It’s January and it’s really cold outside. Between the snow, ice and freezing temperatures, getting your run in can be difficult. But even though it’s cold and if you opt to stay inside, the treadmill can become tedious, it’s important to remember that running through the winter is crucial for a strong spring marathon. 

Rachel Hannah
Photo: Canadian Running

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Hugh Cameron coached Sylvia Ruegger to her former Canadian marathon record of 2:28:36, set at the Houston Marathon in 1985. Cameron says the nuts and bolts of a marathon training plan are time on a runner’s feet. “When you break down marathon training, it’s all about miles in the legs. You have to put the hard work in. That work is about a lot of tempo runs, fartlek runs, hill climbs, and long runs as part of the so-called training diet of a marathoner.”

Sylvia Ruegger

Cameron breaks down what an average week might look like for a relatively high-mileage or elite marathoner. “A long run (which could be as long as 35K), two workouts at around 15K each, and four off day runs that could accumulate to up to 45K. If you add some speed work in, that puts the runner at around a 180K per week.”

2018 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Photo: Victah Sailor/PhotoRun

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The second key to the marathon build is staying healthy, and consistent training makes it easier for your body to remain in one piece. So even though it’s January and it’s cold, your consistent winter training will pay off when you crush your spring goal race. Cameron says, “Of course each marathoner is different, and making it to the marathon somewhat magic. It’s magic because you never actually run a full marathon at race pace in a training day.” So when you line up at Boston, or London or wherever the marathon takes you, that’ll likely be your first 42.2K in a while, and you’ll be happy that you ran on that dark day in January. 

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