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2018 Marathon and Half Marathon Training

Posted on January 2nd, 2018 by

At Mornington Chasers, we’ve put together some spring marathon and half marathon training schedules. They’re designed to target the London Marathon, the Brighton Marathon and the Paddock Wood half marathon (which is a flat, fast half marathon in Kent which is easy to get to on the train from London). We’ve written them with our members in mind but if you’re not a member you’re still welcome to use them.

The schedules are aimed at runners who are planning to do some track work as part of their schedule, but that’s a pretty broad range. Our marathon plans have been used in the past to achieve goals from sub 2:45 to over 4 hours. You can customize our schedules to match your personal goals.

We’ll be doing the Thursday sessions together at Parliament Hill track each week and we welcome runners of all abilities to our Thursday track sessions. And don’t worry if you just want to do the track sessions and have no intention of running a marathon/half marathon. Whatever races you are targeting these Thursday sessions should help you improve.

Using our schedules

You can find all our schedules here.

The marathon schedule is aimed at runners who can already run for 90 minutes continuously. If you can’t do this yet, start with what you can manage for the Sunday runs and add no more than 15 minutes each week until you have caught up with the long runs in the schedule.

If you have missed the first few weeks of the schedule, again don’t worry about it. Just join in and adjust the long runs as described above so that you are building up gradually.

The schedules include various warm-up races to help you prepare for race day. If you’re planning to follow the schedule with the club you should enter those races now. See this post for details of all the races. We’ve provided a few alternatives in case the races are full and if they don’t work for you, just replace them a hard workout of a similar distance.

I’ll be posting on this blog over the next few weeks to explain what all the terms in the schedules mean, but the easiest way to find out exactly what to do will be to come and join us at our Tuesday and Thursday sessions (at the Talacre Sports Centre in Kentish Town and Parliament Hill track respectively). We hope there will be plenty of pace groups running the Sunday sessions from Talacre too, but you should chat with others on our Facebook group to find out who’s running and at what pace on a Sunday.

Session 1: Kenyan Hills

We’re starting the New Year with 2 sets of 10 minutes Kenyan Hills.

Kenyan Hills is a training session where you run at a continuous fairly hard effort both up and down hills. It’s the fact that you keep up a good effort level on the downhills that makes them Kenyan Hills.

The session is designed to build strength (from running uphill), technique (running downhill) and speed endurance (from the continuous effort). The focus is primarily on building speed endurance.

You should be running at “threshold” effort which is the effort level you can just about sustain for an hour long race. That might be your 10K effort or your 10 mile effort depending upon how fast a runner you are. If you’re an olympic athlete it might even be your half marathon effort. Note that it isn’t your speed that counts, but the effort level. You want to maintain this same effort level on the ups and on the downs.

An alternative way of understanding what threshold means is that it is a pace where you should be able to say 3 or 4 words while running, but by the end of the session you shouldn’t be able to put a full sentence together.

We’ll be running two blocks of 10 minutes continuous Kenyan Hills on Primrose Hill with a two minute jog recovery between each block. We’ll meet at the Talacre Centre in Kentish Town at 19:00 for a 19:15 start as usual.

If Primrose Hill is no good for you, find a hilly circuit so that you can alternate about a minute uphill with a minute downhill.