Want to break 3:30 in the marathon? This plan, developed by the Runner's World experts, will help you do it. The program starts with 32 miles a week and a 10-mile long run, and peaks three weeks before the race with 52 miles and a long run that's 22 miles. Most weeks feature one day of rest and six days of running, and include workouts like intervals, Yasso 800s and tempo runs to help you get fitter and faster. Each daily workout includes detailed instructions on pace and distance, plus Runner's World's best tips on nutrition, gear, racing, and staying motivated and injury-free.
Welcome to the Break 3:30 Marathon Training Plan. This plan will prepare you to finish a marathon in 3:30 (or faster), with an average pace of 8:00 per mile. Each week will have 6 days of running and 1 day of rest, with a long run each weekend. Before you begin the plan, it's a good idea to make sure that 3:30 is a realistic marathon goal, based on your current level of fitness (and assuming that you're injury-free on race day, and weather conditions are favorable). Plug a recent race time into the training calculator at runnersworld.com/tools. (If you don't have a recent race time, go run a 5K.) The marathon equivalent should be between 3:30 and 3:32:35. If it's not, then it doesn't mean that 3:30 is out of reach, but another plan, like the Break 3:45 plan, might be a better fit for where you are now. This week you'll have 1 rest day, intervals, and 4 short runs. On Sunday, your first long, slow distance run (or LSD) will be 10 miles. Your training kicks off with an easy run of 3 miles at your easy pace (9:17/mile). Mondays will always be reserved for short easy runs so you can recover from the hard work you did the week before. You have the option of resting if you'd like. It's also okay to cross-train with a no-impact activity like stretching, yoga, or swimming. .
This pace should feel comfortable and conversational. If you are huffing and puffing, then you're running too hard, and it's best to back off to a pace that feels more sustainable. (Pace: 9:17/mile)
It's tempting to go longer, or run faster than the plan prescribes, but it's best to stick to the plan. The mileage and speed build gradually so that you can get fitter and faster without getting injured. The body needs time to adapt to the training and get stronger. The most common running injuries--like IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and achilles strains--stem from running too many miles or running too fast before the body is ready. Remember: The first goal of training is to get to the starting line feeling healthy and strong. 2 miles of easy running 6x400 at 1:42 pace with 200 easy run recovery 2 miles of easy running KEY: Wednesday will be interval day and here's how it works. You begin with an easy warmup run (in this instance, 2 miles). You then want to use a track or path that is measured with 1/8 mile (200 meters), 1/4 mile (400 meters), 1/2 mile (800 meters), 3/4 mile (1200 meters), and 1 mile (1600 meters). In today's workout, you will run 1/4 mile in 1 minute and 42 seconds and then run easily (jog) 1/8 mile. You will repeat that 1/4 to 1/8 sequence for a total of 6 intervals. Follow that with 2 miles of easy running as your cooldown and you are done.
At the end of each easy run, you should feel like you have the energy to run one more mile. (Pace: 9:17/mile)
Sunday is your first long run, and it's best to prepare for it. For any run of 75 minutes or more, you may need to refuel while you're on the road. You'll need 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour, and you can get that from a variety of energy gels, chews, or sports drinks. Test out different brands and flavors to figure out which products give you a boost without leaving you with an upset stomach. (Pace: 9:17/mile)
Your first long run is 10 miles. Long runs build endurance and help you get comfortable spending more time on your feet, as you'll have to do on race day. Each week, you'll add 1 to 2 miles to your long run. Maintain a pace that is between 9:00 and 9:30 per mile. You should expect to do these longer runs at the slower range of your easy pace. Naturally, as you run longer, you'll fatigue and your pace will slow. Don't worry too much about long-run pace. Just focus on covering the distance for the day feeling strong. To stay energized throughout the run, be sure to refuel at regular intervals, say every 45 minutes. Don't wait until you get hungry or fatigued. (Pace: 9:00-9:30/mile) .
This is week two of marathon training; after this week there will be 14 weeks until race day. Your schedule will be similar to last week's. You'll have 1 to 2 rest days, 3 to 4 short runs, and one interval workout. Your long run (LSD) on Sunday will relax to 8 miles. If you need to move your long run to another day, that's okay. Just be sure not to do two quality workouts--including long runs, hill runs, speedwork, or marathon-pace runs--back to back. It's best to follow any quality workout with a day of rest or easy running. Today you have the option of running 3 miles at an easy pace (9:17/mile) or resting. .