Bart Yasso's Marathon Training Tips
Have you registered to run the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon? Have a safe, fun racing experience by taking advice from Bart Yasso, Runner's World magazine's chief running officer and author of the book "My Life on the Run."
If you're used to running three or four days per week for a total of 15-20 miles per week, consider training with a beginner's program. It should include a long run of up to 12 miles, peak mileage of 30 miles per week, and should start with about 15 miles per week.
An intermediate program should start out at 30 miles per week, peak at about 40 miles per week, have you running five days a week, and should add weekly hill workouts and other quality runs to the long runs (up to 15 miles).
The advanced program should start at about 40 miles per week and climb to a peak of 60 miles per week, with an 18-mile long run. You should have two quality workouts per week and only one zero day per week. This program is made for an experienced runner aiming for a fast performance on race day.
Start where you are. If you're training for your first marathon, you should aim just to get to the starting line feeling fit and injury-free, and to get to the finish line having enjoyed the experience enough to want to do it again. If you've gone 26.2 miles before, then shoot for time goals. No matter how experienced you are, it's important to base your goals on your current level of fitness.
Take the talk test. With all the modern technology, it's hard to believe that such a simple and low-tech method could be reliable, but science has proven that the "talk test" is a reliable way to gauge intensity. During easy and long runs, you should be running at a pace that's so comfortable that you should be able to speak in full sentences and carry on a conversation.
Mix it up. Your training plan calls for cross-training, and for good reason. Filling a rest day or an easy day with low- to no-impact activities like yoga or swimming can help your muscles recover from all the pounding you put them through and can prevent burnout.
As you get deeper into this base-building phase, you want to think about bringing some balance into your training. You've got to challenge yourself with tough efforts like hill work and long runs to bring your fitness to the next level.
Get a change of scenery. It's easy to get stuck running the same routes day after day, and end up feeling bored and burnt out. It's important to find new places to run in order to stay mentally fresh, and to vary your terrain to challenge different muscles in your legs.