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Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon

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Here’s Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Training for Your First Marathon...

... And Finishing in an Impressive 4 Hours – or less!

Most runners and triathletes I know would dearly love to try their hand at a marathon – if only just to say that they’ve successfully competed at this iconic distance. But they’re discouraged by the number of people they know who started training for the event – only to quit before the race because of injury or over-training.

Committing to running a marathon is not a step to be taken lightly. But if you know what you are doing in terms of training, nutrition, recovery and all the rest of it, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t complete the training – and the actual race.

And do so in a highly respectable time as well.

That’s why I commissioned John Shepherd, a longstanding contributor to Peak Performance, to construct our brand new training course Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon .

It follows hot on the heels of the other best-sellers in our ‘Personal Training Online’ series: ‘Fat Burning’, the ‘3-month Muscle Builder Training Programme’ and our ‘3-Month Speed Training Programme’. And it takes the same plain-speaking, no-nonsense yet specialist approach to this challenging event.

So it’s concise, authoritative – and, above all, practical.

What sets our training information apart from the rest? In a word: science. Or, more specifically, sports science. Because at Peak Performance we’ve been publishing the very best sports science training tips and techniques for years – via our web site and monthly newsletter, and in a host of special reports and workbooks.

So you can be sure that every word of Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon rests on a solid, proven scientific foundation.

And that you’ll get the definitive answers you need to such questions as:

  • What’s the most common mistake runners make in the opening weeks of training for a marathon? (p. 1)
  • How do you know if you’re running too fast a pace – even without a heart rate monitor? (p. 2)
  • What are the six characteristics of a good, economical running style? (p. 6)
  • Which stretching exercises should a runner do to keep injury at bay? (pp. 7-8)
  • How far should you run without needing to carry water? (p. 9)
  • What can you tell from your 10k time about your marathon running prospects? (10)
  • How do you know if you’re running your longer sessions at the correct pace – not too fast, not too slow? (p. 16)
  • What’s the easiest way to accurately determine your correct running threshold? (p. 11)
  • What’s the right way to eat during a long run? (p. 11)
  • Why do some people actually gain weight while training for a marathon – and how do you make sure you’re not one of them? (p. 15)
  • What’s the key to avoiding injury in the final weeks of your marathon training? (p. 15)
  • What all-important preparation should you do the day before the race? (p. 16)
  • How do you know if your first-half marathon pace is right for you – so you don’t ‘hit the wall’ at 18 or 20 miles? (p. 16)

In short, Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon is the definitive guide to marathoning success at your first attempt.

And because it’s available as an ebook, you can start putting the ideas it contains into practice within just 24 hours.

So here’s my personal promise to you: follow the step-by-step programme we give you and, at the end of 24 weeks you’ll be ready to compete in your first marathon – and finish in a creditable 4 hours or less.

As a registered member of our website, you’re invited to order your copy of this brand new training program TODAY at an exclusive, 42% discount price – but for a LIMITED time only. (More details on how to get your copy below.)

Where else can you find such cutting-edge advice in one place – and all of it based on the very latest sports science research?

As some of our recent Peak Performance customers put it:

“Training advice from Peak Performance has helped me to improve by using the correct exercises and strategies. I have also learned to get the maximum training effect with less time spent than in the past. A must for anyone wanting to keep abreast with the latest knowledge on sports performance.”
Geoff Lienert, Distance Runner, New Zealand

“I like to know that I am getting information that the average person doesn’t. This makes me feel like I’m one step ahead of my competition.”
Gary Barnes, Triathlete, Australia

“Peak Performance articles helped me focus my training and gave me great results. I had hit a plateau, and thought I was through improving. Once I started applying the information in the articles, I was able to improve my times from 5ks on up to marathons.”

Philip Aucoin, Distance Runner, USA

If you’re really serious about competing – and finishing – a marathon in the next 12 months, then it’s time to take advantage of the latest thinking on distance running – and impress your family, friends and workmates with your marathoning ability!

Get your copy of Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon TODAY, at our special, 42%-discount price. What’s more, you’ve got 30 days in the convenience of your own home or sports club to decide whether or not you want to keep the program or return it for a full refund.

So make sure you order your copy TODAY.

Click here to go to our special, 42% discount offer. Or read on to learn more about the Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon

What sports kit will I need to prepare for and run my first marathon?

Don’t just dig out an old t-shirt and beat-up pair of trainers. Spending a bit of money on the right kit will make running a far more comfortable and enjoyable experience and make you more likely to keep training.

Here’s what you’re likely to need:

Shoes: more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better! It is far more important to get a shoe that is right for you and the way you run. Go to a reputable running shop and be guided by their recommendations, and make sure you buy a shoe that suits your running style and your pocket.

