micke-midlife on January 31st, 2009

This is the MAN, Haile Gebreselassie is pretty much THE living icon in the running world. He improved the marathon world record twice so far. Last year in Berlin, Germany, he was the first man to stay below 2:04 hours. The German Runner’s World online has an article where he shared his 7 recommendations to a successful marathon experience, also when your aim is run a bit above 2:04 hours. See for yourself how you do according to his advice.

  1. Check your health. Lately too many, mostly older people died in marathon races, due to existing cardio risks they brought with’em to the starting line. I’m not old, got that covered.
  2. Give it some time. A marathon isn’t a walk in the park, you need to prepare. Plan it at least a year in advance and start preparing for the race 6 months ahead. Prepare your environment - family, work - for it, it needs to support you. Check: 400 days is more than a year. And with this blog really everyone knows, whether he/she wants it or not.
  3. Set your goal and stick to it. You can only get to what you have prepared for during training. If it is finishing,  then stick  to a slow schedule in the race right from the beginning. If it’s 4:00, 3:30 or 3:00 hours, then see during training whether it’s realistic. Good that he didn’t say anything about sub-2:30 => check.
  4. Build up your endurance. Short and fast training won’t cut it. Even for a 4 hour target time, an average distance of about 8km/day is required. The idea with the relaxed but long run is to build up oxygen intake. The more oxygen is provided to the muscles, the higher the endurance. The long runs are my favorite ones… grrrrrmpfgh”!#¤%& 8-0
  5. Don’t forget to relax in between. Effective training with me is a mixture of tough sessions and relaxing runs, plus days of no training at all. And so it should be with you, too. After a full speed session always follows easy training. Keep one day off per week - do what I say, don’t do what I do (see Haile’s training below) but for us mortal ones, hell yes, procrastination keeps us alive!
  6. Need for speed. My marathon speed is above 20km/h, that’s faster than my normal training speed, hence it needs to be trained beforehand. First over shorter distances, then over longer ones. If you intend to run 3:30 hours or faster, you need to practice your marathon speed over 10 to 20km every week. we get better at it every week, check.
  7. Don’t forget your muscles. Although good runners have striking similarities with a stick or an asparagus, they go to the gym more often than one would believe. Light weights but many repetitions toughen the muscles. Do jumps, pushups and ab crunches. this is where the body pump part comes in, check.

Here’s Haile’s training week during his preparation for a marathon, not necessarily good for you.

Monday: 2 - 3 hours relaxed running, stretching afterwards

Tuesday: morning, 90 min easy run with stretching; afternoon, 60 min easy run

Wednesday: morning, 25 - 35km running on tarmac; afternoon 60 min easy run

Thursday: morning, 40min warm-up incl. stretching, interval runs 100 - 200m sprints; afternoon 60min easy run

Friday: morning, up-hill intervals 15 - 20 x 400m, jog back down hill; afternoon, 60 min easy run

Saturday: morning, on the track 8 x 2000m, stretching; afternoon 60 min easy run

Sunday: morning, 60 mins easy run

A quick calculation with the assumption that his easy afternoon run is about 13-14km, this would result in a weekly distance north of 210km… Have fun, man!

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