RW 3-Day Training Plan for Busy Runners (16 weeks)

Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week

If you want to go 26.2 miles but have a schedule that's already jam-packed, this plan is for you. This program is geared for a runner with at least three years of experience, who regularly logs 35 to 40 miles per week and has completed other marathons and shorter races. This plan will help you develop the strength and endurance to run the marathon, and give you the flexibility you need to fit training into your busy life. Each week features three quality workouts including Yasso 800s, marathon-pace runs, and long runs. Any other easy runs or cross-training you do on the other days are extra credit. You can move around all the workouts, as long as you don't do hard workouts, like long runs and speed work, back to back.

Sample Day 2
4mi
0-4 Miles Easy

Take it at an easy, conversational pace, 1 to 2 minutes slower than your 5K pace. Alternately, you can cross-train on a bike or use an elliptical trainer, or just rest today.

Sample Day 3
6mi
6 Miles Hills

Run on the hilliest route you can find. The 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.

Sample Day 5
4mi
Marathon Pace Run

1-mile warmup 2 miles at marathon goal pace 1-mile cooldown After your warmup, ramp up to the pace you hope to hit in the race. Just focus on holding that pace for 2 miles, then cool down.

Sample Day 6
4mi
0-4 Miles Easy

Low-carb diets have become popular in recent years, but for runners, they're not the best approach. Carbs are the muscles' primary source of fuel, and if you cut back too much, you won't have the energy to get through workouts.

Sample Day 7
7mi
7 Miles LSD

Hook up with a buddy or a running club for long runs--you'll be surprised how easily the miles roll by when you're in good company.

Sample Day 9
4mi
4 Miles Easy

Don't wait until you have achy joints or feet to replace your shoes. Since it's easy to lose track of how long you've had a particular pair, write down the date that you started wearing them in your log, or even write it directly on the shoe.

Sample Day 10
6mi
6 Miles Hills

Many runners avoid the hills, but Greg Meyer, winner of the 1982 Chicago Marathon and 1983 Boston Marathon, heads straight for them when his spirits need a boost. He believes the difficulty of the workout brings out the best in him. 'You can't do hills halfhearted,' he says.