Clothing: one of the downsides of training for a marathon is that you’ll have to contend with running in all weathers. However, with modern clothing you can stay dry, warm and comfortable.

You’ll need a wicking base-layer – opt for synthetic or, for a touch of luxury, go for Merino wool. Next on is a light insulating layer, such as a fleece. And on top you’ll need a wind/waterproof shell. With these three layers, it’s easy to regulate your temperature and cope with even the most extreme conditions. For legs, opt for either 3/4 length or full tights, or shorts when it’s warm enough. Hat and gloves will also be needed for winter running. Running socks are very important, for foot comfort, as are lightweight gloves – again for the chilly sessions.

Of course, you may have to contend with warm weather as well as cold so sun hat, sun glasses and lightweight breathable athletic tops and bottoms are also a must.

And ladies; don’t forget to wear a supportive sports bra!

Accessories: a watch with a timer function is a must and, although we won’t be using one initially, a heart rate monitor will be useful further into the training programme. You may want to consider one with GPS function so you can track how far you’ve run. A bum-bag is also a good idea if you need to shed a layer and for carrying keys and phones etc.

Finally, if you’re going to be running in the dark, a high-visibility vest or bands are essential and, if you live in a rural or unlit area, you might want to consider a headlamp. Ideally you should run with a partner or in a group, but if this is not possible then try to let someone know you are out running and carry your mobile phone with you.

Click here to go to our special, 42% discount offer. Or read on to learn more about the Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon

How often will I need to train?

The dropout rate from marathon training programmes is alarmingly high – the main reason being that many training plans try to pack in too much running in too short a period of time. Four, five or even six runs per week leave little room for any other training and this can lead to injury. There’s not much point packing in the miles only to get to your big day carrying an injury. It’s far better to have run a few less miles in training but be all-round strong, robust, and injury free.

Our marathon programme, by contrast, is designed around just three weekly running sessions and these are complimented by two or three other cross training workouts. We provide examples of these additional workouts, but do feel free to include your own favourite sessions, classes or activities.

Variety is key; not only will this develop all-round fitness, but it will keep your the training fresh and interesting and reduce potential injury.

The aim of this programme is to get you to a sub 4hr clocking – this time assumes that you have a good level of starting running fitness – perhaps you are a team sports player or have run 10ks before now.

Click here to go to our special, 42% discount offer. Or read on to learn more about the Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon

The RIGHT Way to Prepare for Marathoning – what you need to know before you take a single step

At the heart of Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon is a 6-month, step-by-step training programme – everything you need to know to prepare for and complete the marathon.

This programme breaks your training down into 4 x 6 week blocks. Each block has its own intermediary goal: the first block takes you to 5k, the second to 10k, the third to half-marathon and the fourth to the full 26.2 mile marathon distance.

For each step there’s a session-by-session training plan and tips on kit, nutrition and on how to keep running strong and injury free.

But to get the maximum benefit out of all the time and effort you put into training, first you need to spend a little time getting to understand:

  • How to run in a light, economical style – so you can get the most out of your training and competition
  • Learning the right pace to run at – be it distance sessions, tempo or high-intensity intervals
  • How to combine running with a strength training programme that will keep you injury-free, while building your running strength
  • Which stretching exercises are essential if you are to complete the programme – and the marathon – in one piece

So the first section of Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon puts your next 6 months’ training effort into its proper context.

Because without an adequate understanding of how to prepare your body properly for the demands of marathon running preparation, you’re unlikely to get the best out of all your hard effort.

This section kicks off with two detailed strength training programmes designed to keep you injury free, while building the physical strength you need to acquire running stamina.

Strength training is going to help you in your running endeavours. Stronger muscles are more resistant to fatigue and less likely to become injured. Our plan requires you to perform two full body resistance workouts per week as part of your marathon training.

NB: you won’t ‘bulk up’ by hitting the gym twice a week, but you will, come marathon day, feel much stronger, especially in the last few miles of the race. And these sessions will reduce your injury risk – in sports training terms they’re very much what would be called pre-hab (or preconditioning) workouts.

New to this kind of training? Don’t worry. The programme includes a detailed description of all the suggested exercises – so you’ll know exactly how to do them the right way.

Next, we detail a simple but effective stretching routine. It should take you no more than around 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how long you hold each stretch.

You should get into the habit of stretching every day, especially after you have trained, to minimise adaptive shortening and your risk of injuries due to tight muscles. If you have time, run through it twice for a more thorough stretching workout.

