The Marathon Revolution

Lately, I have been preparing for my half marathon in October, and together with running and strength training, I decided to read a bit more about preparing for a (half) marathon. I came across the book: De marathon revolutie (Dutch) by Koen de Jong and Stans van der Poel.

As far as I am aware now, the book is only available in Dutch. I have purchased it myself for my preparation for my half marathon.

De marathon revolution was published in 2015 and created a lot of fuss in the Dutch running community. The book stated that you can run a marathon by running max 14km. This would be the longest distance you would run while training for a marathon. While we all know that regular training schemes contain runs of 20-30 km. You only have to be able to run 10km in 65minutes and your weight cannot be higher than your length in cm – 100cm + 10%.

Did I test this method already? No.
Am I interested in this method? Yes.
Will I run a marathon this year? No, but I will run a half marathon.

Koen de Jong and Stans van der Poel designed this training method based on heart rate. First, you need to determine you Marathon Heart rate, which is determined by your turning point.
Your turning point is determined by a simple test:
Run for 6 minutes at 7km /h and increase the speed with 1km/h every 2 minutes.
At the moment you cannot go any harder or any further you will need to check your heart rate. This is not the exact maximum heart rate, but the number you will need to determine the turning point. Depending on the speed you will need to extract a couple of beats. After you will have your turning point. In the book, they have a table with all turning points, 10km times and then what your marathon heart rate should be.
This is the heart rate you will be training at.

Training for a marathon with a maximum of 14km? For me, it still sounds a bit risky, but a lot of people in the Netherlands have given it a try. And they liked it. I can imagine that there are a lot of benefits, but would I feel mentally ready for a marathon when I am training max 14km? I am not sure.

The advantages of running such a short distance according to the writers were:

  • Less time-consuming. More and more people are participating in marathons but a 30km training takes up a lot of time.
  • Less injury sensitive. The training is shorter, less impact on the joints and muscles so less chance on an injury.
  • Less recovery is needed. Due to the shorter distances, the body requires less recovery time. Hence you can easily train 4 times per week.
  • Even with a busy work life and a family, you will be able to train, because the longest training might take you only 1,5 hours instead of 3.

Luckily for me, there is also a scheme in the book for a half marathon and I have been thinking of trying this out for the half marathon in October. The maximum distance in this scheme will be 10km but the marathon heart rate is allowed to be a bit higher. The reason for this is that you will need to maintain this higher heart rate for a smaller amount of time than when you would be running a marathon.

Based on my last PR for a 10K my estimated half marathon time is around 2h and 15 minutes. Now I am only afraid that this is based on a flat optimal race. In the Netherlands, there are no hills compared to Krakow and of course, the air pollution season that might have started at the time of the race. I think the circumstances might be a factor as well. However, I will try to use the scheme and train with this scheme for my first half marathon, but I might make some adjustments in the meantime.

After my sickness in July, I have started my training. The first training was to determine my marathon heart rate.
My marathon heart rate was established at 150 bpm.
During training, I am allowed to run 3 beats per minute below or above this heart rate. I’m not exactly sure how correct this is because the running on the treadmill did not go so smooth. Above 13km/h I did not feel I could run correctly on the treadmill and perhaps I am also still afraid to injure myself if I run too hard. The max heart rate I measured was 174, but I can remember that during some runs it was 190-195. This is a big difference which can also give a different marathon heart rate. Remember that in most races my average heart rate is around 168.
I will try to do a run around this heartrate, but it will be a lot slower than usual. Maybe I will just give myself some credit if I can keep it around 160. I am guessing that for this my pace already has to be around 7min/km. A lot slower than what I am running now.

I will keep you all updated how the training is going on this scheme and what I think about it. It might be that I might make some changes to the training schedule or I might do a longer run in between. I am curious if I will be able to get anywhere near that 2hour and 15-minute mark. And really curious if I can make it on this scheme, I will keep you all posted on how this journey is going!

Would you run max 10km for a half marathon? Or even 14km for a full marathon? Based on the stories of others? Or would you stick to the original training plans?



PS I still have a bit of doubt if I really want to stick to the scheme or also add a longer run in between. Or just keep on doing what I am doing. 

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