Monday, February 25, 2013

4 Months Plan To Run A Marathon

I have been working on this post for a week. Thinking hard and deep to provide a good answer or a plan. Back when I did my first Marathon, no one told me what to do - it was crazy when I think back. Somehow, i survived it. My intention was to write a 6-months plan, and somehow, it got sidetracked because of many things that was happening. Then, perhaps, a 5-months plan...and that too, met with some issues as the draft posting went missing (note to self : NEVER press the BACK button when composing!) I lost the draft! *gasp*. 
The Plan
Now that there is only 4-months to the Standard Chartered KL Marathon, It is sufficiently enough if you start planning for it proper - like after reading this today. Give yourself a few days to digest and then take it on. Intention is to build the mileage progressively and go from 24km to 74km per week mileage in 3-months. But before that, I would suggest reading he entries I wrote on essentials such as HIIT, Tempo (and variation), Hill, Strides and Long Slow Distance (LSD). Each of the workout has their own merits and should be done as part of a program. You will see "Tempo" appearing up to 3-times in a week and that is normal even for world class athletes (only that they run way faster). Once a week, run up some hills and do a HIIT. Incorporate Stride or speedwork/sprint into the picture and you will see improvement as long as you keep injury away.
My 4-months plan is based on my current run routine that has worked great for me. You can read them here. The only obvious change from that program and this is a very specific "forced" rest where I suggest no running. Again, this is in assumption that you are running your FIRST marathon and to protect you from overtraining. However, what you can do on those "REST" days are stretching or weight work (light weight). Basically anything other than running. So yes, swimming is good. Biking is alright. Just keep the intensity at Recovery and/or Aerobic (nothing more than 70% HRmax).
*Important thing to note : LSD is nothing less than 20km and will be done at a pace up no less than 60seconds slower than your fastest 10km. It is supposed to help your body prepare for the longer distance as training progress. LSD starts at Week 8. Before that, Saturday is dedicated to Tempo runs.
16-weeks or 4-months. Look at the plan below and ask if you are ready to commit to this. The mileage double after Week 4, peaks at Week 11 and dedicate a full week to tapering on Race Week. It requires commitment and you are looking at no less than 8hours/week as your training peaks (Week 11). Distance below is in Kilometer (KM), in case you are used to the Imperial system.
Click for larger printable version
It is the biggest enemy to you. Learn to spot it and breach it. Learn to use your own body as a gauge to your current physio condition. Heartrate do not lie and I use it often to see if I am ready for heavier workout the next day.
I train at the above schedule without water or hydration as anything other than LSD will be done within an hour max. If you are not comfortable running without water, carry a small 500ml bottle. Remember, you do not need to GULP down water, just sip and wet the mouth. You also do not need sugar laden isotonic drinks - whether they are fizzy or otherwise. Water, just like cash, is King.
I train/run on empty. It is my own way of teaching the body to use and burn fat as primary energy. However, for LSD, you can experiment with food to see what goes well with your tummy. I still train on empty as it has been working great. You may attempt this, but be reminded to do it with both eyes open and not just take what I write squarely. You know your own limits better when it comes to how your stomach reacts to liquid food.
This might surprise most of you that know my eating habits - with Team 2ndSkin collaborating with Hammer Nutrition (via their main distributor in Malaysia), I will be testing the whole range of products to see what works for me, and what don't. I will be eating/drinking/taking exclusively Hammer Nutrition products during these races as a way to put my body through "experiment" and to feedback to Hammer Nutrition for improvement. Stay tuned for very comprehensive reports of the product usage especially during races. 
Final Words
There is none - for as long as I am around and this blog exist, I will attempt to assist and help with any questions as part of "giving back to the sports community".  my opinion, 4-months is possible to finish your first Marathon. It is all about finishing it even if not within qualifying time. The experience you will gain will help to improve your next Marathon. My team-mates in Team 2ndSkin will be at hand to help out as we are from a diverse sporting and life background. No time to train? That is just an excuse. How about reading this for inspiration?
Keep Moving Forward!


  1. great info and advice..many thx bro....

  2. Looks freaking scary man. Don't think I'm ready for a Marathon by the look of it XD.

    1. It needs commitment. Want to run a marathon, you got to put in the distance. :)

  3. After reading diz, I'm eager to do my first FM.. Thx Mr.Tri