Finding the right marathon training schedule for a beginning runner is seriously a new problem. The LaSalle Chicago marathon, which is one of the world's largest with over 60,000 runners, usually has around 40% first time marathoners cross the starting line each fall.
For first timers, a marathon training schedule that creates confidence in your running ability is as essential as any other part of the program. A program that drags you out of bed while still sore from the previous day, will only hurt your confidence in your training. The marathon is an endurance event, and therefore has a huge mental aspect as well as physical.
Pro-runner Ryan Hall gives the following race day advice about staying in the moment:
"Run the mile you're in: 'Focus on the moment. I avoid thinking about how far I have to go early in the race because because I can be overwhelming. , because that would give me an excuse to give in to fatigue. '"
A marathon training schedule that focuses on the mental aspects, as well as the physical ones, is a sure-fire way to make sure you are prepared for race day. One of the best ways to ensure mental and physical freshness is to cross-train.
Cross training can be a fun and important part of your marathon training schedule. It's important to realize it's benefits and potential downfalls, to make sure that it becomes a beneficial part of your schedule and does not lead to injuries. The activity you choose is the most important part of including cross training. The level of intensity is the second consideration. Most endurance sports work well for cross training, but few keep your heart rate at the same level as running. This is fine, and you should not expect to have as high a heart rate when you swim or bike.
Other sports, like soccer and basketball, give great anaerobic workouts, but also have a higher rate of injury. If you have not played these sports previously, it's not advisable to start them when you are training for your marathon. Also avoid gym machines that stress the lower leg, such as stair climbers. In general, you want a cross training activity that is lower impact than running, but still keeps your heart rate up.
Other more social activities, like hiking can also be used on your easy days. If you are replacing a high quality running workout with cross training, it's better to use another endurance sport like biking, rowing or swimming, where you can more closely emulate a running workout. Focus on time and effort, not distance when doing another sport.
Cross training can enhance your marathon training schedule and add variety to keep you motivated.