2020 Spring Marathon

Weekly routine

  1. Monday: Two easy/recovery runs (~5 miles on flat-ish course and low HR)
  2. Tuesday: Speed work (treadmill in SDC)
    1. 2-mile W/U and 2-mile W/D
    2. Stretching routine and Stephen’s form drills
    3. 15-minute strength training (pick some from the list below) and sauna
  3. Wednesday: Two runs
    1. Easy/Recovery run (~5 miles on flat-ish course and low HR) in the morning
    2. Medium long-distance run with some ascents/hills in the evening … some with KRG
  4. Thursday: Tempo run (treadmill in SDC)
    1. 2-mile W/U and 2-mile W/D
    2. Stretching routine and Stephen’s form drills
    3. 15-minute strength training (pick relevant ones from the list below) and sauna
  5. Friday: Easy/Recovery run (mostly low HR) with fartleks
  6. Saturday: LSD run
    1. Few miles at race pace
    2. Progression to race pace and beyond
    3. To be completed before noon to facilitate maximum rest
  7. Sunday: Active rest
    1. 10-20 km XC skate ski
    2. 10 km slow easy jog
    3. Indoor biking

Post-run strength training

  1. Robert Larson routine
    1. Twisted lunges
    2. Push-ups
    3. Planks
    4. Pelvic bridges
    5. Split squats
    6. Single leg dead lifts
    7. Bench press
    8. Body weight squats (on bosu ball)
    9. (Overhead) Triceps pull down
    10. Leg press
  2. YouTube
    1. 6-minute HIIT and abs
    2. 8-minute abs
    3. Lifting for speed
  3. Yoga

Pace chart (work/progress towards these by week #15-16)

  1. Race
    1. 7:03 min/mile (3:04:59) – marathon
    2. 6:43 min/mile (1:27:54) – half marathon
    3. 6:21 min/mile (0:39:26) – 10 km
    4. 6:07 min/mile (0:18:59) – 5 km
    5. 5:28 min/mile – 1 mile
  2. Speed work
    1. 6:11 +/- 0:05 min/mile – 1-mile repeats
    2. 2:59 +/- 0:03 min/mile – 800 m repeats
    3. 1:23 +/- 0:02 min/mile – 400 m repeats
  3. Tempo runs
    1. 6:30 +/- 0:08 min/mile – continuous
    2. 6:25 +/- 0:06 min/mile – blocked repeats
  4. LSD runs
    1. 8:15 +/- 0:15 min/mile
    2. Include race pace miles (7:00 min/mile)
    3. Include progression to and exceeding race pace 
  5. Easy/Recovery runs
    1. 8:30 min/mile or slower (or HR below 140 bpm)

Things to NOT do (lessons from previous training cycles)

  1. Frequent racing, esp. at marathon distance
  2. Skip planned activities
  3. Get to sleep/bed on time
  4. Eating chips or chia seed energy cubes one bag at a time

Training schedule (open for comments)

Notation: Easy (E) | Medium (M) | Long (L) | Race (R) | Speed (S) | Tempo (T)
Distance in miles and time in h:mm:ss.
Entries in the final column represent the average miles after a given number of weeks in the training cycle.
Wk Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
Week Cycle Avg
01 12/09
E 10.00
-
-
12/10
E 6.00
-
-
12/11
M 15.00
-
-
12/12
E 6.00
-
-
12/13
E 8.00
-
-
12/14
E 14.00
-
-
12/15
Rest
-
-
59.00
0.00
0:00:00
59.00
0.00
0:00:00

59.00
0.00
-
  Wed: 10-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
02 12/16
E 10.00
-
-
12/17
E 6.00
-
-
12/18
M 15.00
-
-
12/19
E 6.00
-
-
12/20
E 8.00
-
-
12/21
E 16.00
-
-
12/22
Rest
-
-
61.00
0.00
0:00:00
120.00
0.00
0:00:00

60.00
0.00
-
  Wed: 10-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
03 12/23
E 10.00
-
-
12/24
E 6.00
-
-
12/25
M 15.00
-
-
12/26
E 6.00
-
-
12/27
E 8.00
-
-
12/28
E 18.00
-
-
12/29
Rest
-
-
63.00
0.00
0:00:00
183.00
0.00
0:00:00

