Another Mother Runner MARATHON: FINISH IT

Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week

BEST FOR: Injury-free runners with four-plus relatively clear months who are ready to check a 26.2-mile race off their bucket lists.

PHYSICAL PRE-REQS: Before stepping up to this plan, mother runners should have logged at least 9 to 12 months of week-in, week-out running, along with some experience stepping up to a race starting line. You should be able to run 8 miles comfortably and have no current shin splints, IT band issues, or other maladies.

PLAN OVERVIEW: We’re not gonna lie: Training for a marathon is a big deal, but this plan makes the path to it seem manageable. (Sort of like how bagged salads make including a veggie at dinner do-able.) Training to cover 26.2 miles requires commitment, especially for the weekly long runs. On this plan, you’ll do seven runs that are 15 or more miles long, which hone your mental toughness as surely as your calf muscles. This 20-week plan provides ample time to build, adapt, and be prepped to complete the mother of all races.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Recognizing that women, especially mother runners, have extra-full lives, we built a "bail if needed" day into each week. In an ideal world, you'll be so stoked from seeing your near-daily improvement you won't miss many workouts, but in the real world, we know sometimes something has to give. The "bail" day is the workout you should nix if you need to. Conversely, each week there's a "Gotta get it done" workout: This is the workout that's most vital to getting you to race day raring to go.

Sample Day 1
3mi
Easy 3 miles + 4 strides

A 3-mile cruise-it run followed by four short bursts of speed.

Sample Day 2
3mi
Easy 3 miles

A 3-mile cruise-it run. Run at a conversational pace—even if you're running solo.

Sample Day 4
4.5mi
1-2 mile WU; Tempo: 1.5 miles; 1-2mile CD

Run at an easy pace for a mile or two, crank out a fast mile and a half, then head home at a comfortable pace.

Sample Day 6
8mi
LR: 8 miles

Run 8 miles at a cool, calm collected pace.

Sample Day 8
3mi
Easy 3 miles

A 3-mile cruise-it run. Run at a conversational pace—even if you're running solo.

Sample Day 9
4mi
4 miles, mid 2 at RP

Run 4 miles with the middle 2 miles at the speed you're aiming to maintain in the big 26.2.

Sample Day 11
6mi
Negative split: 6 miles (3,3)

Run 6 miles total, with the second 3 miles faster than the first 3.