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So you've entered a your first marathon? Or have you entered your hometown marathon and have your friends and family coming to cheer you on? Or are you going large and making a holiday out of it and travelling overseas to a Marathon Major? Does New York, London or Tokyo beckon? Or maybe your a small town runner: Canberra, Gold Coast or Adelaide. Wherever you're entered, the fabled 42km or 26 miles awaits. What do you do now?
I'm Sean Bowes.
2:26 marathoner and certified track and field coach, I've won the Canberra Half Marathon and placed fourth twice in the Marathon event. I've done training camps all around the world including Kenya, Ethiopia and the USA, using those experiences to improve my coaching to help you reach your Personal Record.
So now what?
Listen if you're like I was way back when I started, you'll go it alone. Train yourself, not listen to advice and march head-long into the longest race of your life with nothing more than some misguided training runs and ignorant bravado. The best things is: it works! Until about the halfway point. And suddenly...
What is the wall. When your muscles become depleted of all glycogen (energy) stores. Your body will switch to fat burning but it's a slow and painful process. If you haven't prepared with long running similar to race length, you've got about 90 minutes of fun then it's total hell. I'm talking: brain fades, paranoia, seeing colours, extreme thirst, walking and the added stress of falling behind your target time. I've been there and it sucks.
Go on, kid yourself for a while.
At the onset of The Wall, you'll think (like I did) "Ahh, it's ok I can just tough it out. I can run through this. I've run halfway, it's just another one of those." You fool. I've been there and almost everyone I know has been. Let me assure you, you cannot tough this one out. And try to remember why you're here, you've trained YOUR way and not done the range of training required to conquer the marathon.
Common training practices (not known to beat The Wall).
See what I've learned in this caper. There's generally three types of trainers, the 'interval warriors', 'run-home-from-workers' and the guys who will "rise to the occasion." I used to be an Interval Warrior. I'd just torch myself over 1000m repetitions and on the other days do a one hour easy run. Telling myself that I'll race at a slower pace so everything should be right. I think my longest run leading up to my first marathon was 24km. It's almost hard to believe now.
The 'run-home-from-workers' don't necessarily run hard like the Interval Warriors rather they rationalise by adding up there weekly miles to equal to or greater than a marathon over a few months (or sometimes weeks) that they're ready to crush the marathon. "So if the race is 26 miles, the 10 mile run home from work three times a week (or at lunch time in the park) adds up to more than a marathon, I've just gotta combine those runs (only without two days' recovery) in the race"...
And the guys who promise they WILL rise to the occasion in the big dance, because well, "They'll be a crowd around, that'll fire me up a bit" (that's my favourite). Good luck! These are the guy who after the race say, "Yeah I got to halfway and was passing people thinking this is great, I'll do a few of these. Then it hit me! And I had nothing." What a shock.
See the marathon is a dangerous beast and needs to be respected. It doesn't matter how tough you are or how hard you think you can push when the heat is on, if you haven't trained properly, you've got a problem.
Don't feel embarrassed if this is you, or was about to be you. I've done it too, it's easy to do and - the good news is - it's easy to fix. You just need to invest the time into the right preparation and you'll run your fastest ever marathon. With the expert coaching from a practicing coach who has DONE the training and racing that you will be set, can relate to your struggles and answer your questions about marathon training and racing, you'll be on the right track.
Traps for young players.
Google... Of course you can investigate some free marathon training programs on Google, however in many cases you'll be overloaded with information and opinion about marathon training and racing that isn't tailored and personalised to your needs and desires. Moreover, these programs aren't specific to your event, your experience level or your time commitments. Plus, without the 24/7 email contact available on with my programs you might misinterpret some information and be preparing yourself the wrong way. One guy once said to me, "So 9 x 1km, is that just a 9km run?". Sweet lord!
Choose from our selection of marathon training packages below...
All programs are backed by my 'Coaches Promise' 30 day money back guarantee. If you're not satisfied with the service and expertise provided with your training program, simply email me and I'll refund your money immediately. No questions asked.
Time is rapidly running out on these hot, hot programs. And so is your chance to secure first-class coaching and run like the wind. Get in now before it's too late!
See some stories of previous runners on my Marathon Training Program...
