Adding Strength Training to a Marathon Training Plan

Hal suggests the best days to add strength training and cross-training to your marathon training plan.

QUESTION

I recently purchased a training plan for my upcoming marathon. When would be the best days to do core strengthening and/or cross-training? Here is Week 3 of my 12-week program for reference:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 4 miles easy
  • Wednesday: 6 miles hills
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: 6 miles easy
  • Saturday: 3 miles easy
  • Sunday: 10 miles LSD (Long Slow Distance)

I would like to add some extra training to the program, but do not know on which days to make the modifications.

HAL’S ANSWER

While I would defer to the author of the particular training plan you purchased, let me make a couple of good guess suggestions:

  1. Add strength training on easy days.
  2. Do so after you run, rather than before.
  3. Cross train on rest days

Given that as your guideline, here is how you might modify Week 3.

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 4 miles easy + strength
  • Wednesday: 6 miles hills
  • Thursday: Cross train
  • Friday: 6 miles easy + strength
  • Saturday: 3 miles easy
  • Sunday: 10 miles LSD (Long Slow Distance)

I have added strength training on two of the days: Tuesday and Friday. You could strength train a third day on Saturday, although I would prefer you go into the long run somewhat rested. Cross train on Thursday, and while you could do the same on Monday, you might like at least a single day of rest, particularly after that long run. The same general modifications would prevail throughout the program.