross the finish line with ease. 1

"220-AGE" HEART RATE CALCULATOR
Enter Your Age - Then press Calculate.
Results:
Max Heart Rate
65-75% Max Heart Rate
85-90% Max Heart Rate
90-95% Max Heart Rate

dots
Worst Habits
What Are Some Of The Worst Habits Long Distance Runners Can Fall Into?
dots

A problem seen in many runners is drinking water far too much. This will affect the runner the most on training days and the big race day. What happens during a run is that some electrolytes are sweat out of the body.

Drinking lots of water can actually dilute the electrolytes left in the body, and can lead to some serious health issues. A solution to this is to "recharge" your electrolytes during and after running with a sports drink, or with a packet of salt to eat when needed. 2

RELATED ARTICLE
Sports Drinks And Rehydration!
[ Click here to learn more. ]
Sports Drinks And Rehydration!
Sport Drinks are becoming more popular everyday, but do you know when and how you should be drinking them?
Author:
SportSpecific.com

Another pitfall a runner can get into is not eating enough protein. Often, runners focus so much on carbohydrate intake they forget about protein.

Protein is not only important to keep the muscle on your body, but to repair tissues damaged from running. This is important. You can't expect your body to go through the stress of running and expect it to heal without adequate resource.

For runners training for a marathon, you should be taking at the bare minimum 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. During intense training, you may even want to increase that amount up to twice as much.

PROTEIN CALCULATOR
Weight
Results
Protein

Often, runners swarm to the bargain bin when buying shoes. Sometimes it's possible to get a good pair of kicks for cheap, but try not to be too thrifty. The only equipment a runner really needs is a good pair of running shoes, so try to invest a little bit to get a decent set.

RELATED ARTICLE
Buying The Best Shoes!
[ Click here to learn more. ]
Buying The Best Shoes!
Getting some basic knowledge about shoes is the best way to avoid being sidelined in the future.
Author:
Dr. David Ryan

Having shoes that offer little support or padding can cause or sustain injury. Remember it is common for parts of the body to ache or be fatigued, but pain is your body's way of telling you to tone it down a couple notches. Be sure to treat pains and injuries appropriately.

dots
Best Meal
What Is The Best Meal To Eat The Night Before A Marathon?
dots

When I ran marathons, the couple nights before the big race the event would host a "Spaghetti-Fest." Basically, it was a buffet of pasta for runners to fill their bodies with carbohydrates.

"Carbing-up" saturates the muscle with glycogen stores, after a depletion phase restricting glycogen storage. "Carbo-loading" fills your muscles with glycogen, without the depletion phase. Most of the time, the depletion phase is not needed, so carbo-loading is the recommended option. During the run, this stored glycogen will be broken down into glucose moieties to provide you with energy.

The best type of carbohydrates to eat the night before a marathon is complex carbs. This type of carbs will store in your body for sustained energy.

Some examples of complex carbs are most pastas, breads, brown rice, oats, beans and yams to name a few. A good weapon of choice is pasta. Eating simple carbs like most fruits and sugary foods will initially give you energy, but won't stick around for the big race. 3

Another nutrient runners should have in their system for the run is glutamine. This amino acid can help with endurance by keeping up your glycogen stores as you break it down for energy.

[It is suggested that glutamine will support a healthy immune system] after stressing your body. 4 Dietary glutamine is usually obtained from meats, dairy and some vegetables. The night before the big race it's best to supplement this amino acid, so you don't end up eating too much and have digestive problems during the race.

dots
Bonus Question
How Hard Is It To Gain Muscle When Training For A Marathon?
dots

For most marathon runners, having more weight to carry around means more energy needed to fuel your body during the run. So typically, gaining mass isn't a common goal when training for a marathon. Running also will require your muscle to preferentially repair itself above hypertrophy.

Another issue with trying to gain mass during training for a marathon is that resistance training will more than likely leave your muscles and body fatigued for the running sessions. Not ideal.

But, if your goal is to gain muscle, your diet and weight training will ultimately dictate how much muscle you will gain. If you have the right amount of amino acids in the body, your muscles will be stimulated to grow. Most of the time, it's the legs that are the first to grow on a runner's body, for obvious reasons.