Race: Melbourne Marathon. Goal: 3:30. Now this is a story. Adam ran his first ever marathon at Gold Coast in July, finishing in just over four hours. Since our trip to Canberra Half Marathon earlier that year, Adam and I had trained together sparingly but after his (full) marathon effort at Gold Coast I knew he was 'for real.' He mentioned that his goal in the next race would be to break four hours, I said, "No we're going to break 3:30. No question." I took him aside for some personal track training sessions where I retaught him the interval and speed principles we'd learned back in high school from distance running guru coach, Tony Booth. See Adam was doing his long work but tending to loaf along and not breaking into a fast enough rhythm and therefore thwarting his best efforts to run fast. We hit the track once a week, for variations of 400m repeats, 1000m repeats, pyramids and sprinting drills. My goal was to make Adam realise he can run fast again. Once we gained form and confidence, he then applied it to his longer running, speeding up his weekly long runs and ultimately turned up the heat in his race. We didn't quite crack 3:30 but he went a very close and by setting that lofty goal coupled with some belief garnered in the preparation he went far faster than he would have ever believed he could.
Race: Los Angeles marathon. Goal: Boston qualification. Both Blake and Lynette were able to qualify for the World's oldest and most prestigious marathon using the Sean Bowes Marathon Program. Blake can go all day but needed some longer 'speed' work to nip inside those non-negotiable Boston qualifying times. This came with the inclusion of Tempo running to ensure he could keep a fast clip throughout the race. Lynette is a heavy trainer, the main objective there was to emphasise 'quality-and-recovery' rather than volume-on-top-of-volume. It worked out and they were both able to beat their goal times and qualify.
Race: Sunshine Coast Marathon: Goal: Finish. Tom in his first marathon wanted to "finish" the race and "run it out". This was Tom's first go at the marathon and without much base running behind him the program began gently and increased gradually. The challenge was to keep the training interesting whilst increasing distances without risking injury on high-speed work nor getting too repetitive with boring slow runs. With a various range of 'efforts within runs' that promote faster leg speed, increased fitness and active recovery we were able to achieve his goal. Tom's closing quote on the program, "I'd definitely recommend this to any other muppet who's silly enough to try the marathon."
Race: Sydney Half Marathon. Goals: Varied. These were some more casual runners, Tim and Suzy formed a husband and wife pairing to knock over this very popular Sydney event. Adam (seen above) has run marathons before but in this stand-alone Half Marathon event stepped back into the social runner role just to enjoy the day and gain an interesting shake-up his usual training grind.
Race: Bay to Bay Half Marathon. Goal: Run a Personal Record. Trent was like me, an 'Interval Warrior'. Show him a hill or a 400m track and he'll destroy it. However, the Half Marathon is a sustained effort - with no rest! I showed Trent to advantage of 'tempo running' and 'long drives' (interval between 2km and 4km) in training, to get him beyond the ten-minute-fall-away zone. Slowly we took away the rests, and initially it was tough but we had to simulate training to racing more closely. Adding 'long drives' was a half-way-house on the way to a tempo which added variation and kept training interesting throughout the program. Eventually we put it to the test and came up trumps, with a Personal Record and 80-minute Half Marathon in the Bay to Bay.
This is my first marathon, are your programs suitable for me?
Yes. First timers are welcome and encouraged to undertake the program. Get the right coaching before bad habits develop.
What if I miss a few weeks of training, can I double up the sessions during following weeks?
Generally, this approach doesn't work. Though a lot of people try it. You put your body at risk of physical injury and mental fatigue.
I've already run a marathon, can a coach help me?
Yes. Even if you've broken your duck in the big dance, there's still plenty to gain from my expert coaching. Remember, if you're not satisfied with the coaching I'll refund your money in full. That's a win-win.
Why are the prices in US dollars?
US dollars are the currency of the internet and I have readers outside of Australia, all of whom are familiar with the value of the US dollar. It's simplicity.
Do you make any recommendations on race day shoes, diet, procedure, etc?
Yes. I'm an experienced racer and love to impart any knowledge I have to my athletes. I can advise on lead-up races, warm up, pacing, shoes, socks (more important than you might think), the crucial last 72 hours before gun, race day diet, post-training reloading.
Does this include any in-person training sessions with the coach?
No. These training programs are online only. For personal coaching and form correction you should email me to arrange sessions.
Can I reuse the program for another race?
Yes. The training program is yours for life. You might need some guidance on increasing the workload for following races but you're welcome to use the existing program and share the advice with friends.
Can I get a discount?
No. Considering all the costs associated with entering your marathon: race entry, travel, accommodation, nutrition, etc., a reasonably-priced professional training program is a small price to pay to run the race well.
So by now you should have an idea of which marathon training program is right for you, your needs and your racing goals. If you have any further questions I'm available on email at email@example.com or simply hit reply to this email. See you out there, Sean.