Well done – youre a quarter of the way to your marathon goal already. By now, youre probably into a routine and already seeing just how fast your fitness is improving thanks to regular, structured training. The chances are youve settled into your various training paces and are getting used to the demands of increasing mileage.
But if all isnt well, dont worry! Its early days yet, so if youve missed a week or two of training, or youre thinking about revising your marathon time target, you can still adjust your plans to compensate. If in doubt, aim low. Its better to finish a marathon a little slower than youd first hoped, than not to finish it at all.
Incidentally, if your work or family commitments wont allow you to do certain sessions on certain days, dont be afraid to swap days around to some extent. Just remember not to do two hard days back to back, and always strive not to drop a long run or speed session if youre forced to miss a day.
In Weeks 5-8... you add volume and speedThis is a key period. The training is still intensifying each week, you have still to reach the heaviest period, but the key is to be consistent and patient. If you do, and maintain the training, you should be gaining strength and speed every week, plus the knowledge that you are getting closer to the marathon and to warmer and easier training weather. Your first target this month is to do a long, two-and-a-half-hour run in Week 7.
The schedules also suggest you finish Week 8 with a race. Race flat-out if youre racing up to 10 miles, or run at your intended marathon pace if youre running a half-marathon. If you race flat-out, try to produce a faster performance than the race you ran last month.