What you need to do if you want to gain muscle mass on your entire frame during marathon training is eat. Eat constantly. You need to fill your body with a caloric excess that won't be fully expended during exercises. Now, when you lift, lift heavy. Progressively overloading your muscle will ensure your muscles are given the proper signal to start growing.

It is important to recognize before working toward muscle gain and marathon preparation, it is one of the hardest things to do. Marathon training will burn high calories, leaving a less than ideal amount floating around to aid in hypertrophy.

Cheers,
mrkdrt

References:

  1. Impact Magazine ??" March/April 2007
  2. Noakes, T. 2002. Hypoatremia in distance runners: fluid and sodium balance during exercise. Current Sports Medicine Reports. 1: 197-207.
  3. Burke, L. M. 2007. Nutrition strategies for the marathon: fuel for training and racing. Sports Medicine. 37: 344-347.
  4. Castell, L. M., and E. A. Newsholme. 1997. The effects of oral glutamine supplementation on athletes after prolonged, exhaustive exercise. Nutrition. 13: 738-742.


2nd Place - BSNYD216
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

When anyone prepares themselves for a sporting event they always say they train as hard as they can. There is a question though. How do you know you're training in the best possible way to gain the best edge over the opponent? Well, in the case of a marathon runner, the answer is right here. As long as you follow a routine like this, you could be the one to break that tape at the end of the finish line.

dots
Workout
What Is The Best Workout When Preparing For A Marathon? Be Specific.
dots

Running a marathon and training for one takes a lot of dedication. Some long distance runners think that they only have to run long distances to get ready for a marathon. These assumptions couldn't be any more wrong. So before we go into the training techniques for a marathon let's talk real quick about the anatomy of a runner.

Long distance runners usually have a slim lean stature which would give them an advantage over someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger who has a huge muscle bound stature. It is easier for these people to be more successful when running for long distances because they have less weight to carry when they run.

But there is one thing that runners don't really pay much attention to and that is how their leg muscles are developing. Running creates an imbalance in the leg muscles because when you run, the hamstrings and calf muscles develop faster than the quadriceps and soleus muscles (shins).

One thing to remember as being a long distance runner is to weight train. In order to come in with good times on the run, you must have a correct balance between upper and lower body strength.

Having a strong upper body to go along with those bulging legs, helps you to maintain form late in a marathon or long run. When a runner has a strong upper body it is easier to sprint to the finish, run up a steep hill, or have a good balance when running on trails.

Now that we know the importance of both weight training and running for long distance races, let's get down to the training routine.

Cross-training is one of the best styles of training to use when getting ready for a marathon. Cross-training leaves you with different varieties for training and you will not get burnt out like you would if your training revolved mainly around running and it also helps prevent injury.

RELATED ARTICLE
How Helpful Are Cross Training Workouts?
[ Click here to learn more. ]
How Helpful Are Cross Training Workouts?
Can cross training workouts really help athletes in their preferred sports? Does being a better cyclist automatically make you a better runner, too?
Author:
Owen Anderson

This type of training gives you an increase of upper body strength which is important to marathon runners in a number of ways. As a runner gets further into the race, having upper body strength keeps your neck and shoulder muscles from getting too tired. Remember your legs only move as fast as your arms swing so upper body strength plays an important role here.

Although cross-training can help increase aerobic output, you don't want to use it to replace running. For instance don't substitute a two and a half hour swim for a two and a half hour run.

Every week you should always have at least one day for rest especially for your legs. Resting is particularly important when you have a long run the next day or so. Over-training can lead to many injuries.

dots
arrow Swimming:
dots

    Swimming has shown to be one of the best cross-training activities for several reasons. Swimming helps people build muscularity and endurance while still improving flexibility.

RELATED ARTICLE
Triathlon Swimming Techniques!
[ Click here to learn more. ]
Triathlon Swimming Techniques!
As one of the most popular events of current times much more research is being done to see what areas of performance can be improved upon.
Author:
Peak Performance

    Swimming may be one of the better things for a die-hard runner to do because sometimes runners don't like to take a rest day. Well, swimming can give those tired leg muscles a rest and can also at the same time provide a great upper body workout. Water is considered to be a healing agent and provides relaxation to the body and it's muscles.

dots
arrow Rowing:
dots

    Using a Rowing machine is great for cardiovascular fitness. It strengthens both your upper and lower body. Rowing could be something you incorporate into your light running days since your legs and feet don't take a pounding.

dots
arrow Cycling:
dots

    When you are cycling the main muscle groups you are using are the quadriceps and soleus muscles (shins). As mentioned before, when you run the muscles in your legs that work the most are the hamstrings and calf muscle.

