When looking towards a goal, most coaches will advise building specifically towards a goal like the Marathon over either 16 or 12 weeks but what should you do if you've got a place in a Marathon further away than this?
Firstly, it's important to recognise there are a number of different factors that should play a part in deciding how to plan for such a goal. Our ethos as coaches is to make sure that you love your training. The key to achieving anything amazing long term consistency and to turn up week in week out to work on something you need to love it. So as a result it's key that you reflect on the way in which training will make you happiest.
Think ahead around key dates like birthdays, trips or Christmas and think if these are going to effect your training, if you want to be training through them or maybe you'll want to factor in a break for these and start training sooner. Some of us like to turn up the intensity for a shorter period of time switching off totally between goals whereas some of us like to build up gradually year on year always in the flow of training. Neither is wrong, neither is necessarily better but like we said, workout what will make you happiest and then from there we can identify the best strategy from where you are now.
You have several options of how to best train before diving into a specific Marathon plan. Firstly we'd suggest deciding the length of time you want to train specifically towards the Marathon; if you are the type of person to get bored training for one thing for a long time we'd suggest going for the 12 week option, but if you think a longer a steadier journey is for you then go for the 16 weeks.
Then comes working out what to do before that. You can look work on speed and try to running a faster 5k, or choose a complimentary goal like a Half Marathon and train towards that. Or for those of you wanting to extend the Marathon prep without having any specific goals to work on, we'd recommend looking at our 'Running Maintenance Plan', 'Get Fit Plan', or our 'Pre Marathon Baseline Plan' - all of which will generally improve your running at both ends of the spectrum with a gentle focus on both speed and endurance to mean when you're ready to dive into the specific Marathon plans. By following plans beforehand, the stronger you'll be at the start and therefore the better we can make you come the big day itself!
As with any question with your training, if you're stuck as to which plan to go for or how to set it up best for you, just message us in the Support tab of the app and we'll be waiting to take your running to the next level!