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Marathon training plan: Advanced

Marathon training plan: Advanced

Check out this 16-week training plan if you’re running a marathon and aiming for a time of around three hours

Background

» Club member, runs regularly and competes in all local events including cross country and road races ranging from 5km to half-marathon
» Trains six to seven times per week and runs for 70-90min on a Sunday
» Been running for five years or longer
» Aims for PBs and positional finishes as well as a valuable team member

Overview

» Targeting to complete the marathon distance in around 3hr – 3hr 30min
» Aiming to run the whole distance and hit pace targets en-route
» Training with a group of four similar ability runners on club nights and with a partner who is also targeting the same marathon as you on other days

Training

» Most runs are based on ‘time-on-feet’ with sessions at slower than marathon pace, marathon pace and half-marathon pace plus some 10km speedier runs to improve running efficiency
» Commencing with a 16 week plan and backed-up with a solid year of training for shorter distances and targeting a 12 week specific block of work prior to race
» Fastest race pace target (3hr) is around 6min 52sec per mile which is around 8¾ miles in an hour
» Pacing and drinking on the run strategies should be practiced (find a 4-5 mile fairly accurate loop and try and hit your marathon target pace

Advice

» Set training goals and try to stick to them unless injury or illness dictates otherwise
» Wear the right footwear for your biomechanics in training and also what will be best for race day (get professional help)
» Aches and pains will be encountered – make sure you differentiate between these and a potential injury
» If too tired or achy, don’t be afraid to miss a training day or two or even deviate from the training plan (better to get to race day 95% fit than injured and unable to run)
» Try some cross-training at a gym (elliptical machine) if you feel too achy for a few days or if the winter weather becomes too dangerous
» Try varied routes and some softer surfaces in daylight hours to alleviate the stresses and strains on muscles and joints
» Keep focussed and cut down on alcohol and eat healthily. You will burn many more calories in your training – these need to be replaced correctly
» When trying to run marathon pace in training select a flat route as hills will play havoc with your target speed
» Respect the marathon distance – good pacing is vital to make it an enjoyable day and poor pacing will inevitably make your day a painful one!
» Look for some build-up races as part of your training. A half-marathon or longer (not a marathon) around 7-10 weeks before your marathon would be perfect, plus some 10km races to hone your speed and act as fitness tests and break the tedium of the plan
» Training plans rarely run smoothly and the 16 week plan is negotiable with tiredness, niggles and sniffles to be taken account of – a couple of days off here and there can have more benefit than hard work
» If you can get a massage once a week it will help enormously to alleviate injuries and keep those all-important legs fresh

WKSunMonTuesWedThursFriSat
11hr 15min run STMP50min run MPClub night: 10x3min @ HMP with 2min rec45min run STMPClub night: 60min tempo @ MPRest or 30min run STMP1hr run STMP or possible 10km race
21hr 20min run STMP50min run MPClub night: 4x10min @ HMP with 3min rec45min run STMPClub night: 20x2min @ HMP with 1min recRest or 30min run STMP1hr 10min run STMP
31hr 30min run STMP60min run MPClub night: 12x3min @ HMP with 1min rec45min run STMPClub night: 60min tempo @ MPRest or 30min run STMP1hr 10min run STMP
41hr 40min run STMP60min run MPClub night: 4x12min @ HMP with 2min rec45min run STMPClub night: 8x5min @ HMP with 2-3min recRest or 30min run STMP1hr 10min run STMP
51hr 45min run STMP (12 week build-up begins)60min run MPClub night: 10x4min @ HMP with 2min rec50min run STMPClub night: 60min tempo @ MPRest or 30min run STMP1hr 10min run STMP
61hr 50min run STMP65min run MPClub night: 9x5min @ HMP with 2min rec50min run STMPClub night: 2x30min @ >MP with 5min recRest or 30min run STMP1hr 10min run STMP or possible HM race
72hr run STMP65min run MPClub night: 20x2min @ HMP with 1min rec50min run STMPClub night: 70min tempo @ MPRest or 30min run STMP1hr 15min run STMP
82hr 10min run STMP70min run MPClub night: 8x6min @ MP with 1-2min rec50min run STMPClub night: 3x15min @ HMP with 3min recRest or 30min run STMP1hr 15min run STMP
92hr 15min run STMP70min run MPClub night: 2x30min tempo @ MP with 4-5min rec50min run STMPClub night: 70min tempo @ MPRest or 30min run STMP1hr 20min run STMP or possible 10km race
102hr 25min run STMP70min run MPClub night: 8x6min @ MP with 1-2min rec50min run STMPClub night: 3x20min @ MP with 3-4min recRest or 30min run STMP1hr 20min run STMP
112hr 35min run STMP70min run MPClub night: 15x3min @ HMP with 1min rec50min run STMPClub night: 80min tempo @ MPRest or 30min run STMP1hr 20min run STMP
122hr 45min run STMP75min run MPClub night: 3x20min @ MP with 3-4min rec60min run STMPClub night: 80min tempo @ MPRest or 30min run STMP1hr 20min run STMP
133hr run STMP75min run MPClub night: 3x20min @ MP with 3-4min rec60min run STMPClub night: 80min tempo @ MPRest or 30min run STMP1hr 20min run STMP or possible 10km race
143hr run STMP75min run MPClub night: 3x20min @ MP with 5min rec60min run STMPClub night: 80min @ MPRest or 30min run STMP1hr 20min run STMP
151hr run STMP40min run MP30min run STMP30min run STMP30min run STMPRest or 20min run STMPRest
16RACE DAY!RestRest30min very easy run if legs okay30min very easy run if legs okayRest30min very easy run if legs okay

Note:
STMP = slower than marathon pace
MP = marathon pace
HMP = half-marathon pace
In sessions where reps are stated, include at least a 10min warm-up and 10min cool-down

» You can find a beginner marathon training plan here and an intermediate plan here

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