Your First Marathon - 3 to 5 hrs goal - 21 wks - 3-10 hrs/wk

Average Weekly Training Hours 06:40
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 06:40
Training Load By Week

This 21-week plan is specifically designed for runners who are about to take on the marathon, with a goal time in the 3 to 5 hour range.

This plan entails training 6 days a week, at 3-10 hours per week. The plan is great for athletes with a HR monitor, but also those without.

The plan follows a Linear Periodization model which will stress athletes, with recovery periods to allow for proper recovery and adaptation. If athletes follow the workouts as listed and suggested, they will see the benefit of performing at your big race! If athletes modify the plan, and do not follow the guidelines of the daily workouts, the results may vary.

This plan also includes cross training, to help keep athletes healthy and performing well throughout the entire 21 weeks.

Sample Day 2
0:20:00

On soft surface. Easy jog only. Check cadence several times (21 plus right foot strikes in 15 seconds).

Sample Day 3
0:30:00

Strides. Warm up . On grass run 6-8x30 left-foot steps. Goal = 19-20 seconds. On the recoveries skip 60 times (30 skips each leg alternating). Include walking in recoveries. Perfect form! Easy jog cool down.

Sample Day 4
0:15:00

Your choice of mode: hike, XC ski, snowshoe, row, aerobics class, stair climb, etc. Anything except your normal sport discipline(s). Can combine 2 or more modes into one workout. Easy to moderately hard effort (RPE 1-6 on 10 scale). Avoid anaerobic effort.

Sample Day 5
0:30:00

For this run, start off easy, then work to a quick pace, right on the edge of comfort/discomfort. Push that envelope, trying to be quicker, without necessarily being more uncomfortable. Focus on your rhythm, cadence, forward lean, soft footstrike, relaxation, eyes and head position, etc.

Sample Day 6
0:19:48

For this run, start off easy, then work to a quick pace, right on the edge of comfort/discomfort. Push that envelope, trying to be quicker, without necessarily being more uncomfortable. Focus on your rhythm, cadence, forward lean, soft footstrike, relaxation, eyes and head position, etc.

Sample Day 7
0:30:00

For this run, start off easy, then work to a quick pace, right on the edge of comfort/discomfort. Push that envelope, trying to be quicker, without necessarily being more uncomfortable. Focus on your rhythm, cadence, forward lean, soft footstrike, relaxation, eyes and head position, etc.

Sample Day 9
0:30:00

For this run, start off easy, then work to a quick pace, right on the edge of comfort/discomfort. Push that envelope, trying to be quicker, without necessarily being more uncomfortable. Focus on your rhythm, cadence, forward lean, soft footstrike, relaxation, eyes and head position, etc.

Jim Vance
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TrainingBible Coaching / SuperFly Coaching

Jim Vance coaches Olympians, Kona qualifiers, All-Americans, National Champions and elite-minded athletes, who are serious about their goals and working hard toward them. He has coached these athletes in triathlon, swimming, running and cycling. He offers training plans on TrainingPeaks for athletes, as well as individual one-on-one coaching programs starting at $500/month.

Jim's Books:

  • Triathlon 2.0 - Data Driven Performance Training
  • Run With Power
  • Triathlon Science