Training Program

First Time Runner 

The purpose of this training schedule is to articulate a MINIMUM baseline of training that is advised for a beginning runner who aspires to run their first marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon on October. We meet every Saturday (8AM in May & October and 7AM from June-September). The schedule and locations are posted at MCP Training Schedule. We have runners who range from 8:00 a mile up to 14+ minutes per miles, so I am sure that we can accommodate you. As a rule of thumb, we recommend that your weekday cumulative mileage be at least 9 miles (3miles/run x 3 runs) or must be equal to that of your weekend target mileage when it exceeds 10 miles, whichever is higher. This thumb rule should give you the basic mileage that will get you to the starting line with enough training to simply finish the marathon.

The optional Sunday run is suggested to be easy so that any soreness from the long run on Saturday can be relieved by blood flow in the muscles. A bike ride is also effective and will alleviate the impact of running for a day. If you bike, you should bike 2 to 3 times the distance that is suggested for the run.

1. It is suggested that each run have a purpose. To support this concept, the Saturday runs are to build aerobic fitness, the Tuesday runs can be for speed, the Thursday runs can be for strengthening, and the Sunday workout for recovery.

2. Suggested workouts are:
Speed – Start in May running a one mile easy warm up run followed by 2 miles of “speed play” (known to veteran runners as fartlek) followed by one mile warm down easy run. Speed play is running hard for short periods (1 to 2 minutes), then slower for a rest period (3 to 4 minutes). This trend will progress to 4 miles of speed play by September. Alternative speed workouts can be given to runners that are interested. We will help you work with our coaches for individual advice.

Strength – Start in May by running on a rolling course to gain strength and familiarity with running hills. Progress to running a warm up mile followed by hill repeats on a hill that is no longer than ¼ mile. Run up the hill; jog back down and repeat. Start with four repeats in May and progress to 12 to 16 repeats by September. Finish with a one mile warm down run.

3. The Thursday run can be replaced with the Wednesday evening track workout with the Potomac Valley Track Club in Arlington, VA or you can attend the strength training workout hosted by Coach Ramesh in Silver Spring, MD on Thursday evenings.

4. Once each month, we allocate a recovery week that (should be taken one out of every four weeks) will allow your body to plateau and recover before you continue building further.

5. Once you finish the marathon, starting November we recommend that you take it easy for a week or two and slowly return to running a few miles. This will allow your body to slowly recover from the marathon. Beginning December 1st, you should be recovered from the marathon and can continue a base of about 20 miles a week to maintain a basic fitness level.

6. Tips for beginners:

  • Rest is as important as running. Your body needs time to heal and adapt to the increasing stress.
  • Don't increase your mileage more than 10rom week to week or more than 10% from month to   month.
  • Cut your mileage in half one week a month to give your body a chance to heal and strengthen.
  • Listen to your body, if you are injured or sick; take it easy.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed by the training or other life stressors, cut out the Sunday run and   just takes a leisurely walk.
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