MARATHON TRAINING PROGRAM FOR ADVANCED COMPETITORS – 20 WEEK CYCLE

 

The marathon presents, perhaps, the greatest challenge of any running event. Racing a marathon presents the unique challenge of maintaining a pace that will allow you to finish in your best possible time, but still maintain the energy stores needed to avoid crashing in the last miles of the race.

 

20 Week training cycle

 

This is a 20-week program that is designed to prepare an advanced competitor to peak for a marathon. This program assumes that you are currently able to run 6 miles without stopping and have a base of at least 15 miles per week. If you are in a recovery cycle or are coming off of an injury and do not have this base built, slowly build up to the required level before beginning this program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An advanced competitor is an athlete that has been racing for at least two seasons and has been following a structured training program for at least two seasons. At this level, the athlete should have built up a good strength base and will be able to move on to advanced and intense strength training and explosive strength training. The advanced level does not necessarily relate to finished time or place. The advanced level is more of a state of mind and a measure of dedication to running and training.

 

This program is general in nature. Feel free to make adjustments in order to accommodate scheduling conflicts and individual goals and rate of improvement.

 

The Workouts

 

This program contains rest days, easy runs, long runs, speed training workouts, lactate threshold workouts, form drills and strength training. This training program is designed to build speed, improve speed endurance and increase both general and functional strength.

 

Easy Runs

 

Easy runs should be run at a pace that feels fairly comfortable. You should be breathing hard, but should be able to carry on a conversation. If you are breathing so hard that you cannot talk, you are running too hard. If you can sing, you are running too easily.

 

Rest

 

Rest is a very important part of any training program. Without proper rest, your muscles and connective tissues will not have an opportunity to recover and strengthen properly. On the days calling for complete rest, do no strenuous activity. On the days calling for rest or cross training, you can rest totally or do some cross training. Cross training can be any activity other than running. You could go for a walk, swim, bicycle or do nothing. It is up to you.

 

Long Runs

 

The long runs used in this training program are run at two different paces. The first portion of the workout is run at an easy pace. The last portion is run at goal race pace. This will train you to run at goal pace when fatigued.

 

Speed Training

 

Speed training is short to medium length repeats that are run at paces that range from race pace to an all out effort. The goal of this type of workout is to improve overall speed and the ability to maintain a quality pace for long distances.

 

Lactate Threshold Workouts

 

Lactic acid is a natural by-product of energy production. Normally, excess lactic acid is converted to energy. When the intensity of your running reaches a certain point, more lactic acid is produced than your body can process. This causes a decrease in the efficiency of your muscles. The point at which lactic acid begins to accumulate in your muscles is your lactate threshold. The goal of these workouts is to raise your lactate threshold level.

 

Strength Training

 

A proper strength-training program will improve your speed, power, and running economy and help you avoid injury. Strength training should be performed two or three times per week.

 

Warm Up and Cool Down

 

A proper warm up and cool down is important for both performance and safety

 

Week 1

 

Monday – Rest

 

Tuesday – 45-minute fartlek run. Fartlek is a Swedish word for speed play. This is a non-structured workout in which you run at a steady pace and add in short surges of faster running. For this workout, alternate running for 5 minutes at a moderate pace with 1 minute at 5K pace.

 

Wednesday – Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday – Standard warm up. Run 5 x 800 meter repeats at 5 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace. Jog for 400 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Friday – Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday – Run 4 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday – Standard warm up. Run 7 miles at an easy pace.

 

 

 

Week 2

 

Monday – Rest

 

Tuesday – Standard warm up. Run 4 x 1600 meter repeats at 10K pace. Jog easy for 800 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Wednesday – Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday – Standard warm up. Run 6 x 800 meter repeats at 5 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace. Run 8 x 400 meter repeats at 15 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace. Jog for 400 meters between repeats. Jog for 800 meters between the two sets. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Friday – Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday – Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday – Standard warm up. Run 45 minutes at 15 seconds per mile slower than 10K pace.

 

 

 

Week 3

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up, run 5 x 1600 meter repeats at 10K pace or 15 seconds per mile slower than your 5K pace. Jog 800 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 8 x 800 meter repeats at 5 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace. Jog for 400 meters between repeats. Run 8 x 400 meter repeats at 15 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace. Jog for 200 meters between repeats. Jog for 800 meters between the 2 sets. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Friday - Run 7 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 9 miles at an easy pace.

