Manchester marathon is fast approaching and I need to get my act together and start writing my training plan. This year I want to try a bit harder. Instead of stuffing my face with Celebrations (even the Bounty’s and no one likes them), I need to be out training over the festive period.

With so many training plans out there it is hard to know which one to choose.
Here are my top tips for choosing the right plan for you:

Time it right
Marathons take around 16-20 weeks of training depending on base level fitness. Make sure you allow enough time. Count the weeks backwards from race day so you know when your plan should start. Add extra time if you need to – as I’m training over winter I’m factoring in an extra few weeks to allow for any bad weather.

Assess your pace
What time are you aiming for? Sub 4? 4.30? 5? or just to ‘get round’. For a rough guide; take your half marathon time, double it and add 20 minutes. Most plans have a beginner / intermediate / advanced option.

Build it up
You want to be increasing your weekly mileage by around 10%. Increase long runs slowly. I usually do three weeks of building mileage followed by an easier ‘recovery week’.

Add a race into your plan
You may need to switch a week or two around to make one fit but it can really keep you motivated.

Be flexible
No plan is set in stone and you can adapt the training days to suit you. I usually use two plans, beginner and intermediate. I follow the intermediate, but If i’m short on time the odd day I’ll switch to the beginner – that’s my ‘bare minimum’ training.

Don’t just run
Add a bit of cross training into your training. One session a week will count as ‘active recovery’  keeping your fitness levels up but allowing the muscles you use for running to rest.

Remember – everyone is different and what works for someone else may not work for you. Just focus on your own goal, cross that finish line and feel awesome ❤️