Here is what my marathon training consists of:
- 1 long run per week of 15 to 20 miles
- 2 moderately long runs of 10 to 12 miles
- Short runs of 3.8 to 6 miles alternating with the longer run days
I aim to run a minimum of 30 miles per week.
I tend to run 4 to 5 days in a row, and then take a rest day which means I will just walk a little and do a lot of juggling as cross training. I alternate between long run days and short run days usually, to help rest my legs.
I do strength training for both my upper body and lower body, with much greater emphasis on my legs. I don’t want my upper body to become bulky so I keep it to a minimum, otherwise it slows me down as a runner. About once a week I do a complete upper body workout which consists of:
- 2 sets of arm curls with resistance bands(usually 10 to 12 repetitions)
- 2 sets of shoulder lifts with resistance bands(usually 7 to 9 repetitions)
- 1 set of push-ups(I usually do between 30 to 34)
- Juggle 3 very heavy balls(2.25 lbs) for several minutes until I can’t do it anymore
I tend to do this workout after runs(later in the day, not immediately after) since I want my body to build endurance for long runs rather than emphasize upper body muscle growth. Doing this before would emphasize muscle growth and may compromise my endurance level. I do an abbreviated version of this workout a few days after this which consists of just push-ups and heavy ball juggling. This workout allows me to juggle for hours on end. Here is some of my equipment – Iron Juggling.
My lower body/legs strength training regimen is even more important. I do this 2 to 3 times a week(rarely on the same day as upper body strength training). I tend to do this before I go out for a run(and refueling first if doing the run right after), and only on days when I do short runs. This helps build muscle for endurance runs, and to help rebuild muscle the days after very long runs.
This consists of:
- 4 sets of leg lifts with ankle weights, I usually do about 20 lifts
- 3 sets of this type of standing hip exercise using resistance bands(very important for hills). I do about 10 to 15 usually.
- 1 set of bicycle crunches to build ab strength
- 3 sets of jumping squats to build explosiveness and leg strength
On some days I will run on mostly hilly terrain during my long runs to train for the notoriously hilly Yonkers Marathon. Some good research indicates that the body can either build cardio endurance or strength for the day, but not both. They are in conflict, but not as bad as some people may think it is. So endurance runners should strength train their upper body after runs, not before. It’s fine to do leg strength training first though to build leg muscle, at least that is how my body works.
I do no stretching, except for the occasional back stretch on an exercise ball. I’ve seen no convincing studies indicating that stretching is beneficial.
If you have any questions or suggestions, I would love to hear from you.