General Adaptation Syndrome

Understanding General Adaptation is an extremely important thing to understand. Applying this to training is critical to long term success. As you train the body adapts to stress. After your body adapts to stress it will begin the process of de-conditioning.

Ever wonder why Marathon Training is typically 12-16 weeks? I mean why not run marathon distance before a marathon so you know you can complete it.


The reason is because general adaptation sets in and you can train yourself beyond the point of being effective to being ineffective.

I have a general rule of thumb that general adaption kicks in at about 12 weeks. It will differ person to person.

Once it sets in your progress will stop, you will go backwards, and your likelihood of injury will go up.

Before we apply this to a program we need to make a quick note that proper strength & conditioning is not affected by general adaptation.

Here is an example of a proper training program for someone running a Marathon.

Marathon Date: April 1st 2019

Training Start: April 1st 2018

General Strength & Conditioning Phase: 1/1/18-1/1/19 (4x a week)

Warm Up: 5 mins

Bench Press 45lbs 3x5 (Add 5lbs to every workout)

Shoulder Press 45 3x5 (Add 5lbs to every workout)

Bent Over Row 45 3x5 (Add 5lbs to every workout)

Squat 45 3x5 (Add 5lbs to every workout)

RDL 45 3x5 (Add 5lbs to every workout)

Lunge 5’s 3x5 (Add 10lbs to every workout)

Step ups 5’s 3x10 (Add 10lbs to every workout)

Band Walks 3x10

Med Ball Slams 3x10

Planks 3xfailure

Stairs: 20 Flights

Notice how there is very little cardio? It is because the majority of your training is done in the strength training phase

Preseason Phase: 1/2/19-3/31/19 (The strength training needs to be cut back to 2x a week and the running phase will be 5-6x week)

Bench Press 3x5

Squat 3x5

RDL 3x5

Lunge 3x10

Single Leg DL 3x10

Lateral Bounds 3x10

Band Walks 3x10


Marathon Running Program (short, medium & long runs)


To run a really good marathon you should be in the gym hard for 8 months and then you cut back the strength training a little and start practicing your runs 16 weeks out.

Dedicate & Succeed,

Justin Kukla