MARATHON TRAINING PLAN // BEGINNER, INTERMEDIATE to ADVANCED
This plan is designed for the intermediate to advanced age group athlete taking on the marathon distance with 18 weeks training plan. The primary goal of this training plan is to prepare you for your marathon with a finish time goal/pace in mind.
Before starting the plan, you must be relatively fit, injury free and with no health concerns. Consult with your doctor before starting any training plan.
By relatively fit, I mean being able to:
- run 10 miles continuously
- weekly mileage around 12 to 15 miles a week before starting the plan
A typical week includes:
- 5 runs (build to 22 miles)
- Easy work = Z1/Z2 HR
- Threshold interval work = Z6
- Race Pace effort work = Z4/Z5
- Short strength/core sessions
Starting 12 weeks before your race, this plan progresses through 3 build periods with recovery periods between prior to race specific training and tapering. Friday is off day.
This plan utilizes heart rate zones and reported perceived effort. Use of heart rate monitors is not required, but suggested. If distance is called out, perform workout to that distance. If time intervals are called out, perform workout to that time. Times and distances are estimated for this plan to give a general idea of hours per week. Where time is called out, distances not assumed so totals for plan may reflect workouts with 0 miles. Where distance is called out, time is assumed. DO NOT feel obligated to meet time and distance. Do what's called out in the comments. If the workout does not have a warm up listed, it is implied that there should be a 5 minute warm up jog/spin with dynamic stretching before getting into the main sets.
- EASY RUN // ZONE 1/2 // Low intensity, conversational pace.
- GOAL RACE PACE (GRP) // ZONE 3/4 // The pace you are aiming to sustain for your race
- SIMULATION RACE RUN (MS): First half segment of run is performed at 60 sec/mile slower than GRP or easy pace, second half segment is performed at Goal Race Pace.
- LONG RUNS // ZONE 1/2 // These runs are performed at 60-70 seconds slower per mile than GRP. Keep the pace easy and aerobic.
- THRESHOLD INTERVALS // ZONE 5/6 // These repeats (essentially 1M-2KM in distance) should be performed at approximately 10km race pace. The recovery interval should consist of walking or easy running before performing the next repeat. A repeat is the amount of time that is performed at threshold pace.
- STRIDES // Gentle sprints. Smooth, relaxed and easy running accelerations lasting about 10-15 seconds or 60-80 yards/meters. Reach a speed of about 80% of max. Rest about 1-2 minutes between strides
- WARM UP // RUN // 5 to 10 min easy pace + 5 min dynamic stretches
- COOL DOWN // 5 to 10 min easy pace
My philosophy is very straightforward. Endurance sports should complement your life, not make it difficult. These plans are boiled down to trim the fat into workouts that give you the best bang for your buck. You have to be diligent about getting at least 80% of the workouts per week done and at minimum the long work, or you may be suffering come race day. The non-negotiables in training are run workouts, proper nutrition, functional strength + flexibility and sleep. Without those at minimum, you will either get burnt out, chronic fatigue, injured or just plain quit. I don't want any of those for my athletes.
If you have any questions or would like one-on-one coaching or consultation on the plan, please head over to www.SetThePaceTriathlon.com and fill out the contact form, email or message me.
I am a USAT Level 1 Certified and IRONMAN U certified with 6 years coaching experience and 14 years racing experience.