Training For A Marathon On A Treadmill
By Simon Gould
The marathon is the ultimate distance for every runner. It's 26.2 miles that will take a good few hours. Marathon's are shown on TV with many people running in costumes. A lot of money is raised for charity and everyone looks like they're having a really good time. If you're a runner you'll be proud of running a marathon, you've done the distance.
To run the marathon takes a lot of preparation. Beginners are advised to take the distance very seriously. We advise you only undertake a marathon if you've been running for at least 6 months and maybe you've entered a few 10k races or such like already. Our plan is 26 weeks which is exactly 6 months. We assume you can run for 30 minutes and we take the plan from there.
The marathon plan
This is a 6 days a week plan which is a big commitment but then so is the marathon. We've taken the training for the event seriously but remember the time you run if it's your first isn't so important, do remember it though. Just do your best and see if you can run quicker the next time you run it. The plan is not written in stone, feel free to modify it for your own ability but stick to the fact that to run a lot of mileage you need to train a lot of mileage.
We have one rest day on Monday. This is important that you stick with this as a rest day because it is after your long run. What ever day you choose to do your long run always have a rest day after. We've only selected one rest day, you can have another should you feel tired for Friday. This is only a strength training or speed work day so that can be missed on the odd week you may need it.
On the strength training day we advise you train the whole body but stick with few sets so as to not exhaust yourself. The strength part is to train your supporting muscles mainly for injury prevention. Speed work is up to you. The outside part of the plan is quite important. You need to do some training outside to properly prepare for an outside race.
- CT & LCT - This is a cross training day. You still need to do a cardio workout but the equipment changes. Try an elliptical, bike or swim on these days. LCT means a light cross training session which as the name suggests for you to take it easy with the long run on Sunday in mind.
- O - This means try and do this run outside. We recommend one a week or more if possible. Only if your marathon race is outside. If this is not always possible then set your treadmill to a 1% incline to replicate the conditions you'll get running outside. We want to get this run to replicate what you'll be doing outside as much as possible. So vary the incline if the marathon has some hills.
- RP - Run at race pace or faster when you see these initials on a day. This will help improve your time. These will be low in mileage to really allow the pace to be quick.
- ST/SW - This stands for strength training or speed work. Being an experienced runner we trust you'll know what strength training or speed work suits you best. As suggested earlier take this as a rest day on a tough week if you need to.
- mi. - Means miles. The Sunday has time spent running.
The plan tapers off as you get toward the race. This is to give you the best opportunity to do a good time. Your muscles and body will be crying out for some exercise and it will get some on marathon day. On the day before eat some pasta or other carb loaded food in order to give your muscles plenty of energy.
|1||Rest||2 mi. O||CT||2 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||30 minutes|
|2||Rest||3 mi. O||CT||2 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||40 minutes|
|3||Rest||4 mi. O||CT||3 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||50 minutes|
|4||Rest||5 mi. O||CT||3 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||60 minutes|
|5||Rest||6 mi. O||CT||4 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||70 minutes|
|6||Rest||7 mi. O||CT||4 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||80 minutes|
|7||Rest||8 mi. O||CT||5 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||90 minutes|
|8||Rest||8 mi. O||CT||5 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||100 minutes|
|9||Rest||8 mi. O||CT||5 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||110 minutes|
|10||Rest||8 mi. O||CT||5 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||120 minutes|
|11||Rest||8 mi. O||CT||5 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||130 minutes|
|12||Rest||8 mi. O||CT||5 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||70 minutes|
|13||Rest||8 mi. O||CT||5 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||140 minutes|
|14||Rest||9 mi. O||CT||6 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||75 minutes|
|15||Rest||9 mi. O||CT||6 mi. RP||ST/SWt||LCT||150 minutes|
|16||Rest||9 mi. O||CT||6 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||80 minutes|
|17||Rest||9 mi. O||CT||6 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||160 minutes|
|18||Rest||10 mi. O||CT||6 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||85 minutes|
|19||Rest||10 mi. O||CT||6 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||170 minutes|
|20||Rest||10 mi. O||CT||7 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||90 minutes|
|21||Rest||10 mi. O||CT||7 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||180 minutes|
|22||Rest||10 mi. O||CT||7 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||90 minutes|
|23||Rest||10 mi. O||CT||7 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||190 minutes|
|24||Rest||11 mi. O||CT||7 mi. RP||ST/SW||LCT||70 minutes|
|25||Rest||8 mi. O||CT||4 mi. RP||Rest||LCT||50 minutes|
|26||Rest||6 mi. O||CT||3 mi.||Rest||Rest||Marathon!|
As you can see the longer runs on Sunday are alternated between short runs when the mileage gets particularly high. The reason is we don't want you to train for a marathon by running a marathon on the treadmill every week. This will make you exhausted and in no way in the mood to run for the main event.
So that's it. Six months of training on a treadmill for the marathon. You're running a lot of mileage there especially in week 23. Note in week 26 you'll be running some miles but don't do them at race pace. The slow taper is still on for the main event. Remember to hydrate and with some water and electrolytes during the run and you should make it in one piece.