    Cycling can be used to your advantage by building those quads and shins to get that correct muscular balance in the legs. You may not think it but cycling after a stressful run also loosens those tired muscles. Unlike swimming, don't cycle on a rest day and also don't cycle before you go out for a long run since it's much more difficult to run afterwards.

    There are still many things to incorporate into your cross-training routine such as using an elliptical, using a stair-master, weight training and walking. Don't look away from a casual walk now and then. Walking can help you relax but shouldn't be done instead of an easy run. Walking can loosen up those legs a day prior to a race.

    In the LONG RUN, cross-training is better than just weight training because a lot of the movements help build strength, take the stress off your feet and legs, and they act as a therapeutic means of training while also helping to stimulate your cardiopulmonary performance.

    Before you start any workout make sure to warm up by jogging or something as easy as walking briskly because if you start and exercise without warming up you will be more susceptible to pulling a muscle or causing serious injury.

    Even though cross-training helps with you to get prepared for the races, you still have to take your running seriously. Besides, you're running a marathon not a triathlon.

RELATED ARTICLE
How To Ride Your First Triathlon.
[ Click here to learn more. ]
How To Ride Your First Triathlon.
Knowing your body and accepting its limitations are the key to a solid, consistent bike leg of a triathlon.
Author:
World Of Endurance

    Running should be done at an easy pace in the beginning of your 20-week training. Toward the middle and end of the training you should work up to a race pace. This will help you run at a goal pace when you are fatigued.

    Here is a sample workout for a 20-week training period:

dots
arrow Week 1-6:
dots

Hill Sprints Hill Sprints
Click Image To Enlarge.
Hill Sprints.
Video Guide: Windows Media (219 KB) - MPEG (1.12 MB)

dots
arrow Weeks 7-12:
dots

dots
arrow Weeks 13-19:
dots

dots
arrow Week 20:
dots

After every workout make sure to stretch so that your muscles don't tense and become tight throughout the day. Every workout has to consist of a warm-up and cool-down so your muscles are loose and ready and so they don't tighten up and cramp.

dots
Worst Habits
What Are Some Of The Worst Habits That Long Distance Runners Can Fall Into?
dots

Over the years there have been many misconceptions about how to train for a marathon. Too many people either overtrain or don't train enough when it comes to getting in shape for the big race. Overtraining can be just as bad or worse then not training enough. So let's talk about some mistakes that marathon runners in training encounter.

dots
1. Overdoing Long Runs For Training:
dots

    OK. We all know that the purpose of training for a marathon is to train yourself to run long distances, but the important thing to know is not to over do it.

    When you train for a race you're not only going to be running long distances all the time. You are also going to have to incorporate some weight training exercises and some other drills to pursue overall fitness. And yes in order to be successful in a marathon you must have muscular strength along with a well trained cardiopulmonary system.

    Say you give yourself 20 weeks to train, well each week you should have a lactate turning point which means you should be exerting yourself to the same point the whole week without going over that exertion rate.

    If you take that exertion rate to the next level each consecutive day, the quality of your other training techniques will suffer. So if you overdo the long runs your just draining yourself and not letting yourself have enough energy to incorporate into other training regimens. Besides, just running long distances for your training routine will not make you a top spot winner.

dots
2. Running Too Fast In The Beginning Of The Race:
dots

    This happens all too often. A lot of marathon runners like to kick the pace up in the beginning of the race and by the time they reach the half way point, they feel drained of almost all of their energy.

    The reason this happens is that the marathon pace is slower than the training pace your use to in the beginning. This automatically boosts your confidence and you say to yourself "I can do this. It's a piece of cake"!! But what your really doing is using up your body's carbohydrate stores way too fast.

    At this rate by the halfway point of the race you'll be drained and too tired to keep up with the leading pack. So keep a nice even steady pace as you're running. Usually runners like to run in even splits so they have enough energy to run the whole race and still finish with an awesome time.

dots
3. Drinking Too Much Water!? You Can't Be Serious.
dots

    But yes. It is true. This may seem like a useless fact but could in fact save your life. It is proven that drinking too much water during training can cause a serious [health condition that could easily compromise your system].

