THE INTRODUCTION PERIOD
The I.P. usually last between 6 and 8 weeks, and follow a period of rest and nervous recovery, commonly known as TRANSATION PERIOD, which should always follow a marathon race. During the I.P. the athlete should first reacquire the capacity to work, and then develop the qualities which were neglected for months, during the preparation for the previous marathon race, and are often below the required level.
There are two main physiological targets in this period :
- Recovery and development of muscle efficiency
- Recovery and development of aerobic endurance
These physiological targets correspond the achievement of technical targets which will have a direct influence on the marathon runner's activity.
The development of the athlete's muscles may be achieved with training means other than running : general and specific conditioning exercises, isometric exercises, exercises with overloads, proprioceptive exercises and, expecially, various types of circuit training. These exercises may be combined together and performed in various ways.
It's also useful to work on running technique, using technical paces and short uphill runs, and to lay the foundations of an improvement of running efficiency by developing mobility and muscle elasticity.
We mentioned earlier that the I.P. is principally aimed at restoring aerobic endurance. From a practical point of view this means increasing the athlete's capacity to work. The training means are simple and don't vary greatly :
- SLOW PACED CONTINUOUS RUNS in a state of breathing balance, with an extensive progression, up to one and half hours
- MEDIUM PACED CONTINUOUS RUNS, with an extensive-intensive progression, i.e. the athlete is required to run progressively longer and faster, up to 45'
- CONTINUOUS PROGRESSIVE RUNS, slow paced at the beginning and then medium paced ; here again the progression is extensive-.intensive ; the duration increases up to one hour.