61.00
0.00
-
  Wed: 10-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
04 12/30
E 10.00
-
-
12/31
E 6.00
-
-
01/01
M 15.00
-
-
01/02
E 8.00
-
-
01/03
E 6.00
-
-
01/04
E 14.00
-
-
01/05
Rest
-
-
59.00
0.00
0:00:00
242.00
0.00
0:00:00

60.50
0.00
-
  Wed: 10-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Wk Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
Week Cycle Avg
05 01/06
E 10.00
-
-
01/07
E 6.00
-
-
01/08
M 16.00
-
-
01/09
E 8.00
-
-
01/10
E 6.00
-
-
01/11
E 16.00
-
-
01/12
Rest
-
-
62.00
0.00
0:00:00
304.00
0.00
0:00:00

60.80
0.00
-
  Wed: 11-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
06 01/13
E 10.00
-
-
01/14
E 6.00
-
-
01/15
M 16.00
-
-
01/16
E 8.00
-
-
01/17
E 6.00
-
-
01/18
E 18.00
-
-
01/19
Rest
-
-
64.00
0.00
0:00:00
368.00
0.00
0:00:00

61.33
0.00
-
  Wed: 11-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
07 01/20
E 10.00
-
-
01/21
E 6.00
-
-
01/22
M 17.00
-
-
01/23
E 8.00
-
-
01/24
E 6.00
-
-
01/25
E 18.00
-
-
01/26
Rest
-
-
65.00
0.00
0:00:00
433.00
0.00
0:00:00

61.86
0.00
-
  Wed: 12-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
08 01/27
E 10.00
-
-
01/28
E 6.00
-
-
01/29
M 17.00
-
-
01/30
E 8.00
-
-
01/31
E 6.00
-
-
02/01
E 16.00
-
-
02/02
Rest
-
-
63.00
0.00
0:00:00
496.00
0.00
0:00:00

62.00
0.00
-
  Wed: 12-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Wk Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
Week Cycle Avg
09 02/03
E 10.00
-
-
02/04
S 2.00
-
-
02/05
M 16.00
-
-
02/06
T 2.00
-
-
02/07
E 6.00
-
-
02/08
L 16.00
-
-
02/09
Rest
-
-
52.00
0.00
0:00:00
548.00
0.00
0:00:00

60.89
0.00
-
  Tue: 1-mile repeats with 2-4 minute rest between intervals
Wed: 11-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Thu: One 2-mile block
Sat: LSD run with 2 miles at race pace towards the end
10 02/10
E 10.00
-
-
02/11
S 2.00
-
-
02/12
M 16.00
-
-
02/13
T 3.00
-
-
02/14
E 6.00
-
-
02/15
L 18.00
-
-
02/16
Rest
-
-
55.00
0.00
0:00:00
603.00
0.00
0:00:00

60.30
0.00
-
  Tue: 4 x 800-meter repeats with 2-4 minute rest between intervals
Wed: 11-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Thu: One 3-mile block
Sat: LSD run with 3 miles at race pace towards the end
11 02/17
E 10.00
-
-
02/18
S 3.00
-
-
02/19
M 17.00
-
-
02/20
E 6.00
-
-
02/21
L 20.00
-
-
02/22
E 6.00
-
-
02/23
Rest
-
-
62.00
0.00
0:00:00
665.00
0.00
0:00:00

60.45
0.00
-
  Tue: 1-mile repeats with 2-4 minute rest between intervals
Wed: 12-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Sat: LSD run with 2020 American Birkebeiner Classic XC Ski (29 km Kortelopet)
12 02/24
E 10.00
-
-
02/25
S 3.00
-
-
02/26
M 17.00
-
-
02/27
T 5.00
-
-
02/28
E 6.00
-
-
02/29
L 16.00
-
-
03/01
Rest
-
-
57.00
0.00
0:00:00
722.00
0.00
0:00:00

60.17
0.00
-
  Tue: 6 x 800-meter repeats with 2-4 minute rest between intervals
Wed: 12-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Thu: One 3-mile block and one 2-mile block with 2-4 minute rest, if need be
Sat: LSD run with 4 miles at race pace in the second half
Wk Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
Week Cycle Avg
13 03/02
E 10.00
-
-
03/03
S 4.00
-
-
03/04
M 18.00
-
-
03/05
T 6.00
-
-
03/06
E 6.00
-
-
03/07
L 20.00
-
-
03/08
Rest
-
-
64.00
0.00
0:00:00
786.00
0.00
0:00:00

