My marathon training for beginners

Blog entry posted by Janne, Feb 22, 2020.

Beginners that don't know where to start, i.e me. Just search the web and there's plenty of training programs, even with the label beginner friendly. There is also an industry around this: how to get there in some period of time, beginner, initiated, expert, OR wannabe; the latest I've seen is the companion app. But what if the same story about running requiring shoes is true for training requiring tempo runs, intervals and weight lifting? It is an easy argument to buy: you need to train fast to get fast, or get strong to beat nature and conquer what only "0.2%" of the population do.

I've been active all my life and somehow the one thing that should be really easy I could not accomplish: run and run long. The first competition I did was a half marathon. I took an internet program for a marathon and just halved it. I managed to run the race on a better time than what I thought possible and tried to continue training for the marathon. Things went downhill from there. I never got past a long run without feeling all aches and tiredness. The years went by and I got to cover less and less distance before something stopped me from running.

I, as many others, got tired of being injured and not being able to run. That is how I got to barefoot running. Something I saw live back by the 2YK. It seemed just idiocy, how would I dare mistreat my body that way? As nothing worked with shoes, I gave in and removed them. It was so fine that I over did it... back to square one. I kind of gave up and started training otherwise with HIIT being the thing. That gives you the rush and it is supposed to give you plenty of health benefits. It just seemed impossible to keep constant pace for 2, 3 or more hours at that pulse. I thought the solution was the famous 10% rule. That didn't work either; it is hard to understand how taking an exponential amount of kilometers would help you to avoid injury or to keep my pulse in control.

I went back to the internet for help and try to read all that I could. Things seem all to converge to one thing: run long, often and at a comfortable pace. Some put a label, others just explain why it works but the concept is simple: long distance running requires patience, time and dedication. You may have heard about slow running or easy pace running. This way of training is all that is needed to be able to complete a long distance race without feeling miserable or falling apart. If you want to review the sources of my way of training read about MAF,, Lydiard and slow jogging. They all go by the lines of to get fast you need to deserve it and it is not by working your self to the ground. Maybe that is why the fastest marathon runners are on their 30s after more than a decade of developing slow running - many argue if this is true, but I don't think there is anything to question here.

I am learning from reading how to do this stuff so I expect mistakes to happen but I think this is the safest way. Slow running is not the same for everybody, it is what it is for you when you run and it is expected to improve with time. My program is on the last paragraph.

The simplest of the methods is MAF using a heart monitor. Take 180 - age and that is your max running pulse. If you have not done constant long duration training at a constant pulse, get the result and stick to it (reduce if coming from recovery). The reason is that most likely the working muscles are not fit and the resulting slow pace or high pulse is the demonstration. It is hard to leave the ego when people are walking passing you. Still this is the time to polish the running technique and get a deeper connection with your body - the slow jogging book explains this more.

My training is basically running every day as much as I feel like under MAF pulse. It stared by running a streak for a month at slow running. I noticed that there is no much difference between walking and running so I tried walking to work. That gives me about 45 minutes. My walking speed is fast enough to be annoying to walk so I prefer to run but if I get tired I just walk even though it is hard to really get tired by keeping the pulse under MAF. Once or twice a week I go crazy and increase the time. Sometimes I have to stop running because I need to get to work. I went in 7 weeks from 10K to 50K without feeling miserable.

I still have 3 months to my marathon, lets see if I think that same way then.
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