Pre-Marathon Training Starts Now!

by Brian Loeffler November 14, 2013

Your On Track coaches are very excited for 2014. We have had the most successful fall season to date. We have huge momentum and it’s only growing! Our athletes have some incredible races planned and we are committed to supporting them all every single step of the way, providing support, encouragement, and guidance. Twice a month, we will be posting blogs on our website about training, racing, and nutrition. Our goal is to provide you with some great information that will help you have the best season ever. Check our website on a regular basis to learn how these tips can not only make you a faster runner and triathlete, but a smarter, happier, and injury free competitor as well!

Pre Marathon Training Starts NOW

It’s Marathon Season!!- Well almost….. Don’t wait to get started. Prepare now. Setting yourself up for a successful marathon cycle, sets you up for a successful marathon!

The VCM and Boston Marathons are fast approaching. I am often asked when a runner should start their training for the marathon. Well, the answer is NOW!  A typical marathon training plan is 12-16 weeks long, assuming the athletes has a pretty good base. But what is a base? Is it simply being able to run 4 days a week for 30 – 60 minutes? Not necessarily. Pre Marathon Training should incorporate a variety of speed, stamina, and strength. You start the marathon phase a strong, fast, and well balanced runner.

Pre marathon training is the training you do leading up to your 12-16 week marathon training cycle. It’s purpose is to get you strong and fit so that you can handle the demands of higher volume and intensity marathon training.

This phase follows a general base building phase and lasts approximately 6-8 weeks This is a great time to work on your weaknesses. If stamina and endurance is your weakness, then you would want to focus on this energy system. If speed is your weakness, then you would want to focus on leg turnover and speed work. If injuries slow you down, a good strength training program will be right up your alley. For most runners this pre marathon phase would include a variety of speed, stamina, and strength workouts. It also includes a well thought out strength and flexibility training program that is specific to you and your weaknesses.

The pre marathon schedule would include-

  • shorter speed workouts – 30 seconds to 1 minute accelerations,  run at faster than 5k race pace
  • longer speed workouts –  2-5 minute intervals, run at 5k race pace, 2-3 mile progression runs
  • one medium long run
  • An individualized strength training and flexibility program

Your Plan In Action


Week One

Week Two

Warm up 2 miles + 10-15 x 30 second strides @ faster than 5k race pace w/ 1 minute easy jog recovery + 2 mile cool down Warm up 2 miles + 10-15 x 30 second strides or 10×1 minute @ faster than 5k race pace w/ 1 minute easy jog recovery + 2 mile cool down
Warm up 2 miles + 6×2 minutes or 5×3 minutes or 3×5 minutes at 5k race pace w/ 2’ recovery jog + 2 mile cool down  (Rolling course) 6 mile progression run. Run the first 4 miles at an easy aerobic pace and progress over the course of the last 2 miles. Start at half marathon pace and progress to 10k pace (Rolling course- last 2 miles flatter)
MLR (medium long run) 13 miles w/ the last 2-3 miles at half marathon or marathon race pace MLR 13 miles steady aerobic pace


Using this 2 week cycle for 6 weeks will enable you to be strong, fit, and ready for the demands of marathon training. You will have a great base, strength, and speed. Welcome to the marathon phase. You are now ready!

One last component to the pre-marathon phase is strength training. This is a critical time to get your body stronger and reduce your risk of injuries during the marathon phase. It IS A MUST in every marathon runners training cycle. Check back in 2 weeks and we will go over pre-marathon phase strength training do’s and don’ts.

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