Recently, a friend of mine asked me to make her a training program to improve her marathon time. She is a sub-2H half-marathon and already completed a full marathon under 5 hours. Basically, there is a good fitness base and the goal is to improve it and aims for a sub 4.5 hours or even sub 4 hours marathon. Obviously, such an improvement can be done because the person is already willing to run (we do not start from scratch) and the body is already used to run.
However, improvements have to be made in several areas, either physical (make your body stronger), nutrition (balanced meals with adequate nutrients to refuel the batteries), lifestyle (get a lot of sleep) or even mental (keep pushing when you want to drop but learn to drop when you body needs it). Working on these different aspects is crucial, this is by improving each of them that you will improve your fitness level and eventually, your performance. For sure, you can keep pushing, train a lot and have a better time but it will then be at the expense of something else. Running a lot without getting enough sleep or having inadequate nutrition? This will eventually put you on the road of injury because your body will not have enough time to recover. Reducing fat and calories intake while running 40+ miles a week? The idea of dropping will come back at every step.
Before starting a program for my friend, I will then propose some “Coach Tip of the Week”, also known as CTOTW. This will be a tip about one the topic listed before: Physical, Nutrition, Lifestyle or Mental. Some people might argue that I do not have a coach certification and I am not legitimate to provide such tips. Even without a certification, I think my previous weight-loss, the completion of several road and trail races without major injury gave me enough experience and credits to give potential useful advices. On the other hand, if you suffer from serious injury, I would recommend to always see a doctor and seek for professional medical advice.
Sharing these posts publicly might also help other fellow runners. For that, new tip will be then posted one or twice a week and this will start next week! Hope you will like it … or not!