 

 

 

Week 4

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 1 mile at an easy pace, 6 miles at goal marathon race pace and 1 more mile at an easy pace, with no rest between distances.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 10 x hill repeats. Find a hill that is fairly steep and at least 100 meters in length. Run up the hill at what feels like 5K pace. Your actual pace will be slower due to the incline. Run 20 meters past the top of the hill. Jog back down to recover and repeat 12 times.

 

Friday - Run 7 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 60 minutes at a pace that is about 15 seconds per mile slower than your 10K pace. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

 

 

Week 5

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up, run 6 x 1600 meter repeats at 10K pace or 15 seconds per mile slower than 5K pace. Jog for 800 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging. If you are having trouble maintaining your pace, increase the distance of your recovery jogs.

 

Wednesday - Rest. You will take additional rest days every 5 weeks. This will give your muscles and connective tissues an opportunity to recover from the stresses of hard training.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 5 x 2 minute repeats at 20 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace. Jog for 2 minutes between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of easy jogging.

 

Friday - Rest.

 

Saturday - Run 4 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 11 miles at an easy pace.

 

 

 

Week 6

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 3 x 1200 meter repeats at 5K pace, then run 2 miles at 10K pace. Run easy for 800 meters between the repeats. Cool down with 800 meters at an easy pace.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 12 x hill repeats. Run up a fairly steep hill that is at least 100 meters in length. Run a what feels like 5K pace. Run 20 meters past the top of the hill. Jog down the hill to recover. Repeat this 14 times.

 

Friday - Run 7 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 6 miles at your goal marathon race pace.

 

 

 

Week 7

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 7 x 1600 meter repeats at 10K pace or 15 seconds per mile slower than 5K pace. Jog for 800 meters between repeats. Jog for 800 meters to cool down.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 3 x 800/400/1600 meter supersets. Run 800 meters at 5K pace, 400 meters at 10 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace and 1600 meters at 10K pace. Take no rest between the distances. Repeat this 3 times with 800 meters of easy running between the 3 sets. Cool down with 800 meters at an easy pace.

 

Friday - Run 7 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 13 miles at an easy pace.

 

 

 

Week 8

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 3 miles at 10K pace, 6 miles at goal marathon race pace and 1 mile at 5K pace, with no rest between distances. Cool down with 800 meter at an easy pace.

 

Wednesday - Run 7 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 1 2400/800/400 meter superset. Run 2400 meters at 10K pace, 800 meters at 5K pace and 400 meters at 10 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace with no rest between distances. Cool down with 800 meters at an easy pace.

 

Friday - Run 4 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 8 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 7 miles at goal marathon race pace.

 

 

 

Week 9

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 3 x 2400 meter repeats at 10K pace. Then run 1 mile at 5K pace. Jog for 800 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of easy jogging.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 20 minutes, alternating between 30 seconds at 20 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace and 30 seconds at an easy pace.

 

Friday - Run 7 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 15 miles at an easy pace.

 

 

 

Week 10

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 1 mile at an easy pace, 8 miles at goal marathon race pace and 1 additional mile at an easy pace. Take no rest between the distances.

 

Wednesday - Rest.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 2 x 2400/800/400 meter supersets. Run 2400 meters at 10K pace, 800 meters at 5K pace and 400 meters at 10 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace. Take no rest between distances. Repeat this two times with 800 meters of easy running between the two supersets.

 

Friday - Rest.

 

Saturday - Run 4 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 8 miles at your goal marathon race pace.

 

 

 

Week 11

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 7 x 1600 meter repeats at 10K pace. Jog for 400 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Wednesday - Run 7 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 30 minutes, alternating between 30 seconds at 20 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace and 30 seconds at an easy pace.

 

Friday - Run 8 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 17 miles. Run the first 13 miles at an easy pace. Run the last 4 miles at goal marathon pace.

 

 

 

Week 12

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 4 x 2400 meter repeats at 10K pace. Jog for 800 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 20 minutes, alternating between 30 seconds at 20 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace and 30 seconds at goal marathon race pace. Cool down with 800 meters at an easy pace.

 

Friday - Run 8 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 10 miles at your goal marathon race pace.

