This plan uses the principles from Joe Friel's books to help your finish your first marathon. It combines running with walking and biking to build endurance to help you go 26.2 miles on race day. There are tips to improve your race preparation scattered throughout the plan.
This is an easy run-walk workout today. Start by walking briskly for a couple of minutes before breaking into a slow run. Walk whenever you feel like it.
Run-walk for 30 minutes just as you did on Tuesday. No need to push yourself to go faster or farther today. We'll do that on Saturday.
This is your longest run of the week. If Saturday doesn't work for you it's OK to swap the Saturday and Sunday workouts although it is not quite as good that way as you legs won't be as fresh. But life isn't always on our side, is it? Run for 10 minutes easily and then walk for 1 minute briskly throughout the workout. Drink 1-2 mouthfuls of the same sports drink that will be at the aid stations in the marathon (go to their website to find out what that will be). Start the first run conservatively. In other words, hold back a little at the start. It will feel very easy at first. But if you start too fast it will come back to haunt you in the last part of this run.
Ride at an easy effort on a flat course, stationary bike or indoor trainer. Low effort--light on pedals. Comfortably high rpm. Avoid pushing a hard gear slowly with a lot of effort. It is best to 'spin.' Riding a bike will also boost your aerobic/cardio fitness but without placing undue stress on your legs after a long run.
This is a mini-long day. Alternate running and walking. Run 10 minutes slow and easy and then walk 1 minute briskly. This is best on a mostly flat course or a treadmill. Use the same sports drink that is used in the race. You may buy a waterbottle 'holster' at a running store to make this easier to carry.
Run slow and easy on a flat course or treadmill today for 30 minutes. Or ride your bike for 30 minutes easy on a flat course on stationary bike.
This is a day for building run-specific strength. Run on a rolling to hilly course or a treadmill on which you can alter the grades to simulate a rolling/hilly course. Run up the hills but walk otherwise whenever you feel like it. The uphills are the most important parts of this run today so get all you can out of them. Use the same sports drink that is used in the race.