This plan is designed for the intermediate athlete who has run at least a sustained 20+ miles per week. This plan is ideal for anyone looking to run between 3 to 4 hours in the marathon.
You will find that each workout is prescribed an RPE. This is Rate of Perceived Exertion and describes what effort you should be running at to get the desired physiological adaption. It's very important that you follow this RPE scale so that you don't risk getting injured. Run your easy days easy and your hard days hard.
RPE 1 - Recovery effort. Walking, jogging very easy, and able to carry a conversation comfortably.
RPE 2-3 - Aerobic. Able to carry a conversation and feel like you can sustain this effort for hours.
RPE 4-6 - Tempo. Moderate activity that you feel like you can hold for hours, but breathing is harder.
RPE 7-8 - Anaerobic. Uncomfortable, short of breath, hard to complete sentence.
RPE 9 - VO2Max/Speed. Can barely speak and can only sustain for around 3 minutes.
RPE 10 - Power. Unable to speak, max effort, unsustainable for even short a period of time.
If you use heart rate zones and have been tested for your lactate threshold, use the following conversion:
RPE 1 = Zone 1
RPE 2-3 = Zone 2
RPE 4-6 = Zone 3
RPE 7-8 = Zone 4
RPE 9-10 = Zone 5
Your training program is broken down and periodized into phases based on the law of specificity. Meaning as the workouts progress throughout the weeks, they will become more and more specific to your race demands.
Preparatory Phase: Week 1
Strength Phase: Weeks 2-8
- VO2Max Phase: Weeks 2-4
- Tempo Phase: Weeks 5-8
Race Specific Phase: Weeks 9-15
Taper Phase: Weeks 16-17
Race Week: Week 18
Throughout each phase there will be a heavy and dominate load of aerobic endurance. That's because a marathon is an aerobic event and requires aerobic fitness.
If your race has a lot of hills, make sure you include courses that have hills in them in weeks 9-15 of your plan.
Ensure that before every workout, you get a proper warm up with dynamic exercises. Here is a sample dynamic warm-up:
10 alternating lunges
10 calf raises
10 leg swings
10 high knees
10 butt kicks
This is critical to perform before higher intensity workouts such as VO2Max, but it's important to do before every run.