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2 MILE-3200 METERS
Marathon Specific VO2 Max and Speed Workouts
By Rick Morris
At first glance speed training and marathon training don’t seem to go hand in hand. Your marathon pace is much slower than your vVO2 max pace. Marathon pace is slower than your lactate turn point or lactate threshold pace. You marathon pace is even on the very low end of your tempo run paces. So it may appear that VO2 max or speed training is a waste of time when you’re trying to improve your marathon performance. It may appear that way, but in this case appearances are deceiving. VO2 max and speed training are a very important part of marathon training. That is especially true if you are racing your marathon or are attempting to run a new marathon PR.
Speed training and VO2 max runs will develop your neuromuscular conditioning, improve your running economy and increase your running speed. Those are all necessary attributes for improving your marathon performance. When you increase your vVO2 max through speed training, your marathon race pace will be at a lower fractional percentage of your VO2 max. So you are able to run your marathon at a faster pace while still conserving those valuable carbohydrate stores. You will be able to avoid or delay the debilitating effects of hitting the marathon wall. There is a nearly unlimited number of ways to include VO2 max and speed training in your marathon training program. Here are some basic VO2 max/speed workouts are specifically designed for the marathon.
8 x 1200 Meter Repeats
Here is a classic track workout that I have adapted to make it a more specific marathon VO2 max speed workout.
Description: Run 8 x 1200 meter repeats alternating between 800 meters at goal marathon pace and 400 meters at mile pace within each repeat. Take no recovery between the components of the repeat.
Pace: Alternating between 800 meters at marathon pace and 400 meters at mile pace.
Recovery: No recovery within each repeat. Recover with 3 minutes of passive rest between each repeat.
2 x 400/800/2400/800/400 Meter Compound Sets
This is a marathon specific compound set that uses runs of increasing pace followed by runs of increasing pace. This type of compound set is sometimes called a “pyramid” workout.
Description: Run 400 meters at mile pace, 800 meters at 5K pace and 2400 meters at goal marathon pace. Then begin increasing pace with 800 meters at 5K pace and 400 meters at mile pace. Take no recovery between the components of the compound set. Repeat 1 more time for a total of 2 compound sets.
Pace: 300 meters at mile pace, 600 meters at vVO2 max pace and 1600 meters at 10K pace. If you don’t know your vVO2 max pace you can estimate it using your 3K pace or running about 10 seconds per mile faster than your 5K pace.
Recovery: No recovery within each compound set. Recover between each compound set with 3 minutes of passive rest.
Goal Pace Variety Run
This one is a combination of a medium distance goal pace road run and a VO2 max/speed track workout.
Description: Begin with 3 miles at goal marathon pace on the road. Then hit the track for 4 x 400 meter repeats at mile pace. Recover between each 400 meter repeat with 100 meters of easy jogging. Now head back out on the road for 3 miles at goal marathon pace. Next go back to the track for 8 x 200 meters at 800 meter pace. Recover between each 200 meter repeat with 100 meters of easy jogging. Now it’s back out on the road for 3 more miles at goal marathon pace. Finish this workout with 4 x 800 meter repeats at 5K pace. Recover between each 800 meter repeat with 200 meters of easy jogging.
Pace: Do the 3 mile road runs at goal marathon pace, the 400 meter repeats at mile pace, the 200 meter repeats at 800 meter pace and the 800 meter repeats at 5K pace.
Recovery: Recover between each 400 and 200 meter repeat with 100 meters of easy jogging. Recover between each 800 meter repeat with 200 meters of easy jogging. No recovery other than between the track repeats.
Goal Pace Long Run with Surges
Here is a classic goal pace long run with a twist.
Description: Run between 8 and 14 miles alternating between 6 minutes at goal marathon pace and 1 minute at 5K pace.
Pace: Alternating between 6 minutes at goal marathon pace and 1 minute at 5K pace.
6 to 10 x 1000 Meter vVO2 Max Blasters Lactate Builders
Running at your vVO2 max pace has been scientifically proven to be on the most efficient ways to improve your vVO2 max pace. The classic vVO2 max workout has become 5 x 3 minutes at vVO2 max pace. This workout is adapted from that vVO2 max classic and made more specific to the marathon.
Description: Run 6 to 10 x 1000 meter repeats at your vVO2 max pace or about 10 seconds per mile faster than 5K race pace. Begin with 10 repetitions for your first attempt and gradually build up to 10 reps.
Pace: vVO2 max pace or about 10 seconds per mile faster than 5K race pace.
Recovery: Recover between each 1000 meter repeat with 400 meters at goal marathon pace.
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