    Now I know what your thinking. Your saying to yourself, "Everyone has always told me to drink lots and lots of water throughout the day especially when I exercise." This is true, don't get me wrong, but it is a much better idea to mix your water consumption with a common sports drink.

    The reason being is while you train you lose so many electrolytes and salts in your body that you need to survive. Plain water doesn't have these ingredients which are important.

    Related Salt Articles:

    So remember to chug a sports drink or two through out your training day along with water so that your body can maintain it's normal functions and stay hydrated. Also another great thing with sports drinks is that they have a lot of carbohydrates in them that give you energy so you don't feel drained and tired after you train.

dots
Best Meal
What Is The Best Meal To Eat The Night Before The Marathon?
dots

It is true that marathon runners should consume a good amount of carbohydrates the night before a race. But carbs aren't the only thing you should be including into your diet.

When you consume carbohydrates they will not last for more than 8 hours in your system. This is why you have to eat a well-balanced meal consisting of 65-70% carbs, 10 to 15% protein and 15 to 20% fat.

Now this diet shouldn't be followed just the night before a race. You have to go out and experiment with a diet that suits you best but stays within these guidelines. You should give yourself a couple weeks to experiment with a diet and follow it during your following weeks of training. Nothing is worse than running out of energy during a race after getting this far into your training schedule.

dots
Bonus Question
How Hard Is It To Gain Muscle When Training For A Marathon?
dots

When you run you are working your muscles, so you may gain a little weight. Adding muscle is unlikely when training for a marathon. Now if you're doing some serious weight training during your marathon training that would be pretty counterproductive considering "bulking up" could harm your training strategy.


3rd Place - vanhalen984
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Dedication. Effort. Practice. All three are key in order to train for a marathon, and slacking off on any of these will only hurt you. Marathon training is going to be difficult, especially if you do not know what you are doing. In this article, you will learn how to train and prepare for a marathon, as well as how not to prepare.

dots
Workout
What Is The Best Workout When Preparing For A Marathon? Be Specific.
dots

dots
arrow Weight Training:
dots

    Weight training while preparing for a marathon can provide numerous benefits. Having a strong upper body will help minimize stiffness and fatigue in the upper body, allowing you to keep proper running form throughout the marathon.

    A strong abdominal region also helps keep good form, as well as protect your back. Lastly, because running creates a muscular imbalance in your legs (hamstrings and calves grow and develop faster than quads and shins), it is necessary to weight training in order to correct this, and prevent injuries.

    Not only does weight training provide running benefits, it has many other benefits as well. It can reduce your risk of [certain health conditions], and it will also help you stay in shape as you age.

    As a precaution, you should always check with your doctor before starting a weight training or marathon training program. Now that you know the benefits of weight training, what program should you follow?

    First, make sure you schedule your running prior to your workout, and avoid weight training your legs days before speed work sessions, long runs or races.

    If you have never weight trained before, workout three times a week or four if you are a little more advanced. Use about 8-12 repetitions with lighter weight, NOT more weight with less repetitions, as this will slow you down and focus on strength, not endurance.

    Plan the exercises you perform in the following order: legs, upper body and mid-section last. Also, focus on the exercising the large muscle groups first followed by the smaller groups. For example, would be work your chest first with compound exercises, such as bench press, then smaller, isolation exercise which only work one muscle, such as bicep curls or triceps extension.

    Make sure your workout lasts no more than one hour. Read more about working out on Bodybuilding.com, as there is still much to learn.

dots
arrow Running:
dots

    Now that we have the weight training out of the way, we can talk about the running aspect of your marathon training. It is important to build up your mileage, and not to start out running a marathon, as this is not an effective way to train.

    Start off by running 4-5 days a week, with a minimum of about 15 miles. Follow the 10% Rule: Do not increase total weekly mileage, or long distance run mileage by more than 10% a week because doing so greatly increases your chance of injury.

