The First Few Weeks of Training

My first two weeks of training for the BMO Vancouver Marathon are done and with this morning’s 13km “long” run, week three has already begun.

I generally enjoy the first month of training as the mileage is pretty low, and the Sunday runs are quite easy. While the schedule I follow from the Running Room calls for just 10km on the first two Sundays and then 13km for the next two, it’s no problem for me to push that a bit and get closer to 15km. Weekly mileage is about 40km these days with runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Some people think that training for a marathon means a ton of long runs, but that’s just not the case.

I generally run between 6km and 10km on my weekday runs throughout the four month program except for a few weeks where hill training pushes some runs to 10-14km. It’s only the Sunday run where the distance is built and even then, the farthest I’ll go in a single run is about 34-35km late in the program.

Good habits now

The most important thing in these early weeks is something I’ve preached for a few years since starting this blog: consistency. The time to develop good habits is now. That means running the schedule faithfully and putting in the weekday mileage no matter what.

If you get into the habit of running five days a week now, it’ll be easier to stay in that habit throughout the full 18-week program leading up to race day. On the other hand, if you start skimping on the mileage or skipping runs here and there, it will come back to haunt you later in the training cycle.

Make sure your body is ready

If you are an experienced runner and marathoner, then this first month is almost a rest period. If you are a first-timer, then it’s an opportunity to get used to the grind of training and a chance to see how your body will react.

Take the rest now and get yourself prepared both mentally and physically for what is coming in the next few months. Any small aches and pains, or minor niggles should be worked out before the weekly mileage ramps up and the Sunday runs get longer. Remember that it’s a long haul, so don’t get discouraged if things seem tougher than you thought they might be. You can do this.

Some other tips:

  • Have a training plan in place: if you haven’t joined a clinic or found a good program, then now is the time to seek out a good one for you. The Running Room has a very good marathon training plan they offer via their stores, or online if you don’t live near one. I strongly recommend their plan, especially for beginners as it is designed to get you to the start line healthy and the finish line “upright and smiling”. There’s more info about training plans here.
  • Get signed up for your race: if you haven’t signed up for your race yet, now is the time. Not only will it save you a few bucks over waiting a bit longer, but having a registration confirmation email has this way of keeping you motivated. For BMO Vancouver Marathon runners, there’s an additional reason—the race will sell out.
  • Don’t wait to treat any aches or pains: if you run into any injuries or issues, don’t wait around for it to get better. Seek out treatment from a physiotherapist or your doctor.

The countdown is on

It’s 112 days until the BMO Vancouver Marathon and that time will just fly by. Check back regularly over the next four months for advice and information about the next phases of training as we continue to build the strength and endurance required to run 42.2km.

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