Intermediate Marathon Plan

For those of you who are looking to run a good marathon, but maybe aren’t quite ready to commit to shelling out the money for a personalized plan, I have decided to offer an intermediate marathon plan. What do I mean by intermediate? Basically, if you are looking to race a marathon as opposed to just finishing one, this plan could work for you. And what do I mean by race? If your goal marathon pace is faster than your easy pace, then you are racing the marathon. This plan should work for people looking to run 2:30 to 5:00 for the marathon.

I crafted it to go entirely by time, so it can be easily translated for your ability level. In other words, rather than scheduling 4x one mile at tempo pace, you will be doing 4x 6 minutes. This way, the runners looking to run 4+ hours aren’t doing more work than the 2:30 marathoners in a workout. If you want to translate to miles, and you find that a nice even distance will get you within a few minutes of the prescribed time, feel free to use the distance instead. For example, for the 6x 3 minutes at Interval pace, you can do 800s in 2:45 if that is your given pace.

You can find your paces here by entering in a recent race result. Please do not use your goal marathon time to come up with workout paces! Doing so will cause you to run too fast for your current fitness level and will greatly increase your chance of injury. If you don’t have a recent race result, you can estimate your fitness in a variety of ways; feel free to contact us for more information on that. The paces you need to know are:

Easy Your typical easy run pace. This should be 60-90 seconds slower per mile than your goal marathon pace for most people.
Marathon  The pace that you want to run per mile for your marathon. This is typically 60-90 seconds faster than your easy run pace.
Tempo  This is the pace you could hold in a race lasting about an hour. It should feel “moderately hard,” or a 5 or 6 on a scale from 1 to 10.
Interval  This equates to roughly 3K to 5K race pace for most people. It is definitely hard and will leave you winded. About a 7 or 8 on a scale from 1 to 10.

The plan specifies four days of running each week; what you do the other three days is up to you. You can take them off, or run anywhere from 20-80 minutes on those days, depending on your fitness level.

Week Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
1 easy run + strides 15 min warmup
6x 60s hills (2+ min rest)
15 min cooldown
easy run + strides long run – 90 minutes
         
2 easy run + strides 15 min warmup
4x 5 min @ Tempo (1 min rest)
15 min cooldown
easy run + strides long run – 90 minutes
         
3 easy run + strides 15 min warmup
6x 3 min @ Interval (2 min rest)
15 min cooldown
easy run + strides long run – 2 hours
         
4 easy run + strides 15 min warmup
20 min @ Tempo
15 min cooldown
easy run + strides long run – 90 minutes
         
5 easy run + strides 15 min warmup
6x 2 min hills (2+ min rest)
15 min cooldown
easy run + strides long run – 2 hours
         
6 easy run + strides 15 min warmup
5x 6 min @ Tempo (90s rest)
15 min cooldown
easy run + strides long run – 2h 15 m
         
7 easy run + strides 15 min warmup
2x 20 min @ MP (2 min rest)
15 min cooldown
easy run + strides long run – 2h 15m
         
8 easy run + strides 15 min warmup
8x (2 min @ Interval + 2 min float*)
15 min cooldown
easy run + strides 30 minutes warmup
50 minutes @ MP
10 minutes cooldown
         
9 easy run + strides 15 min warmup
2x 15 min @ Tempo (3 min rest)
15 min cooldown
easy run + strides long run – 2h 30m
         
10 easy run + strides 10 min warmup
2x 30 min @ MP (5 min rest)
10 min cooldown
easy run + strides long run – 2h 30m
         
11 easy run + strides 10 min warmup
60 min @ MP
10 min cooldown
easy run + strides long run – 3 hrs
         
12 easy run + strides 15 min warmup
4x 5 min @ Tempo (1 min rest)
15 min cooldown
easy run + strides 60 min warmup
40 min @ MP
20 min cooldown
         
13 easy run + strides 15 min warmup
6x 3 min @ Interval (2 min rest)
15 min cooldown
easy run + strides 45 min warmup
30 min @ MP
15 min cooldown
         
14 easy run + strides 10 min warmup
2x 15 minutes @ MP (2 min rest)
10 min cooldown
easy run + strides Marathon

*Notes:

Strides 20-30s of fast but easy running. They should be somewhere between mile race pace and 10K race pace, depending on how you feel that day. Focus on running tall with a quick turnover. You should feel like you are gliding over the ground effortlessly. Recover by walking or jogging slowly for at least a minute in between.
Float recovery This is a quicker easy run that you use in between repeats. It is slower than the hard pace, but faster than a typical recovery jog. It should be somewhere around Goal Marathon Pace to GMP + 15 seconds. Or, you can think of it as the pace you might do if you were feeling really good on an easy run and wanted to push the pace a bit.