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Training plan from January to December: This is how 2021 will be your best running year


If you want to make 2021 your year, set yourself a big sporting goal: mm running coach Andreas Butz will get you fit for the marathon with his annual training plan. Take courage!

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mm running coach Andreas Butz

In my first running tip of the year, I want to give you tips that will help you progress, make you happy and ideally accompany you for a whole year.

And what could be more motivating than an attractive, demanding, but also feasible goal?

Imagine: You, with your arms stretched up, alternately looking to the left and now with a confident smile, then crouching in front of you on the street, discovering a photographer.

You change the pose and run with a long arm and outstretched index finger pointing directly towards his lens.

An exuberant pose of happiness.

You are in the finish corridor of a marathon.

A few more meters and the finisher medal is hanging on your neck.


I would like to persuade you to do a marathon, the supreme discipline.

And as a 150-time marathon runner, I know how to do it.

It's doable and easier than you think.

In the following I describe your training month after month.

As a basis, I assume physical health (if in doubt, ask the doctor!) And a basic level of fitness of 40 to 60 minutes of jogging as well as the willingness to run at least three times a week.

If you get involved, you could soon have the shape of your life.

January - regularity beats quality

It should be easy for you to put your running shoes on in January.

Because every year stands

  • more time for me

  • more exercise and

  • more mindfulness for health

  • in the top 3 personal New Year's resolutions.

    Gym and workout plan subscriptions are skyrocketing.

    In addition, the days are getting longer.

    We fill up with more vitamin D and the motivation increases continuously.

    In terms of running, you should still take it easy.

    Regularity is more important than large volumes.

    Three to four times a week 40 minutes, this varied with ideally three different stimuli per week, i.e. slow, medium and fast endurance run), that's enough for your start into the marathon year.

    Regularity beats quality.

    Summary of training in January:

    Run for 40 minutes at least three times a week, varied, a long run of up to 60 minutes a week is enough 

    February - Playfully pick up speed

    You mastered January, ran regularly at least three times a week, then in February you have to do something for your strength and sprinting ability.

    It was the Swedes, more precisely the then national coach Gösta Holmér, who invented the driving game (Fartlek) in 1930, the game (Swedish = lek) with speed (Swedish = Fart).

    You should also use this effective form of speed training in a playful way.

    You can change the pace at will for 20 minutes.

    Short, fast sections are followed by walking breaks.

    After longer and brisk passages, you could take breaks from your trot.

    Everything is allowed during the driving game, but you should sprinkle at least four speed increases, framed by 15 minutes of walking in and out.

    This training gives strength to the legs and the cardiovascular system.

    Summary of the training in February:

    Run three to four times a week, this varied, integrate a driving game once a week, a long run of up to 75 minutes

    March - training on the threshold

    March is the threshold month.

    In purely meteorological terms, we have reached the threshold from winter to spring.

    From a sporty point of view, the threshold from endurance running to speed training is called for, the brisk endurance run.

    Those who run faster than the 81 to 85 maximum heart rate have already arrived at speed training, the marathon race pace.

    We don't want that at the moment, running briskly once a week is enough.

    We also keep the driving game.

    And those who have already done the long endurance runs for at least 90 minutes are fully on schedule and improve fat burning.

    Converting fats into kinetic energy makes you slim, fast and enduring.

    An essential training effect.

    Summary of the training in March

    : Running three to four times a week, this varied, once a week a driving game and a fast endurance run, long run of up to 90 minutes is great.

    April - Determine the status quo

    You have had top training for three months and it is time for a performance test.

    LC1000 or treadmill step tests are ideal for this.

    No matter what you do, knowing where you stand in terms of performance will help optimize your training from May onwards.

    You can use the competition results and the LC1000 to determine your basic speed and derive your pace ranges for the upcoming interval training.

    You can use a treadmill level test to determine your heart rate training zones and, if necessary, determine and analyze changes compared to the last test.

    Ambitious runners typically do this twice a year.

    You should increase the long runs up to one and three quarters of an hour, then you are fully on schedule.

    Summary of the training in April

    : As usual, run three to four times a week, once a week a driving game and a fast endurance run, long run of up to 105 minutes

    May - goodbye driving game.

    Welcome intervals!

    In April you determined the basic speed.

    For example, you ran the 1000 meters of an LC1000 test at maximum speed in four minutes.

    This running time multiplied by a factor of 12 gives your potential in a 10-kilometer competition, in this case 48 minutes.

    In this way you can calculate any pace, including the racing pace for distances of three, five and ten kilometers as well as half marathons and marathons.

    It is very easy to determine potential with my runtime calculator.

    Enter your current results here and have your training areas calculated with a click.

    Because in May, interval training at a five-kilometer race pace is hip, short and sweet.

    Gradually increase the long runs to 120 minutes.

    Summary of the training in May

    : Continue as usual, run three to four times a week, including a brisk endurance run and an interval training at a five-kilometer race pace, long run of up to 120 minutes

    June - What's up?

    In the sixth month of the year it is the first time to »knock one out«.

    That's how loosely many runners motivate themselves when they go to their limits in a competition.

    First and foremost, you do this for yourself. If the comparison with others is also motivating, the result can be even better.

    A 10-kilometer competition is optimally placed in June, whether as an official fun run or as a virtual race, it doesn't matter, the main thing is that you knock one out!

    And carefully increase the long runs.

