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Article: Andrew Taylor is on his way to his fourth marathon. This time in London.

Andrew Taylor is onderweg naar zijn vierde marathon. Deze keer in London.

Andrew Taylor is on his way to his fourth marathon. This time in London.

Running started for him as a 'challenge' to lose weight, but this quickly turned into a complete addiction. The running adventure in 2020 started with small milestones, but has now progressed into continuous training for marathons. To some this sounds like absolute hell, but to Andrew it's an outlet and a way to challenge himself week after week. Through an interview we found out how he managed to turn his first 5 kilometers run into a full marathon. In this blog you will find out how you can take your training to the next level.

Training - Recovery
To be able to run a race as well as possible, you naturally start with training. But what does such a training schedule look like? And what should you pay particular attention to?

Andrew divides his workouts into three different runs. With this he finds the balance between distance and effort.
A 'pace run’: this is about covering a longer distance, at a faster than average pace.
A 'endurance run’: Walking a long distance, at a slow pace.
A 'Interval training’: Walk a shorter distance, at a varied pace.

During the week he completes two interval training sessions. These workouts are designed to raise and lower your heart rate several times. This can be achieved by increasing your pace (high heart rate) or decreasing it (low heart rate). The reason for this is to improve VO2 max. This is a technical term for the amount of oxygen you can use during exercise. Intensity in a short time period trains your body to absorb more oxygen in order to prevent the acidification of your muscles.

During the weekend, some extra leisure time can often be made available for training. This is exactly the reason why Andrew does his long runs on weekends. These runs take less effort than the interval training, but are just as important! You run the endurance run at a low pace. They also call this a 'low heart rate zone' (or zone 1). Exactly how low that should be is different for everyone. If you can keep running and talking at the same time, you're on the right track.

Finally, there is the tempo run. The distance for this is between your interval training and the endurance run. This allows you to stably run above the pace of the endurance run and below the intensity of the interval training. Here too it is important to watch your heart rate. You will then be above zone 1 in terms of heart rate. It should be more taxing, but don't tap your maximum here.

The other three days a week Andrew sets aside for his recovery. Although he is not actively involved in this, he eats a healthy diet and pays particular attention that he eats enough protein after training to allow muscle recovery. Everyone reacts differently to exercise. Some recover very quickly and are ready to train again after a day. Others need a little more time and need to take a longer rest. It is therefore important to listen to your body and adjust recovery days accordingly.

Power supply
The average marathon time is 4 hours and 41 minutes. This is quite a long time of constant effort. To prevent the man with the hammer from coming to see you halfway through the ride, it is important that your body gets the right nutrition. It is not necessarily necessary for shorter runs of up to an hour, but it is essential for longer distances.

“1 gram of carbohydrates, per kilogram of body weight, per hour.” This is the guide Andrew uses. "In this way I make sure that the engine of my body can keep running." However, eating while running is not the same as eating before. Your body has to get used to processing carbohydrates. Andrew prefers to use Kalkman's Energy Shots or Energy Bites. Other brands have also passed by, but his body reacted a lot less favourably to them. Kalkman's natural ingredients ensure that he does not get any negative side effects from the food. “Besides, it also tastes good and that is why I never dread eating during the training sessions.” – says Andrew.

The tip that is still given is to try out a number of trial packages. Everyone can react differently to certain gels, shots or bites. Andrew advises seeing which foods work best for you and what you like to eat the most.

Of course, the right diet also includes sufficient water. Bringing a water bottle with you during training or having it ready halfway through your route is a good way to get enough water. As a guideline, it is recommended to drink 125 to 250 ml of water every 15 minutes during workouts longer than an hour.

Finally, we have the supplements. Although these are not essential for training, they can give you an extra helping hand. Andrew uses Omega-3 (from fish oil), magnesium and caffeine.

Omega-3: lowers the amount of fat (triglycerides) in the blood. Contributes to keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy.
Magnesium: Contributes to the recovery of your muscles.
Caffeine*: stimulates your nervous system to improve your sports performance.

To train for a marathon, you cover a lot of kilometers. Why make it harder for yourself by not making the right preparations? In principle, you can go into the training sessions with minimal equipment, but with the right equipment you prevent a lot of misery.

Just like with food, it is wise to 'test' your clothing. Walk in your competition clothes a few times and make sure it's all right; also over long distances. The last thing you want is for your clothes to chafe. Also adjust your clothing to the temperatures. Layers for the cold days, airy and open clothing for the warm days.

Use different shoes. Even running shoes need their recovery days. It may sound strange, but it really is. By not using the shoes for a few days, the cushioning and suspension of the shoe will return to 'normal'. With excessive use for a long time, this decays. Andrew also recommends using separate shoes for competitions. He himself uses two pairs for this. For half marathon distance, he uses Nike VaporFly and Nike Alphafly for the marathons.

In today's digital age, a watch is indispensable. It keeps track of the distances, it shows your heart rate fluctuation and it keeps track of your training schedule for you. It shows you clearly how your training is progressing and where the progress or stagnation is. The VO2 max, as mentioned earlier, can also be measured on this. This way you know whether the interval training is doing what it is supposed to do.

Finally, Andrew advises using a hip pouch. This makes it easy to take drinks and food with you, without as much movement as a backpack would cause. By putting the pouch around your hip, you have easy access to your bites or water. That way you don't waste any extra energy!

Although Andrew has served up the Walhalla of tips, one statement kept coming up:
'Enjoy it!'
Training for a marathon should be balanced and fun. Everyone has busy lives and it is therefore not always easy to get the schedules done. But as long as you realize that you can improve yourself every week and that the hard days ultimately contribute the best to the result, the rest will take care of itself.

*Check out our caffeine blog for more information on how to use it and how it works.