12-Week Marathon Training Plan for Experienced Runners

© Chelsdo | Dreamstime

Are you an experienced runner who needs a tune-up before your next marathon? Here’s a plan to get you ready for 26.2 miles in 3 months.

How long is it? 12 weeks minimum

How many days per week will I run? 5-6

How many miles each week? Peak week is 55

What’s my longest long run? 20-22 miles

Will there be speedwork? Yes

What’s my race plan/goal? To run faster

  • HMP = Half-marathon pace
  • MP = Marathon pace
  • Strides are 75-150 meters
Week Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 8 miles & 10 strides Rest 9 miles Rest 5 miles 13 miles (8 at MP)
2 11 miles Rest 8 miles (4 at HMP) Rest 5 miles 15 miles
3 8 miles & 10 strides 4 miles 11 miles Rest 4 miles 16 miles (10 at MP)
4 5 miles 10 miles (5 at HMP) 11 miles Rest 5 miles 17 miles
5 Rest 12 miles Rest 9 miles (4 at HMP) 5 miles 16 miles
6 5 miles 10 miles & 3×2000 12 miles Rest 6 miles & 6 strides 15 miles (12 at MP)
7 6 miles & 6 strides 12 miles Rest 12 miles (7 at HMP) 5 miles 20 miles
8 8 miles & 5×800 11 miles Rest 4 miles & 6 strides 13 miles (15K tune-up) 17 miles
9 7 miles & 6 strides 10 miles & 4×1200 Rest 11 miles 4 miles 20 miles
10 8 miles & 5×800 6 miles Rest 4 miles & 6 strides 11 miles (10K tune-up) 16 miles
11 7 miles & 8 strides 8 miles & 3×1600 Rest 5 miles & 6 strides Rest 12 miles
12 6 miles 7 miles (2 at MP) Rest 5 miles & 6 strides 2 miles Race Day!

 

Here are five adages to live by during training:

Bigger base, bigger mileage

Experienced runners will benefit from more quality miles. Run longer and more often than before to see changes on race day.

Pace workouts

Experienced runners no longer run to log miles at an easy pace. You should be incorporating speed, hills, tempos, and recovery paces into runs.

Be confident, be cautious

Because you’ve done it before, you know you can do it again. But remember that you will have to work harder to see results.

Don’t forget rest

Easy days and/or rest are crucial. Every day of running shouldn’t be at race pace. Incorporate a recovery week every 3-4 weeks in the cycle with reduced mileage and easier workouts.

Race with a plan

Have your goal pace mapped out by mile or at regular intervals such as every 5K. But allow for flexibility in that plan so that if you aren’t exactly on target, you won’t feel frustrated in the early stages of the race.

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

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