IN THE BEGINNING FOLLOW SOME KIND OF TRAINING PROGRAM
Although following a rigid daily training program violates the fourth law of training, I have found that most beginning runners require some kind of training program to assist them in the initial year of running. In particular, the program allows them to run without constantly worrying about what they should be doing.
Many different training programs have been drawn up for those wishing to start running, and these are available in a variety of publications (Bloom, 1981;
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Galloway, 1983; Glover & Schuder, 1983; Henderson & Maxwell, 1978; Squires, 1982; Temple, 1980). I am sure that they are all very similar and will be equally effective. However, to my knowledge, none of them has been scientifically tested in a sufficiently large group of subjects to determine real effectiveness in practice. The training program included in this post has undergone at least some field testing.
From August 1982 to March 1983, our research group trained a group at the University of Cape Town of 32 previously sedentary subjects to run a standard marathon. In the end, 26 finished the standard marathon in times ranging from 2:59 to 6:05. The program these runners followed was modeled on the Henderson and Maxwell (1978) marathon training program, to which an initial 8-week walking program was added. The original program was adjusted slightly in light of the results achieved:
Even reasonably healthy, young, and otherwise athletic individuals will most certainly develop injuries between the 8th and 12th weeks of training if they do not first start with a solid base of walking.
The original program of 7 months was too short a training period for the average beginner to train for a standard marathon; certainly, very athletic individuals can do it in this time, but the average person requires 8 to 9 months.
Performances suddenly improved dramatically after 20 weeks of training.