Hal Higdon: Marathon 3

Average Weekly Training Hours 05:03
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 05:03
Training Load By Week

Hal Higdon: Marathon 3 This program fits conveniently between Novice 2 and Intermediate 1, but its main feature (and appeal) is that it offers only three days of running and an extra dose of cross training for those of us who need a bit more rest between our running workouts. Marathon 3, thus, is for experienced runners, those who have been running a year or two or more and who have raced at distances between 5-K and the marathon. It is not an easy program. Expect to run more miles on those three days. You will also run three long runs of 20 miles in a program lasting 24 weeks. Each day I will send you an email telling you how to train, offering tips as well. For more information, visit my websire, halhigdon.com.

Sample Day 2
0:30:00
3mi
Custom

Run 3 easy miles today! Tuesdays in my Marathon 3 program feature a day of easy running, similar to the Sorta-Long runs in my other marathon programs. You begin this week with 3 miles and peak in Weeks 17, 19 and 21 with 10 miles. Run at a comfortable pace, slow enough so that you can hold a conversation with a training partner without getting too out of breath. Don’t force the pace on these Tuesday workouts under the mistaken belief that this will make you a better runner. It may not. You dramatically increase your risk of injury when you overtrain.

Sample Day 3
0:30:00

Bike for half an hour! In this Marathon 3 program, I prescribe bicycle riding for Wednesdays, because most runners enjoy getting out on their bikes. But you could just as easily pick another aerobic discipline: walking, swimming, cross-country skiing. If you enjoy strength training, this might be a good day to pump some iron. If you want a fourth day of running, do it today. Because of the variability of various exercises, I prescribe this workout in minutes, not miles. Note that there is a gradual increase in time as the program continues: 30 minutes increasing to 60 minutes.

Sample Day 4
0:30:00
3mi

Run 3 miles at your marathon pace! Novice 3 features three days of running a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Thursday is the hard workout of the week, because you run somewhat faster. On Thursdays, you alternate pace runs, tempo runs and regular runs. A pace run is one where you run at your marathon pace. I will tell you how to do tempo runs next week, but for today run 3 miles at your goal pace for the marathon. Hopefully that should be easy. If not, you may have picked too ambitious a goal pace.

Sample Day 6
1:00:00
6mi

Run 6 miles today at an easy pace. Saturdays in this Novice 3 program are dedicated to long runs. If you’re training for a marathon, long runs are obviously the most important workout of the week. The progression begins with a 6-mile workout today and increases roughly 1 mile a week to peak at 20 miles on Weeks 17, 19 and 21. Long runs should be conducted at a pace slower than you plan to run in a marathon. Running too long and too fast and too often will simply wear you out and prevent you from achieving your goals.

Sample Day 7
1:00:00
Custom

Cross Train today for 60 minutes! If you enjoy biking on Wednesdays, you may want to climb back on your bike on Sundays too. Nothing wrong with that. But consider other aerobic exercises: walking, swimming, cross-country skiing (in season). Given the variety of different exercises, the prescription is in time, not distance. You cross-train an hour in Week 1 and progress to 90 minutes for Weeks 19 and 21. If you want to flipflop workouts (cross-training on Saturdays and running on Sundays), that is okay too.

Sample Day 9
0:40:00
4mi
Custom

Run 4 miles at an easy pace. In this second week of the Marathon 3 program, the distance of the Tuesday sorta-long run nudges upwards from 3 to 4 miles. You should be able to cruise through this workout, but if you are looking to add to your mileage totals for the program and for the year, be warned that I will have you up to a 10-miler on Tuesday of Week 17, the same week during which you will run the first of your three 20-milers. Have patience!

Sample Day 10
0:30:00
Custom

Bike for a half hour. Same exercise, same time prescription as last week. By the time I climb into my padded shorts and billboard shirt with three pockets in the rear and have gotten my bike out from the shed and set my GPS watch out on the pavement to connect with three satellites, I want to ride more than a half hour. And so may you. If so, keep on rolling, but do not turn this into a punishing anaerobic bash. Keep the bike in cruise control.

Hal Higdon
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Hal Higdon Communiations

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner's World, that magazine's longest lasting writer, Hal's having contributed an article to RW's second issue in 1966. He also is the author of more than three dozen books, including Marathon: The Utimate Training Guide and the recently published Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training and Run Fast (3rd edition).