    Make sure that every fourth week you have an easy week, and run less than usual, to give your legs a rest. The chart below can be used to increase your mileage.

dots
arrow Mileage Buildup Schedule (Schedule I):
dots

Week Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Total
1 4 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 3 14
2 4 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 3 15
3 5 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 3 16
4 3 Rest 3 Rest 3 Rest 3 12
5 5 Rest 3 3 3 Rest 3 17
6 6 Rest 3 3 3 Rest 3 18
7 6 Rest 3 4 3 Rest 4 20
8 3 Rest 4 Rest 3 Rest 3 13
9 7 Rest 3 5 4 Rest 3 22
10 7 Rest 4 5 4 Rest 4 24
11 8 Rest 4 6 4 Rest 4 26
12 4 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 4 15
13 8 Rest 5 6 5 Rest 4 28
14 9 Rest 5 6 6 Rest 4 30
15 9 Rest 5 7 6 Rest 5 32
16 5 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 4 17
17 10 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 4 34
18 10 Rest 6 8 7 Rest 4 35
19 6 Rest 4 Rest 5 Rest 4 19

Assuming you make it through without injuries, proceed to Marathon Training Schedule.

dots
arrow Marathon Training Schedule (Schedule II):
dots

Week Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Total
1 10 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 4 34
2 12 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 4 36
3 6 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 4 18
4 14 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 4 38
5 16 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 5 41
6 18 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 5 43
7 6 Rest 5 Rest 5 Rest 4 20
8 20 Rest 5 7 6 Rest 4 42
9 14 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 4 38
10 7 Rest 5 Rest 6 Rest 4 22
11 21 Rest 5 7 6 Rest 4 43
12 14 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 4 38
13 8 Rest 6 Rest 6 Rest 4 24
14 22-23 Rest 5 7 6 Rest 5 45-46
15 12 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 4 36
16 14 Rest 7 Rest 5 Rest 4 20
17 10 Rest 6 Rest 4 Rest 1-2 20-22
18 26.2 Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest Marathon Week

    Many people have a goal just to finish the marathon, which is what I have included here. If you aim for a certain time, it is necessary to include speed work, which could also lead to injury, another reason why it is not include here.

dots
arrow Stretching:
dots

    Stretching is also important while training for a marathon. Stretching can prevent aches, cramps, pains and decrease soreness and fatigue the next day.

    It can help improve form, flexibility, strength and lengthen stride which increases speed. Don't stretch before your run unless you jog for 5-10 minutes first to warm up, and stretch after as well. When you stretch, you should feel the stretch, but not pain, and hold it for 30-60 seconds.

    Stretch all leg muscles, and DO NOT BOUNCE (ballistic stretching) because this can cause injury, just like how overstretching an injured area leads to injury.

RELATED ARTICLE
Importance & Dangers Of Stretching!
[ Click here to learn more. ]
Importance & Dangers Of Stretching!
It is generally accepted that stretching is important. However, there seems to be a lot of conflicting advice about how and when to stretch.
Author:
Josh Hewett

dots
Worst Habits
What Are Some Of The Worst Habits Long Distance Runners Can Fall Into?
dots

Falling into bad habits can lead to injury. It can be simply having to take a week off, or having to take a few months off, maybe even years depending on how bad it is, and no one wants that.

The first habit to want to avoid is being inconsistent. Being inconsistent can lead to many injuries, and consistency is the key to achieving good results and avoiding injuries.

RELATED ARTICLE
Habits: Your Month-Long Guide To Change.
[ Click here to learn more. ]
Habits: Your Month-Long Guide To Change.
Here is a 4-week strategy plan I've put together that you can use to pick up or break a habit. It will ease you in and make you feel more comfortable.
Author:
Shannon Clark

Do not skip around and run however much you feel like for a certain day. Following a schedule like the one above can help greatly in preventing injuries. Now it is important to follow this, but do not be a slave to your training schedule. This is a mistake many people make, and you do not want to do this.

Here's an example. Imagine today is Tuesday and you have to run five miles today but your legs ache and are sore. DO NOT run today just because your training schedule says you are supposed to. Listen to your body. Taking this day off and allowing your muscles another day of rest will help you more than if you ran today.

Now say you took off today for that reason, and tomorrow was a rest; do not make up your run tomorrow, just follow your schedule as if you ran Tuesday. Taking a few weeks off is different, and you should drop back a few weeks in your schedule, not continue where you would be, in order to avoid injury.

Another habit is falling into the "more is better" belief. This belief will guarantee that you injure yourself, and more is not always better, especially when it comes to training. Training too much leads to overtraining and injury, and you will have to take time off.

