BOSTON MARATHON QUALIFIER PROGRAM

The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon serves as a perfect qualifying event for the Boston Marathon:

  • The course and conditions at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon are ideal for running that perfect qualifying performance.
  • Boston's qualifying period means that a qualifying time run at the 2014 GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon qualifies you for the Boston Marathon in 2016. Visit the Boston Marathon website for the qualifying times, standards and registration instructions.
  • Victoria's October date gives you plenty of time to recover and prepare for the "Big One" in Boston in April.

This program spans 18 weeks from early June through to GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon race day on October 12, 2014. The program requires participants to run 6 days a week. One of these training days can be replaced with alternative aerobic exercise like cycling, swimming or water running.

PLEASE NOTE: This program is NOT a beginning running program. The training schedule assumes that you've been involved in a distance running training program and will have completed at least a half marathon race and preferably a number of previous marathon events.

This program follows three main principles:

  1. Gradually increasing the duration/mileage of the long run each week. In this program the long run is placed on the Sunday of each week; however, this can be modified to suit your schedule. You will note that most weeks, the long run distances are expressed in minutes, but the longest of these is expressed in miles. This is to accommodate the fact that Boston Qualifiers can vary a lot in time, and that sooner or later it comes down to covering a lot of miles in one outing. That said, running for time lets you do your long run on trails that might not be well marked.
  2. Improvement comes from alternating hard and easy days and weeks. We build for two weeks, and then have an easy week to recover.
  3. A four-stage progression is followed where a specific type of training is focused upon during each stage:
    • Aerobic conditioning (weeks 1-8)
    • Aerobic capacity training (weeks 9-12)
    • Marathon specific training (weeks 13-15)
    • Sharpening and tapering (weeks 16-18)

If you wish to include some races into the program, I would suggest that you try to schedule the races on your easy recovery weeks.

If you are in good shape, it is possible to join the program at week 11. Indications that you are ready for this approach are that you can run 15 miles/24km at a comfortable pace, you have been running at least 5 days a week for the past 6 weeks, and at least one of those weekly runs has been over 13 miles/21km in length.

Download: Boston Marathon Qualifier Program - 2014 (PDF)

If you have questions regarding any of the training programs, feel free to contact Bruce by email at CoachBruce@runvictoriamarathon.com.

QUEST FOR IMPROVEMENT MARATHON TRAINING PROGRAM

The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon serves as a perfect event for those wishing to improve their best marathon performance. The fall date (October 12, 2014) allows you to train through the great summertime weather, yet still benefit from the cooler autumn racing conditions. In addition, the late summer and fall there are often many opportunities to find a few races in the last couple of months to test your training progress. The course at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon is also ideal for running that perfect marathon performance, mixing inspiring views and gentle rolling hills.

This program spans 20 weeks from early May through to GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon race day. The program requires participants to run 5-6 days a week. One of these training days can be replaced with alternative aerobic exercise like cycling, swimming or water running.

PLEASE NOTE: This program is not a beginning running program. The proposed training schedule is for people who have already completed the marathon distance, and are looking to improve on their previous performance. This program would also be appropriate for experienced runners who have trained and raced at the half marathon distance and want a challenging program to meet a specific time goal for their first marathon.

Before embarking on this training program, you should be able to complete a weekly program that includes 4-5 days of running including one long run of approximately 10 miles/16km.

Key Objectives

  1. To develop a consistent base of training.
  2. To improve aerobic conditioning.
  3. To develop in the participant a consciousness of their goal marathon pace through specific pace interval training.
  4. To complete your marathon at goal pace.

This program follows three main principles:

  1. Gradually increasing the mileage of the major long run each week. In this program the long run is placed on the Sunday of each week; however, this can be modified to suit your schedule.
  2. Improvement comes from alternating hard and easy days and weeks. We build for two weeks, and then have an easy week to recover.
  3. A four-stage progression is followed where a specific type of training is focused upon during each stage:
    • Aerobic conditioning (weeks 1-9)
    • Aerobic capacity training (weeks 10-13)
    • Marathon specific training (weeks 14-17)
    • Sharpening and tapering (weeks 18-20)

If you wish to integrate some races into the program, I would suggest that you attempt to schedule to run events that fall at the conclusion of the recovery weeks. This aspect has been integrated into those weeks for those who wish to race.

Download: Marathon Quest For Improvement - 2014 (PDF)

If you have questions regarding any of the training programs feel free to contact Bruce Deacon by email at CoachBruce@runvictoriamarathon.com.

FIRST TIMERS RUN/WALK MARATHON TRAINING PROGRAM

The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon serves as a great event for those wishing to complete their first marathon starting with a run-walk program. With over 3,000 participants in the marathon, you will have lots of company along the way. The fall date (October 12, 2014) allows you to train through the great summertime weather, yet still benefit from the cooler autumn racing conditions. The course and conditions at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon are also usually ideal for having a perfect marathon experience.

This program is a beginning running program designed to prepare the participant to complete the marathon distance using a 9 minute run 1 minute walk approach. The proposed training program is for people who have already been involved in a run-walk program and are comfortable completing 8-10 miles using the run-walk approach.

This program spans 23 weeks from early May through to GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon race day. The program requires participants to engage in run-walk sessions 4 days a week. One of these training days (not the long run) can be replaced with alternative aerobic exercise (cross training) like cycling, swimming or water running.

All sessions in the program are expected to be completed following the 9 minute/1 minute approach unless specified in the program.