This section includes exercises to work all the following areas:

  • calves
  • hamstrings
  • quadriceps
  • inner thighs
  • outer thighs
  • glutes
  • hip flexors
  • abdominals
  • lower and upper back
  • chest

Perform some light dynamic stretches before each of your workouts to prepare your muscles for the demands of the training session. Leg swings, squats, lunges and arm swings are all good examples of dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches should be performed with control and never ballistically as this can lead to injury. So always control the end range of the movement and don’t swing vigorously in an attempt to go beyond your normal range of movement.

After your run, while you are still warm, perform static stretches for all of your major muscles (as indicated previously). Start with your calves and work up and don’t forget to stretch your upper body muscles, too. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds or more. If your muscles are particularly tight, make sure you stretch on the days between workouts.

When stretching, make sure you ease into each stretch gently and never bounce. Bouncing causes your muscles to tense up and will make your stretching less effective. Increase the depth of each stretch gradually and never force them. If you feel burning in your muscles you should ease off as you may be stretching too aggressively.

Click here to go to our special, 42% discount offer. Or read on to learn more about the Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon

What You Get in Each of The Four 6-Week Training Blocks

Having set out the fundamental building blocks of training for the marathon, this is where we get to the nitty-gritty – the four 6-week training programmes – each of them specifically designed to build on the gains of the previous programme, then take you to a new level of distance running.

So each programme tells you EXACTLY what to do, week by week, so you can achieve the planned-for mileage.

• Weeks 1-6: ‘Taking you to the 5k mark’.

This block of training is all about getting your mind and muscles used to running. So there’s no need to rush your fitness onwards or run as fast as you can at each session. You want to arrive at your marathon fit and healthy and don’t want to reach an over-trained state.

Remember: you’re laying the all-important base for the weeks of training to follow.

• Weeks 7-12: ‘Taking you to the 10k mark’.

Having conquered 5k and managed at least 30 minutes of continuous running, the next step towards running a marathon is completing a 10k. Don’t worry if that sounds like a big task as, from a physiological perspective, the step-up isn’t that big.

As with the first block of training, this six-week plan is based around three running sessions per week and two gym strength sessions. This time the three run sessions are all very different in nature to one another. In addition to building stamina they’ll also develop your speed. The gym work is there to make you a strong, robust and injury resistant runner. Too many running programmes contain too much running and ignore vital strengthening work. Although the jury is still out as to whether gym work will make you a faster runner, it will significantly improve your chances of getting to the start line injury free.

Monday in our programme is put aside as a recovery session and is an ideal time to take part in a yoga or Pilates class. However, if you’re desperate for a more specific training hit, then go for an easy paced swim or cycle.

• Weeks 13-18: ‘Going to the half-marathon’.

Now it’s onwards and upwards, and the slightly daunting prospect of running a half marathon. However, don’t be put off, as the base of strength and stamina you’ve already built up will comfortably see you through the demands of training for and racing 13.1 miles.

As with the first and second marathon blocks, you’re looking at three running workouts a week: a long steady distance run, a tempo session and an interval session. It’d be ideal if you could continue with the two strength sessions per week as well, as you will really reap the rewards of increased robustness and injury protection, especially in the final block leading to the full marathon. However, if you’re starting to find the volume too much you can drop one of these workouts. And don’t forget, you have a ‘spare session’ on Mondays and we’d strongly advise you to use this for active recovery – so do yoga, Pilates, swim and/or stretch.

• Weeks 19-24: ‘Stepping up to the Marathon’.

There’s no denying that the final step up from 13.1 miles to 26.2 miles is a big task but, with your established strength foundation and running base, it’s well within your capabilities.

We’re sticking to the same structure as the previous training plans: a long steady distance session, a tempo run and an interval workout. You’ll find many marathon programmes advocate 4-5 runs per week and some of your training buddies might even be following such schedules, but don’t get put off by this. The three quality, purposeful sessions you’re doing will put you on the starting line strong, well prepared and injury free. There’s no point accumulating ‘junk miles’ just for the sake of it. Overdoing it during this final phase is really easy and the ‘more is better’ approach to running is why physiotherapists get very busy at marathon time!

If you can manage it, stick to the two strength workouts per week as well but, if you’re finding the volume too much, you can drop back to one.

So there you have it. Everything you need to train for the marathon – and complete it, injury-free – in 4 hours or less.

With the Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon you’re less than 6 months away from successfully completing your first marathon – and in a highly respectable time too!

Details of your special 42% off!

As a registered member of our Peak Performance web site, you qualify for a copy of Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon at a special 42% discount. Place your order today and you pay just $29.99 (£18.59) instead of the full price of $50.00 (£32).

You save 42%.

And because it’s an ebook, you’ll receive it within 24 hours of completing your order.

The Marathon Training Programme: how to run a sub 4 hour marathon is one of a series of special training programs from Peak Performance, the sports science newsletter. This specialist training programme is not available elsewhere.

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