Training Guide For Your Runs

Not sure how to train after signing up for a full or half marathon? We've got you covered.

 

You’ve signed up for your first marathon but the furthest you've ran so far is only 5km. Thanks to our running experts, we're going to help you survive your 42km without crawling over the finish line. This training plan will help you prepare for the marathon over the next five months, as well as overcome common training hurdles. 

Training Hurdle: No Motivation To Start
Solution: Set your goal
“When the runner has a specific goal in mind, he will be more motivated to train – however arduous the process is” says Adrian Mok, one of Singapore’s top endurance athletes, and general manager of Polar Electro Singapore. Jason Lawrence, three-time Men's Health Urbanathlon winner, adds: “Make your goal SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.” So, if you’ve signed up to lose 10 kg or to complete the marathon in less than six hours, you’re on the right track.
 
Training Hurdle: No Training Plan 
Solution: Use the Men’s Health five-month marathon training plan
If you’re aiming to complete the race in six hours or less – with minimal walking – the 20-week training plan drawn up by Adrian is a good starting point. He explains the importance of such a plan: “It provides the inexperienced marathoner runner with a systematic and progressive way of training. It will also help the runner avoid injuries.”
 
Training Hurdle: Insufficient Endurance
Solution: Clock mileage during training.
Lawrence highlights a common problem that the first timer will face: “On paper, the runner may find that his target pace is very manageable. However, because he lacks endurance, he is unable to run at that speed for the entire marathon distance.” The solution lies in this unavoidable piece of advice: “Mileage is king for the marathon”, says Lawrence. Adrian concurs, pointing out that logging high mileage is of utmost importance if the runner is aiming to complete the marathon.
 
Training Hurdle: Too Busy To Commit To A Training Plan
Solution: Sacrifice some sleeping time.
When other aspects of our lives come a-calling (did we mention sheer laziness also?), training becomes a chore. To commit to his training plan, Adrian explains that some sacrifice is required: “If you can sacrifice some sleep, train in the morning – it gives you an adrenaline rush and makes up feel charged up for work! If you value your sleep, night training is also possible – it helps you to relax after a hard day at the office. It’s also useful to train with a group of friends – you’ll be more motivated not to skip training.”

Training Hurdle: Too Tired To Train 
Solution: Rest when you are tired.
There’s no problem with missing a day of training. Lawrence explains that if the runner should listen to his body: “Rest when you’re tired. Don’t try to make up for the missed session later in the week – just continue with the plan. Run longer and stronger when you’re fresher.” Alternatively, Adrian suggests rescheduling, within the same week, the missed session. And rescheduling can be easily done because the training plan has been drawn to include only two to three workouts per week. Adrian points out that it is important for the runner to commit to two key workouts a week – one long run session and one interval training session. The two sessions will help the runner maintain his fitness level.
 
Training Hurdle: Workouts Are Too Challenging
Solution: Be flexible with your routine.
At times, for reasons that relate to fatigue and lack of fitness, you find that you are unable to complete a particular workout in the plan. “Err on the side of undertraining,” says Singapore's top marathoner, Mok Ying Ren, “Check if your plan is overambitious because you don’t have the requisite fitness level.” Lawrence adds: “Avoid taking short cuts in training. Adjust your plan so that you allow yourself to build up your fitness level. Re-try that uncompleted workout a few weeks later.” Adrian also has a suggestion “Put the uncompleted training time in that session to good use – spend more time warming down or stretching.”

Training Hurdle: Too Much Mileage Is Boring
Solution: Add variety and improve your running form with interval training.
They are not high-speed workouts per se, but interval training. Lawrence explains: “Interval training is very useful for marathon runners – it helps them become more efficient. This is because when we run fast, we quickly learn that inefficiencies like excessive head or arm motion may affect our performance.” Adrian adds: “Intervals will help to boost the runner’s fitness level as well as train him to run at the correct tempo during the race.”

The Five-Month Marathon Training Plan For Beginners


 

 

The Five-Month Marathon Training Plan For Beginners
This training plan has been created by
elite endurance athlete Adrian Mok, to help the first-time marathoner train progressively towards achieving a race timing of 6 hours or less.

This training plan has been designed for the person who is already a) able to run 5 km in 30 to 35 minutes, and b) training about two to three times a week.

Duration: 5 months
Goal: To complete 42.195 km in 5
½ - 6 hours
Pace: 7:45 - 8:30 min/km

Phase One: Basic Conditioning
Weeks 1 - 8: 2 sessions per week. Any two days, according to your schedule

 
 
Day
Month
Week
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
Jul
1
 
 
Easy Run 1
 
 
Easy Run 2
 
2
 
 
 
 
 
3
 
 
 
 
 
4
 
 
 
 
 
Aug
5
 
 
 
 
Easy Run 3
 
6
 
 
 
 
 
7
 
 
Easy Run 4
 
 
Easy Run 5
 
8
 
 
 
 
 


Legend


 
 
Duration
 
Intensity
 
Easy Run 1
30 min at easy pace.
Heart rate (HR) at Zone 1-2.
 
Easy Run 2
45 min at easy pace.
HR at Zone 1-2.
 
Easy Run 3
60 min at easy pace.
HR at Zone 1-2 with walking breaks.
 
