Berlin Marathon

Average Weekly Training Hours 01:09
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 01:09
Training Load By Week

This is a solid and ambitious plan for the ambitious athlete.
It follows a structured design and all running workouts are possible to download to most modern and compatible training devices.

If you have done a few Marathons or equivalent endurance events before and aim for a finishing time of between 2:45-3:45 (depending on starting level), this is the plan for you!

The program is designed with a progressive loading structure with 4-weeks micro cycles. Every micro cycle contains one recovery week and three load weeks. Total load (intensity, length) progresses through each cycle but also through the entire program.

Sample Day 2
Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) - test.

Venue:Find an even, flat circuit. A track is optimal, a park will do. Treadmill is not such a good option but can work if other alternatives are not available, if running on a treadmill set the gradient to 1deg angle to better simulate outdoor effort. The test will be repeated and that should be done with the same factors as previous tests.

The test:
This is a twenty minute threshold effort test protocol used to determine your “threshold heartrate” and pace.  
Knowing your threshold heartrate will help you both plan workouts as well as measure progress in your training. 

Using a GPS-Training watch to monitor the test:
Turn off "Auto-lap", and when starting the 20 minute maximum sustainable effort test press "lap". After 20 minutes, when test is complete, press "lap" again. When you upload the data you'll have a 20 minute lap with AVG HR and AVG pace data.

5-10 minutes slow/easy jog and then 5-10 minutes easy jogging, with 2x 20 second strides thrown in, 2-3 minute recovery (easy jog) between strides. Minimum 3 minute recovery (easy jog) before beginning the 20 minute test.

-20 minute effort at maximum sustainable effort:
(maximum sustainable effort for 20 minutes means going at the top pace that you can maintain for 20 minutes)

If needed start slightly below what you think you can sustain, but continue increasing effort without going harder than you can sustain for the duration of the test. You should finish knowing you gave it everything you had.

-Cool down:
15 minutes easy cool down with stretching

Calculating your training zones:
Your estimated Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) is 95% of your 20 minute average heart rate for the test.
Your estimate Lactate Threshold Pace (Functional Threshold Pace, FTP) is 105% of your 20 minute average pace for the test.
With some simple maths you can now determine and update your HR training zones and training zone pace in Training Peaks!

These zones are starting points but will be used in the training. There'll be more tests and each test will have some variation as heart rates can vary from day to day depending on several factors. Taking 95% of your 20 minute average HR is just an estimate for your “true” threshold but is good enough for most athletes! Same with the 105% of the pace.

LTHR: Take the average HR from the 20 minute test portion of the run and multiply it by 0.95. This value rounded up is your new LTHR-value.
Pace: Take the average pace from the 20 minute test portion of the run and multiply it by 1.05.
Please take note of the distance you ran during the 20 minutes.

The heart rate is used to determine training zones, and the average speed and distance are used to measure progress from test to test.

Calculating your Heart Rate Zones
Zone % LTHR Easy Math
Level 1 (Recovery Zone) 0-68% < LTHR – 35 beats
Level 2 (Endurance) 69-83% 25 – 35 beats below LTHR
Level 3 (Tempo) 84-94% 15 beats below LTHR up to LTHR
Level 4 (Threshold) 95-105% Tested LTHR from time trial
Level 5 (VO2) >106% 5-10 beats above LTHR

It is important that you maintain the same conditions from test to test, the 20 minute test is excellent for maintaining your current heart rate zones and measuring progress from test to test througout the program or season.

Sample Day 4
Easy jog

Go easy for approximately 8 km.
Embarrassingly slow, best done alone.

Sample Day 5
Body weight/low weight glutes/core strength/flex.

Do each of these exercises following each other with no break between. Take a quick break (1 min) and repeat the cycle.
Lunges, 10 per leg.
Crunches, 10.
Abdominal twists, 10 per side. (w or w/o weights)
Kneeling hip extension with resistance band, 10 per leg.
Plank, 1 minute.
Superman, level 1, 10 per arm.

Sample Day 6
Easy jog

Go easy for approximately 14 km.
Embarrassingly slow, best done alone.

Sample Day 9
Yasso intervals, 5 x 800m at Marathon finish time in minutes:seconds

Easy 400m
Medium 400m
Hard 400m
Easy 800m

5 x 800m intervals.
500 m easy jog in between at same timing as the 800 m effort repeats.

1000m easy jog.

Take your expected Marathon finish time in Hours:minutes and translate that to your 800 meter timing in minutes:seconds.
If you estimate that you will run your marathon in 3 hours 30 minutes, you'll run your 800m repeats in 3 minutes 30 seconds => 4:22 min/km pace and a 7:00 min/km pace for the 500m recovery jog.

This set is a build set over a number of weeks.
Start with 5 x 800 m and build to 10 or 12.

Sample Day 10
Optional Easy jog.

Go easy for approximately 8 km.
Embarrassingly slow, best done alone.

This work-out is optional, and should only be done if you feel fresh! It's nothing bad with not doing this work-out, in fact consider resting equally important to your training as the running work-outs.

Sample Day 11
Easy jog, incl 2x 1km tempo

Go easy for the majority of the run, but include 2x 1km tempo run where you push the pace above your 10km race pace.

Tony Persson
Tony's Coaching

I offer online and local coaching.
I am a certified Ironman coach from the Ironman University and I hold an ACE Personal trainer certificate.
I coach multiple clients with a spread of abilities from finishing their first Ironman/IM70.3 to clients finishing at World Championship races.

Myself I have several Ironman and IM70.3 finishes, sub-10 Ironman races, Age-group wins at Olympic distance races, and duathlon races. I've raced at the IM70.3 World Champion and Long Duathlon World Championship.