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Marathon Training Program


David Yuill

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20 Weeks

Plan Description

This 4.2km (Marathon) plan is suited for intermediate level runners (running on average 4-6 times per week and aiming for a sub 3hr to sub 5hr finishing time). The training composes 20 weeks of building and recovery and as four specific training phases built in targeting different adaptions that are required for the marathon.

As a general guideline it works on 5 to 6 days training per week. The sessions are mostly time based, hence faster athletes will do more mileage than slower athletes. Sessions are strucutred to use a combination of pace (% of VO2Max pace) and heart rate. It is strongly advised to utilise a heart rate monitor to obtain the maximum benefit from this training plan.
The average weekly km's ranges from 55-70km which equated to 6h15m training per week.

VERY IMPORTANT: De-activating autolap on your watch will also make the sessions easier to administor and follow. The reason for this is, most sessions are programmed that your watch (provided synced correctly with TrainingPeaks and right model) will automatically lap for you. This makes navigating through the session far easier.

If you are carrying an injury then I strongly advise you recover first before embarking on this program. Should you develop a niggle during the program, then I advise that you back off the High Intensity Interval (HIIT) sessions and replace them with MAHR/Low Intensity sessions. Once your niggle subsides, then you can continue with the HIIT session. Should you develop an injury, then I advise that you stop the program and seek the required medical advise before continuing on the program.

Test Sessions:
Week one includes three test sessions, namely:
1. VO2Max Pace Test: This session will determine your VO2Max pace. Majority of the training sessions are run at a certain % of VO2Max. For example, if your VO2Max pace is calculated at 5m30s/km, then 90% would equate to 6m07s/km.
2. MAF Test: This test is used to determine your running speed below your aerobic threshold. It is based on calculating your maximum aerobic heart rate (MAHR). See below terminology on how to calculate this.
3. Lactate Threshold Test (LTHR): This test is used to determine your lactate threshold heart rate and pace.
4. Economy Test: This test is used to determine your perceived effort at target marathon pace

1. Maximum Aerobic Heart Rate (MAHR) is calculated by subtracting your age from 180. For example if you are 40yrs old then your MAHR is 140bpm. Sessions run when MAHR is prescribed entails that you run at whatever pace you can keeping your heart rate BELOW your MAHR. Should your heart rate exceed this then you walk until it comes back below your MAHR before you continue to run again. For more information on this I strongly advise to you to read up further by clicking on the link If you don't have a heart rate monitor, then these can be run at within the range of 50-65% of VO2Max Pace

It is important to stay disciplined on your Low Intensity Runs (ie: keeping below MAHR or below 65% of VO2Max pace), as these allow your body to recover and prepare for the Higher Inensity Session the next day or later in the week. Running these Low Intensity sessions too hard, increases risk of injury and not obtaining the desired adaptations from the High Intensity Work. This will compromise your chances of obtaining your desired goals on race day.

Hope you enjoy ;-)

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Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Run x5
6:01 hrs 3:20 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
6:01 hrs 3:20 hrs

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • GPS

All supported devices

David Yuill

Regenerate Health and Fitness

Regenerate is a health & fitness coaching business, we work with clients across a number of areas, including nutrition, weight loss, sleep optimisation & sports performance. Incorporating health related aspects into fitness performance is imperative for longterm enjoyment, consistency & improvement.

Our services range from a highly individualised & integrative health & fitness program, through to off-the-shelf training programs catering for all distances from track through to ultra marathons.

  • This plan includes a Free Basic TrainingPeaks Account.
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  • Track your weight, sleep, hours, fatigue and stress while you train.
  • Syncs daily with other popular apps like Garmin and MyFitnessPal.

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This plan is protected by our Refund Policy and may, with the author's approval, be exchanged for a plan of equal value from the same author.

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