An Early Start
Although you could run a marathon to a decent standard on the back of four months solid training, you don’t just want to run a “decent” marathon, do you? You want to absolutely tear up the streets of London in April 2013, so starting your training now and following a regular regime of cardio workouts, as well as our other top tips, will help give you the edge at the starting line next spring.
Running is clearly the obvious one, and as such you should aim to run as much as possible. The biggest thing with cardio workouts is to ensure they are structured. It is all too easy to simply “run until I’m tired”, so you need to make sure you have discipline in your workouts.
Work out what your target time for the marathon is, then calculate what this translates to in terms of running speed. You can then use that as the benchmark for your cardio workouts, as you build up to running at your “marathon pace.”
Mix up your cardio workouts though, do not just hit the treadmill at six minute mile pace every day for the next year, this will not get the best performance out of your body. The London Marathon course is not completely flat, so incorporate some incline running into your routine. The gym is by far the best place to get a constant incline run, and will build up your leg muscles as well as your race pace. Build speed intervals into your training, too, as this is the best way to build up cardiovascular endurance. At early stages, have your running pace as the top speed, before building up to short sprinting bursts. Interval cardio workouts will enable you to run a fast time and feel strong as you reach the latter stages of the course.
Don’t Just Run
We have mentioned mixing up your cardio workouts, but also coming away from running will help, too. Other sports which are heavy on cardio, such as cycling and swimming, are great ways to boost your endurance and add something extra to your training plan, rather than just running all of the time.
Finally, look to have a number of races before the marathon itself. This is not necessarily to make you ultra-competitive, rather get you used to running with others and to really tune in your race pace. Running clubs and local associations will have many races organised throughout the year, these could prove the best cardio workout of all. Do a long run the day before, too, so you mentally experience running when tired. This will also help your body adapt to getting lactic acid away from muscles quickly, leading to increased performance.
You have 11 months to go, start your training now and watch your target time be smashed next spring!
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