60.46
0.00
-
  Tue: 1-mile repeats with 2-4 minute rest between intervals
Wed: 13-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Thu: Two 3-mile blocks with 2-4 minute rest, if need be
Sat: LSD run with 10k progression in the second half approaching race pace
14 03/09
E 10.00
-
-
03/10
S 5.00
-
-
03/11
M 18.00
-
-
03/12
T 6.00
-
-
03/13
E 6.00
-
-
03/14
L 18.00
-
-
03/15
Rest
-
-
63.00
0.00
0:00:00
849.00
0.00
0:00:00

60.64
0.00
-
  Tue: 10 x 800-meter repeats with 2-4 minute rest between intervals
Wed: 13-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Thu: One 4-mile block and one 2-mile block with 2-4 minute rest, if need be
Sat: LSD run with 2 miles at pace towards the end
15 03/16
E 10.00
-
-
03/17
S 5.00
-
-
03/18
M 19.00
-
-
03/19
T 8.00
-
-
03/20
E 6.00
-
-
03/21
L 22.00
-
-
03/22
Rest
-
-
70.00
0.00
0:00:00
919.00
0.00
0:00:00

61.27
0.00
-
  Tue: 1-mile repeats with 2-4 minute rest between intervals
Wed: 14-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Thu: Two 4-mile blocks with 2-4 minute rest, if need be
Sat: LSD run with 10k progression in the second half approaching race pace
16 03/23
E 10.00
-
-
03/24
S 4.00
-
-
03/25
M 19.00
-
-
03/26
T 6.00
-
-
03/27
E 6.00
-
-
03/28
L 16.00
-
-
03/29
Rest
-
-
61.00
0.00
0:00:00
980.00
0.00
0:00:00

61.25
0.00
-
  Tue: 1-mile repeats with 2-4 minute rest between intervals
Wed: 14-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Thu: One 6-mile block
Sat: LSD run with 3 miles at race pace towards the end
Wk Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
Week Cycle Avg
17 03/30
E 10.00
-
-
03/31
S 3.00
-
-
04/01
M 17.00
-
-
04/02
T 6.00
-
-
04/03
E 6.00
-
-
04/04
L 24.00
-
-
04/05
Rest
-
-
66.00
0.00
0:00:00
1046.00
0.00
0:00:00

61.53
0.00
-
  Tue: 4 x (800-meter + 400-meter) repeats with 2-minute rest
Wed: 12-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Thu: One 6-mile block
Sat: LSD run with progression in the second half approaching and exceeding race pace
18 04/06
E 8.00
-
-
04/07
S 2.00
-
-
04/08
M 14.00
-
-
04/09
T 8.00
-
-
04/10
E 6.00
-
-
04/11
L 14.00
-
-
04/12
Rest
-
-
52.00
0.00
0:00:00
1098.00
0.00
0:00:00

61.00
0.00
-
  Tue: (6 x 400-meter) + (4 x 200-meter) repeats with 2-minute rest
Wed: 10-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Thu: One 8-mile block
Sat: LSD run with 2 miles at race pace towards the end
19 04/13
E 5.00
-
-
04/14
S 1.50
-
-
04/15
M 11.00
-
-
04/16
T 2.00
-
-
04/17
E 5.00
-
-
04/18
L 10.00
-
-
04/19
Rest
-
-
34.50
0.00
0:00:00
1132.50
0.00
0:00:00

59.61
0.00
-
  Tue: 4 x (400-meter + 200-meter) repeats with 2-minute rest
Wed: 6-mile MLD run with some ascents/hills and strides in the evening
Thu: One 2-mile block
Sat: LSD run with several 100-meter/20-second strides
20 04/20
E 4.00
-
-
04/21
S 1.00
-
-
04/22
E 4.00
-
-
04/23
Rest
-
-
04/24
E 3.00
-
-
04/25
R 26.22
-
-
04/26
Rest
-
-
38.22
0.00
0:00:00
1170.72
0.00
0:00:00

58.54
0.00
-
  Tue: (2 x 400-meter) + (4 x 200-meter) repeats with 2-minute rest
Spectrum of activities by type (time)
Spectrum of distance by range (run)
Spectrum of distance by feel (run)
Spectrum of heart rates by zones
Spectrum of footwear usage by distance

Suggestions/Feedback

Stephen (2019-10-21 @ 4:00 pm): Move the MLD run from Thursday and make it the second run on Wednesday to build endurance. Active rest could be super easy jog or XC ski … to further build the base.