Preventing injury is important, and make sure if you have any pain, no matter where it is or how little, that you take the day off from running and weight training. Ignoring this pain will not help the injury, but only make it worse. Use ice or [something to keep the swelling down] as well, to help reduce the pain. If the pain persists, make sure you visit a doctor.

dots
Best Meal
What Is The Best Meal To Eat The Night Before A Marathon?
dots

First of all, there is no single best meal to eat right before a marathon. It will vary from person to person, and it is up to you to find this out. Try different foods before some of your runs, maybe pasta one time, potatoes another, a protein shake, etc.

You need to experiment with this, and make sure you know how much of it to eat as well. A big bowl of pasta might give you a cramp and make you feel sick, while a smaller bowl might give you some energy. I prefer a liquid meal, because it digests quicker, and is less likely to give you a cramp compared to solid food, but this could be different for everyone.

One thing to note about eating before a marathon is that you do not want to eat 5-10 minutes before the marathon starts. Eat your meal 30-60 minutes before your race, but once again this varies per person.

The reason you do not want to run right after eating is that when you eat, you need to digest the food and most of your blood is in your digestive system to help absorb the nutrients.

If you run right after, the blood goes to your muscles, not your digestive system so instead of your food being digested, it sits in your stomach, undigested, unused. This gives you a cramp and wastes the nutrients in food, since they are not used to run.

RELATED ARTICLE
Marathon Winner: The Remarkable Schedule Of The Girl Who Won The New York Marathon!
[ Click here to learn more. ]
Marathon Winner!
Just 21 when she won the New York Marathon, Tegla's running career began at the age of seven, when she left home at 6 a.m. on a chilly January morning to run 10 kilometers to the nearest school ...
Author:
Peak Performance

dots
Bonus Question
How Hard Is It To Gain Muscle When Training For A Marathon?
dots

Because you are training for a marathon, trying to gain muscle should not be a priority, you should try to maintain muscle mass. Running long distances burns many calories and you will have to eat mass amounts of food to gain muscle while training for a marathon.

Do not worry about gaining muscle while training for a marathon. Try to maintain it by eating at a minimum of 2500 calories to day, while eating as many as 3500 can help you gain muscle. Good luck!

References:

  1. www.marathontraining.com


3rd Place - gabrielferreira
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

To understand the training we will be doing for a marathon, we first need to learn about this race. A marathon is a grueling 26.2 mile race that requires extreme hard work and dedication. If you don't put in all the required work and training you simply won't finish the race, which can be extremely frustrating.

Training for a marathon is a long process. Some runners and trainers recommend that in order to train for a marathon you should have at least 1 year of running experience (or an endurance sport that involves tons of running).

If running a marathon is really on your plans, you have to train hard. Running isn't the type of thing that if you miss a workout you can compensate the next day by doing extra - you will hurt yourself! So be consistent!

Now to the workouts.

Running is the most important part of the training program, but certainly not the only one. Many people prepare for marathons solely by running, which is why so many runners face some kind of injury in the course of the training.

By incorporating more dynamic warm-ups, a strong weight lifting routine, stretching and an adequate rest and nutrition, one can increase their performance, reduce proneness to injury and boost their energy levels and training motivation (no burn-outs).

So here is what you need in your training:

  1. Running
  2. Weight-lifting
  3. Stretching
  4. Eating right
  5. Rest

dots
Running:
dots

    The best training to start off when it comes to running is gradually building up your mileage. It is recommended to run about 10% more miles every week, so if one week you ran 20 miles, the next one you would be running 22. This, however, varies from person to person.

    You should listen to your body, and if you feel that 10% is too much try adding only 7% each week. Still, 10% should be the limit and increasing your total mileage more than that will do you no good and only increase your chances to get hurt.

    Also, remember to give yourself an easy week every month or so. This won't affect your performance and you will be giving your body a nice and deserved rest.

    It is ideal that you run 4-5 times a week, resting the day after your longer runs.

    This is how a week could look like:

    • Monday - 4 miles
    • Tuesday - 6 miles
    • Wednesday - Rest
    • Thursday - 3 miles
    • Friday - 8 miles
    • Saturday - Rest
    • Sunday - 2 miles
    • Total Miles: 23

    Once you reach about 35-40 miles a week without getting hurt, you are ready to move on to a more specific type of training.

