January 8 2018
Our resident run coach advises on the point at which runners should enlist trained help to reach their running goals.
Are you ready for this? And what to do if you’re not.
Shooting for a sub-four marathon demands high mileage and frequent speed work that will make the body more fatigued than training for a slower or easier race. For that reason, it is recommended to have at least one marathon completed so you know your body’s limits and where you might need to adjust. This plan may work for you if you’re a first-timer with some other race experience (see chart below), or you can tweak parts of it to fit your current fitness level.
RUN SUB FOUR.
Use the paces below to see if your current shorter race times fall within the times listed (or faster). The longer the race, the more accurate the prediction.
If this plan is too aggressive, stretch it out to 20 or 24 weeks and build more gradually.
KEEP YOUR FITNESS LEVEL IN MIND.
Take extra rest days as needed, and make sure you recover properly.
Related: Advice For New Runners
SKIP THE SPEED.
The best workouts to cut back on, in favor of extra rest or active-recovery cross-training, are those involving speed (e.g., hill repeats and intervals).
FOCUS ON ENDURANCE AND STAMINA.
Don’t skip the long runs or marathon-race-pace portions of your runs.
PICK A FRIENDLY COURSE.
Choose a race that is beginner friendly and during a time of year with good weather.
HAVE A “B” GOAL.
If during the race things fall apart, have a secondary goal to keep you motivated to the finish line and take what you learn to your next marathon.