How to Train for a Marathon Without Sacrificing Swim and Bike Fitness

With three sports to account for, a triathlete's training regimen can get jam-packed.

But what happens if a triathlete wants to focus on one area of competition in the offseason? Do sacrifices need to be made?

If you're looking to improve your run time, training for a marathon is a viable option. But running a marathon without sacrificing swim and bike fitness takes planning.

More: How to Become a Faster Triathlete

Keep Goals in Focus

When creating your marathon training plan, it's important to write down your goals. Here are samples:

  • Set a new PR: If you're gunning for a PR, your training sessions will change significantly. Your main sessions will be runs, and swimming or cycling workouts may be either non-existent or optional.
  • Keep a three-hour ride in my marathon training: Similar to the previous goal, you're looking to fit a marathon into a multisport training plan without sacrificing your long rides. If performance is important in the long ride, it can be difficult to manage. As marathon training builds to a peak, high-intensity cycling sessions can suffer.
  • Stay healthy: Running poses high injury and illness risk. Be careful with the number of stressful workouts you do each week and pay close attention to overall training volume.
  • Run for fun: If you just want to successfully complete a marathon, it's easier to include swimming and cycling in your training plan.

More: 7 Tips to Stay Injury Free Through Race Day

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About the Author

Gale Bernhardt

Gale Bernhardt was the USA Triathlon team coach at the 2003 Pan American Games and 2004 Athens Olympics. She's worked as a World Cup coach and delivered education training for the International Triathlon Union's Sport Development Team. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's easy-to-follow training plans. You can find some of her training plans on Active Trainer to help you succeed.

Gale Bernhardt was the USA Triathlon team coach at the 2003 Pan American Games and 2004 Athens Olympics. She's worked as a World Cup coach and delivered education training for the International Triathlon Union's Sport Development Team. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's easy-to-follow training plans. You can find some of her training plans on Active Trainer to help you succeed.

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