    In this phase, we are going to divide our training in Long-Distance runs, Middle-Distance runs, Recovery runs and strength/hilly runs.

    Unlike the mileage buildup phase, we will only focus and increase the distance of our long distance runs and remember to not go beyond 40-45 miles each week.

    We will also limit our rest days to 2, giving preference to recovery runs. Recovery runs are those which you go at an easy pace, just to relax your muscles and drive all the lactic acid away from your body.

    This is how a week could look like:

    • Monday - Long Distance run: 12 miles
    • Tuesday - Rest
    • Wednesday - Mid Distance run: 7 miles
    • Thursday - Hilly run: 5-6 miles
    • Friday - Recovery run: 2-3 very easy miles
    • Saturday - Rest
    • Sunday - Mid Distance: 5 miles
    • Total Miles: 31-33

    For the next week, you should increase your long distance run by the same 10%, making it 13-13.5 miles. Don't increase the mid-distance and hilly runs; instead, pick up the intensity a little bit if it gets too easy.

    Once your long distance runs get to 20, stop adding miles. You should be in very good shape when you get to this point.

    By now, your actual marathon should be close. Just remember to give yourself a week of rest every 4-5 weeks. In your rest week just do 2 recovery runs depending on how you feel. Do a lot of stretching as it will get the lactic acid your muscles accumulate out and get your body next to the arduous weeks that will follow.

    On the week to your race, don't do much running. A good week would be:

    • Monday - 10
    • Tuesday - Rest
    • Wednesday - 5
    • Thursday - Rest
    • Friday - 4
    • Saturday - 2
    • Sunday - Rest

dots
arrow Weight Lifting:
dots

    Strength training is a crucial part of your training. You should be aiming to work all your muscles, focusing on compound movements that involve a lot of core work.

    Many people overlook the importance of a sound weight-lifting routine, but this type of training is crucial if you want to take your performance to the best level possible.

    Most important, it also prevents injury, improves you flexibility, gives you more energy and slows down the loss of muscle mass that comes with all the running.

    Strength training should be performed when you are rested. Since we have 2 rest days each week, lifting weights after these days is the best option.

    Since increasing mass is not a marathoner's goal, you should get around 10 reps for each set. For each exercise, do 3 sets.

    Here is how a lifting routine for a marathon runner should be:

    And don't forget! Tons of core exercises! Back Extensions, Ab Crunches, Planks, Etc. These will protect your back and hips and make you a much better runner!


Click To Enlarge.
Plank.
Video: MPEG - Windows Media

    Isolation work is not necessary, but it is good to have some exercises such as high pulls as they will work your traps and shoulders, which are muscles that always get really tense and tight during runs.

dots
arrow Stretching:
dots

    Stretching is also an extremely important part of your training. Before and after EVERY run you should stretch your entire body.

    Do a lot of active stretching.

    Do stretch circuits and do them 2-3 times, incorporating as many stretches as you know.

    It is also interesting to do some yoga. Not only will it improve your flexibility, but it will also relax your mind and hasten your recovery.

RELATED ARTICLE
Yoga 101.
[ Click here to learn more. ]
Yoga 101.
In this article learn all about the different types of yoga and much more!
Author:
Kristi Lees

dots
Worst Habits
What Are Some Of The Worst Habits Marathon Runners Can Fall Into?
dots

Marathon runners need to commit themselves to a serious lifestyle of training, resting and nourishing their bodies, and these are exactly where many make crucial mistakes.

A marathon training program has to be strictly followed. If you miss a run, it's gone, you can't replace it. Many runners tend to "compensate" a lost day by making 2 runs on one day (the one they missed + the one they are supposed to do) or by sacrificing their rest days. DO NOT DO THIS! You WILL get hurt.

Another thing many people do is not doing a great warm-up before a run and a cool-down afterward. This is the recipe for failure. Warming up is extremely important, and so is a cool-down. When you warm up, you prepare your body and start its engine, getting it ready for the run that comes.

People who warm-up tend to do much better than those who don't. Cooling-down is also extremely important. By doing a cool-down you will give your body a slower a more gradual transition from a phase of high stress to its normal state.

dots
arrow Eat Right:
dots

    Because of the huge caloric expenditure that comes with all the training, many marathon runners think they can eat whatever they want. The truth is, they probably can; and won't gain an ounce of fat. But gaining weight is not the only factor that counts. The way your body functions depends on what you eat, and so does the health of your organs and muscle tissues.

