John Feeney’s weekly marathon training tips

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ARE you training for a marathon this year? Do you want some inside knowledge on how to get the best out of your training, or hints and tips to help you on the way?

Each week we will be bringing you the training diary of endurance sport specialist John Feeney.

The 39-year-old, from Shoreham, is a sports science graduate and is currently studying for his MSc in Applied Exercise Physiology at the University of Brighton.

Feeney has joined up with Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance to offer guidance and support to their team of charity runners taking part in this year’s Brighton Marathon.

As part of this support, he is writing a weekly schedule on topics covering everything from running physiology and training to choosing the right footwear, recovery and tapering.

For week one, Feeney writes:

When training for an endurance event like a marathon it’s useful to have a basic understanding of your training and the physiological factors that influence your performance.

Your body is able to aerobically produce energy for a prolonged period of time by delivering sufficient oxygen to working muscles and supplying adequate fuel in the form of carbohydrate and fats.

Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), lactate threshold and running economy are thought to influence endurance exercise performance and so your training should take these factors into account. It’s recommended that 80 per cent of your training is at a low intensity with the remaining 20 per cent at a higher intensity.

Common training sessions include: Intervals – higher intensity runs designed to increase your VO2max by improving the ability of your heart to deliver oxygen to working muscles and your muscle’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood.

Threshold – medium intensity runs designed to improve your lactate threshold. This will enable you to run at a higher percentage of your VO2max before your anaerobic metabolism begins to play a more significant role in energy production.

Fartlek - a continuous run in which you pick up pace at different times or between certain landmarks. Distances, speeds and recovery periods will vary within the same workout.

Long and slow – low intensity run forming the bedrock of your training. Your body adapts to continued training by increasing the density of mitochondria (the oxygen power house) within your muscle cells and increasing the muscle capillary network. Both make the muscle more efficient at processing and extracting oxygen from the blood.

Volume should increase slowly, by approximately ten per cent, for three or four weeks then reduced during a recovery week.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact John on: J.Feeney1@uni.brighton.ac.uk or follow him on Twitter: @john1_feeney