A Professional Marathon Runner’s Training Plan

A Professional Marathon Runner’s Training Plan

Training to be a marathon runner in Malaysia is already an applaudable feat, but to be a professional runner with a benchmark of 140km per week is superhuman. Although you might not be able to directly follow their training plans, you may still learn other skills from them. The three aspects in their schedule which has built their endurance running are split between the frequency of training, the intensity of the session and the recovery process.

Take a look at Eluid Kipchoge’s training plan for the Berlin Marathon in 2017. He was running with the aim to break the world record. 

Monday

AM

21km in 70 mins moderate (Eldoret, Flat Course, Mainly Road)

 

PM

10km easy

Tuesday

AM

Track – 15 min warm up (3.1km), 1200m in 3:25, jog lap, 5 x 1km in 2:55 (1:30 rec), jog lap, 3 x 300m in 40-42 (1:00 rec), jog lap, 2 x 200m in 27s (1:00 rec), 15 min cool down (3km)

 

PM

REST

Wednesday

AM

18km easy/ moderate (71 min)

 

PM

11km easy (44 min)

Thursday

AM

40km tempo run – 2hr 26 min – very tough course, poor conditions, muddy etc

 

PM

REST

Friday

AM

18km easy/moderate – (70 min)

 

PM

10km easy (39 min)

Saturday

AM

Fartlek – 10 min warm up (2km), 30 x (1 min on, 1 min off) – reps @ 2:45 per km, easy jog recoveries, Cross Country course. 15 min cool down (2.8km)

 

PM

REST

Sunday

AM

20km easy/moderate (77 min)

 

PM

REST

Source: Sports Performance

Frequency of Training

Eluid’s training goes on every morning with rest time during the evening, excluding Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It is evident that professional runners drill down on running everyday, showing that consistency equates to growth. However, the variation in those runs would help change things up and lessen the load of soreness or injury per session. Taking evenings off for certain days will aid the recovery process overall to keep pushing through week by week. Professional runners schedule the optimum training and rest times for the most effective growth. The most important part of it is the ability to keep to it with discipline. 

Intensity of Session

The intensity of the morning runs varies in terms of distance and pacing. Against contrary belief, exercising every day may harm your body. Focusing on consecutive sessions with overexertion will actually be ineffective. As we can see from Eluid’s schedule, he takes two days out of his week to have easier sessions of running and jogging. Instead, professional runners have running sessions with varying distance and pacing so it won’t be too taxing on the body. 

Recovery

According to Eluid’s schedule, he gives it all in his morning sessions and takes several evenings off to recuperate. It is said that Bernard Lagat, the five time Olympian, pampers himself on days off with massages. He told reporters that without the relaxation, he would not be able to go full throttle. The key takeaway would be that we should give ourselves ample time for our bodies to heal. 

How Would You Implement It?

Plan a reasonable training plan that you can follow with adequate running time and recovery time. The running duration should be challenging for you but don’t be afraid to change it up throughout the week. Set a suitable volume of running sessions for yourself to follow. Have more intense sessions one day followed by shortened sessions, or even rest day the next. 

Make sure to schedule time for resting so your muscles are able to rebuild. Strengthen your muscles for running to build optimum running endurance. When the day of the race comes, you will breeze through it in no time at all. 

Be Willing to Adapt

There are plenty you can learn from reading professional runner logs, but ultimately, your running schedule should cater to you. The best way to obtain a proper running plan is to seek professional help from a marathon running coach. However, if the plan is too much to handle, do not be discouraged to tweak it.

Listen to what your body is trying to tell you when you go for your scheduled recovery runs. If you are not feeling comfortable, change your training routine until you find that thin line between pushing yourself and recovery. 

Take into account that professional runners run for a living. They allocate most if not all of their time dedicated to their training. Give yourself leeway to breathe and do not get carried away by pushing yourself too hard. Set a proper goal and focus on it when you sprint through the week. 

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