    Just because you don't get fat doesn't mean you can eat poorly. Running is an activity that is extremely demanding on the body, and therefore requires proper nutrition. I am not saying that you shouldn't eat 2 or 3 slices of pizza every once in a while, but try to eat properly at least 90% of the time and you will see your times get better and better and your body will thank you.

dots
arrow Rest:
dots

    Another important part of the training that is often overlooked is Rest. When you train, you break down your body and your muscle tissues, which are primarily rebuilt when you are sleeping.

    That says it all. You train hard, you don't sleep/rest, you will get hurt and do nothing but break down your precious body.

dots
Best Meal
What Is The Best Meal To Eat The Night Before A Marathon?
dots

Carbs, Carbs and MORE Carbs. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy during a marathon, and a runner's diet should be consisted of about 60-70% carbohydrates. Not only the night before, but the entire day before a marathon, a runner should be eating carbohydrate-rich foods every 2-3 hours.

Some runners also have a HUGE carbohydrate dinner the night before, but this is strictly personal. Some people claim that eating too much carbs at night make them sleep bad and have stomachaches due to the high fiber content of some of the foods.

The best answer to this is experimenting. See what works best for you and what foods are best used by your body.

dots
Bonus Question
How Hard Is It To Gain Muscle When Preparing For A Marathon?
dots

The human body is an amazing machine. It adapts itself to almost any type of thing we do. Therefore, if you train hard for a marathon it will adapt itself to run a marathon.

And how does it do it? By losing weight, both in the form of fat and in the form of muscle, and that is why most marathon runners are extremely skinny.

There are, however, ways to decrease the loss of lean tissue and if you have good genetics even have some reasonable gains.

First thing you have to do is EAT. Eat constantly, eat healthy and eat a lot. Have power gels so that you can drink them while you run. If your stomach allows you and you don't feel any discomfort, have some protein and energy bars in the middle of your runs. This way, your body will always have energy there for it to use and won't need to use muscle for energy.

RELATED ARTICLE
The Beginner's Guide To Marathon & Triathlon Training!
[ Click here to learn more. ]
The Beginner's Guide To Marathon & Triathlon Training!
This is a safe and effective introduction to running and endurance sports. The article will give general guidelines and also touch on injury prevention.
Author:
Craig Ballantyne

Another thing that can be done is doing light-intensity plyometrics as warm-up. Bounding, sequential standing long jumps, etc. These will not only get your body warm and ready, but it will also make your legs stronger and therefore bigger.

squat jumps squat jumps
Click Image To Enlarge.
Bounding On The Spot.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

jumps jumps jumps
Click Image To Enlarge.
Long Jumps.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

A good strategy if you want to put on some mass is to every two weeks trade the recovery run for swimming. Swimming is also an aerobic exercise, except that the resistance the water offer will for sure increase your upper body strength, size and definition.

In the end it all comes down to eating. You have to eat. When it comes to calories, it is impossible to say how many you should be eating. People's metabolisms vary a lot.

The best thing to do is to experiment. Start off with 4,500 kcals a day and see how you look and feel after 1-2 weeks. Keep increasing it as your training and mileage progress, because the more you run the more your body will try to get thinner and thinner. SO EAT!


What Is The Best Workout When Preparing For A Marathon?

Visitor Reviews Of This Article!
Read Visitor Reviews - Write Your Own Review

Back To Workout Of The Week's Main Page

Back To The Articles Main Page.

Related Articles
What Is The Best Workout Program For Baseball Players?
2014 Olympia Weekend Coverage
A New Breed Of Athlete: Be A Strength Runner!



RATE THIS ARTICLE
POOR
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
EXCELLENT
OVERALL RATING
10

Out of 10
Excellent
10 Ratings

0

Comments

Showing 0 - 0 of 0 Comments

(5 characters minimum)

      • notify me when users reply to my comment
Showing 0 - 0 of 0 Comments

Featured Product

Give Us Feedback:
Report A Problem
Site Feedback
Follow Us:
Twitter
Facebook
RSS Feeds
Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

Receive exciting features,
news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com