Marathon training tips

With the 2017 Melbourne Marathon fast approaching on Sunday 15 October, many runners are already well advanced in their training programs. Here are a few key points for managing your marathon training program in the lead-up to the event.

  1. Allocate one run per week as your long run. This should increase in distance as you approach the event. Most programs would have the long run distance building up to around 35km, however, this will depend on your fitness and experience. Some people will actually run less or more than this. You should aim to run this distance between 1 and 4 times prior to the marathon.
  2. Increase your total weekly distance throughout the program. The weekly total shouldn’t increase by more than 10% per week and it doesn’t have to continually increase every week. Using a ‘recovery week’ (where your weekly distance drops) is a very good way to avoid injury and overtraining as it allows your body to absorb the training so far, improve and freshen up for what’s ahead.
  3. Taper. Most programs will put your last long run 2-weeks out from the race. The rule of the taper is to reduce the volume, but maintain the intensity. Be very careful not to increase the intensity, however, as this could lead to a soft tissue injury close to the event.
  4. Don’t get stuck running slow all the time. It is important to include some faster running in your program. This may be in the form of interval sessions, Fartlek sessions, tempo or threshold runs.
  • Intervals: A series of hard efforts with standing or walking rest between.
  • Fartlek: ‘Speed play’ in Swedish. Running faster for a duration or distance, following by running slower for a time or distance.
  • Tempo run: This is a run at close to ‘race pace’. Eg. 10km at the average pace you are aiming to run for your marathon
  • Threshold run: This is running at a pace which is at, or faster than, the pace you could maintain running flat out for one hour. Eg. If your maximum distance for 1-hour is 12km (5 min/km pace), then your threshold run should be at a pace of at least 5 km in 25-minutes.

Good luck to everyone participating in the Melbourne Marathon Sunday 15th October, whether you’re aiming to finish your first event, run a PB or go for the win!

Dr Brendan O’Loughlin is an experienced triathlete and completed his first official marathon earlier this year. If you would like to speak with him or to one of our other practitioners about your training program, goals or any other issue, please feel free to ask a question, contact us or email us at:

[email protected]