How to Assess Marathon Readiness

The marathon is the most desired and requested distance in the amateur world. This is a powerful motivational goal that places serious demands on the runner in terms of long-term and competent preparation of the cardiovascular system and the musculoskeletal system.

The marathon distance is 30-40 thousand kicks (steps) on the asphalt with the feet and a heavy load on the joints and ligaments, and since their adaptation is a long process, the adequate preparation period for the first marathon is 6-9 months and contains many different workouts.

How to assess your readiness for a marathon and your physical fitness, read the article.

How and how much you need to train to show the intended result

The Strava experts published statistics very close to my practical observations:

  1. Faster runners cover most of the volume at speeds significantly below competition pace, as opposed to runners below the 4 hour mark. Their daily training intensity almost matches the pace of a marathon.
  2. Slower runners do more short runs and significantly fewer medium runs of 15-20 km.

source: Strava

Do you get enough exercise

An important factor determining the future result is the stroke volume. Naturally, the taller he is, the more likely he is to post high timing at the finish line.

In addition, it is more productive to increase the volume by increasing the mileage of workouts, not their number.

Below are the weekly volume ranges based on stats and my 4 years of coaching experience:

Result, h:min Number of workouts, days Running volume, km
2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. 5-6 85-105
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. 4-5 65-85
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 3-4 50-65
4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 3-4 35-50
4h30 and less 3 25-35

The ratio of slow and fast running

Faster runners tend to train lighter most of the time. The ability to manipulate the range of speeds expands their methodological possibilities.

Runners with slower results almost always train in the same limit mode, which undoubtedly limits the adaptive response of the body and the growth of their results.

Everyone’s favorite 80/20 rule (and even better 90/10) works great with enough volume and frequent workouts. The less training you do per week, the more the distribution of hard and light kilometers will tend towards a 50/50 ratio.

The higher the target score, the more diverse and specific the work performed by the athlete.

Interval, tempo, variable runs – all of these workouts that stimulate high running speed are primarily inherent in athletes at the 3:30 level and faster in the marathon.

Slower runners just need to focus on running volume and quality strength work.

How to Assess Marathon Readiness
Photo: Robin Skjoldborg/Getty Images

Long workouts

Not to say that the following rule is universal, everything has its exceptions, but by adhering to it, you will definitely avoid serious health problems.

The longest draw must not exceed 30% of the weekly volume!» And here, by the way, it should be clarified that a racing week does not necessarily start on Monday.

Thus, a runner who scores at 2:50 is perfectly acceptable to run 33-35 km. But for those who aim for 3h30, it is enough to limit themselves to 28 km.

Undoubtedly, in addition to physical training, long running gives us mental confidence, so the systematic implementation of such training leads to the resistance of the psyche to prolonged stress.

For runners who run faster than 3:30 I would recommend weekly long runs, and for some maybe twice a week.

Runners with modest results can do well on a once-a-week long diet.

To read on the subject: Long term: tasks and functionalities

Key factors on which the result is based

So, in order to determine the range of results you are able to fall into, you need to assess:

  • training volume;
  • average pace of training;
  • the number and frequency of long-term training;
  • the availability and content of related works.

And remember that in a marathon, the main thing is not the distance, but the path that leads to it. All the most difficult overtaking awaits you during the preparation, and only then you will go to the start, like on vacation.

If the training process does not add up in any way, then you constantly lose the rhythm of training and its volume: either you get sick, or you find weight excuses – abandon this idea and pay attention to less demanding distances . As a result, they will not be less interesting.

Marathon does not forgive mistakes, and more – indifference.

Read more: 11 dietary rules for marathons and half-marathons