Marathon Machine/20 Weeks [CONSERVATIVE]

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Marathon Machine/20 Weeks [CONSERVATIVE]


Tony Rich

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20 Weeks

Typical Week

4 Run, 1 Other, 1 Day Off, 1 Strength, 1 Rowing

Longest Workout

21 miles

Plan Specs

running marathon beginner hr based pace based tss based strength base period

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Includes Structured Workouts

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This a conservative Marathon Machine program for novice/beginner and developing marathon runners preparing for a marathon. Incorporates strength building workouts and hill structured workouts and cross training. The 20 week program incorporates 4 weeks of Base, 8 weeks of Build, and 5 weeks of peak volume that leads into 3 weeks of tapering. Largest peak volume week tops at 1.5x marathon distance (~40 Miles). Includes recovery weeks and easy days to rest and harvest gains. There is field testing every six weeks to assess advances. Comes with a companion 70+ page eBook and Running Performance Console spreadsheet based calculators with dashboard.


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 05:18
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 05:18
Average Weekly Breakdown

Tony Rich

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Sample Day 1

Base | Threshold

Yasso 800s
These are 800 meter repeats, 10 times. Track or treadmill. Hold Best Average pace

The duration is ultimately defined by ability. May take an hour with recoveries.

Recoveries can be active recoveries and cool down (Fast walking or jogging slowly)

Sample Day 3

Base | Aerobic

Base Mileage. 75 Minute Run. Exact finishing distance will be intensity defined.

Sample Day 10

Base | Aerobic

Base Mileage. 85 Minute Run. Exact finishing distance will be intensity defined.

Sample Day 18

Running Drills

Drills: Try these drills in your spare time. They can be done indoors. They'll help re-engineer some of your running biomechanics if they require work Side-to-Side Pendulum Timber Timber Drill in Pose Pony Front Lunge

Sample Day 21

Base | Aerobic

1 Hour Run. Aerobic. Warm up for about 10 minutes. Active set for about 45, cool down for 5. Final distance is intensity defined.

Sample Day 86

Peak | Aerobic

7 mile run (sub-threshold) RPE of 13-14, or Heart Rate Zone 4.

Can be split in half and done as a broken effort (etc. half in the a.m. and half in the p.m.)

Sample Day 130

Peak | XTrain

Cross Training: Cross training is an important part of marathon training.

Here are a list of cross training activities that will help you burn calories, work your aerobic system and minimize the impact stress on your lower body.

Choose a couple of them for your hour of cross training. These can typically be found at most gyms or athletic facilities.


Arc Trainer

Rowing Machine/Ergometer

Pool Running

Functional Strength

There are many ways to get strength into your program. Swimming and cycling are examples of ways you can strengthen your legs and core group with minimal impact on your lower body. Here are some examples of workouts that will help increase your functional strength for running.


Pull interval repetitions with a pull buoy and paddles. Completed as sprints.

Hard kicks with fins for short intervals

Reverse dolphin/360 dolphin kicks

Flip turns increase core strength

Butterfly enhances upper body strength. Breastroke strengthens hip flexors


Hard and short interfals at high resistance help strengthen quadriceps.

Hard gear climbing on hills.

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