 

 

 

Week 13

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 1 mile at an easy pace, 6 miles at goal marathon race pace and 3 miles at 10K pace with no rest between distances. Cool down with 1 mile at an easy pace.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 8 miles on a trail that is consistently and gradually uphill. Run at a pace that feels like your goal marathon race pace. Your actual pace will be slower due to the incline. If you do not have an uphill trail in your area, you can do this workout on a treadmill that is elevated 3 to 5 degrees.

 

Friday - Run 7 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 19 miles. Run the first 14 miles at an easy pace. Run the last 5 miles at goal marathon pace.

 

 

 

Week 14

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 3 miles at 10K pace, 7 miles at marathon goal race pace and 1 mile at 5K pace. Take no rest between distances. Cool down with 800 meters at an easy pace.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 2 x 400/800/2400 meter supersets. Run 400 meters at 10 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace, 800 meters at 5K pace and 2400 meters at 10K pace. Do not rest between distances. Run for 800 meters at an easy pace to recover between sets. Cool down with 800 meters at an easy pace.

 

Friday - Run 8 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 12 miles at your goal marathon race pace.

 

 

 

Week 15

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run a 60-minute fartlek run. Alternate running 5 minutes at goal marathon pace with 2 minutes at 5K pace. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 30 minutes, alternating between 30 seconds at 20 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace and 30 seconds at goal marathon race pace. Cool down with 5 minutes at an easy pace.

 

Friday - Run 7 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 21 miles. Run the first 16 miles at an easy pace. Run the last 5 miles at goal marathon pace. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

 

 

Week 16

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 10 miles on a trail that is consistently and gradually uphill. Run at a pace that feels like your goal marathon race pace. Remember that your actual pace will be slower due to the incline. Do this on a treadmill elevated 3 to 5 degrees if you do not have an uphill trail in your area.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 1 800/1600/3200/1600/800 meter superset. Run 800 meters at 5K pace, 1600 meters at 10K pace, 3200 metrs at goal marathon race pace, 1600 meters at 10K pace and 800 meters at 5K pace. Take no rest between distances. Cool down with 800 meters at an easy pace.

 

Friday - Run 7 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run a 10K race or 10K time trial. Run the 10K in the best possible time you can manage.

 

 

 

Week 17

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run a 10K race. If there are no races scheduled for your area, run a 10K at the track on on area trails at your 10K pace. Cool down with 800 meters of easy running.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday- Standard warm up. Run 2 x 800/1600/3200 meter repeats. Run 800 meters at 5K pace, 1600 meters at 10K pace and 3200 meters at goal marathon race pace. Take no rest between the distances. Run at an easy pace for 800 meters between the two sets. Cool down with 800 meters at an easy pace.

 

Friday - Run 7 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 5 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 23 miles. Run the first 17 miles easy. Run the last 6 miles at goal marathon pace.

 

This will be your longest training run. After this week you will begin to “taper” or decrease overall mileage. A taper is necessary to allow your muscles to full recover from long training runs and to be at full strength for the race.

 

 

 

Week 18

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 7 x 1600 meter repeats at 10K pace. Jog for 800 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 30 minutes alternating between 30 seconds at 20 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace and 30 seconds at goal marathon race pace. Cool down with 5 minutes at an easy pace.

 

Friday - Run 4 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 4 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 8 miles at goal marathon pace.

 

 

 

Week 19

 

Monday - Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 8 x 800 meter repeats at 5 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace. Jog for 400 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Wednesday - Run 6 miles easy. Run 4 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Standard warm up. Run 20 minutes, alternating between 30 seconds at 20 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace and 30 seconds at an easy pace.

 

Friday - Run 4 miles easy. Run 4 acceleration strides.

 

Saturday - Run 4 miles easy. Run 4 acceleration strides.

 

Sunday - Standard warm up. Run 6 miles at goal marathon pace.

 

 

 

Week 20

 

Monday- Rest

 

Tuesday - Standard warm up. Run 5000 meters at 10K pace. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Wednesday - Run 4 miles easy. Run 4 acceleration strides.

 

Thursday - Run 2 miles easy. Run 4 acceleration strides.

 

Friday - Rest.

 

Saturday - Rest

 

Sunday - RACE DAY. HAVE FUN!!

 

 

 

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