    Summary of the training in June

    : Continue as usual, run three to four times a week, a brisk endurance run, an interval training at a ten-kilometer race pace, a long run of up to 135 minutes

    July - take the pressure off, focus on perseverance

    We imagine July as we would like it to be, sunny and warm, wonderful.

    In July we slack off the speed training, do neither intervals nor driving games, enjoy our runs at a continuous pace, alternating in the intensities of slow, medium and brisk continuous running, and you take a decisive step towards the marathon.

    You make the first long run of 150 minutes!

    This limit heralds the final of the marathon preparation.

    Every long run over two and a half hours and longer pays directly into your marathon account.

    The first six months of training enabled you to do this, and you are now ready for the demanding marathon training.

    And if you continue to follow the tips from this post, you will train most effectively and successfully.

    Summary of the training in July

    : From now on, train four times a week, this varied continuously, long run up to 150 minutes

    August - Keep a cool head, avoid mistakes

    July was warm, August is getting warmer.

    The ozone pollution increases.

    The long runs are based on two and three quarters of an hour.

    Your shape is great.

    Now it is important to avoid mistakes.

    Errors can be runs in extreme heat, high ozone pollution and excessive fluid loss.

    This in combination can lead to physical fatigue, reluctance to train and, as a result, loss of shape and thus endanger the goal of the marathon.

    Clever training is provided by those who place their runs in the morning hours.

    The temperatures are pleasant in the morning and the air is wonderfully fresh.

    Short units of up to 60 minutes also work on an empty stomach before breakfast.

    It's also worth getting up earlier for the long run, but of course not to miss breakfast.

    You should definitely take a hydration pack with you on the run.

    Mine has a 1.5 liter hydration bladder.

    I fill this with tap water and three grams of table salt.

    The water has an isotonic effect and the organs can metabolize the fluid more easily.

    Summary of the training in August

    : Continue running four times a week, continuously running variedly, stabilize the long run at 165 minutes

    September - The training highlight

    Three-hour runs and, if you like, a 10-kilometer or half-marathon test competition make up September.

    Depending on the detailed planning with regard to the marathon in October, a test competition fits into the training or not.

    Remember: The three weeks before the annual peak should be tapered.

    The tapering phase is called the immediate regeneration phase before the competition, in which the training quality is kept high, but the scope is reduced.

    And each test competition takes away one to three weekends when you can't do three-hour runs.

    These are your real guarantee of success for marathon success.

    The more of it, the better.

    Everything before - now it comes out - is just the gallop for this important training phase, the long runs over three hours and longer.

    This is followed by interval training at the marathon race pace once a week.

    Three times four kilometers, three times five kilometers and three times six kilometers at a marathon race speed train body awareness and muscle memory.

    In combination with the long runs, this training makes you tired.

    You can, because the aforementioned tapering phase follows, so read on right away what I have planned for October.

    Summary of training in September

    : Run four times a week, still varied, including once a week interval training at a marathon pace, long runs of 180 minutes and longer

    October - splendor and glory in a marathon success

    Plan your training for the finals meticulously.

    On the third last weekend before the marathon, you do the last and longest long run for 180 to a maximum of 210 minutes, depending on how you have been able to improve your training so far.

    On the penultimate weekend, the weekend run only lasts up to 120 minutes, on the last weekend before the marathon, up to 90 minutes at the longest.

    In this way, you can reduce the total volume to 80 percent in the third last week (compared to the week with the highest volume), 60 percent in the penultimate week and then the marathon week comes with just two runs over 40 minutes and on Sunday the marathon.

    Enjoy the run.

    And when you have covered 42 kilometers and only 195 meters ahead of you, then watch out for the photographer at the edge of the route.

    Often this is the white-haired Norbert Wilhelmi, one of the busiest photographers in marathons, who also caught me on the edge of the track in New York City, as can be seen in the opening photo.

    Summary of the training in October

    : I am happy to run four to now only three times a week, continue to be varied, speed training can be done or canceled, long runs steadily reduced from their peak

    November - renewal instead of emptiness

    The marathon is now part of your vita.

    You will benefit from it all your life.

    But there are many dangers in the weeks immediately following a marathon.

    The risk of injury if you train too ambitiously again too quickly.

    The danger of emptiness if you run too little and fall into a motivation hole.

    The risk of infection if you do not pay enough attention to the weakened immune system in the first hours and days after the marathon.

    So if you orientate yourself to your last January training in November, you are guaranteed not to make a mistake with regard to the training load.

    And if you treat yourself carefully after the run, immediately protect yourself against the cold after the race, and eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit, salad, vegetables, nuts and whole grains in the days after the race, then you will quickly regain a state of greatness Satisfaction and desire to run.

    Summary of the training in November

    : three times a week, 40 minutes at a continuous pace is enough

    December - Between Santa and New Year's run

    Whatever you do now, it's the right thing to do.

    You have conscientiously carried out the regeneration phase and feel the desire to knock it out again at a fun run over 10 kilometers - you remember?

    Then do it.

    Do you prefer weeks of unplanned jogging to any competition or training plan?

    If not in December, then when?

    And if this time of the year-end spurt and reflection leads to you looking for the link to this running tip in your bookmark list at the turn of the year, then you and I did everything right.

    In this sense, have a happy new year!

    Source: spiegel

    All news articles on 2021-01-02

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