Ray (2019-10-22 @ 10:00 am): The general plan seems to have enough weekly mileage, a sensible progression of long runs, and the right elements — tempo, intervals, strength.

The stated paces seem too fast, considering that after a few weeks of active rest, you’ll be starting with a marathon pace readiness fitness level of 8:00/mile. Think of the 20 weeks as a progression of MP readiness from 8:00 To 7:00. So tempo pace of 6:30 and mile repeat pace of 6:10 seems way too fast. Maybe you mean those as goals for around weeks 16-18. But it’s definitely too fast for weeks 1-10. As is 8:15 increasing to 7:00 on long runs. Start with 9:00 for long runs, 7:30 for tempos, and 6:50 for repeat miles, and get a little faster month to month.

Other than that, it looks like a good framework, recognizing you’ll modify as you go.

G, if you’re doing high mileages, it’s pretty hard to run much faster than Goal Pace on most training days. I’m in sub 3:00 shape now with a few days rest, but yesterday I ran a 7 mile progression run on tired legs with consecutive miles in 6:47 and 6:39 after a 4 mile warmup progression from 8:45 to 8:00. I will aim to get some longer tempos at a 7:00 average and some repeat miles @6:20 in the weeks before CIM. But, thinking about the challenge of the marathon, it would be better for you to build up to 5 or 6 times a mile in 6:30 as opposed to maybe 2 or 3 times a mile in 6:10. Also, a 10 mile progression with the last 5 miles from 7:30 to 7:00 is a strong tempo on tired legs.

I’d be happy to keep an eye on your training through the winter and give occasional feedback.

G (2019-10-22 @ 2:00 pm): My plan for the first 8 weeks of this proposed training cycle is only to run easy and low HR to rebuild the aerobic base. And you are right, the paces for speed/tempo/race pace are “moving numbers”. I will start much slower in week #09 and expect to reach those numbers by week #16 or later. I included them in the plan to know what intermediate paces (like, for 5k, 10k and half marathon) I could reach to verify I am on track.

Do you think I’d be better off including race pace blocks in LSD runs every other week? Maybe I can cut down the number of tempo miles/speed repeats during such weeks to keep the overall effort manageable and not burn out? I will tweak the plan accordingly and gladly take any help/suggestions you are willing to provide even after it starts!

I plan to continue keeping track of “easy” and “hard” miles each week – and ensure the easy miles are at least 80% of the training load. I read about while reading about Arthur Lydiard and Stephen Seiler. For WhistleStop/NYC, these numbers were subjective and based on how I felt on any given day.

For the Spring Marathon, I plan to make it a little more objective. Apart from keeping track of “easy” and “hard” mileage, I would like to keep track of miles at/above race pace and below race pace. My goal would be to keep most miles below race pace (and only attempt them 2 days a week + few miles in LSD runs) to ensure I can recover faster or prevent injury.

Ray (2019-10-22 @ 4:30 pm): As for your question about normal tempos vs running fast in a long run, I think there are good arguments for each/both, perhaps in alternate weeks as you suggest, or in appropriate doses in the same week. The traditional tempo or progression run will generally have a few miles at an aerobic pace, and then a gradual turning of the screw to goal pace (and perhaps a mile near the end faster than MP). For example, in March, say, you might run 12 miles in 9:00, 8:45, 8:30, 8:30, 8:00, 8:00, 7:30, 7:20, 7:10, 7:00, 6:50, 9:00. The idea here is to run smoothly around goal pace. It should NOT feel like a half marathon race effort. It should be smooth and economical.  This is training for how you will hope to run from mile 5 to 20 in a marathon. (The first 5 miles in a race should be a very easy perceived effort, owing to the taper.)

In earlier weeks, it’s reasonable to start with 2, 3 or 4 miles at sub 7:30 pace on tempos, but by mid March you may be stretching the MP sections to 6 or 8 miles. That’s enough.

On the other hand, fast running at the end of the long run is a little different proposition. I would say, when you run 15-plus miles at 9:00 to 8:00 pace and then pick up to 7:45, 7:30, 7:15, you are not preparing for cruising from miles 5-20 in the race; you’re preparing physically and mentally for pushing in the last 6 miles when you are getting stiff and achy and depleted. So it’s a similar pace, but different challenge. It’s very important to be able to run the last 10k no more than 10 or 15 sec/mile slower. That’s what you are practicing when you run close to MP at the end of a long run.

Sound good to measure your easy and hard miles. I do so, in a way, mentally, trying not to overtrain, which is my tendency.

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