If you're a veteran marathoner and want to fulfill your PR potential, train with Runner's World, the worldwide authority on training and racing for more than four decades. This training plan is geared for a runner with at least three years of experience, who regularly logs 35 to 40 miles per week and has comfortably completed other marathons and shorter races. Each week features one day of rest and six days of running. That includes hill work, mile repeats, and Yasso 800s, plus race-pace runs and tune-ups to prep you for race day.
Welcome to week one of the Runner's World Marathon Plan for Advanced Runners. Each Monday, you'll get a note describing your training for the week ahead. And every day, you'll receive an email reminding you about the workout for the day. This week includes four easy runs, one day on hills, and one day of rest. On Sunday, your first long run will be 10 miles. You can incorporate cross-training into the program if you'd like. On easy days, cross-training should involve sustained aerobic effort with an activity such as cycling or using an elliptical trainer for the same amount of time you'd spend on the day's mileage.
Take your easy runs at a comfortable, conversational pace, about one to two minutes slower than your 5K pace. These days are meant to strengthen muscles, build endurance, and burn fat, but the key is to keep the effort conservative so you're not worn out for the hard workouts ahead. Don't go so hard that you're sore tomorrow.
Run six miles on the hilliest route you can find. Hills build leg and lung power and prepare you for speedwork later in training. You won't feel fast going up hills, but you'll feel strong.
If you're an early morning runner, be sure to prep for your run the night before. Set your automatic coffeemaker to brew before you wake. Turn off the computer and TV at least 30 minutes before you hit the sack. And be sure to eat well: Have slow-digesting carbs such as broccoli, beans, and lentils. If you skip dinner or eat fast-digesting carbs like rice, bread, or sugary desserts, your glycogen levels will be depleted by morning, making it even harder to muster the energy to get out of bed.
If you want to add miles, do it on an easy day. Don't extend any run by more than one or two miles, or add miles on Saturday (the day before your long run).
You may feel strong enough to go farther or faster than 10 easy miles, but it's best to get in the habit of taking your long runs slow and steady. When you get up to the monster mileage later in training, with 18- and 20-milers, you'll be glad you did!
This is week two of training. After this week, race day will be 14 weeks away. You'll have two easy runs, one hilly run, one day of rest, and a long run of 12 miles. You'll also have your first marathon-pace run. Throughout the program, these goal-pace workouts will help you dial into the pace you hope to hit in the race. Keep in mind that this is not a license to race, but an opportunity to practice the specific pace you'd like to sustain on race day.