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A beginner’s guide to the La Valette Malta Marathon

Charlton Debono won the half-marathon at the La Valette Malta Marathon in 2022.

This training plan is aimed at runners/beginners covering the distance for the first time and planning to run/jog the whole route without walking, considering you’ve done little running in the past but are generally in good health.

Ideally a person needs to be committed to run three times a week.

Days of the week shown can be changed. If you change them, try to ensure that a run day is followed by a rest day.

Best to invest in a smart watch to give you an indication of your pace, heart rate and distance covered.

Make sure to have something to drink available when your runs are 50 minutes plus.

WEEK 1

Monday: rest;  Tuesday: walk 30 mins (moderate pace); Wednesday: rest; Thursday: walk 30 mins (fast pace); Friday: rest; Saturday: rest; Sunday: run/walk 40 minutes (walk 8 minutes, run 2 mins until you reach 40 mins).

WEEK 2

Monday: rest; Tuesday: run/walk 50 minutes (walk 7 minutes, run 3 minutes until you reach 50 minutes); Wednesday: rest; Thursday: walk 40 mins (fast pace); Friday: rest; Saturday: rest; Sunday: run/walk 50 mins (walk 5 mins, run 5 mins until you reach 50 mins).

WEEK 3

By week 3 you should be more confident and feeling better whilst running. Target is to run a straight 30min by the end of this week.

Monday: rest; Tuesday; run/walk 50 mins (walk 3 mins, run 7 mins until you reach 50 mins); Wednesday: rest; Thursday: run/walk 50 mins (walk 10 mins, run 10 mins, until you reach 50 mins); Friday rest day; Saturday: rest; Sunday: your first 30 mins straight run (10 mins walk, 30 mins straight run, 10 mins walk).

WEEK 4

By now you are able to run a straight 30 mins run. Now, it’s time to start calculating distance via a smart watch because our main concern is distance covered not time. Sundays will be longer runs, monitoring distance.

Monday: rest; Tuesday: run/walk 50 mins (walk 5 mins, easy jog 40 mins, walk 5 mins); Wednesday: rest; Thursday: run/walk 50 mins (walk 5 mins, easy jog 40 mins, walk 5 mins); Friday: rest; Saturday: rest;

Sunday: Time to start using smart watch set on distance.

Today you’ll have your first long run monitoring distance – 10 mins walk, 8km easy run, 10 min walk (ideally make sure you cover 10km in total including the walk).

WEEK 5

Monday: rest; Tuesday easy 50 mins run; Wednesday: rest; Thursday: easy 50 mins run; Friday: rest; Saturday: rest; Sunday: 12km total distance (10 mins walk, 5km easy run, 10 mins walk, 5 km easy run).

WEEK 6

Monday: rest; Tuesday: easy 50 mins run; Wednesday: rest; Thursday: easy 50 mins run; Friday: rest; Saturday: rest; Sunday: 14 km (10 mins walk, 6km easy run, 10 mins walk, 6km easy run).

WEEK 7

Monday rest; Tuesday: easy 50 mins run; Wednesday: rest; Thursday: easy 50 mins run; Friday: rest; Saturday; rest;

Sunday: By now your fitness should be well adapted to running, feeling less fatigued. So basically, we can start putting some efforts (off your comfortable zone, to raise your heart rate/increase vo2 max and eventually you will be more comfortable running at slower pace, longer distance in the actual race).

Start with a 10 mins walk and proceed with a 5km easy run. Find a small hill approximately 1 min of uphill running. Jog uphill 1min, walk back recovery and repeat it eight times. Focus on higher knee lift, straight back and you will also feel some tension in glutes which where the push is coming from.

Walk another 10 mins. By now you should have covered around 9 km.

Continue easy run until you reach 14km in total.

WEEK 8

Monday: rest; Tuesday: easy 50 mins run; Wednesday: rest; Thursday: easy 50 mins run; Friday: rest; Saturday: rest;

Sunday: Today we focus on small one-minute intervals instead of hills. Targeting 15km in total. Start off with 10 minutes easy walk, followed by 5km easy run, 10 mins easy walk again. By now you should have covered 7km and feeling good.

The next stage is an introduction to one-minute intervals. Start off with one minute faster pace followed by one minute easy jog and repeat this 10 times.

The idea is to raise your heart rate feeling uncomfortable then followed by one min easy run to recover from the fast interval.

After the 10 by one minute fast one minute, walk for another 5 minutes and run easy until you reach the 15km mark.

WEEK 9

Monday: rest; Tuesday: easy 50 mins run; Wednesday: rest; Thursday easy 50 mins run; Friday rest; Saturday: rest.

Sunday: Focus on long easy run without any walking mid-way through the run. Start off with a 10-minute walk, followed by an easy straight run until you reach 17km. By now you should be in a position of running long at a slow easy pace, low heart rate.

Make sure you have hydration in place maybe even something small to eat.

WEEK 10

Monday: rest; Tuesday: easy 50 minutes run; Wednesday: rest; Thursday: easy 50 mins run; Friday:  rest; Saturday: rest;

Sunday: Focus on long easy run without any walking mid-way through the run. Start off with a ten-minute walk, followed by an easy straight run until you reach 18km or even if you can squeeze it to 19th km.

It will be your longest run before the race. Make sure you have hydration in place maybe even something small to eat.

WEEK 11

The taper is here. Doing less is all about recovering from the hard training so you can stand on the start line ready to do your best.

Monday: rest; Tuesday: easy 50 mins run; Wednesday: rest; Thursday: easy 50 mins run; Friday: rest; Saturday: rest; Sunday: Drop down the mileage to 10 or 12 km easy straight run.

WEEK 12

Monday: rest day; Tuesday: easy 30 mins run; Wednesday: rest; Thursday: easy 30 minutes run;  Friday: rest; Saturday: rest; Sunday 21km race.

What do I do if I miss a training run?

Generally speaking, if you miss a week of training, you can jump back into your plan as long as you were consistent and diligent with your workouts for at least four to six weeks before the break.

But if your downtime stretches from 10 days to two weeks (or more), you have to re-evaluate your comeback strategy. If you skip a run one day, it likely isn’t going to affect you in the long run.

There are many times when you should be okay with a missed run, but make sure to tell yourself that this is only temporary otherwise skipping sessions would become more frequently.

The second edition of the Intersport La Valette Malta Marathon takes place on February 5, 2023.

The Intersport La Valette Malta Marathon is supported by Visit Malta. For more details on the race and registration log onto https:// corsa.mt or send a whatsapp message on  79979999.

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