My Training Plan: Week 1 of 28 and Hitting the Wall!

This week I have put together a training plan to begin from Monday just gone (2nd April) up until the Salomon Kielder Marathon.

The idea of publishing the training plan is to give people an idea of the effort involved in training for a marathon and hopefully will help raise more money for Children with Cancer UK in doing so.  I have never ran a marathon before and to be quite honest, i’m dreading it. Even the Toughmudder seems easier in my opinion at the minute.
Thousands of people, of all shapes and sizes, fitness levels and backgrounds run half-marathons and marathons each year in aid of  the charities of their choice and this year I plan to be part of the cause!  In training for the Coast to Coast and Triathlon up to this point has been really useful and given a good insight into my current fitness levels and how much I need to step up current training in preparation for the GNR2012 and Marathon at the end of Summer.  The Toughmudder (one month after the marathon) will require a new training plan again and as soon as the Marathon is out of the way this will come into play. Hopefully by that point I’ll be comfortably running 10-12miles so this will focus primarily on strength, stamina and power training.

As you may recall (or may not, if you got bored…zzz) from my last blog, my aim is to finish the Marathon in under 4 hours.  This basically equates to setting a pace of 9 minute per mile or there abouts.  (Setting this pace for the GNR2012 will give me a time of around 1hr 55 ish and although a good time, i still plan on beating my person best of 1hr46 mins for this.) A 9 minute miles may sound fairly easy (or not depending on if you run or not!) but over 26.3 miles, from what I have been told a million times – it certainly is the opposite!

A little bit about hitting the wall. I’ve taken this from the BBC Sport website and a sports conditioning book I have (best descriptions I could get that was easy to understand):

“A marathon is a long, long race which means runners are likely to use up most of their energy supplies before they reach the end.

They start to hit trouble when their fuel tanks start running on empty.

This happens when the body runs out of carbohydrate fuel (sometimes known as muscle glycogen) and starts burning fat for energy instead. Fat can power a runner but not at the same intensity and speed as carbohydrate. And even fat metabolism requires some carbohydrate.

This is a far less efficient way of producing energy and means runners start to chug along in the slow lane instead of motoring at top speed.”

Fortunately, good training and nutrition can overcome this (more on this and nutrition in coming blogs).

So, here is my plan.  My target time means I shouldn’t have to sacrifice body weight as one might require to do looking for a fast marathon time. Say sub 3hrs say. Interestingly, a guy from Mens Health is actually trying to do just that while not slimming down (see
I am looking to hopefully increase muscle mass (and at an absolute minimum maintain it) and still train for the marathon at the same time. (Two things that DO NOT compliment each other and that all sports books, journals, magazines, experts, no it alls… etc say goes directly against “bulking”…). So we will see how I get on. I’ve taken a “before picture” to see the difference in 28weeks too. My current weight (weight today) is 166lbs or just under 12 stone.

So the plan:

Some rules I’ve set:

1) Never miss a “long run” each week.

2) Nutrition and recovery is the key. Eat well and good.

3)  Keep a training record – of running and in the gym.

4) Improve each week in weights and distance, however small.

5) Gym sessions set to a maximum of 1 hour.

The gym sessions have been broken down into 3 or 4 different session types for simplicity during the training. A change to my normal form of routine. Also, every 6-7 weeks the format of these sessions will be changed to stop any plateaus occuring and hopefully promote continual improvements.

A “push” session will involve weights that require a push action basically and pull the opposite…  but these are not confined to or limited to just push and pulling exercises though but form really the bulk of my workout if you like. Full body will be based primarily around supersets, large compound exercises (recruiting a large number of muscles in one exercise) and little rest. An example of a push workout would be todays (3rd April) session:

Warm up – 5 mins rower

Flat Bench Press – 4 sets, heavy, 8-10reps, 90s rest. Last set a drop set, half weight to failure.

Incline Bench Press – 4 sets, as above but finishing with close hand push ups to failure (3 times).

Inclined flies – 3 sets, 60s rest.

Standing Military Press – 4 Sets, Heavy, 6-9 reps, Last set drop set to failure

Standing lateral raises – 3 sets, 8-10 reps, 60 – 90s rest.

Decline EZ Bar extensions 3 sets, 10-12 reps, 60s rest,

Dips with weight on lap, 3 sets, 60s rest, as many reps as possible

Finish with Abs workout – normally a circuit of 3 different exercises for 3 sets. e.g. Plank to Swiss ball crunches to Leg raises…

If time permits – 10-15min of HIIT on rowing machine.

Stretch & Post workout shake.

(All reps are slow on the lowering  over 3-4sec and then fast explosive up… each set lasting around 40-50seconds.)

Next blog i will publish the pull, full body and leg session workouts along with my nutritional plan, post workout and pre workout, both in the gym and out when running. I should also have 1 or two more challenges to add to the list also!!!

Thanks again for reading! Oh and for the one person who lives in Malawi (!?!) and views my blog – Hi!



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