Toilet Paper, Social Distancing, and Marathon Training


A lot of people I know seem to be going a bit insane being home so much, and it’s not just because they don’t have enough toilet paper. It is seriously affecting their mental health. I am not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV. But, for what it’s worth from someone who found some Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper and has spent many years working from home by himself, with no girlfriend, no kids, and little in-person contact with others, what helps a lot is throwing yourself into your ambition—growing your career, writing a book or screenplay, running, starting a business, parenting your kids, or learning to play an instrument. Whatever stimulates you. When you completely throw yourself into your ambition, it keeps you off the street (#stayathome) and you don’t have time to be lonely. It gives you purpose. And having some chocolate nearby also helps.

Now that we have the toilet paper and dealing with social distancing solved, let’s turn our attention to running. This is not a time to stop training! If you’ve been training for a half marathon or marathon that’s been postponed, don’t panic! This is a great time to train smarter. Since the half marathon and marathon depend almost exclusively on aerobic metabolism and endurance takes a while to be fully developed, this is an opportunity to train differently than you have done before.

Instead of increasing your weekly mileage and length of long runs week to week like most training programs do, give your legs a chance to fully absorb, adapt, and habituate to the workload before increasing the workload. The slower your weekly mileage is increased, the less chance of injury. 30 miles per week should become normal before increasing to 35 miles per week.

In addition to increasing weekly volume, increase the quality of aerobic work with fartleks and threshold workouts. Here’s the weekly pattern: Increase volume, get used to that volume, then insert some intensity into that volume with a quality aerobic workout, then get used to that intensity at that volume, then increase the volume again with the same intensity, then get used to that volume, then insert more intensity to that volume, and so on. Avoid increasing volume and intensity at the same time.

This all takes time to do it right. Now that you have the time, train smarter and you’ll run faster on race day!


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