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24 Week Advanced Marathon Plan


Coach Pittman

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24 Weeks

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Plan Description

This plan is designed for the advanced and more experienced athlete who has run at least a sustained 30-50+ miles per week. This plan is ideal for anyone looking to run around 3 hours in the marathon or get a BQ. This plan will get up to around 65 miles a week.

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.

Base Phase: Week 1-6
Strength Phase: Weeks 7-12
- VO2Max Focus: Weeks 7-9
- Tempo Focus: Weeks 10-12
Race Specific Phase: Weeks 13-23
Taper Phase: Weeks 22-23
Race Week: Week 24

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. Aerobic development is the single most important part of this plan and running a successful and fast marathon.

Ensure that before every workout, you get a proper warm up with dynamic exercises. Here is a sample dynamic warm-up:

10 squats
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.

Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Run x6
41mi 22mi
Day Off x1
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
41mi 22mi
Day Off
—— ——

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • GPS

All supported devices

Coach Pittman

Fit 2 Endure

USA Triathlon Coach and Running coach

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