Lydiard Running Wizard Marathon

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12 - 39 weeks $39.95

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Endurance base training incorporates fat-burning long runs up to 2.5 hours. Your pace is gradually lifted from phase to phase so that you will quite naturally run faster for longer without effort – the hallmark of effective marathon training. With sharpening and a taper you will feel as if you have wings on your feet come race day!

Plan length: 12-24 weeks. Choose your start date and race date - the plan adjusts automatically.  For those who are not quite an 1-hour runner, please see below for Beginner's Plan.

Fitness level: All fitness levels, from the couch potato to the seasoned runner.

Days of training: Select 4, 5, 6 or 7 days a week training.

Training outline: (12-24 weeks):

  • Phase 1:  Base – progressive aerobic conditioning from your current fitness level (5-10 weeks)
  • Phase 2:  Hill Leg-Strengthening – muscular development that prepares for faster work (2-4 weeks)
  • Phase 3:  Anaerobic Conditioning – working on form, efficiency, oxygen debt capacity and pace (2-4 weeks)
  • Phase 4:  Coordination – specific workouts to combine stamina and speed to sharpen you for the marathon (2-4 weeks)
  • Phase 5:  Taper – cutting back the workload with shorter faster feel-good workouts (1-2 weeks)

Optional Programs (coming soon): Marathon Recovery Schedule, Survival Marathon Program

The Case for Time-based Long Runs:

While other programs advocate distance-based long runs, this plan is time-based and prevents the common mistake of having slower runners toe the start line with dead legs that cannot go the full distance.

Most marathon training programs available today chase only distance.  It has created an era of "mass plodders”.  We had been led to believe that in order to race 26-miles you need to run 26-miles or close to it in training.  This was fine in days when “recreational runner” referred to a 3-hour marathon runner.  Today we have seen the emergence of 5-7 hour recreational runners.  But somewhere along the way, the importance of “balance” has been lost in translation.   

Lydiard noticed, as far back as in 1970s, a diminishing training effect with sub-elite runners who consistently ran 3 or more hours in a session.  The level of muscular damage sustained took too long to recover from and thus outweighed any training benefits. Pace and suppleness were compromised.  The majority of today’s runners seem to have overlooked the fact that by learning to run faster you WILL be covering more distance in the given time frame.  Also the possibility of injury is reduced as you are training more economically. It has been proven, again and again, that this phasing of training with controlled duration outperforms distance-demanding training systems that consistently produce over-trained and exhausted legs.

Mastering Speed over Distance:

Lydiard Running Wizard Marathon Training Program provides the most comprehensive and well-balanced training program available.  The total duration of the long run is increased gradually during the base phase without exceeding your capability.  Uphill workouts then strengthen your legs and improve knee-lift while the eccentric exercise of the downhill portion strengthens your quads preparing you for the continuous pounding of the marathon.  This prepares you to work on “speed” in a real sense by gently introducing intervals at a level appropriate for your ability.  And finally, race-specific long tempo runs (Out & Back) physically and mentally prepare you for your marathon. 

Lydiard Running Wizard Marathon Training Program works equally well for relative fast runners (sub-3 marathon) as well as the more modest runners (5+ hour marathon). 

For New Challengers:

For Beginning Runners, we have provided Beginner's Marathon Plans called "Lydiard Running Wizard Up-and-Running Program".  Lydiard brought beginning joggers who could not run one lap around the track to complete a full marathon in 8-months. We had applied the same principles here.

Please bear in mind, naturally the longer you spend on your preparation, the better equipped you will be; especially for an endurance-oriented event like a full-marathon. There's no short cut to the top. To enjoy your marathon experience, we strongly recommend that you take some time to build up your stamina adequately first.

* For those who can run 15-25 minutes for the long run:  32-39 weeks to a full marathon                             * For those who can run 30-40 minutes for the long run:  29-36 weeks to a full marathon                             * For those who can run 45-55 minutes for the long run:  24-31 weeks to a full marathon                             * For those who can run 1 hour for the long run:  17-24 weeks to a full marathon