Advanced Marathon Training Schedule

Marathon runners on the road
Mitchell Funk/Getty Images

Have you picked out your next marathon? If you've done more than one marathon, you're already running five days a week, and you can run up to 8 miles comfortably, this advanced marathon schedule may be good for you. Take a look at the program (see chart below) and see what you think. If it looks like it might be too tough right now, try this ​intermediate schedule.

Notes

Cross-training (CT): Cross-training activities allow you to give your joints and running muscles a break, while still working on your cardio. When the schedule calls for CT, do a cardio activity other than running (biking, swimming, elliptical trainer) at a moderate effort for 45 to 60 minutes.

Tempo Run: Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic threshold, which is critical for faster racing. For a 40-minute tempo run, for example, start your run with 5 to 10 minutes of easy running, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes of running at about a 10K pace. Finish with 5 to 10 minutes of cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K pace is, run at a pace that feels "comfortably hard."

Strength-train: Spend about 20-25 minutes doing lower body and core strengthening. Here are some sample strength-training workouts.

Interval workouts (IW): After a 10-minute warm-up, run the designated interval at Race Pace (see below), then recover with easy running for 2 minutes before you start the next interval. Finish intervals with a 10-minute cooldown.

Easy pace (EP): These runs should be done at an easy, comfortable pace. You should be able to breathe and talk easily. This is also your long run (Saturday) pace.

Race Pace (RP): These runs (or portions of runs) should be done at your estimated marathon race pace (RP). If you're not sure what your marathon race pace is, add 30-45 seconds per mile to your half-marathon pace. You can also use a recent race time to figure out what your estimated marathon race time would be.

Rest: Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts. Your muscles build and repair themselves during your rest days. Running every day can lead to injuries and burnout. Fridays are a good day for rest, as you'll have run on Thursday and will have your long run the next day.

You can switch days to accommodate your schedule. If you're busy one day, it's fine to swap a rest day for a run day. For example, some runners prefer to do their long runs on Sunday, so you could do your EP run on Friday, rest on Saturday, and do your long run Sunday.

Advanced Marathon Training Schedule

Was this page helpful?