I'm 44, been running for about 3 years and just run my first marathon in London 3 weeks ago - got round in 4:50 but had loads of problems with ITB in right knee which really hampered me and slowed me down. Been for a few runs since but legs really heavy and feeling listless. Will do more marathons but thinking a good challenge for this year will be to get my half PB under 1:40 (currently 1:46). Has anyone got any good advice on the following couple of things?
1. How long does it take to recover from a marathon? I read a month but was wondering if there is any optimal training I should be doing?
2. I've read a few bits about fartlek/intervals/hill intervals and was thinking I may need to be doing more of this to reduce my half PB. How does this type of training help?
Running became a bit of a chore training for the marathon, and want to mix it up to make it more interesting and reduce my half time.
Anyone got any tips for me?
Thanks. Was aiming for something around 4.15 as was my first marathon and had trained to 22 and tapered for 3 weeks before. Had problems with my ITB from about mile 9 which slowed me down as I had to keep stopping to stretch and just couldn't get any rhythm going and this easily cost me 40 mins. Looking to bring down my half down to sub 1:40 and think I need to do some more mixed training with intervals/Fartlek which I've never bothered with before, and was wondering what the advantages of doing this is.
It does sound like you would benefit from speed training, as you will have a decent base fitness from your marathon training and you have 3 years of running experience. I'm assuming your slow marathon time is due to ITB rather than endurance, and you need to make sure this is resolved first as one of the major drawbacks of speed training is that it increases your likelihood of injury.
The benefits of speed training are:
- It gets you used to running at faster speeds, especially if your marathon training has been lots of consistent, slower than MP runs. This should have a knock-on effect of making your running style more efficient as untidy habits tend to be more obvious when pushing hard.
- Intervals stress your V02 capacity, increasing your V02 max figure. This allows you to run faster for a given level of effort by using oxygen more efficiently.
- Tempo runs at just under Lactate Threshold help your body build up its tolerance to lactate (aka Pain!). This means you suffer less at a given level of effort, or suffer the same but at a higher effort level.
Have a look at the various intermediate training plans available on the web to get an idea of interval and tempo sessions, as you should look to be doing only one of each per week with some progression in the level of difficulty. I'd also recommend the "advanced marathoning" book by Pfitzinger & Douglas as this explains the purpose of the different sessions properly, unlike my badly summarised descriptions above.
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