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Building races into your Marathon Training Plan or Spring 2020 Training is a fantastic way of motivating yourself through the Winter and helping you achieve the longer runs in the lead up to race day. It allows you to be in a race environment and and helps learn what it’s like to run alongside others.

I find that it’s a great way to practice my pre-race breakfast routine, finding the start line, replicating the pre-races nerves and trialling of any kit or fuel (never leave it to race week to not try gels, blocks, beans etc., even if you feel you don’t need them on a long run, use this time to practice).

Knowing what races to put in your plan as and when can be tough so here are some of my suggestions based on races I’ve done previously and from friends feedback.

WEEK 1 – 4 / JANUARY

I’m going to start with Weeks 1 – 4 of your plan. For those training in the Spring, this will be January. I would advise adding in a 10k or 10 mile event in the first 4 weeks. This doesn’t need to be ‘raced’ as it can be used as a training run, but also good if you want to try a faster pace for a base and early confidence boost into training your training plan. A few local races for those training in the East Anglia region:

Saturday 12th January – Draycote 10k

Sunday 19th January – Fred Hughes 10 Miles

Lots of London 10ks in Victoria Park, Battersea, Regents Park etc. all can be found on www.findarace.com

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WEEKS 5 – 8 / FEBRUARY/MARCH

In February and March, it’s worth doing a half marathon or two, to either support a long run day or ‘race’ if you’re feeling good and training has gone well, it could be the chance for a PB and confidence boost along the way. If you’re an experienced runner, I’d recommend a 20 miler around 7-8 weeks in. Some of my clients run 2-3 20 milers in a 16 week block.

Sunday 2nd February – Watford Half

Sunday 9th February – London Winter Run 10K

Sunday 16th February – Bramley 10/20

Sunday 16th February – Stamfords St Valentines 30K

Sunday 1st March – Brett Lydd 20 – Kent

Sunday 1st March – The Big Half – London

Sunday 8th March – Hillingdon 20

Sunday 15th March – Cyprus Half

Sunday 15th March – MK Festival of Running – Half & 20

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WEEKS 9 – 12 / MARCH

I would then advise for a 20 mile event 3 or 4 weeks prior to race day. This may be a second or third 20, or your first. It’s a great idea to use these to practice some of your target ‘race pace.

You can use some of the previous suggestions; Brett Lydd 20, Hillingdon 20 or MK Festival of Running if it fits in with your marathon plan and target race.

Sunday 15th March – Oundle 20

Sunday 15th March – Ashby 20

Sunday 22nd March – Twin Lakes 20, MK

Sunday 29th March – Dorney 20, Eton Dorney

Sunday 29th March – Oakley 20

I hope that this helps you shape your race calendar for the New Year working towards your running goals or Spring Marathon. Leave a comment with any other suggestions and which races you have booked!

Happy Training 🙂