Q I am a new runner and Im worried that I wont finish the marathon Im aiming for. Im using the run/walk method to train and the longest run Ive managed so far is three miles in 40 minutes. Ive got such a long way to go, and Im a bit disheartened. Should I carry on or hang up my trainers?
A Finishing the marathon isnt the question. Theres still time, if youre willing to stick to a schedule, to prepare to participate. Notice I say participate. The real victory for you will be crossing the finish line however long it takes to get there.
The two hurdles facing you are building your mileage base and gaining a little more speed. Both can be overcome.
The Get You Round marathon schedule (see p57) is designed for someone just like you. It includes lots of walking and will help you gradually increase your work-out time and mileage. Youll just have to commit to the training. It is particularly important that you do the long work-outs.
As for getting a little faster, thats possible too. Choose one day a week and call it your speed day. Understand that speed means speed for you, not for anyone else.
In the first week, warm up with some walking for about 10 minutes and then run at a brisk pace for about three minutes (or 400 metres). The pace should be brisk, meaning faster than normal, but not so fast that you are totally out of breath.
After your brisk three minutes, walk slowly for two minutes. Then do another brisk three minutes, followed by two minutes of slow walking. In the first week, do four of these run/walk intervals, followed by a 10-minute cool-down. Add one additional interval each week until you get to 10 intervals, then stay at 10.
This speed work-out is the only work-out you do on that day. Focus on your form, trying to move a little faster, and getting used to the feel of speed. But only do this once a week. Enjoy yourself and dont worry about how long it will take to finish the marathon. Simply rest assured that you will.
John The Penguin Bingham