Easy Run 4
40 min at easy pace.
HR at Zone 1-2.
 
Easy Run 5
15 min warm-up + 60 min at easy pace.
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warming up, maintain HR at Zone 3 for first 20 min.

Heart Rate
Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) in beats per minute (bpm) = 220 - age

 
1 (Very Light)
 
2 (Light)
 
3 (Moderate)
 
4 (Hard)
 
5 (Very Hard)
50-60% of HRmax
60-70% of HRmax
70-80% of HRmax
80-90% of HRmax
90-100% of HRmax

 

 

Phase Two: Progressive Mileage Build Up
Weeks 9 - 14
: 2 sessions per week. Any two days, according to your schedule.

 
 
Day
 
Month
 
Week
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
 
Sep
9
 
Tempo Run 1
 
 
 
 
Long Run 1A
10
 
 
 
 
 
Long Run 1B
11
 
 
 
 
 
Long Run 1C
12
 
 
 
 
 
Long Run 1D
 
Oct
13
 
Tempo Run 2
 
 
 
 
Long Run 2A
14
 
 
 
 
 
Long Run 2B

Legend

 
 
Duration
 
Intensity
 
Tempo Run 1
15 min warm-up + 60 min run
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 40 min.
 
Long Run 1A
15 min warm up + 1 hr 10 min run
HR at Zone 1-3. After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 80 min.
 
Long Run 1B
15 min warm up + 1 hr 20 min run
 
Long Run 1C
15 min warm up + 1 hr 30 min run
 
Long Run 1D
15 min warm up + 1 hr 40 min run
 
Tempo Run 2
15 min warm-up + 1 hr 10 min run
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 50 min.
 
Long Run 2A
15 min warm up + 1 hr 50 min run
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 120 min.
 
Long Run 2B
15 min warm up + 2 hr 10 min run

Heart Rate
Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) in beats per minute (bpm) = 220 - age

 
1 (Very Light)
 
2 (Light)
 
3 (Moderate)
 
4 (Hard)
 
5 (Very Hard)
50-60% of HRmax
60-70% of HRmax
70-80% of HRmax
80-90% of HRmax
90-100% of HRmax

 
 
 
Phase Three: Fitness Build-Up
Weeks 15-19: 3 sessions per week. Any three days, according to your schedule.

 
 
 
Day
 
Month
 
Week
 
Mon
 
Tue
 
Wed
 
Thu
Fri
 
Sat
Sun
 
Oct
 
15
Interval Run 1
 
Tempo Run 3
 
 
Long Run 3A
 
 
16
 
 
 
Long Run 3B
 
 
Nov
 
17
Interval Run 2
 
Tempo Run 4
 
 
Long Run 4A
 
 
18
 
 
 
Long Run 4B
 
 
19
 
 
 
Long Run 4C
 

Legend

 
 
Duration
 
Activity
 
Intensity
 
Interval Run 1
1 hr
6 x 800m.
Intervals to be done at slightly faster than marathon race pace.
HR at Zone 4
 
Tempo Run 3
15 min warm-up + 1 hr 10 min run
 -
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 50 min.
 
Long Run 3A
15 min warm-up + 2 hr 30 min run
 -
After warm up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 150 min.
 
Long Run 3B
15 min warm-up + 2 hr 50 min run
 -
 
Interval Run 2
1 hr
6 x 1000m.
Intervals to be done at slightly faster than marathon race pace.
HR at Zone 4
 
Tempo Run 4
15 min warm-up + 60 min run
 -
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 40 min.
 
Long Run 4A
15 min warm-up + 3 hr run
 -
After warm up, keep at target marathon pace. 
 
Long Run 4B
15 min warm-up + 3 hr 10 min run
 -
 
Long Run 4C
15 min warm-up + 3 hr 20 min run
 -

Heart Rate
Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) in beats per minute (bpm) = 220 - age

 
1 (Very Light)
 
2 (Light)
 
3 (Moderate)
 
4 (Hard)
 
5 (Very Hard)
50-60% of HRmax
60-70% of HRmax
70-80% of HRmax
80-90% of HRmax
90-100% of HRmax

 
 
 
Final Phase: Taper
Week 20: 2 sessions per week. Any two days, according to your schedule.
 
 
Day
 
Month
 
Week
 
Mon
 
Tue
 
Wed
 
Thu
 
Fri
 
Sat
 
Sun
 
Nov - Dec
 
20
Interval Run 3
 
Tempo Run 5
 
 
 
 
Race Day!
 
Legend

 
 
Duration
 
Activity
 
Intensity
 
Interval Run 3
1 hr
4 x 400m.
Intervals to be done at slightly faster than marathon race pace.
HR at Zone 4
 
Tempo Run 5
15 min warm-up + 40 min run
 -
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 20 min.
Race DayComplete 42.195 km in 5 ½ - 6 hours Race pace of 7:45 - 8:30 min/km

Heart Rate
Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) in beats per minute (bpm) = 220 - age

 
1 (Very Light)
 
2 (Light)
 
3 (Moderate)
 
4 (Hard)
 
5 (Very Hard)
50-60% of HRmax
60-70% of HRmax
70-80% of HRmax
80-90% of HRmax
90-100% of HRmax


 

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