The Marius Bakken 100 Day Marathon Plan Interview

tips4running is pleased to welcome back Marius Bakken for an interview. If you missed our first interview, you can read it right here. Here is some background on Marius. He is a two time Olympic 5k track runner for his home country of Norway. Marius stopped competing on the international level in 2006 to focus on Medical School, and pretty soon we will start having to call him Dr. Bakken.

Marius Bakken's 100 Day Marathon Program

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to preview Marius Bakken's 100 Day Marathon Plan. Before he released it to the market, he allowed me an inside look at what he had created. Now the program is for sale for all runners.

David Tiefenthaler - It is good to hear from you again. I thought you were busy before with med school, but you still had time to develop an incredible marathon training plan. Did you come up with this training program recently, or is this something that has been in the works for a long time?

Marius Bakken – This is something I’ve been working on for quite some time – actually from all the way back to 2005 when a friend of mine needed a marathon plan. He had signed up for New York Marathon already but done too little training over the summer. So I used a modified elite approach on him – based on Kenyan and Italian marathon training. Based on that he ran 2:58 in his first marathon which is amazing for someone with that little running background. So I took it further and started developing a complete manual going from 2:45 runners up to 5:00 and beginners and that is what you have on the site now.

DT - You were an Olympic Distance runner. Is this program just designed for elite distance runners?

MB – No, it is actually a non-elite program. It is applying elite principles and up to date modern marathon training for the non-elite.

DT - How many people did you have as “test” subjects before you realized this program could be used by any level of marathon runner?

MB - I had about 20 runners test it out first and the results were not only much faster times for most – but in addition to that practically no injuries which makes the whole marathon route to the goal much more fun and inspiring.

DT - I really appreciated you letting me review your program before you released it simply because I am just a high school coach. Who are some of the higher profile names that you shared the program with before it was for sale, and what did they think?

MB - I had Jack Waitz go through it – the husband and coach of 9 time New York City Marathon winner Grete Waitz. You can see his thoughts about it on the presentation page as well. In addition to that Duncan Larkin of Running Times plus a wide variety of top marathon coaches and all-level runners. So I tried to bring in all these groups so that the program is not only effective but 100% understandable for everyone.

DT - This is a real new product on the market. When was it first released for people to buy?

MB - In July 2009.

DT - What have the average runners like myself who are following the program said? How far along are they in their training?

MB - Some have actually finished it already as they needed to jump into it in order to make fall marathon. In fact, just yesterday I got a message from one of the runners, a medical doctor, who improved his Chicago time from 08 from 3:35 down to 3:15 and qualified for Boston. These types of stories have started come in now, and I’m getting new ones like this 1-2 time a week now.

DT - The program is designed around a 100 day marathon plan. Is this a hard and fast timeline, or can you adjust your training time frame?

MB – It is fully adjustable from about 60 days up to 150 days. I explain this step by step in the actual manual.

DT - There are a lot of training programs out there for a marathon. What does yours offer that separates it from the rest?

MB – Most marathon programs start with marathon specific work from day number one in the schedule. Problem with this is that is often leads to 5-6 weeks of improvement and thereafter stagnation. Instead, what the top guns are doing that you also see in the 100 day plan is a clear periodization so that you continue to improve throughout the schedule – for the full 15 weeks. This is much better, gives faster results and is much more motivating. In addition to that you have the intensity of the trainings are based on Kenyan training principles so the individual training effect is also better.

DT - Your program is a digital program you can purchase and download on your computer. The information is presented with both text and video. What advantage do users have by using this form instead of a traditional where all the info is in a written text?

MB – It makes it easier to follow. In the videos I also go through the workouts and the schedules themselves and the result is that I rarely get questions from runners that are in doubt of what to do.

DT - It also has four calculators. What can runners use these calculators for?

MB - Calculating finishing time based on their half marathon time that I suggest they do 4 weeks before the marathon, what to drink, how to calculate negative splitting and additional diet calculations.

DT - I loved how you combined the two training styles of the Italians and Kenyans. Can you explain what these training principals are, and how you use these two approaches in your marathon training program?

MB – To make it really brief: the Italians have a way of building the week to week periods – so that you’ll start with type 5k,then 10k, before half marathon, and eventually marathon phase training. Throughout these periods once you go from one to the other you keep elements of the prior period. The result is adaptions and improvement all through the training period. The Kenyans have developed a quite unique way of feeling what “intensity is ideal” and therefore each of the individual sessions is based on this.

DT - Did some of your education as a med student influence how you structured the marathon training program?

MB – Yes, both the training itself but also the rest of the manual – to make it complete and take care of all the difficult physical and mental aspects running the marathon brings out.

DT - Now let’s say I am considering running a marathon. Why should I follow a marathon training guide? Why not just gradually build up my mileage until I think I could make it through 26.2 miles of running?

MB – If you read above you see the reason. You’ll not only likely stagnate on the way doing it that way, but also risk injuries.

DT - I know that was a lot of questions, but running a marathon requires a lot of thought. Thanks for taking the time to explain your training program. By the way, how much school do you have left until you are officially Dr. Bakken?

MB – I’ll finish things up in May 2010 so a few months to go.

DT - Can I make this marathon training program available for sale to my tips4running readers, and how much does it cost?

MB - Of course. At the moment it is 47 USD. However, most of the time it is at 77. The reason for this fluctation is that I have to limit the number of runners on the program at certain points of the year when demand is too high. That way I can make sure to take care of them as customers and follow runners the best way possible at all times.

DT - Thanks again Marius. I am lucky enough to have seen this program up close, and know how comprehensive your plan is. If you're serious about completing a marathon, and training the right way, read more about Marius Bakken's 100 Day Marathon Plan here.

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