Key Objectives

  • To gradually increase the participants ability to complete longer runs using the 9 minute/1 minute Run-Walk approach.
  • To improve aerobic conditioning by completing 4-5 aerobic workouts (including cross training) per week.
  • To build towards some runs where walking is no longer needed.
  • To complete the marathon distance using the run-walk approach.

Download: Marathon First Timers Program - 2014 (PDF)

If you have questions regarding any of the training programs feel free to contact Bruce Deacon by email at CoachBruce@runvictoriamarathon.com.

LONG RUNS

This program is designed with the long run sessions on a Sunday. You can move these to suit your schedule. Always remember that the day before the long run should be a day off especially with the longer runs (longer than 16 miles). The program gradually increases the distance of the long runs to prepare you for completing the marathon distance.

FARTLEK

During the 1930's and 40's, Swedish distance runners re-wrote the record books thanks largely to a new training system that they developed. Its cornerstone was fartlek (Swedish for 'speed play'). The Swedes would intersperse their runs with a series of surges. These were mostly random and could range from 15 seconds to 3 or 4 minutes in duration. Run on soft forest trails, the workout used the challenges of the terrain to enhance the session. The runner might sprint to the top of a hill, or increase the pace to a physical landmark. The recoveries between the hard sections were also random.

As other nations employed this technique, structure was added. The workout could resemble a pyramid, with various predetermined hard runs. For instance, the athlete might run 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes hard separated by a fixed recovery. Alternatively, the athlete might continue with the random approach, but keep the surges at a set duration. This might look like 30 minutes of fartlek containing 10 surges between 2 and 4 minutes.

For our program, fartlek will follow this last approach. Find a pleasant park to run were the surface is soft, but consistent. This might be a grassy field, a woodchip trail or a gravel path. As the name suggests, have a sense of play. This should be a hard workout, but it should leave room for some creativity.

The workout will call for a fixed time, and number of surges to be completed during this time. The surge duration will be a range (e.g., 90 seconds to 2 minutes). The recovery is left for you to determine, but generally is not longer than 2 minutes.

An example might be 20 minutes of fartlek with 5 surges of 2-3 minutes. The session might evolve like this:

0-2 minutes First surge
2-3:30 Easy jogging rest
3:30-6:30 Second surge
6:30-7:30 Power walk rest
7:30-9:45 Third surge
9:45-12:00 Easy jogging
12:00-14:40 Fourth surge
14:40-16:30 Easy jogging
16:30-19:30 Fifth surge

In other words, you get to make the decisions as to how long the surges are (within the prescribed range) and how long the rests are (in order to fit the workout within the allotted time).

If working out with a friend, take turns leading a surge and determining its duration. Keep the recoveries reasonable in length and the effort controlled. At no time should you feel as though you are running full out, rather the effort should resemble your 8 km pace.

If you have questions regarding any of the training programs feel free to contact Bruce by email at CoachBruce@runvictoriamarathon.com.

RELAXED STRIDES

Please remember - this is not speed work or sprinting! The effort should be about 90% of your top speed, so you should always feel that you could be going faster.

I have included relaxed stride outs on a regular basis throughout the training program. This session is designed to allow you to practice and focus upon your running form. The number of strides to be completed will be between 6 and 10 depending on the location in the training continuum.

The strides are always included as part of a run. The aim should be to complete the stride about half way through the run. Thus the progression of the run would look something like this:

Start by running for 15-20 minutes to warm up.

Turn and start the strides back the direction you have come. Run fast and relaxed keeping your head and shoulders up (keep your eyes on a point well ahead of you). Move your arms in a relaxed comfortable fashion in rhythm with your stride pattern. DON'T strain or try to do an 'All Out" sprint. At the end of the 100m turn and jog slowly back to where you started to begin the next stride.

Complete the workout with 20-30 minutes of easy running.

Strides should be a relaxing enjoyable part of your training program. The aim is always to think "Loose and Relaxed".

If you have questions regarding any of the training programs feel free to contact Bruce by email at CoachBruce@runvictoriamarathon.com.

OUT-AND-BACK TEMPOS

As the name suggests this is a tempo run where you run out for half of the prescribed time, turn around, and then run back. The object is to finish the tempo past the point where you started, thus covering more distance in the last half of the run. It forces you to pace yourself during the first half of the run, and to finish strongly. I suggest that the first half is run just slightly faster than marathon goal pace and that the last half is run slightly slower than 10km pace.

You should finish feeling tired, but not feeling like you are falling apart over the last few minutes. Since this is largely a pacing game, you might need to try this session a couple of times before you learn how to hold yourself back. This is an important lesson to learn, as nothing hurts more than reaching the 30k mark of a marathon, and realizing that you were overly enthusiastic in the early miles.

If you have questions regarding any of the training programs feel free to contact Bruce by email at CoachBruce@runvictoriamarathon.com.

RACES

Running in races provides an opportunity for you to assess the progress of your training and also provides some intermediate goals along the way as you strive for the major long term goal of achieving your marathon objective (be it finishing or running a specific time).

If you wish to integrate races into the program, I suggest that you attempt to schedule to run races that fall at the conclusion of the recovery weeks. Since races don't always align with the schedule, you might find yourself racing during a training week. Reduce the planned training by 40% two days out from the race and by 60% the day before the race.

The key point here is that these races are secondary, and should be considered part of your training. Running the race at the end of a recovery week will provide a little tapering. You must be careful not to reduce your training markedly in a quest to run better at the intermediate races. Remember that the focus is to run well on marathon day.

If you have questions regarding any of the training programs feel free to contact Bruce by email at CoachBruce@runvictoriamarathon.com.

Boston Certified