The 3-Month Marathon Training Plan

Part II – How to Use a Traditional 12-Week Approach to Race Well

Be certain to practice fluid and energy intake during your long runs. Take 6 to 8 ounces of fluid every 30 to 35 minutes, and ideally 100 to 120 calories of energy intake within the same period.

Marathon-Specific Long Run for Week 7

  • Begin the run with 6 miles very easy (1:30 to 1:45 per-mile slower than goal marathon pace)
  • Run miles 6 to 12 at 8 to 10 seconds per-mile slower than goal marathon tempo
  • Mile 12 to 13 is a recovery mile; ease back to easy tempo pace, similar to opening 6 miles
  • Run miles 13 to 19 at goal marathon pace
  • Cool down with 1 mile easy (20 total)

Reminders for the two marathon-specific long runs: Make sure to take in plenty of fluids and carbohydrates, and also be sure to create a course that replicates the marathon you are targeting.

More: How Many Carbs Do You Need for the Marathon?

Sample Weekly Schedule for Weeks 4, 5, 6, 7

Monday: Short recovery run or non-run day (rest); optional non-running aerobic exercise—preferably spinning on a stationary bike or a pool session.

More: 7 Cross-Training Exercises for Runners

Tuesday: Run easy for 6 to 7 miles with 8 x 100m to finish the run.

Wednesday: Long intervals with shorter recovery during weeks 4, 5 and 6. After a proper 20-minute warm-up, target 3 to 4 x 2-mile repeats (6 to 8 miles of intervals). Each 2-mile repetition should be run a hair quicker than the previous with the first mile in the anaerobic threshold neighborhood (roughly current half marathon race fitness). The final repeat should be at or a tad slower than 10K race pace.

On week 7, replace this session with an effort-based fartlek run of 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 (minutes) pick-ups. The recovery should be 1:30 between each pick-up.

Thursday: Short run of 4 to 5 miles (optional non-run workout) or off day.

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