Marathon Workouts for Runners of Every Level

According to Running USA's annual marathon report, 541,000 runners crossed marathon finish lines around the country in 2013, an all-time record. Indeed, there were 1,100 26.2-mile events held in the U.S. alone in 2013. A common goal on many bucket lists, the distance is no longer for the upper echelon of hard-?core runners. Today's marathons cater to a wide variety of ability levels and running backgrounds, making it a manageable challenge for just about anyone willing to put in the training.

A race that requires both endurance and sometimes speed, marathon workouts vary widely. From quick track sessions to long miles spent out on the open road, one of the keys to marathon success is implementing variety in training. Not only will this train your body to function in all the necessary gears, but it'll also keep your mind engaged in the task at hand.

More: How Much Marathon Training Do You Really Need?

If you're looking for some new ideas to jump-start your training, these marathon workouts, selected by certified running coaches from around the country, can be adjusted to suit your goals and experience.

More: 22 Pieces of Essential Marathon Training Advice

Marathon Workout: Race Simulator

Coach: Ron Byland, USA Track & Field and Road Runners Club of America certified coach based in Minneapolis, Minnesota

When: Complete this workout about four weeks prior to race day as the last long, hard workout.

Warm-up: Jog for 1 to 2 miles


  • 8 miles at goal marathon race pace
  • 1 mile at easy recovery pace
  • 8 miles at goal marathon race pace

Cooldown: Jog for 1 to 2 miles

More: 3 Essential Marathon Workouts

Adjustments: This effort can be easily adjusted to suit mileage needs and ability level. If this seems like more mileage than you can handle, try reducing the race-pace intervals to 6 miles, or simply go by time and run at race pace for 2 x 45 minutes.

Bottom line for any runner: This workout should not exceed three hours.

Pro Tip: "I have my runners treat this as a race-day scenario," says Byland. "I suggest they wear their race-day clothes and shoes, and that they practice their nutrition and hydration plans for their upcoming race [during this workout]."

More: The New Rules of Marathon Nutrition: Fuel Plan

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