The Marathon/Half Marathon Training Program

An Overview (Level I & II)

Training Game Plan

For any training program, you'll first need to build up your endurance and stamina after which you can add hills to improve your strength. Finally, as the target race date approaches, you should cut back your mileage to have 'fresh legs' for the big day.

Phase Notes Level I Level II
Endurance very little hills 6-12 weeks 8-12 weeks
Strength more hills and speed work 3-5 weeks 5 weeks
Taper recover, rejuvenate, and refresh your body for your target race 3 weeks 2-3 weeks

Training Schedule Reference Key

These are the terms/letter codes used to signify the purpose of each day's workout. In addition, they are placed within the context of each training phase to help you better understand the overall picture of your training program. Refer to pages 46-47 of the manual to get an explanation for each type of run.

Letter Codes
L = long run SL = semi-long run R = recovery run H = hilly run
O = off day C = cross-training / = or + = and optional
Phase Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Strength C/O R R/C/O H R+C O L
Taper O R R/O R R/O O SL

Please note:

  • If it works better for you, do your recovery runs on Tuesday and semi-long runs on Thursday rather than Monday/Wednesday.
  • Make it a priority to run or cross-train at least 4 days a week during the Endurance Phase to experience progress.
    • It is far more effective to do at least 3 runs every week along with 1-2 cross-training days rather than the other way around.
    • By the Strength Phase, run or cross-train at least 5 days a week with a minimum of 4 runs a week, unless you're training for the shorter distances.

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