This marathon plan is designed for the intermediate runner looking to break the 4-hour barrier who is able to handle 30 to 40 miles per week. The program is based around one basic principle: for success at the marathon distance, you need to train specifically for the physiological demands of the race. In the marathon, this means three things: (1) increasing your fitness so that you can decrease your marathon pace and make it more comfortable; (2) teaching your body how to burn fat as a fuel source as opposed to carbohydrates; and (3) simulating the fatigue you'll experience the last 10k without getting hurt or becoming too tired in training. To accomplish these three goals, this program will employ faster paced tempo runs that are often broken into shorter, but faster intervals. These shorter intervals allow you to run faster, thereby working on your speed and mechanics, while maintaining an effort that develops your aerobic system. The more efficient your body becomes at burning fuel while running fast, the longer you can run marathon pace on race day. To encourage your body to use fat as an energy source and to simulate the fatigue at the end of the race, this plan breaks up the long runs over the weekend into two moderately fast paced runs. Long and slow 22 milers will breakdown the muscles and will completely exhaust you, which will lead to a significant delay in recovery. In addition, running for longer than 3 hours and 30 minutes can significantly increase the chance of injury and doesn't produce significant physiological adaptations. Instead, this plan places runs on both weekend days, which will allow you to carry the fatigue of Saturday's run into Sunday, which will simulate the latter stages of the marathon without having to run 20 miles first. However,you won't be so fatigued from Saturday that you can't run fast at the end of the long run on Sunday, which will teach you how to burn fat while running marathon pace.
Last updated December 21, 2015
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Last updated November 15, 2011
(Notice: See updated policy posted March 2, 2016; Effective April 1, 2016)
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