Why are Strides So Important For Marathon Training [Follow Along – Week 2]

Why are Strides So Important For Marathon Training [Follow Along – Week 2]

Importance of Strides for Marathon Training

In this series of posts, I’m giving readers a behind the scenes look at how a busy middle age professional, prepares for a sub 3 hr marathon.

Here’s my Strava link. If you’re a member, you can view my training.

Week 2 – April 15th

Sunday April 15th – 5 miles at easy pace (8:00 – 8:30) + strides.

The purpose of this workout was to recover from yesterday’s long run of 14 miles. Strides are completed at 3k pace (controlled, but not sprinting) after the run. Typically, I complete strides after an easy recovery run or before a track workout. As a part of my warm-up they help get the blood flowing to my legs and my heart rate slightly elevated. They are important because they help provide quick leg turnover. The key with strides is to relax, stay controlled and concentrate on your form. Strides can ultimately help you run faster. I typically complete strides 2-3 times per week.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 4.3 miles, 37 minutes & 8:40

Here’s a video of how to perform strides:

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

Monday April 16th – Track/Speed workout (ugly weather – 40 degrees, wet & windy)

1 mile warm-up + strides
400M, 800M, 1200M, 1600M, 1200M, 800M, 400M
10 minute c/d

Speed Workouts

These workouts are essential for all runners that are preparing for a race. In the next post, I’ll review in detail how I determine paces for speed workouts.

These workouts are important because they increase your body’s ability to process & store oxygen. This will help the muscles function better for all distances. To be most effective, you don’t want to run at your speed workout pace for more than 7 minutes per interval. Anything longer then becomes more of Tempo Interval which would be run at a slightly slower pace (we’ll get into that in a later post). The bottomline is that speed or track workouts will help you develop endurance, speed, and stronger legs and lungs.

Today I completed what’s called a “ladder” workout. As you can see, I start with a 400m interval at the desired pace and then in increments of 400m, I work my up to 1600m before decreasing down in 400m increments back to 400m.

Following are my target & actual paces for each distance. The weather today was pretty nasty (low 40s, raining and windy). Hitting the right pace in these conditions is tough. The key on these days is to consider the effort and not worry about the times. As you can see, I started a little slow, but was able to get close or within the target times for 1200m & 1600m. Unfortunately I had to cut my workout slightly short because I had to get to the airport to pick-up friend. I ended up skipping the 2nd 800m. I was feeling fine during the 1600m and after as is reflected in my times, so I have little doubt that I would have been able to get the 800m in at desired pace.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 6 miles, 47 minutes & various

Tuesday April 17th – Easy day at the hotel gym

35 minutes on elliptical + 15 minutes of conditioning exercises at hotel gym
(body weight & core exercises)

I didn’t get to the hotel until about 730pm and up to the gym until about 900pm. The purpose of today’s workout was to recover from the previous days’ track workout. My preference is to do some kind of easy running or crossfit in a hotel gym the first day of travel. The key is to get something in.

Need Marathon Training Info

Wednesday April 18th – Easy run on treadmill + conditioning exercises

35 minutes on treadmill @ easy pace + 15 minutes of conditioning exercises.

Cool/damp weather in St. Louis area, so I hit the treadmill. To add a little more to the workout I typically complete bodyweight exercises to strengthen my core, legs and upper body.

The alternative to running easy on the treadmill would be to complete a workout where the speed and/or incline are varied. Since my plan in the next few weeks includes an increase in mileage and intensity, I decided to keep today’s workout fairly easy.

Bottomline, when you’re on the road, try your best to get some kind of workout completed. At a minimum, I try for 30 – 45 minutes. Depending on the time of day and/or how I’m feeling, I can go hard or easy.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 4 miles, 55 minutes total workout time

Thursday April 19th – Rest Day

Off/Rest Day. Traveled back home. I typically use one of my travel days as a rest day.

Friday April 20th – 6 mile Tempo Run

1 mile w/u @ easy pace, 6 Mile Tempo @ Marathon Pace, 1.25 mile c/d @ easy pace
In the next post, I’ll discuss purpose of Tempo Runs. These runs can be tough, but next to the long run, they’re probably the most important part of my marathon training because it helps you get used to running at a faster pace for longer periods of time.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 8.3 miles, 58 minutes, 7:00

Saturday April 21 – Easy run with strides
40 minutes @ easy pace
The goal of today’s run is to recover from the previous days’ Tempo run. It’s really important to include rest (running at an easy pace)

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 5 miles, 45 minutes @ various paces

Sunday April 22 – Long Run. 42 degrees, sunny & no wind
10 miles @ easy pace, finished last mile at sub 7:00/mile pace.
Ran with friends. This helped to ensure that the bulk of the run was at an easy pace.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 10 miles, 1:23 & 8:17

Week 2 Summary: 6 days with workouts, 5 with running – 33 miles