Fred Lebow: "The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can't dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon."

"If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon."




You might associate the term "marathon" with endless training, guys collapsing at the finish line, and runners with physiques like Greek statues. This may have been the case in the 60's, when sports medicine was in its infancy and only those with true genetic gifts could withstand the gruel of marathon training.  Its just not the case anymore. Contemporary understanding of the human body has allowed any person, no matter how nonathletic,  to run marathons within a few easy weeks.


When you've decided to run a marathon today, you'll be stepping into a wonderland of modern science. But what does that mean?
    • It means you'll never have to run 26.2 miles before you run your first marathon.
    • It means you'll have more energy than ever before, not less
    • It means you'll be able to go from the sofa to a marathon within 12 weeks
  • The benefits of running a marathon
    • The benefits of running a marathon are endless. That big shiny trophy on your wall is a great way to make your mother proud, win your co-worker's respects, or, win that girl's respect. It’s an achievement you can hold dear for the rest of your life. If you're a father, you can show your children the benefits of dreaming big. If you're young, you can learn about the benefits of dreaming big.
  • So, let's get to it: How to run a marathon with modern medicine on your side:
    • Step 1: commit. Go to www.marathoncalendar.com and sign up for one in your neighborhood, 12 weeks from now. This is the first day for the rest of your life. Studies constantly show that when you have a financial stake, you will be more motivated to pull through.
    • Step 1a: go to http://26point2medals.com/ and type in that calendar. Imagine yourself holding that trophy. Studies show that imaging success increases the odds of success.
    • Step 2: Commit to a smaller step. Go to www.halfmarathons.net  and find a half marathon 6 weeks from now. This is the first day of a better you.
    • Step 3: Run 1 mile today.
    • As for your training in the next 12 weeks:
      • Use HIIT + 5-10-20 rule. Understanding how the human body works is important to understand why the marathon is so hard.
      • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):
        • 2 minutes gentle pedalling followed by 20 seconds of cycling flat-out for 4 cycles (a 10 minute workout) has been shown to be just as effective as a 30 minute run. HIIT is the best way to move your training forward and has been shown to be just as effective as long distance runs of 5,10, and even 20 miles! It smashes old notions that you have to be a slave to running every single day to gain the cardiovascular endurance to run a marathon, and its actually been proven to be SAFER than running long distances in your training.
        • To customize your workout, see this fantastic blog that goes into more detail: http://www.shutupandrun.net/2012/07/go-faster-leaner-and-longer-with-hiit.html
      • For longer runs, use the 5-10-20 rule. It means one day, you run 5 miles. The next time you are scheduled to go long, run 10. The final long run, go 20. These are essentially equivalent in difficulty. Ramping up from 5 miles to 20 miles is no harder than going from sofa to 5 miles. Once you've hit the 5 mile mark (try for 1 month in), then go 10 miles the week after. That means at 5 weeks (and 1 week before your half marathon), you'll have run only 3.1 miles short of a 10 miler.
  • Now: the hard part: Running the last 6.2 miles
    • Barry Magee:"Anyone can run 20 miles. It's the next six that count."
    • Ladies and gentlemen, I'll say it: theres no easy way around this. The last 6 miles suck. Your liver is designed to hold about 2000 calories of glycogen, which it uses as fuel. When you run, it goes through about 100 calories a mile. That means around mile 20, your body has run out of glucose. This is called the wall. The best runners in the world run out at the same time, but they are able to convert to fat burning much more efficiently, minimizing the so called "wall". You will not. That’s ok. There comes a time to be tough, and going 6 miles after you've already done 20 is relatively easy. Go slow, soak it up, and enjoy the last 6 miles as you drag your body across the finish line.  Its just that…simple really.
  1. Some small day to day things you can do:
    1. Run 1 mile every morning, first thing after waking up, followed by a protein shake.
    2. Run ONE long 20 mile run 2 weeks before the marathon
  1. For further reading, check out these wonderful reads:
    1. http://www.beyonddistance.com/2012/04/high-intensity-interval-training-hiit-and-marathon-training.html
    2. http://www.simplyshredded.com/fit-with-hiit-science-is-dropping-the-hammer-on-endless-bouts-of-steady-state-cardio.html
 


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